Last season the Utah State Aggies were dangerously close to the ultimate snub. It would have been akin to the hot cheerleader getting stood up at the prom. Personally, I didn’t see why the NCAA Committee was in such a fuss. After all, the Aggies had won nineteen in a row. They were 24-1 and ranked at one point. Had a good inside-outside combo with Jared Quayle and Gary Wilkinson. A very underrated coach in Stew Morrill.
OK, so they lost to Boise State. Everybody’s due for a bad night. But those folks at the RPI made some of those committee nervous. What if they don’t win the WAC tournament? Do all of those wins against the likes of Cal-Irvine and Houston Baptist mean anything? Wouldn’t the people rather see a seventh-place team from a Power Six conference that is rich in athletic funds take the floor?
Well, this year the committee doesn’t have to worry about Utah State. I ranked the Aggies in my BP Top 40 in the preseason. I was subsequently smacked back to reality following their losses to Utah and Northeastern. This year the Aggies have to win the WAC tourney to return to the Dance.
No, this year the committee may be wringing their hands over a team that has only spent five previous seasons in D-1 and has never had an RPI above 273.
’m talking about the Northern Colorado Bears.
C’mon, nobody’s heard about the guys from Greeley? They currently sit at 7-0 and all of those victories came on the road until last night’s home debut against Colorado State. They weren’t even on the radar to win the Big Sky conference but have to be considered the favorite. The only name team on their schedule for the rest of the year is Oklahoma, which is another team the Bald Prophet is guilty of overranking this season (but I wasn’t the only one, admit it).
Therein lies the problem. I’m not going to spew forth crazy talk about the Bears going undefeated but they could have a very similar season to Utah State. Right now, their RPI sits at 58. That may rise a bit if they keep winning but I can’t see it getting above the 40s, especially when you consider the Big Sky is the 18th-ranked conference in RPI-land (and that will likely drop).
So what happens if the scenario plays out? Bears win the regular season title? Face Idaho State or Eastern Washington in the first round of the Big Sky tournament? They all wish they were skiing instead? Fumble?
Look at this way, fellas. The NIT’s a step in the right direction.