Parrish: I Doubt Loyola-Chicago's Run Opens Bids For Mid-Majors

If the Ramblers didn't win the MVC Tournament, they likely wouldn't have gone dancing

The DA Show
March 26, 2018 - 12:15 pm

USA Today Images


Loyola Chicago is 32-5, has won 21 of its last 22 games, and is in the Final Four for the first time since 1963. But the truth is this: If the Ramblers didn’t win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, they wouldn't have received an at-large bid from the selection committee.

Might the Ramblers’ run to San Antonio open committee members’ eyes and give mid-majors more at-large bids going forward?

“I hope so, but I doubt it,” CBS Sports college basketball insider Gary Parrish said on The DA Show. “The reason is because they have very stated guidelines that they follow. They look at numbers. They rely on Quadrant I wins (and) quality wins more than they rely on anything else. If you play in a league like the current version of the MVC, you’re just not going to have opportunities to get those.”

That power conferences have an advantage over mid-majors is no secret. Power-conference teams rarely schedule mid-majors – especially not for a true home-and-home series – and teams like Loyola are often required to win their conference tournament. Otherwise, the NIT is typically the best they can hope for.

“To the extent that there’s a gap, it’s widening more than it is closing,” Parrish said. “There is a lot of data that suggest the so-called mid-majors aren’t getting a fair shake on Selection Sunday when it comes to at-large bids. Some of that is because some of the teams that used to be mid-majors aren’t anymore. Once upon a time, Butler was a mid-major. Now it’s a Big East school. Once upon a time, Wichita State was a mid-major. Now it’s an American Athletic Conference school, a top seven league in the country. So some of the shift is rooted in the schools that are traditional powers at that level are no longer at that level. 

“But I do wish that the committee would recognize excellence,” Parrish continued. “Loyola Chicago is a surprise Final Four team, but they’re a top-30 team in the country and have been for much of the season. They’ve only lost once since Jan. 3, and that was a two-point loss on the road, so they’ve been good for a while.”

Loyola also won at then-No. 5 Florida, 65-59, in December.

“You don’t do that unless you’re good,” Parrish said. “So while it is surprising that they’re here as an 11-seed, clearly their seed doesn’t correlate with the quality of their basketball team.”

Loyola will face No. 3 Michigan (32-7) in the Final Four this Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET. If victorious, the Ramblers will play the winner of No. 1 Villanova (34-4) versus No. 1 Kansas (31-7) on Monday, April 2, for the national championship.