The UAB Blazers (22-8) were a bit of a controversial at-large pick. A very healthy RPI was hindered by a weak schedule. The Blazers, even with the Conference USA coach and player of the year, a regular-season championship and the first-round bye, lost to East Carolina in the first round of the CUSA Tournament. And yet, they’re in and, truthfully, not a bad little basketball team.
The Clemson Tigers (20-11) were a little surprising, as well. Some were surprised they got in, but probably haven’t been paying attention. Others were startled they got in the play-in spot. The Tigers, once 5-4, didn’t have an RPI like UAB, but played a better schedule in the better conference and lost only to Duke, UNC (twice) and N.C. State (yuck) since the beginning of February. The fourth-place team from a BCS conference that took UNC to overtime in the ACC Tournament has also lost its past five NCAA Tournament games