Kentucky saw its national title hopes end early, losing 73-72 to fellow No. 1 seed North Carolina last night in an NCAA Tournament 1st Round game.
"It was disappointing not to advance, but at least we lost to a great team," said Kentucky head coach John Calipari. "I have to admit, though, I have some problems with the way the Selection Committee set up the bracket this year."
Instead of using the expanded NCAA Tournament slots in recent years for bubble teams and lower-tier conference champions to play-in as 16-seeds, the NCAA Selection Committee has also had play-ins for No. 12 spots. This year it was expanded to include one No. 1 seed play-in game.
Selection Committee chairman Jeff Hathaway says all teams are evaluated and assigned a seed they deserve.
"We don't have a glut of teams that could be considered 16 seeds," said Hathaway. "This year we had five teams we thought were deserving of a No. 1 seed, so we had to have two of them meet in Dayton in the First Round. It's how it worked. It was the only way to do it. And, really, what better way to start the NCAA Tournament than by having the two best teams play right away? It was a very exciting game."
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams was happy to get the win, but said it's a mixed blessing.
"We think we've beaten the best team in the field, so we feel good about ourselves right now," said Williams. "At the same time, 60 other teams in the Tournament are coming off First Round byes and are rested and ready."