The list of snubs for this year’s NCAA Tournament features a few surprises, but the real controversy seems to surround two of the teams that made the field of 68.
The Syracuse Orange lost five of their last six games and finished with a 19-13 record, but they made the field with some room to spare. Not only did Syracuse make the tournament, but it also avoided the First Four as a No. 10 seed in the Midwest.
But, while Syracuse was a surprise, at least many experts had the Orange as a bubble team entering Sunday. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane, meanwhile, were nowhere to be seen. But Tulsa made the only bracket that matters as a No. 11 seed, and it will face No. 11 Michigan in the First Four.
Even one of Tulsa’s players appeared shocked.
Tulsa and Syracuse fans certainly are happy with the NCAA selection committee’s decision, but supporters of other bubble teams now won’t get the chance to dance this March.
Here are some of the teams robbed on Selection Sunday.
The real loser here is America, which won’t see the world’s greatest bench in action during March Madness. The Hawks beat UCLA, Notre Dame and Georgetown, and they finished with a 27-7 overall record. However, a shocking loss to Iona in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship game shifted them from a surefire tournament team to squarely on the bubble.
The committee can’t take these Monmouth memories away from us, though.
The Gamecocks won 15 straight games to open the 2015-16 season. However, many of those wins came against lesser competition as South Carolina (24-8) figured it still was a year away from contention. That scheduling ultimately cost the Gamecocks a spot in the field of 68.
The Gaels, much like Monmouth, won their conference’s regular season championship and appeared on their way to the Big Dance. However, a loss to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game left Saint Mary’s to sweat it out on Selection Sunday The Gaels (27-5) now will have to settle for the NIT.
SAN DIEGO STATE
The Aztecs were 25-9 and won the Mountain West Conference regular season title, but Fresno State pulled off a shocking upset in the MWC championship. So much for San Diego State’s win over California.
Perhaps the team with the biggest gripe after Selection Sunday is St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies (22-8) were in the top 30 in RPI, and they earned a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season title. Oh, and they also swept their season series against eventual A-10 champion Saint Joseph’s. But somehow Tulsa got in instead.
It just doesn’t feel the same without the Crusaders in the tournament. Valpo (26-6) won one of the more memorable tournament games back in 1998 thanks to Bryce Drew’s last-second shot. Drew, now the Crusaders head coach, was hoping to bring Valpo back to the Big Dance, but it didn’t even make it to the Horizon League final after winning the regular season title.
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