When we found out Mitch Barnhart was going to be on the NCAA Selection Committee, many Kentucky fans thought UK would finally get a fair break. Wrong.
While the Cats weren’t in an impossible region, they had to play an extremely under-seeded Wichita State team, and they had to rematch with UCLA and North Carolina, both teams that many people had winning the National Championship.
While some fans weren’t happy with that, Barnhart had no complaints.
“I can honestly look at my basketball coach and our team and people on my staff and our fans and say we were treated very fairly,” Barnhart said, according to the Herald-Leader.
Barnhart also said that the committee tried to make the regions competitively balanced.
“There is no easy path,” Barnhart said. “You’re going to play someone. So if you’re expecting something less than that, that’s probably not reality.”
Barnhart’s right. But at the same time, playing an Elite Eight/Sweet 16 team in the Round of 32, and playing two Final Four teams back-to-back in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight is a bit much.
Nonetheless, the actions from fans toward NCAA official John Higgins following the loss to North Carolina weren’t acceptable, and Barnhart agreed with that.
Barnhart said simply, “We don’t condone that. And I appreciate our fans’ passion … , but certainly don’t condone that. That’s not who we want to be. We lost the game. Some things didn’t go our way we hoped would go our way. We need to accept that and be able to move on.”
Getting back to the committee’s process, Barnhart said seeding teams is insanely difficult, like “drinking out of a fire hose.”
“It got to the point there were two or three TVs in the house, each would have a different game,” Barnhart said. “I’d float back and forth from game to game.”
And for you critics of Barnhart’s ability to help Kentucky’s standing, Barnhart was not allowed to discuss Kentucky at all. He had to leave the room every time the committee discussed Kentucky’s standing.
When discussing the process, Barnhart uttered my favorite quote of all.
“It’s not an exact science,” Barnhart said. “If it was an exact science, you don’t need the committee.”
If only there was a better way...