After three mid-major teams made the Sweet 16,
after George Mason made the Final Four, after virtually every mid-major team playing well in the tournament, Billy Packer and Jim Nantz refuse to acknowledge they were totally wrong about including more mid-majors in the NCAA tournament.
Nantz tries to change the subject of the controversy, by saying their contention was the unreliability of the RPI.
This is what the tournament is about. One thing — I know you want to get it right and I know this will get edited, but our question had to do with the RPI, not with the committee. That’s what got lost. It came across like we were challenging Craig Littlepage and the committee. We were saying, ‘Wait a minute, the Big Ten this year beat one team out of conference that was a top 10 team, and yet they’re rated the No. 1 conference, how can that be? How can teams like Hofstra be ranked 31st in the country and their best nonconference win was St. John’s?’ We were just confused by all of that.
He can say that all he wants now, but that was not what they were arguing about on Selection Sunday. They never brought up the Big Ten and their RPI rating. The reason Nantz does so now is because the Big Ten tanked in the tournament and proved their ranking to be faulty.
Notice the other example he used – Hofstra, a team not in the tournament. That Sunday night, he and Packer were ripping the committee for one basic thing, putting in too many mid-major teams who had not proven themselves over a long period of time.
But while Nantz tries to half congratulate the Mid-Valley Conference for playing well. Packer never budges an inch. While he did say “if the teams prove what they did, you can’t say, No, they’re wrong.” He still refused (twice) to take back what he said. He sounded a lot like another CBS broadcaster when told Sports Illustrated, “No, I’m not taking back what I said, because I was making points that were accurate points.”
Billy, in what world where those accurate points? You said the MVC didn’t deserve four bids and you complained about George Mason making the tournament. You advocated including more mediocre major conference schools at the exclusion of schools like George Mason, Bradley and Wichita State. Those were not accurate points. You got proven wrong. It happens to every sports anchor and writer, suck it up and take the hit.
He tries to hide behind “humor” in his interview with SI, but I wonder what he really thought when George Mason had just beaten UCONN, they were cutting down the nets and the fans were chanting, “Bill-y Pack-er.”
Normallly, I hate listening to games Packer calls, but I hope George Mason wins the national championship with him calling the game. Then after the nets are cut down, GM’s head coach Jim Larranaga should take the game ball and hand it to Packer, asking him how many mid-majors should be in next year’s tournament.
Bill-y Pack-er! Bill-y Pack-er!
*The interview as Sam points out in the comments was before George Mason made the Final Four, but my point is still “fake but accurate.” ;)