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Monday, March 14, 2011
Greenberg: Does committee have agenda?

By Eamonn Brennan

Seth Greenberg's reactions to his team's annual bubble disappointments have become something of a yearly tradition. The effusive coach didn't shy away from the cameras when his team was excluded from the tournament in 2010, and from the moment the world realized Virginia Tech wouldn't be in this year's tournament -- somewhat shockingly, I might add -- everyone wondered two things:

1. Is Greenberg somewhere safe? Is he surrounded by family members in a supportive environment? Is the situation under control?

2. When is Greenberg going to address the media?

Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg
Virginia Tech will miss the NCAA tournament yet again and coach Seth Greenberg is none too pleased.
We got the answer to the second question Sunday night. Though he and the Hokies have more than enough reason to complain, Greenberg wisely chose to avoid a nationally televised gripefest. Instead, he cancelled a scheduled press conference and met with local media members in his office. And surprise, surprise, Greenberg was not at all happy.

A sampling of his remarks comes courtesy of the Virginian-Pilot's Kyle Tucker. Before fielding a question, Greenberg wasted no time wondering if someone on the selection committee had an anti-Virginia Tech "agenda":
"[I'm] just disappointed. You almost wonder if someone in that room has their own agenda and that agenda doesn’t include Virginia Tech. Just plain and simple. I totally wonder it, if someone in that room has an agenda. The explanation was so inconsistent with the result that it was almost mind-boggling.

"I guess they even brought up our non-conference schedule. Kansas State, Purdue, Oklahoma State, UNLV, Penn State, St. Bonaventure that was supposed to be big and Mississippi State that was projected to win the SEC. I’d say that’s a pretty significant slate and challenge. So they must not have looked at it very closely. But I guess they did. I feel for these kids. Doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this year ... but it’s extremely disheartening. You would hate to think that politics would be involved, but it makes you wonder. [...]

"Probably another reason they need to open up that room, or at least give each and every school, ‘This is our criteria. This is what it’s going to be every year, and this is how we’re going to make choices.’ Because in the end, it isn’t that. There’s a human element to it. And that’s why you wonder, in that human element, if someone in that room has an agenda. Again, that’s just a question.”

The interview ended the way it began, which is to say awkwardly. After a reporter asked what Greenberg did during the selection show, the coach said he watched his daughter, Jackie, play volleyball, because "because considering the last nine months, I’ve ignored my whole family just to do this job.” Then, according to Tucker, "Greenberg cut off the interview, got up and walked out."

Uh, yeah. In case you needed confirmation that Seth Greenberg was indeed upset about Selection Sunday, well, there you go.

As to whether the committee has an agenda -- no, of course the committee doesn't have an agenda. Whether Greenberg actually believes that, or whether that's the immense frustration talking, either way it's not true. Or, at the very least, it's incredibly farfetched.

In fact, the notion that there's some nefarious anti-VT skullduggery afoot probably gives the committee too much credit. The more likely explanation is that the committee just got it wrong. Which it did. Colorado and Virginia Tech should probably both have been in the NCAA tournament; at the very least, both teams were definitely more deserving than UAB, and arguably more deserving than VCU.

Either way, yeah: frustration. Seth Greenberg has it. Unlike last year, no one will begrudge him that emotion.