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Talking points

Proven wrong, Packer and Nantz refuse to back down

Posted: Monday March 20, 2006 1:28PM; Updated: Monday March 20, 2006 6:38PM
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Billy Packer and Jim Nantz were courtside for all the action at the Wachovia Center last weekend.
Billy Packer and Jim Nantz were courtside for all the action at the Wachovia Center last weekend.

SI.com's Julia Morrill caught up with CBS' No. 1 broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Billy Packer in Philadelphia and gave them the opportunity to clear the air after their disparaging comments about the mid-majors on Selection Sunday.

SI.com: Now that Bradley, Wichita State and George Mason are through to the Sweet 16, would you take back what you said?

Packer: I think the games have been fixed by the committee through the referees, and there is no question the referees have been keeping the mid-major teams in this tournament, and they want to get them through under any circumstances. And if something's not done about this, I'm quitting.

SI.com: Are you serious?

Packer: Of course not! It's a great tournament, this is what it's all about.

Nantz: Best tournament ever. And obviously, the Missouri Valley has proven us wrong, so good for them, good for [MVC commissioner] Doug Elgin. As I said on the air, this has validated what they had been crowing about all season long, and now I see why they should have their chests stuck out so proudly.

Packer: I don't know. I don't buy that at all! (laughing)

Nantz: This is what the tournament is about. One thing -- I know you want to get it right and I know this will get edited, but our question had to do with the RPI, not with the committee. That's what got lost. It came across like we were challenging Craig Littlepage and the committee. We were saying, 'Wait a minute, the Big Ten this year beat one team out of conference that was a top 10 team, and yet they're rated the No. 1 conference, how can that be? How can teams like Hofstra be ranked 31st in the country and their best nonconference win was St. John's?' We were just confused by all of that.

Packer: You know what I think the big story line is this week? I think the big story line is the teams that played so well in their postseason conference tournaments but just imploded, like Syracuse and Iowa. There's three major conferences where teams imploded.