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After the Conference Tournaments End, the Real Games Begin

By John Feinstein
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page E18

Maryland is out.

George Washington is in.

Will the MAC get three bids? What about the Missouri Valley?

_____ ACC Tournament _____
 J.J. Redick
Duke and J.J. Redick, pictured, take apart N.C. State, 76-69, to make the ACC final.
Georgia Tech dumps No. 2 North Carolina to advance to the ACC final.
Michael Wilbon: The Yellow Jackets are back in style.
Mike Wise: The differences between powerhouses ACC and Big East.
Ask the ACC Coaches
On Basketball: After the conference tournaments end, the real games begin.
Full-Court Press: News and notes

__ Sunday's Schedule __
Duke vs. Georgia Tech, 1 p.m.

__ Saturday's Results __
Georgia Tech 78, North Carolina 75
Duke 76, N.C. State 69

__ Friday's Results __
North Carolina 88, Clemson 81
Georgia Tech 73, Virginia Tech 54
N.C. State 81, Wake Forest 65
Duke 76, Virginia 64

_____ Thursday's Results _____
Clemson 84, Maryland 72
N.C. State 70, Florida State 54
Virginia 66, Miami 65

__ Multimedia __
Video: Post's Matt Rennie talks about Maryland's loss, Virginia's win.

_____ On Our Site _____
 ACC tournament
Saturday's photos
Talk about Maryland's loss.
ACC in D.C.: Dan Steinberg reports from the ACC tournament.
Where to go: Check out the best places to watch all the action.
An interactive guide to the hot spots around the MCI Center.

__ Tournament Preview Section __
 ACC tournament
The MCI Center plays host to the ACC tournament, considered by some to be the biggest event in college basketball.
John Feinstein: The tradition of the ACC tournament is what makes it so special.
Bracket and schedule
Although he is one of the ACC's best players, Tar Heels freshman Marvin Williams remains humble.
News Graphic: Freshman who might play big roles this week.
The improved play of center Eric Williams gives the Demon Deacons a potent inside-outside game.
Lee Melchionni has taken advantage of increased playing time and given Duke a major boost.
News Graphic: Tournament information, map and records.

_____ Team Capsules _____
Florida State
Georgia Tech
North Carolina
North Carolina State
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

_____Who's In_____
These teams have earned automatic bids to the NCAA tournament:

Bucknell (Patriot League)
Central Florida (Atlantic Sun)
Creighton (Missouri Valley)
Chattanooga (Southern)
Delaware State (MEAC)
Eastern Kentucky (Ohio Valley)
Fairleigh Dickinson (Northeast)
George Washington (Atlantic 10)
Gonzaga (West Coast)
Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt)
Louisville (Conference USA)
Montana (Big Sky)
New Mexico (MWC)
Niagara (Metro Atlantic)
Oakland (Mich.) (Mid-Continent)
Ohio (MAC)
Old Dominion (Colonial)
Pennsylvania (Ivy)
Syracuse (Big East)
Texas-El Paso (Western Athletic)
Vermont (America East)
Washington (Pacific 10)
Winthrop (Big South)
Wis.-Milwaukee (Horizon)

_____Men's Basketball Basics_____
basketball Scoreboard
Area Colleges Section
Men's Basketball Section

Notre Dame is out.

West Virginia is in.

That's the way college basketball sounds on Selection Saturday, which leads of course to Selection Sunday, arguably the most anticipated sports day in the country this side of the Super Bowl. Everyone has a theory and a list.

Every year the chairman of the men's basketball committee, regardless of who it is, tells the world that it was tougher than ever to pick the 65-team field because there were so many worthy teams. This year, although you can bet all the corn in Iowa that chairman Bob Bowlsby won't say it, the problem is there are so few worthy teams.

What makes UAB better than Wichita State? Why should Iowa get in while Northern Iowa doesn't?

No matter what anyone on the committee tells you, there's no logic, rhyme or reason. Lesson number one for today: Forget the RPI. The only three-letter word more worthless than RPI is BCS. The RPI exists for two reasons: to give computer geeks something to do and to give the committee an excuse for any decision it makes.

"Why did Iowa State get in when Holy Cross had a higher RPI than it did for the entire season?"

"Well, we don't put that much emphasis on the RPI."

"Okay then why did Iowa get in with a 7-9 record in a weak Big Ten while Maryland wasn't considered after going 7-9 in the highest-ranked league in the country?"

"Iowa has a higher RPI than Maryland."

Here's what happens in the committee room: They go through reams of computer printouts, look through all the RPIs and SOSs (strength of schedules) and in the end it comes down to gut feelings, unspoken political agendas and, on occasion, sentiment. If Purdue had ventured anywhere near the bubble this season, you can bet the committee would have found a way to get Gene Keady one last trip to the tournament. History also isn't supposed to matter. Please. The committee knows who the TV teams are just as well as CBS does. You aren't going to hear anyone actually say, "DePaul is a better TV team than Buffalo," but you can be sure everyone in the room is aware of it.

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