The Kentucky Wildcats are heading into the NCAA tournament as the number one overall seed on the men’s side and there was really no question about it. Kentucky is stacked and is the odds on favorite to win the madness. They are getting the respect that they deserve and that they have earned.
There’s another team in Division 1 college basketball that went undefeated. They didn’t get the respect that they deserve.
The Princeton Tigers women’s basketball team completed a perfect season. 30 wins and no losses. Perfection.
Princeton was seeded as an eight seed in the NCAA tournament. That means the selection committee thinks that at least 28 teams are better than the undefeated Tigers. The selection committee selected 28 teams before a team with the best record in the nation.
Princeton is a member of the Ivy league which isn’t an athletic power-conference, but it is respectable. Princeton even played a non-conference schedule full of schools that people have actually heard of including Wake Forest, Georgetown, Michigan and a Pittsburgh team that is a 10 seed in the bracket with a 9-7 record in their conference.
There’s an argument to be had that Princeton doesn’t deserve a one seed in the tournament. UConn only has one loss and Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland all have two losses, but those are the only records that possibly can squeak ahead of perfection.
Two seed Tennessee has five losses, Florida State has four losses, Baylor has three… all sort of acceptable, but Kentucky has nine losses with a 10-6 conference record. Princeton has to be better than that.
I am not going to claim that I am an expert on women’s college basketball, but I do believe that an undefeated record should be respected to some extent. Princeton might not win the tournament, but they deserve way better than a seed that says their season was middle of the pact. Just look at some of the scores they put up in their road to perfection.
The perfect season ending in a national championship has happened 11 times in women’s college basketball, only six times by a team that is not the Connecticut Huskies. Six more times a team has entered the tournament undefeated and lost in the tournament. My point is that an undefeated season is not exactly common.
It should be recognized and not just thrown in the middle of the tournament as an afterthought.
At least Princeton was thought of unlike the 1983 Oral Roberts women’s team. That year Oral Roberts also went undefeated, but was not selected to the tournament at all. 36 teams were deemed better than an undefeated team.
The NCAA is a screwed up collection of people, but who knew that they could screw up perfection.