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Temple, Murray State among the biggest 2015 NCAA Tournament snubs

Several teams left out of the 2015 NCAA Tournament have a bone to pick with the Selection Committee.

SB Nation 2015 March Madness Bracket

One team waxed a No. 2 seed by 25. Another just lost to a different No. 2 seed for the second time this season, and went 0-5 against teams on the 2015 NCAA Tournament's top three lines.

And yet Temple is not in the 2015 NCAA Tournament bracket, while UCLA is a No. 11 seed in the South Region.

It's just one of a few snubs by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.



Sure, the Owls were riding that one big win, a 77-52 trouncing of Kansas that marred the Jayhawks' otherwise stellar non-conference slate. But it's a big, big win. Of the six teams on the No. 11 line — the last one in the 2015 NCAA Tournament field not entirely comprised of conference tournament winners granted automatic bids — only BYU can match a win over a No. 2 seed, though the Cougars did get theirs over Gonzaga in Spokane. BYU was also 25-9, while Temple went 23-10.

And yet: The Owls' only "bad" losses in those 10 came to UNLV — a day after being shellacked by Duke — and to Saint Joseph's, a longtime Big Five rival. Three of their losses since Jan. 1 were at the hands of No. 6 seed SMU, while two others came to a fellow snub (Tulsa). The Selection Committee clearly didn't think much of the American (only two American teams, SMU and Cincinnati, made the field), but Temple had to think that playing Duke and Villanova and beating Kansas in non-conference play made for a strong resume.

It just turns out that it wasn't strong enough.

Colorado State

Another good team in a "bad" league, Colorado State likely would've had a better shot at making the NCAA Tournament had it merely done on Friday what Mountain West bid thief Wyoming did on Saturday, and beaten San Diego State. The Cowboys were the last team to shrink the bubble, Selection Committee chairman Scott Barnes confirmed, but Colorado State was listed as one of the last four teams out by CBS, and the Rams had beaten both Mountain West at-large teams in conference play.

Larry Eustachy's team didn't make the Mountain West final or knock off San Diego State, though, and their unbeaten non-conference record was light on rigor -- the best team the Rams topped in non-con play was Georgia State, which needed to win the Sun Belt Tournament to get its bid.

Murray State

If we're talking about the best teams to miss the NCAA Tournament, we have to talk about Murray State, which had a poor enough RPI (because of losses to Houston and Portland) to not even merit real consideration for this field. But the Racers did win 25 straight games,  and had, in Cameron Payne, a player who would've matched up with virtually every point guard in the field.

With the Alabama job now open and Alabama alumnus Steve Prohm faced with the stark reality of being the head coach of a mid-major, this miss may hurt Murray State in more ways than one.

Old Dominion

The Monarchs went 24-7 and beat LSU and VCU in non-conference play. They also went 13-5 in Conference USA, which looked like a one-bid league and became one. And, they lost to UTSA once and Middle Tennessee twice, including a fateful loss in the first round of the C-USA Tournament. Without much to recommend them beyond those two non-con wins, they needed an automatic bid.

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Not Really Snubs


Miami beat Duke at Cameron, something no other team did in 2014-15. Miami also lost to Eastern Kentucky by 28, something only one other Division I team did in 2014-15 — and that team was Tennessee State, which went 5-26.

The Hurricanes' only other "good" wins all year came against N.C. State and Florida, and neither of those wins was going to move the Selection Committee. Slightly better non-conference scheduling probably gets them in, but, alas, that die was cast before the season started.


The Cardinal made a surprising Sweet Sixteen run in 2014, knocking off Kansas en route to Memphis. However, they went 6-8 over their last 14 games of the 2015 season, and count as their best win an overtime triumph over Texas ... which got a No. 11 seed.

Also, Stanford lost to DePaul. By 15.

Florida, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M

The SEC getting five bids is an improvement on the conference's mere three in 2014, but it could've been a lot better. Florida, Vanderbilt, and Texas A&M all finished in the final KenPom top 50. Florida finished ahead of Oregon, while Florida and Vanderbilt finished ahead of Purdue and all three teams slotted in before Indiana.

But, well, Florida had a losing record, Vanderbilt lost seven straight games at one point, and both Vanderbilt and Texas A&M lost their first SEC Tournament games to non-NCAA Tournament teams. All three have KenPom rankings much better than their RPI numbers. It's hard to consider any of these teams true snubs, rather than teams that simply didn't do enough.