St. Bonaventure got snubbed. The Bonnies were expected to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012, but instead, the Selection Committee went and screwed the mid-majors over yet again. St. Bonaventure, while many expected to be a play-in, if not a lock, wasn’t included in this year’s field of 68. Instead, questionable teams like Michigan and Tulsa somehow made it. Looking at the stats, one may find this a bit odd, but oh yeah, it’s about the money. It always has been.
St. Bonaventure was projected to be in the field according to 88% of Bracketologists’ final brackets. What about Tulsa? Since they made it into the field, they must have had a decent showing in the mock brackets of the men that do this for a living, right? Wrong. How about 0%. That’s right; 0% of Bracketologists had Tulsa in the NCAA Tournament heading into Selection Sunday. That is, except for the Selection Committee themselves. They, for whatever reason, had the Golden Hurricanes in and the Bonnies out.
Cast aside the other teams, there are also some huge indicators that the Bonnies should’ve made the NCAA Tournament. For one, it’s been over 10 years since an A-10 Regular Season Champion or Co-Champion has not made the tournament field. That’s crazy, but here’s the kicker. This is the first time EVER that a team with a top 30 RPI and a regular season conference championship has not made the NCAA Tournament. How did the committee let this happen? How do you leave out a team that’s ranked 30th in RPI and has 7 wins over the RPI Top 100? The fact that the Bonnies did not get a tournament bid is absurd. There is no excuse for this team being left out of the field.
Michigan made it into the NCAA Tournament when they probably shouldn’t have gotten in. The Wolverines have won just 4 games against the RPI Top 100 compared to 7 by the Bonnies. Though they didn’t have a bad loss, they also didn’t do so well against the RPI Top 50, going just 4-11. The Bonnies also rank 28 spots higher overall in RPI rankings. Tulsa has just one win over the RPI Top 25 compared to 3 by the Bonnies. Tulsa also ranked 61st in the RPI compared to 30th by St. Bonaventure.
But I, along with St. Bonaventure alumni and A-10 fans, am not the only one who was outraged by the tournament’s decision not to include the Bonnies. The commissioner of the Atlantic 10, Bernadette McGlade, had something to say as well.
“As Commissioner I will always defend my institutions. St. Bonaventure belongs in the NCAA Championship. Their body of work, seven wins against top 70 teams, their first-place finish in the A-10, and a 29 RPI — every measuring point has been successfully met. In short they met the ‘eye test’ and the fact test. I am shocked that the committee did not select this team. It’s a tremendous disservice and disappointment to these student-athletes, the SBU nation and the A-10. I will talk to the selection committee representatives and compare the stats of all of the at-large selections to understand why they were not selected to hopefully avoid this disappointment in the future.”
But will we avoid this disappointment in the future? It seems as if mid-majors got snubbed like crazy this year. Monmouth could’ve been an NCAA Tournament team, but they weren’t selected either. The Hawks won huge non-conference games away from home against UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, and Georgetown. From conference play on, they lost just 3 games, including their conference championship game to Iona. If you’re Monmouth, what more can you do to get an at-large bid? They say that these mid-majors need to schedule tough opponents; the Hawks did that and they actually beat a fair majority of them. They say you need to be successful in conference play. Monmouth did that; the Hawks won their league. Yet, power 5 teams with shaky resumes slip into the tournament over solid mid-majors like St. Mary’s, Monmouth, and most notably, St. Bonaventure.
The Bonnies got snubbed. It’s really unfortunate to see after this team had such a historic year in the Atlantic 10. While there’s always next year, it won’t be easy for Bona fans to forgive the Selection Committee. Here are some quotes from noteworthy reporters and writers who believe the Bonnies got snubbed.
Gary Parrish, CBS Sports: “Every eligible Power 5 school with a top-54 RPI made the NCAA Tournament. But eight non-Power 5 schools with top-54 RPIs did not.”
Dick Weiss, NY Daily News: “Biggest surprise to me? St. Bonna not getting into bracket”
Andy Glockner, Sports Ilustrated: “52 of 59 [bracketologists] had the bonnies. When your choice, independently, loses 52-0, you messed up.”
Nick Filipowski, WKBW: “There are snubs every year. But with who got in over Bona is beyond reason.”
Mike Harrington, Buffalo News: “It seems inconceivable Bona would be out entirely and not even in the First Four. That would be a travesty.”
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