NCAA Tournament 2017 snubs: Syracuse, Cal, Iowa among teams with a beef
Does Syracuse or these others have a legitimate gripe?
The 2017 NCAA Tournament bracket has been revealed. The 68-team field is working to book travel plans as we speak, while those on the wrong side of the bubble spent Selection Sunday considering the possibilities of a postseason in the NIT or elsewhere.
There was no great dramatic bubble-related storyline by the time the conference tournament action was done. Jim Boeheimâs headline-grabbing shots at Greensboro, N.C. and general quote-worthiness have Syracuse leading the charge for those snubbed by the selection committee, but the Orange are not alone in questioning the decision-making along the cut line.
Syracuse is the most talked-about team, but not the most snubbed. If anything, Syracuseâs one-and-done showing in the ACC Tournament confirmed that the numbers said: the Orange werenât as strong away from the Carrier Dome. The lack of quality wins away from home ultimately damned Jim Boeheim and this group, which will enter the NIT as a No. 1 seed with two fifth-year players capable of carrying them to New York in Andrew White and John Gillon.
Syracuse fans will champion the wins against Duke, Virginia and Florida State, and a 10-8 record in the ACC as reasons the Orange deserved a shot to repeat last yearâs magic. They beat Wake Forest earlier this year and would likely be favored against USC, Providence or Kansas State, but the committee penalized them for failing to win away from home.
Are we sure the committee got the right Pac-12 team from California? USC looks worthy at 24-9, but lost to Cal at home and received its spot in the First Four largely on the back of its resume, which includes wins against UCLA and SMU. Ivan Rabb was one of the best big men in the Pac-12 and Cuonzo Martin had the Bears playing great defense this year, but the inability to close out wins against Virginia, Arizona and/or Seton Hall could have changed their postseason fate.
The Redbirds needed a win against Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final. The automatic bid was on the line, and even more so it was one of the few games Illinois State had on its schedule against a top-50 opponent. Beating Wichita State at home in January was the only quality win on their profile, though with 27 wins they had an argument to be considered for one of the final at-large spots.
The Hawkeyes took a step back this year but remained competitive in Big Ten play with some big-time wins, beating Purdue, Wisconsin and Maryland. Iowa closed well and looked like a team that could ride its late-season run into the field of 68 but did not win enough to outweigh the impact of losses to Memphis and Nebraska-Omaha. A win against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament might not have gotten Iowa in -- what they needed was a time machine to get another shot at their first eight games of the season.
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