Why Is Everybody Hating on UAB?

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Seth Greenberg wants to know why no one likes him
"It makes you wonder if someone in that room has their own agenda, and it does not include Virginia Tech, unfortunately," Coach Seth Greenberg said Sunday night. "You'd hate to think there's politics involved, but it makes you wonder."

I've seen a lot of college basketball this past year. And seeing as how most of it was Conference USA basketball, I've seen a lot of bad basketball. My running joke on press row was that Conference USA wasn't a one-bid league for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament; it was a zero-bid league. So imagine my surprise on Sunday night when it was revealed that not only was Memphis, the winner of the league's automatic bid because it won the C-USA tournament, going to the Big Dance, but so was UAB.

Now this bewildered me because I've seen UAB play, and frankly, they suck. Sure, they're not at UH level of suckiness, but damn, despite what their record says, they're not a good team. However, being that they play in C-USA, somebody's got to win games, and UAB found a way to win more games in the regular season than anybody else in C-USA, and thus they were the C-USA regular season champ. Then, given a chance to secure a spot in the NCAA tourney, they laid an egg in El Paso last week and lost in the C-USA tourney to a pitiful East Carolina team.

Yet, despite this, the UAB Blazers made it into the NCAA Men's Tournament. Sure, they're playing tonight in one of the play-in games first-round games. But they're still in, and apparently this has made a lot of people upset. People like little Dickie Vitale, who stopped slobbering over Duke long enough to bitch about the selection.

But no one is more upset by this slight than Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg, who has decided that there's a vast conspiracy keeping his team out of the tournament. But you know what, here's the thing. Unlike Virginia Tech, UAB actually accomplished something this season. They finished in first place in their conference.

Sure, UAB's 22-8 (12-4) record probably doesn't compare to that of Greenberg's Virginia Tech, which finished 21-11 (9-7) in the supposedly much tougher ACC. And sure, UAB was playing against the likes of Houston and Rice and Tulane on a weekly basis. But they won their conference games. And they finished in first place.

How did Virginia Tech do? Oh, that's right, they finished in sixth place. Sure, they finished behind schools like Duke and North Carolina, but there are also a lot of crappy teams in the ACC, and if the best that Greenberg's squad could do is finish in sixth place, maybe he's got other problems.

Virginia Tech hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2007. And Greenberg's been whining for four years about his team being overlooked and snubbed by the selection committee. And now he's on the conspiracy bandwagon and talking of politics and agendas keeping his precious squad out of the tourney.

Why is everybody hating on UAB?
But maybe, just maybe, the fault isn't that of the NCAA selection committee. Maybe, just maybe, the fault is Seth Greenberg's. Maybe he's just a crappy coach who keeps hoping that being competitive in a tough conference should be enough to get him and his squad onto the grand stage.

UAB is not a great team. They're not good. But they beat the teams in their conference. And they beat the teams outside of their conference. And they'll probably get their asses kicked by Clemson tonight. Yet who out there, besides maybe Seth Greenberg, thinks his mediocre squad would do much better were it to get into the tournament?

I'm still going to stick with my joke about C-USA being a zero-bid league. But UAB and Memphis did more this season to earn their spots in the NCAA Tournament than Virginia Tech did. And if Seth Greenberg doesn't like it, then maybe he should do something about it, like worry about his own coaching and win some games inside of his conference, perhaps maybe he could get them to finish in third or fourth place some year. If that were to happen, I'm pretty sure this imaginary conspiracy would just fade away into oblivion and Virginia Tech, and not UAB, would make the Big Dance.

Until then, Greenberg, stop with the whining and concentrate on doing your own damn job.

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