We’re finally here. Selection Sunday, undoubtedly one of the most exciting sports days of the year, went off without a hitch (other than SEMO making the field twice at first). The season that tipped off on November 7th is now down to the madcap ending. The 68 remaining teams have either won their way here via their conference tournament or won their way here via consistent excellence during the regular season.
Every year after Selection Sunday, there is a scramble to generate content, clicks, and psuedo-outrage. (Not this article, obviously. This one is written to the very highest standards of journalistic integrity.) Usually this means loud yelling about who got snubbed, who is in that shouldn’t be, and whatever other topics the brain worms of Seth Davis latch on to.
We had talked all year about being above 38th on the NET to ensure an at large bid. The committee held true to the standards they usually hold and the first team to miss an at large bid, the Mean Green of North Texas, were 38th in the NET. Here’s the teams around the cut line:
|NET Rank||Team||Record||Quad 1||Quad 2||Quad 3||Quad 4|
Rutgers is the the team that most people are talking about being “snubbed.” They weren’t. The teams in just ahead of them, Nevada and Iowa, don’t have four Q3 losses. Rutgers didn’t schedule well in the non-con and still managed a loss to Temple. They sealed their fate when they failed to do much in the Big 10, coming up with only four Q1 wins, and defecated down their collective leg in a loss to Minnesota on March 2nd. Doing that won’t endear you to committee. Nevada, on the other hand, had the same amount of Q1 wins and only lost twice in Q3. Want to make the tournament? Win your in. Rutgers didn’t.
Rutgers was the highest team in KenPom (35th) to miss out. Their strength of record, though, was 58th. That’s an NIT level SOR, and that’s exactly where the Scarlet Knights landed. They must rue the officiating that cost them a road win at Ohio State.
The team that well and truly did get hosed was Texas A&M. The Aggies paid the price for their non-conference scheduling. They were 19th in NET and 25th in the KenPom and ended up as a seven seed taking on red hot Penn State. An out of conference strength of schedule of 250th with nine Q4 games ended up being the thing that left TAMU stuck in a position where their run up the NET still left them stuck in a pod with a two seed.
Beyond that there isn’t much to complain about this year. No one got snubbed. Arizona St and Pitt both got in despite Q4 losses because they racked up good wins in good conferences. The nation was also spared seeing Dayton in the tournament thanks to the good work of VCU. Always been a big VCU guy.
When this thing tips off tomorrow their won’t be a team playing that shouldn’t be, there won’t be a team watching that should be playing. The 37 at large bids were awarded consistently with what the committee set out just a couple weeks ago. Teams that scheduled well and won were rewarded. Teams that took no chances and couldn’t rack up wins in power conferences weren’t. All of this is immaterial now though. The time for resumes is over; it’s time to play.