First, let's get this out of the way. The University of Colorado men's basketball team was ABSOLUTELY robbed when the mysterious "selection committee" left them out of the 2011 tournament. Given the lower-than-usual quality of the teams on the bubble, and given the expanded size of the tournament, there is absolutely NO excuse for Colorado to have been left out of the tournament, and without question, there should be a change in how the selection committee members are chosen, and how they do their work. Disgraceful is probably the BEST word to describe the decision.
But, there seem to be two reasons why the committee COULD have eliminated Colorado - one quasi-legitimate and one totally nefarious. And BOTH the fault of Mike Bohn.
Reason 1: CU's Pre-Conference Schedule Was Laughably Weak... and Mike Bohn Could Have Changed It
This is the reason most often cited for CU's exclusion, and there is SOME validity to this. The Buffs' pre-conference schedule was, and has been for several years in recent memory, embarrassingly weak. This pattern - which has been in effect for the tenures of at least three head coaches - is SO well-known that many CU fans eschew season ticket purchases to avoid the cost of buying tickets to so many lousy pre-conference games, preferring just to attend the one (or MAYBE two) worthwhile pre-conference games and then the Big XII games that follow.
So whose fault is it that the pre-conference schedule was so weak? Well, as good leaders will always proclaim, and as President Harry S. Truman said, "The Buck Stops Here." In this case, the buck SHOULD stop with the CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn. However, the buck apparently stops "over there"... as in Winston-Salem, NC. The university athletic department may want the public to believe that the 2010-2011 pre-conference schedule that probably cost the Buffs a trip to the Big Dance was the fault of former coach Jeff Bzdelik - an easy scapegoat since he's not around to defend himself nor did he leave a positive legacy with most Buff fans when he bolted for Wake Forest - but this type of scheduling was in place LONG before Bzdelik arrived in Boulder. After Bzdelik left in the spring, there was one person who COULD have changed the schedule had he wanted... Mike Bohn. Basketball schedules, unlike football schedules, are relatively fluid and not finalized until just a couple of months before the season begins, and had Mike Bohn wanted to, the schedule could easily have been beefed up. But he chose not to, and now the team is paying the price for his inaction.
But why would Mike Bohn NOT beef up the absurd pre-conference schedule, when he had the chance before the season?
It's simple. Mike Bohn didn't believe that this team had a chance of making the NCAA tournament. Rather, he runs the entire CU basketball program in a bush league fashion, with the obvious goal - based on his actions - of reaching the NIT rather than the NCAA tournament. Bohn and the CU Athletic Department can pay lip service to how the NCAA tournament is always the goal for the basketball team, but his actions belie his true beliefs. The pre-conference schedule this year - and every other year, by the way - was designed to get the Buffs to a final record over .500, thus making them eligible for the NIT. Load up on horrendous out-of-conference competition, then a 4-12 Big XII record doesn't drop you below .500, and you can get in the NIT. Clearly, this has been the scheduling goal of the CU Athletic Department for years, and now that bush league philosophy has caught up with them.
And given that Bohn didn't believe enough in this team to beef up the pre-conference schedule, thus costing the team an NCAA berth, Bohn owen an apology to the players. Of course he's too arrogant to make that apology - or any apology, including one for the Dan Hawkins contract extension 3 years ago - publicly, so I guess Cory Higgins, Levi Knutson, Marcus Relphorde, and Alec Burks (who will almost certainly declare for the 2011 NBA Draft) will have to accept my apology. Guys, I'm sorry your Athletic Director didn't believe in you enough to provide you with a schedule copacetic with that of all other NCAA at-large teams.
So what's the solution?
Well, a VERY smart CU fan posting on a message board has boiled it down in detailed, accurate fashion that even Mike Bohn should follow. See the solution for future out-of-conference basketball scheduling here: http://www.allbuffs.com/showthread.php/59393-Basketball-scheduling.-How-do-we-fix-our-mistakes
It shouldn't come down to message board posting fans - who, if Mike Bohn agrees with Dan Hawkins, are the "scum of the Earth" - to tell a Division 1 Athletic Director how to do his job. But it has - and if Mike Bohn is smart, he prints that message board poster's suggestions and follows them EXACTLY in the future.
But it's worse than that. Read on:
Reason 2: Mike Bohn Gave A Double Middle Finger to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, Who Used His Role On The NCAA Basketball Selection Committee To Exact Revenge on Bohn
Here is the evidence: http://openeyecolorado.blogspot.com/2011/02/short-sighted-cu-athletic-department.html Over a month ago, this very same blog predicted the Big XII getting revenge on Mike Bohn, and the CU basketball program, for Bohn and the athletic department's decision to remove all Big XII logos from the Coors Events Center, and specifically from the arena floor.
Well, we were off the mark. While we assumed (erroneously, apparently) that it would be the Big XII officials who would get back at CU, based on the thin skin and petty grievances of new Big XII Director of Officials Curtis Shaw, apparently the pettiness and revenge-seeking extends even higher. All the way to Big XII Commissioner Dan Beebe.
This is the same Dan Beebe who refused to go to Lincoln to honor the Big XII North football Champion Nebraska Cornhuskers - who, like the Buffs, are bolting the Big XII conference after the season - but then absurdly excoriated the fans in Lincoln by claiming that it would be unsafe for him to attend a game in Lincoln. Yet he sent his officials and a Big XII opponent to the "lions" in Lincoln. Just an absurd, classless statement for Beebe to make - and if you can make this blog actually DEFEND the Cornhuskers, you really have to stoop low.
Then Beebe stooped even lower when he OBVIOUSLY didn't defend the CU Buffs when fulfilling his role on the NCAA Selection Committee. Presumably tweaked by Mike Bohn's decision to give a double middle finger to the Big XII by removing those logos from the CEC, Beebe seems to have made SURE that CU didn't get into the Big Dance. If you believe that the NCAA Selection Committee members "leave the room" when their school/conference is being discussed, then you are a moron.
And so is Mike Bohn, for not only believing enough in the 2010-2011 University of Colorado basketball team to provide them with a tournament-worthy schedule, but for being short-sightedly bitter as his school exited the Big XII and removing all Big XII logos from his school's basketball arena.
The CU basketball players deserve an apology.
The CU basketball program deserves better.