The most controversial inclusion in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday was UCLA’s. Most bracketologists had the Bruins, who went 20-13, 11-7 in the Pac-12 in the regular season, out of the 68-team field.
But when the bracket was unveiled, there was UCLA, a No. 11 seed in the South Region.
Fast forward roughly a week and Steve Alford’s team is the first squad to reach the Sweet 16. The Bruins defeated No. 6 seed SMU in the Second Round and No. 14 seed UAB in the Third Round. Following UCLA’s win on Saturday, CBS analysts Clark Kellogg, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith claimed the Bruins “validated” their selection with their performance in the tournament.
ESPN’s Jay Bilas and others disagree.
How you play in the Tournament doesn’t “validate” your selection or seed. Selection/seed is about accomplishment BEFORE the Tournament.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 21, 2015
Hey UCLA fans who are dredging up my Sunday Tweet, making the Sweet 16 doesn’t validate the committee putting you in. Two separate things.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) March 21, 2015
And here come the UCLA fans who think winning in the tournament erases the fact that your resume didn’t belong in the first place. Comedy.
— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) March 21, 2015
There people on both sides of this argument, but I have to agree with Bilas. Whether or not UCLA deserved to make the tournament is in no way validated or invalidated by the Bruins’ performance in two games against SMU and UAB.
UCLA is set to face the winner of Gonzaga-Iowa in the Sweet 16.