Say what you want about the NCAA men's basketball committee -- and I have said a lot over the years -- but you have to admire its consistency. At least when it comes to nonconference scheduling, the "Barons of the Bracket" have been straightforward enough for us to document what should already be an intuitive trend.
If you're on the NCAA tournament bubble, you better have played a competitive schedule. If not, well, be prepared to suffer a familiar fate -- exclusion from the tournament. Here's a look at four teams from the past four seasons that have been burned by the bubble primarily because of a weak strength of schedule:
Colorado Buffaloes, 2011 (NonConf SOS No. 323):
The Buffs had four Inside RPI Top 25 wins, including a three-game sweep of NCAA No. 5 seed Kansas State, but were relegated to the NIT despite winning five of seven down the stretch, 20 games overall and passing the dreaded "eye test" with room to spare. The committee was appropriately unimpressed by home victories over Idaho State (InsideRPI No. 302), Alcorn State (No. 337), Texas-Pan American (No. 343), The Citadel (No. 294), Longwood (No. 319), Maryland-Eastern Shore (No. 323) and a marginal road win at Cal State Bakersfield (No. 310). Take away those glorified exhibition games and Colorado's 20-13 record was a clearly unqualified 13-13. The Buffs were also outclassed by Harvard in their best nonconference road game. Score one for the committee (and give Joey Brackets a black mark for missing the obvious back in March).
To read the other three teams that should have scheduled tougher over the past few years, you must be an ESPN Insider.