Archie Miller emerges as NCAA's big winner
Posted March 28, 2014
The top three winners so far in this NCAA Tournament:
1. Archie Miller
No matter what happens when the former N.C. State guard and his Dayton Flyers face top-ranked Florida in Saturday’s South Regional title game, Miller almost certainly is going to remain the biggest individual winner of the 2014 tourney.
Miller, 35 and in his third season, already has given the OK to a 5-year contract extension with the Flyers.
Considering his market value, that decision seems a little rash. It’s also completely in tune with his character and personality.
As a player and assistant at State, Miller quickly established a reputation as a person of class on and off the court. He was a total credit to the school, Herb Sendek’s program and the basketball-rich Miller Family legacy.
He won’t jump ship simply to capitalize on the moment, but it’s difficult to imagine Dayton holding onto Miller for several more seasons.
2. Pac-12 Conference
With three teams in the Sweet 16 and Arizona still in the chase, the entire tournament has been an ongoing plus for the league.
What’s more, the future is looking brighter by the day. UCLA clearly is on the way back up and fast under Steve Alford and Arizona obviously is going to be a consistent top-10 program as long as Sean Miller stays.
Colorado, Arizona State, Utah and California exceeded preseason expectations with ease. That’s what happens when a league makes good, solid coaching hires.
3. Mid Majors
Thanks to Dayton, Creighton, Wichita State, Mercer and San Diego State and Saint Louis, programs outside the heavyweight circle have served the so-called second- and third-tier leagues very well.
Taking into account what Wichita State, Virginia Commonwealth, Butler and George Mason have done in recent seasons, it’s becoming much easier for the Selection Committee to beyond the traditional at-large pool.
For the mega conferences – the ACC being the most obvious – it could be a disturbing trend.
It only stands to reason that the better the perceived little guys do, the more difficult it’s going to be for ACC’s Nos. 6 through 9 teams to catch a break on future Selection Sundays.