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Never-Been-to-the-NCAA-Tournament Club, March 2

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We move on to day two of our proceedings, and with the second day, we have two important points brought up:

1. Say, Northwestern's best hopes this year are of the NIT. If a never-been-to-the-tourney squad is up against a No. 1 seed (who if they lost would get an auto bid to the NIT and hurt NU's chances), shouldn't we root against them? Uhh, yeah. Should've thought of that. Screw you, Gardner-Webb.

2. Say, isn't it pretty dumb that we're rooting for other teams to make the tourney, thus making NU's company even less prestigious by slimming our ranks? People who ask this: HAVE YOU NO HEART? These teams are NU's cosmic brethren. And I will stand by them until the end, by which I mean us qualifying for a tournament, at which point, SCREW THEM. (But, in all honesty, you're right in theory, but I have a sick, twisted sense of humor when it comes to NU's no-tourney history.)

Am I the only person who cares about this? Probably. But it's my site, and I choose to launch us into full-on coverage.

High Point had a huge win yesterday over Liberty, putting them two games away from ditching us. They play again tomorrow vs. UNC-Asheville. Those tools.

Henceforth: we'll also be taking a look at our dearly departed squads as they peace out more in-depth.

Three games on the docket, let's go chronologically:

1:30 p.m., OVC Tournament: No. 8 Kennesaw State Owls (8-23, 6-14, kenpom ranking 324) vs. No. 1 Belmont Bruins (27-4, 19-1, kenpom ranking 20)

Our squad: Kennesaw State.

Kennesaw State's chances today: .6 percent. (On Kenpom's own site, he is more generous and gives them a 1 percent chance.)

Kennesaw State's chances of winning the conference tourney: .005 percent. (Jesus, Kenpom. That's brutal.)

Something Kennesaw State has going for them: Hey, remember earlier in the year when we played Georgia Tech, and we all noted how Kennesaw State beat Georgia Tech? Man, they were 2-0! Sick, bros! Georgia Tech!

Some things Kennesaw State does not have going for them: They SUUUUUUUUCK. Things very, very, very quickly turned violently badly for the Owls after that game: they would go on to lose the next ten straight, including a 25-point loss to an Alabama State powerhouse and a 40-point loss to Iowa. They have the 341st worst defense in the country. Out of 345. THEY LOST IN DOUBLE OVERTIME TO SIU-EDWARDSVILLE. Yeah. SIU-Edwardsville. On the flip side, Belmont is REALLY REALLY GOOD. They have no quality wins on the year to prove it - just some close losses to Tennessee and Vandy, but absolutely tore through the A-Sun, including wins over Kennesaw State, 87-60 and, this Saturday, at Kennesaw State, won 88-41. Yeah, eighty-eight to forty-one. Don't hold your breath. The impressive thing is that Kennesaw State actually qualified for this conference tournament while other teams did not make it.

Reasons to irrationally hate Belmont: Hipsters like your el stop here in Chicago. And 88-41? That's not even nice. Be considerate. Jerks.

6 p.m., Patriot League Tournament: No. 8 Army Black Knights (11-18, 3-11, kenpom ranking 278) vs. No. 1 Bucknell Bison (22-8, 13-1, kenpom ranking 95)

Our squad: Army.

Army's chances of winning today: 6.4 percent

Army's chances of winning the conference tourney: .3 percent

Something Army has going for them: Bucknell may be 13-1 and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Of course, as always, that one loss came to last-place Army. And it wasn't just a regular loss: Army crushed the Bison 90-70, crushing a generally disciplined defense - they wouldn't allow more than 77 in any other game all season long. Also, they could get some F-16's to come bomb the hell out of Bucknell if they lose.

Some things Army does not have going for them: This game is on the road, and, uh, Bucknell's 13-0 record in their other, uh, 13 conference games.

Reasons to irrationally hate Bucknell: Buck those guys. Who tries to beat the Army? Oh, I know who, TERRORISTS. Also, Chris from "The Wire" apparently went there according to the Wikipedia, and he killed a lot of people in cold blood on TV. Also, they're terrorists. Jerks.

6 p.m. OVC Tournament, No. 8 Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (11-20, 6-12, kenpom ranking 293) vs. No. 5 Tennessee State Tigers (14-15, 10-8, kenpom ranking 225)

Our squad: Tennessee-Martin.

Tennessee-Martin's chances of winning today: 24.5 percent.

Tennessee-Martin's chances of winning the conference tourney: .1 percent.

Something Tennessee-Martin has going for them: They have a player named Benzor, who I'm pretty sure is either a mythical creature, medicine or forgotten element on the periodic table, quite possibly a very dangerous one. They also nearly beat Tennessee State earlier in the year, falling 67-64. A victory here isn't completely unattainable - Tennessee State's 225 kenpom ranking should indicate that.

Some things Tennessee-Martin does not have going for them: This Martin guy sounds like a tool, first of all. Secondly, of their 11 wins, TEN came against teams with a kenpom ranking of 279 or worse, the odd one out being a victory against Eastern Kentucky (219). Also, the tournament is in Nashville, where Tennessee State is located. I see your evil scheme of having a million schools in Tennessee but only one of them being a home team, OVC, and I'm not impressed.

Reasons to irrationally hate Tennessee State: Easy: they nearly beat Northwestern last year and there's no reason any of us should have forgiven them yet. Luckily, we had (and still have for one more game) Juice Thompson. Jerks.

Now, a look at our two fallen brethren:

Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs

Gardner_webb_logo_medium

Club members since: 2003

Felled by: Coastal Carolina, first round, 83-72

Why they will be missed: Hyphens, sweet hyphens, the Runnin' Bulldogs ran directly into our hearts. They did both Gardner and Webb proud.

Great moments in Gardner-Webb basketball history: As pointed out yesterday in the comments, GDub - who I will not refer to as "GW" to avoid confusion with George Washington is most famous in basketball for upsetting Kentucky in 2007 and putting an early dark cloud over the Billy Gillispie era at UK. They're also known for a 2002 scandal where the president of the school removed an F from his star player's transcript just a few years before the transition to DI. I give them an A for effort.

Youngstown State Penguins

180px-youngstownstatepenguins_medium

Club members since: 1982

Felled by: Valparaiso, 80-71, in the first round, after the Penguins cut a 19-point deficit to 71-70 with under three minutes to go.

Why they will be missed: For having the cutest little mascot possible. LOOKATHIMHE'SSOCUTEOHMYGOODNESS.


an accurate depiction of penguin life in the wild

Also, a quick search reveals YSU's athletic site refers to their team as both the "Pens" (understandable, like the hockey team) and "Guins" (WHAT?) colloquially. Which, much like penguins, is adorable.

And now, the list:

STILL ALIVE:

Northwestern Wildcats, Big Ten

High Point Panthers, Big South

UC-Davis Aggies, Big West

Cal Poly Mustangs, Big West

UC-Riverside Highlanders, Big West

UC-Irvine Anteaters, Big West

Grambling St. Tigers, SWAC

Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks, MEAC

Norfolk St. Spartans, MEAC

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, MEAC

Buffalo Bulls, MAC

San Jose St. Spartans WAC

Quinnipiac Bobcats,NEC

St. Francis Terriers, NEC

Northern Colorado Bears, Big Sky

Army Black Knights, Patriot League,

The Citadel Bulldogs, Southern Conference

William and Mary Tribe, CAA

Maine Black Bears, America East

New Hampshire Wildcats, America East

Stony Brook Seawolves, America East

Hartford Hawks, America East

Denver Pioneers, Sun Belt

Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, OVC

Elon Phoenix, Southern,

Kennesaw St. Owls, Atlantic Sun

Lipscomb Bison, Atlantic Sun

North Florida Ospreys, Atlantic Sun

IPFW Mastodons, Summit

South Dakota St. Jackrabbits, Summit

GONE BABY GONES

Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, Big South

Youngstown St. Penguins, Horizon

Centenary Gentlemen, Summit.

Western Illinois Leathernecks, Summit.

Stetson Hatters, Atlantic SuN

Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, Atlantic Sun:

USC-Upstate Spartans, Atlantic Sun:

Sacramento State Hornets, Big Sky

Sacred Heart Pioneers, NEC:

Jacksonville State Gamecocks, OVC:

Central Arkansas Bears, Southland:

Texas Pan-American Broncos Great West

NJIT HIghlanders, Great West

North Dakota Fighting Sioux, Great West

South Dakota Coyotes, Great West

Utah Valley State Wolverines, Great West

Chicago State Cougars, Great West

NC Central Eagles, independent

Savannah State Tigers, Independent

SIU-Edwardsville Cougars, Independent

Longwood Lancers, Independent

Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners, Independent