Bracketology: Highlighting Teams Who Should Miss Out on NCAA Tournament

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, IN - MARCH 02: Roy Devyn Marble  #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes is frustrated after being called for a foul during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall on March 2, 2013 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Sorry to fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes, but there's no chance your team deserves a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

In just a few short hours, teams on the bubble will finally get the confirmation if they're dancing or will instead have to settle for the National Invitation Tournament or its red-headed stepchild, the College Basketball Invitational. The seeding for the NCAA tournament will be revealed on Selection Sunday at 6 p.m. ET.

One of the teams who should be on the outside looking in is Iowa.

The Hawkeyes finished with a respectable 21-12 (9-9) record. However, unlike another Big Ten team on the bubble—the Minnesota Golden Gophers—Iowa didn't manage to get a real signature win. The team didn't pick up a win in six chances against the RPI top 25. For a team with a strength of schedule at 129, it was imperative that the Hawkeyes make the most of its in-conference slate.

There are plenty more teams, the Golden Gophers included, who are much more deserving of a bid to the tournament.

Much like Iowa, these three teams should have their collective bubbles burst.


Kentucky Wildcats

Many defenders of the Kentucky Wildcats will point to the injury suffered by Nerlens Noel to explain the team's struggles this season. It makes total sense since any team would be much worse having lost its best player.

What it shouldn't be used for is justification for an at-large bid to the Big Dance. It's unfortunate that Noel went down. Injuries are a part of the game. People shouldn't project where the Wildcats would be with Noel and demand a spot in the tourney.

The Wildcats had a great opportunity to really showcase themselves for the selection committee. Instead, Kentucky laid an egg against the Vanderbilt Commodores, losing by 16 points.

You contrast that performance with the Ole Miss Rebels winning the SEC title. Ole Miss was on the fringe just like Kentucky but managed to actually make the most of its chance.


Saint Mary's Gaels

The window of opportunity for the Saint Mary's Gaels was pretty minute going into the West Coast Conference Championship. With a 65-51 loss to the Gonzaga Bulldogs, that window has all but closed. It was the Gaels' third loss at the hands of the Bulldogs.

The WCC isn't a very strong conference, so it was imperative that Saint Mary's be able to knock off Gonzaga at least once. A non-conference win against the Creighton Bluejays is a solid resume-builder, but it can't be the biggest victory you have.

An RPI of 31 is in Saint Mary's favor, but that helps to cover up a strength of schedule at 101. The Gaels' biggest test was Gonzaga, and they failed on three occasions.


Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Woe are the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. A win over the Memphis Tigers on Saturday would have meant an automatic bid. The Golden Eagles made it close before wearing down at the end of the game.

Now Southern Miss is left to entice voters on the strength of its resume. Unfortunately there's not too much to look at. An RPI of 34 is a plus. And that's about where the positives end.

The Golden Eagles lost all five of their games against the RPI top 50. When your strongest wins are against the UTEP Miners and Denver Pioneers, you know you're in trouble. Much like the Gaels, Southern Miss needed to get a win over the top team in the conference. Without that, there's no bid on the horizon.


Don't forget to download a printable NCAA bracket.