NCAA tournament: Snubs, shocks and surprises

Calm down, Iona coach Tim Cluess. You’re in.

Forget the matchups, immediately after the brackets are released every year, fans immediately begin debating which schools got snubbed and which were mysteriously included.

We’ll get started breaking down the tournament tomorrow, but for now, we want to take a look at some of those teams that made your jaw drop on Selection Sunday — good and bad.

To be fair, chairman Jeff Hathaway and the rest of the Selection Committee did a fairly good job this year in our book. Though the former Connecticut athletic director didn’t do the defending champions any favors sticking them in with Kentucky.

Snubs

Seton Hall
(20-12, RPI: 61)
It’s hard to feel bad for any team in the Big East being snubbed, especially when nine conference members got in.

Seton Hall had plenty of chances to earn their way in also. And yet, how does a team that beat VCU, West Virginia, UConn and Georgetown get left out??Those are all tournament teams and the Pirates handled them all.

The committee probably was looking for a win in the second round of the Big East tournament over Louisville. In retrospect, that would’ve been a Herculean accomplishment. The Cardinals won the tournament and the Pirates are now left sitting at home.

Northwestern
(18-13, RPI:?59)
That 18 is an ugly number if you’re going to try to sneak in as an at-large team, but stick with me.
The Wildcats played the 15th toughest schedule in the country. They beat No. 1 seed Michigan State, but they were done in by too many close losses, including heartbreakers at Michigan and against Ohio State.

Drexel

(27-6, RPI: 64)
It’s hard being the little guy.

Drexel was the top seed in the Colonial Athletic Conference tournament, they made the final and lost by three to VCU. That was, apparently, their only shot.

They won 17 in a row to close out the regular season, including one over VCU, but their strength of schedule was 248th. They played no one. The regular season VCU win was their only against a tourney team, while they lost to both Norfolk State and Virginia.

Shocks

South Florida
(20-13, RPI: 52)
If you want to watch incredibly slow, boring basketball you are in luck.

The Bulls play an ugly brand of basketball that has seen them score under 50 points 10 times this season.

They have one quality win in the conference — at Louisville. Unless you count Seton Hall …

Iona

(25-7, RPI: 41)
This one would go down as a win for the little guys.

Iona’s inclusion shocked just about everyone, except apparently Hathaway and the committee. When he was asked if the Gaels were the final team to sneak into the tournament Hathaway seemed apoplectic. The answer was no, and it wasn’t even close. Joe Lunardi disagrees.


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