I'm about to write a few "get better soon" cards for some college basketball teams.
No, they aren't sick. Nope, they aren't injured, either. They are all just going to be very, very sad come this weekend—or at least I'm predicting that will be the case.
Why, you might ask?
Because these teams are on the bubble and, at least in my opinion, are the three really deserving schools that are most likely to get snubbed. They each deserve a place in the tourney, but I'm afraid they might not get one.
Let the sadness begin.
Oh Boise, all you had to do was win one more game—against San Diego State in the Mountain West tournament—and surely you would have been dancing.
Look at your resume—a 21-10 record, RPI of 44, strength of schedule of 61 and 4-7 record against the RPI top-50, including a huge nonconference win against Creighton.
Yup, another win against the RPI top-50 would have been nice, but I know you are one of the top 68 teams in the land.
But now you have to wait. Oh, to wait. You have to hope the bubble teams ahead of you fall. You have to hope an upstart doesn't earn an automatic bid in conference tournament play. You have to hope the selection committee thinks your resume is prettier than all of the other resumes.
You could've guaranteed yourselves a spot in the tourney.
Now, I'm afraid, you are in danger of being one of its biggest snubs.
Middle Tennessee, your lament will be the saddest of songs. You had a 28-5 record this season, went 19-1 in the Sun Belt conference, beat Ole Miss (a fellow bubble team) and have an RPI of 29. Your resume is about as strong a resume as it gets in the Sun Belt.
But then you lost in the semifinals of your conference tournament.
Why, Middle Tennessee State—why?
Instead of guaranteeing your spot in the dance, you bowed out early and Western Kentucky snagged the automatic bid. Now, you have to wait. You have to sweat. You have to hope, like Boise State above, that the other bubble teams will falter and chalk will hold in the conference tourney.
Warm up the harmonica, Middle Tennessee—I have a feeling the blues are headed your way.
All of Philadelphia weeps for you, La Salle.
You were quite good this year. A 21-8 record. An RPI of 38. A 2-3 record against the RPI top-50 and 5-7 mark against the RPI top-100.
But now your tournament hopes are likely resting on a meeting with Butler, a team you did beat, 54-53 at home this season, but a very talented squad that I have a feeling is going to win the rematch. And without a second win against Butler, I don't believe your resume will be strong enough to get you into the tourney.
Maybe I'll be wrong. Maybe you'll defeat Butler and prove me wrong. Maybe you'll get in the dance even if you lose.
But I have a feeling Temple and Villanova will be wondering why you weren't able to join them in a bit of March Madness this year.