How much impact does a multi-team event (MTE) have on a school’s overall resume?
You may think this is a silly question, as we’ve always been told these games matter just as much as the games in March. Yes, it’s true, these games mean as much as conference games in late February. But they usually don’t matter more than a conference tournament game.
Think about a team on the bubble that has lost in the first round of their conference tournament. It is very easy for most of us to move them down the bubble and move up another team who has won their first two games in their conference tournament. But do we continue to look at the entire resume? Let’s see when they played some high-quality opponents in an MTE.
Look at Texas A&M last year — one of the biggest snubs in recent memory. The Aggies made a great run in the SEC tourney and really looked to have a resume worthy of a bid. During their MTE in Maui, the Aggies went 2-1. They lost to Wisconsin but beat Butler and Notre Dame. As we know, the Irish barely made the dance while Butler was nowhere near the discussion for a bid.
Because of that early conference stretch where A&M lost eight of nine, the Aggies had to play perfect ball to get in the tourney. But just think how a win over Wisconsin in the MTE would have changed things. Instead of playing Butler, which didn’t help at all, the Aggies would have played Houston, a top-tier NET team. While 2-1 looked nice leaving Maui, it turned out to not be enough.
The real answer to my initial question might be that multi-team events can actually be just as important as a conference tourney game — depending on how the bulk of your conference schedule goes. It’s another thing to keep in mind when we get to Selection Sunday and a team who we thought would get in does not.
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LAST FOUR IN: Ole Miss, Clemson, Missouri, Charleston
FIRST FOUR OUT: Memphis, Washington, Rutgers, Saint Mary’s
NEXT FOUR OUT: Kansas State, Penn State, LSU, UNLV
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big Ten: 9
Big 12: 8
Big East: 5