How SMU Got Screwed Out of the NCAA Tournament

Categories: Sports

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Going into Sunday, most experts considered SMU a lock to make its first NCAA tournament in 20 years, even after losing to a mediocre University of Houston team in the opening round American Athletic Conference tourney. They beat four Top 25 teams, including a season sweep of UConn. They went 23-9. They are coached by Larry Brown.

They'll have to wait 'til next year. In what has been described variously as a snub, "surprising," a "miscarriage of justice" and, by SMU senior/Moody Coliseum lobster Ramon Trespalacios, "heartbreaking," the Mustangs weren't among the 68 teams picked Sunday to be in the running for a national title.

According to selection committee chair Ron Wellman, SMU's "glaring weakness" was strength of schedule.

"Their non-conference strength of schedule was ranked 302nd," he told reporters in a conference call Sunday night. "It was one of the worst non-conference strength of schedules. Their overall strength of schedule ranked 129. That would have been, by far, the worst at-large strength of schedule going into the tournament."

See also: Larry Brown Is Turning SMU Into a Contender, Haters Be Damned

Never mind that SMU won three times as many games against top 25 RPI teams than either North Carolina State or BYU, both of whom sneaked into the tourney, of that it lost to an eventual No. 1 seed, Virginia, by just three.

The real issue, highlighted in Brown's post-snub comments, is that the selection committee and the RPI rankings they rely upon are convinced that the AAC isn't very good.

When Louisville, the defending national champion with more than an outside shot at a repeat, is given a 4 seed, the rest of the conference is screwed.

Oh well. There's always the NIT, and there's always next year.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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15 comments
John
John

If you want to play with the big boys in the post season you need to play with the big boys in the regular season.   Instead they will go play the UC Irvine Anteaters. in the first round of the NIT where SMU belongs.

Cowtown
Cowtown

Karma is undefeated. This is what happens when you send your assistant coach,Ulric Maligi, to pressure high school teachers to change the grades of your star recruit, Kevin Frazier, so that he will qualify.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

What they did to Louisville is completely inexcusable.  I hope they win the whole thing. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Something's not Kosher here.  Wellman contradicted himself by saying they look at the whole season, then turned around and left out SMU because they lost their last three games.  BTW, Cal-Poly made the field with a 13-19 record.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

If there SOS and RPI were so so bad (they were) they should have never been a top 25 team.  But they beat some good teams in conference and the voters obviously thought the AAC was better than the bid committee did.  Now dont go out and lose in the 1st round of the NIT or you'll just prove the bid committees point

dingo
dingo

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  

Cal-Poly received an automatic bid for winning the Big West tournament game.  BTW, a freshman from this area's Hebron HS hit the game winning three pointer with 13 seconds left.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@dingo @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  Conference Tourneys are a joke, all about the extra money to be made for the NCAA and the schools.  Cal poly gets a lucky 3 game run and gets the bid over 5 teams in there conference with better overall and conference records, thats hokey.  Yes I know under the current rules someone from the Big West was going to get the bid, but SMU was better than all those teams and sits at home while a 13-19 teams get to get the shit stomped out of them

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@dingo  It's all about money.  I knew that.  But it's not right to dismiss a team's performance in 35 games over one fluke in a conference tournament.

dingo
dingo

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz @dingo 

Some would disagree. Because the tournament is so large at 64 teams, the automatic bids give the best teams easy first round match-ups. A first round fluke upset is less likely for the premier players. NCAA BB already suffers from the stars leaving early for the NBA. While cinderella teams are good stories,  the TV folks want most of the eventual premier matchups to remain intact.

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