A Letter From Northwestern to The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee

Elliott SmithCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2009


We're the Northwestern University basketball program. You may not have heard of us, which is understandable.

You see, we're the only major conference program that has never qualified for the NCAA Tournament.

Yes, we know it sounds unbelievable, but we really suck at basketball.

We've never won 20 games, we haven't finished fourth or higher in the Big Ten since 1968, we've only made the NIT three times, and we are routinely the visitor at our own arena, but this year is different! We've actually, you know, won some games, and we're begging, no, pleading with you to throw a bone and invite us to the Big Dance.

You want a Cinderella story? How about a team that has no friggin’ clue what it’s like to play a meaningful game in March. Forget those other bubble teams. Maryland, Georgetown, Wisconsin? They’ve all been there before — it’s old hat to them.

An invite to the tourney would be a gift from above, a potential program-changing event. We need this to happen — based on our history, it will be another 27 years before we even get close enough to sniff the tournament.

And before you think we just want you to make us a charity case (which would also be OK), we brought some numbers to back up our bid, because we heard you love numbers and because our school is a bunch of nerds.

* As of today, our 17 wins are tied for the most in school history! That’s a lot of wins, right?
* According to Jerry Palm, our RPI is now 70, with a chance to rise if we can beat Ohio State on Sunday.
* We’ve beaten six RPI Top-50 teams (Michigan State, Florida State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota), three of which are currently in the top 20 (another school record!).
* We have erased some ugly numbers out of the record books, including our first-ever victory at Indiana and beating two consecutive ranked opponents.

Look, we know that Sunday’s game against Ohio State is the biggest game in our school’s history. If we lose, you can take us off your whiteboard. But if we win, and enter the Big Ten Tournament 18-11 and 9-9, with a resume that stacks up nicely against the other Big Ten contenders, well, just think about all those Northwestern alums across the country who would immediately book travel to wherever you send us. That’s money in your pockets!

A few years ago, you let Air Force in as a No. 13 seed, and they acquitted themselves well. We guarantee that we would do the same. Please, committee, give us a shot. We won’t let you down.

Northwestern Basketball

P.S. - You owe us for hosting that first NCAA tourney in 1939 anyway.