Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
For some teams selection Sunday is just a day of affirmation. They already know they’ll be going to the Big Dance and the only remaining question is what seed they’ll be in the tournament. But for other schools, the bubble teams as we affectionately call them, either heartache or happiness will be found after the 37 teams that have been given at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament are revealed. Every year Selection Sunday provides plenty of surprises, so here’s a quick look back at some of the most shocking Selection Sunday snubs in NCAA history.
2014 SMU Mustangs
The Mustangs’ snubbing is still very fresh in all of our minds and it will likely remain that way thanks to the live video we all witnessed of SMU’s Selection Sunday party at the team’s Moody Coliseum. SMU were ranked the No. 25 team in the nation’s AP Poll and had a 23-9 record at the end of the year. Their all-important RPI ranking was 53rd in the nation, which isn’t considered to be great, but was still better than Iowa, who came in at 54th that year but still somehow made it to the Big Dance over SMU.
2012 Drexel Dragons
Missouri State may have had the best RPI ranking of any snubbed team but Drexel had the best overall record when they were passed over by the selection committee in 2012. Drexel finished the year 27-6 and entered the tournament season on an absolute tear, having won 19 of their last 20 games leading up to Selection Sunday. Unfortunately for the Dragons, a three-point loss to the VCU Rams in the CAA Championship game would be the difference between a coveted spot in the NCAA Tournament and a three-seed in the NIT Tournament.
2011 Virginia Tech Hokies
Fourth time’s a charm right? Not for the Virginia Tech Hokies, who were excluded from the NCAA Tournament three years in a row only to suffer perhaps their most stunning snub the fourth time around. In 2011 the Hokies finished with a 21-11 record, were 9-7 in the stacked ACC and had a win over No. 1 ranked Duke on their resume as well. They lost to some questionable opponents, such as Georgia Tech who finished 11th in the ACC but Virginia Tech were still considered by many to be tournament worthy – except by those who make that decision apparently.
2007 Syracuse Orange
As this list indicates, it’s often schools that might lack the college basketball pedigree like a Syracuse that are snubbed for whatever reason. That’s why Syracuse’s exclusion from the 2007 NCAA Tournament was so stunning. The Orange went 22-10 including 10-6 in the Big East but were passed over for an at-large bid and were relegated to the NIT Tournament. At least it provided a memorable moment when Syracuse met San Diego State in the NIT Tournament where angry Orange fans turned out in droves to protest the NCAA’s decision and cheer their squad on.
2006 Missouri State Bears
Everyone knows how important a good RPI ranking is when it comes to impressing the tournament selection committee but you can’t blame the 2006 Missouri State Bears team if they don’t want to hear about it. The Bears went 20-8 that season and finished ranked No. 21 in RPI rankings, making them the team with the best RPI ranking in history not to make it into the NCAA Tournament.
While these snubbed teams and many like them will always feel slighted by the powers that be, they can rest assured that they won’t be the last teams to feel the wrath of the NCAA’s often misunderstood selection process. As Selection Sunday draws closer, all fans can do is hope that their team isn’t on the outside looking in when all is said and done.