The face on USF women’s basketball head coach Jose Fernandez says it all. The Bulls got hosed Monday night—yet again—by the NCAA selection committee. They are a 6-seed in the Albany Regional and will face the University of Buffalo Bulls Saturday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. in the Tallahassee sub-regional.
You can see Fernandez throw his hands up in the air before finally clapping after USF was announced as a 6-seed. I missed the first few awkward seconds after they were called because no one, absolutely no one thought the Bulls (26-7, 13-3 AAC) would be lower than a five seed.
This is the third time in four years USF was the 6-seed, with last year as the lone exception (they were an 11-seed). Each year the Bulls have been a 6-seed they’ve been in UConn’s bracket.
“If you go by the S-Curve, that would mean we’re the lowest 6-seed. With an RPI of 14 and that’s why we went out and played people in November and December. I think our team is a lot better than that,” Fernandez said.
This is the second consecutive year the Bulls have been placed in the Tallahassee sub-region. They were beaten by Missouri on last second shot after leading by double digits at halftime to get bounced out of the tournament.
USF finished the year with the 14th best RPI ranking in the nation, ahead of Georgia at #26—who is hosting as well as NC State at #17, who is also hosting. This appears to be another “Don’t put them on a plane” seedings that have not favored the Bulls in recent years.
“Looks like for one reason or another, the tournament is becoming regionalized. You’re only hurting the student-athletes by doing that,” Fernandez said.
The Bulls also thrashed 3-seed Ohio State earlier this year. They also lost to 1-seed Notre Dame by 10 and are the only team in the nation that has to face UConn three times a year. Most recently, losing by just 16 points in the AAC Championship game last week.
“I don’t know, I’m not in that room. I don’t know what [the committee] talks about,” Fernandez said. “You would think last Monday night, we played pretty well against the best team on the planet.”
If USF beats Buffalo on Saturday, they would face the winner of the #3 FSU/#14 Little Rock matchup on Monday. USF would (likely) have to get through 2017 National Champion South Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen with UConn lurking in the Elite Eight.
Bottom line, the committee sucks and USF deserved better.