For all the jubilation and celebration of Selection Sunday there’s also a heaping helping of heartbreak. Some teams watched their dreams of becoming a Cinderella in March vanish, while others are playing in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, but left wondering how they got seeded so low.
This conglomeration makes up our snubs. The teams who were woefully overlooked by the selection committee and will either find themselves playing for a secondary title in the NIT, or locked in games far away from home against opponents they didn’t want to see until much later in the bracket.
The NCAA bracket snubs
This is obviously where the most disappointment lays. The 2023 field mostly made sense, without the NCAA making a ludicrous decision at the last second like allowing in North Carolina, despite lacking a resume to back it up. However, we do have two teams with legitimate claim to being in the tournament, but instead they’re left on the outside looking in.
The Scarlet Knights waited and waited — only to see their name never get called. The No. 35 team in the KenPom rankings, Rutgers’ boasted one of the best defenses in the nation with a solid resume that included wins over No. 1 seed Purdue, No. 4 seed Indiana, No. 7 seed Michigan State and No. 10 seed Penn State.
Of all the snubs this one really didn’t make any sense at all. Yes, Rutgers struggled in February which probably left a bad taste in the mouths of the committee, but their earlier season results justify selection. Clifford Omoruyi is a force in the middle, and one of the best shot blockers in the nation. It would have been really fun to see Rutgers in the dance and see how they could stop some of the better offensive teams in the nation, but instead they’ll be left to bully teams in the NIT.
If the argument against Rutgers is going to be their lack of “what have you done for me lately?” then it becomes a lot trickier to understand how the Commodores were left out of the picture.
One of the hottest teams in college basketball, Vandy won 10 of their last 12 games, including signature wins over Tennessee and Kentucky. This was a team that finally put it all together, and you could absolutely see them being an exciting, dangerous Cinderella team that would have had a major chance to surprise.
Jordan Wright’s reliable offense, paired with the emergence of Tyrin Lawrence would have been extremely fun to watch. Instead, like Rutgers, we’ll also see them in the NIT.
Who was seeded unfairly?
This is a much broader discussion. The amount of true “snubs” might have been smaller this year than in tournaments past, but the field was littered with teams who deserved to be higher, and now have to fight a more difficult path to the Sweet 16 and beyond.
- No. 12 Oral Roberts: 30-4 overall record. 23rd in offensive efficiency per KenPom. Now they have to face Duke in the first round in the East Region.
- No. 5 Duke: ACC Tournament Champions. Ranked 21st in KenPom, which is higher than three teams who received higher seeds. Despite being on a major run they now face a brutal 12 seed in Oral Roberts, who we’ve established should have been higher.
- No. 7 Texas A&M: Second place in the SEC. Beat No. 1 seed Alabama on March 4. Won 10 of their last 12 games. The Aggies easily had a case to be a No. 5 seed or higher.
- No. 9 FAU: 26th overall in KenPom. CUSA Champions. The 31-3 Owls had a serious claim on being a higher seed, despite not coming from a Power 5 conference. Their resume might not be littered with top wins, but getting a 1st round matchup against Memphis is rough.