Road to March Madness

Road to March Madness


As we get closer and closer to the top NCAA basketball event of the year, it seems as injuries do matter. Virginia, VCU and Wyoming are teams dealing with injuries that could impact their selection or seeding for the NCAA tournament. Check out this quick video on the latest news:

Injuries, suspensions and other roster issues are something that nearly every team has to deal with at one point or another over the course of a season. Those issues are also something the NCAA selection committee considers when evaluating teams for the tournament.

Those roster issues are generally not a big factor, however. They seem to impact seeding at times, but not selections. Teams have to earn selection regardless of whatever roster issues they face. The committee is not going to put a team in the tournament that doesn’t have a good enough profile just because a star player missed a few games that the team lost. That’s because they can’t assume the team would have won those games if they were at full strength. And they can’t ignore the loss either. A team’s profile is it’s profile. It has to stand up on its own.

The committee sometimes takes roster issues into account with seeding though, but even then, the differences are rarely dramatic. When this kind of thing happens, the committee puts more weight on how a team performed with the roster that a team will have for the tournament than what they had otherwise. So, if a team slumped without a star player, but he returned for the tournament, that slump may not be held against that team as badly as it might otherwise.

There are a few notable injuries that could affect some teams going forward. Virginia is going to be without its best player, Justin Anderson, for about a month. They are hoping to get him back for the ACC tournament. The Cavs won their first game without him at North Carolina State, so that’s a good sign. Their schedule is relatively soft before the ACC tournament, until they go to Louisville.

Another state school isn’t having as much luck. VCU lost its best defensive player, Briante Weber, in a home loss to Richmond and the Rams. He’s out for the year. The next game, leading scorer Treveon Graham reaggravated a high ankle sprain, and while the Rams beat George Mason that day, they haven’t won since.

Graham is questionable for Saturday’s game at George Washington, which is a huge game for the slumping Colonials. VCU desperately needs a healthy Graham back, and soon. Their seed is starting to suffer, and if he’s absent for much longer and the losses keep coming, the Rams could find themselves on the bubble.

One team that could not afford any injury is Wyoming, but especially to its star, Larry Nance, Jr. Nance isn’t hurt, but he contracted mononucleosis and hasn’t played the last two games. Those were a 23-point loss to Air Force, which is ranked 250th in the RPI, and a 26-point loss to San Diego State.

The Cowboys were a fringe bubble team all along because of a very poor non-conference schedule, but these losses put to an end any realistic hope of an at-large selection. The good news is that Nance, Jr. is expected back before long and the Cowboys should be at full strength for what should be a wide open Mountain West tournament. source:

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