This is a problem, as a blog post from ESPN makes it clear that non-conference SOS is a key criterion for selecting NCAA teams.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner went straight to the source to get his information, picking the brain of Division I men's basketball committee chair Jeff Hathaway [the embattled UConn athletic director] and to gain the knowledge he needed to possibly put the Tigers in a better position to make the tournament.Now, you may be asking what this has to do with the Big Sky, since we have never received a second bid to the NCAA Tournament, and it is unlikely that this is the year a team will be selected as an at-large. That is missing the point.
"I talked to him about what is the committee going to look at as you go into next year for the '11-'12 year, and he talked about non-conference strength of schedule -- who you play, where you play and how you did," a smiling Pastner told the team's website.
If non-conference scheduling is key for getting selected, it stands to reason that it is a key factor in determining where a team that gets in the Tournament gets seeded. Non-conference scheduling could be the difference between the Big Sky winner getting a 15 seed or getting a 13-14 seed, and obviously that plays a huge role in their chances to win in round 1 (ahem, round 2). This is why it is vital for Big Sky teams to schedule as many games against good opponents as they can, and hopefully win a couple of them.
And who knows, maybe someday we will see 2 Big Sky teams in the NCAA Tournament.