First, a poem:
The Struggle of the Unfulfilled
College basketball is meaningless
It should have no impact on my life
Yet college basketball is ruthless
It leaves me in a pile of strife
As shots don't fall, and calls aren't made
And dreams are cast aside
By branded teams that've always played
in postseasons; I feel sick inside
But the band plays on, so they say
The world turns, not falling out of bounds
Soon this loss will be yesterday,
And soon I'll be watching the First Round
Wondering what glories might have been
If my team could somehow win
The thing about hope is that no matter how hard you try to suppress it, hope has a way of breaking through the void and entering the consciousness. Sometimes, hope flourishes and becomes reality, like when Holy Cross makes the NCAA Tournament. But most of the time, hope gets pulverized. It may happen at the end of the game, or in the first 5 minutes of a blowout, but the end result is the same.
For the teams of the NMTC this year, there was great hope. But yesterday, as with the last few days of these NMTC updates, hope disappeared in a ripple of synthetic twine. There are only five teams remaining:
HAHAHAHA, NOPE! Not recapping this one, for my own sanity. If you want to subject yourself to more agony, please read Inside NU's top-notch coverage and analysis from Northwestern's heartbreaking, curse-inducing, and emotionally taxing overtime loss to Michigan.
It's okay. I'm okay. Really, I am. We can talk through this. That's why this website exists. Let's just move on for now. With this defeat, the Founding Fathers have all missed the NCAA Tournament for yet another season.
Let's get the good news out of the way. How about those North Dakota Fighting Hawks! North Dakota obliterated Idaho State 83-49 and is headed for a semifinal showdown with No. 1 seed Weber State (Damian Lillard's school) tomorrow . Weber State held on in a close game with Portland State, and you have to think the momentum is with Fighting Hawks right now. So now they're going to lose, right? Sigh.
Sacramento State lost to Montana 70-53. Better luck next year.
In an all-NMTC showdown, Bethune-Cookman lost 57-50 to Savannah State in a 4/5 matchup. Savannah State advances to play the Hampton, the No. 1 seed in the MEAC and the pre-tournament favorite. Hampton is not really that much better than Savannah State on paper (this is the worst conference in college basketball by KenPom rating). This is a game Savannah State can win. Based on previous NMTC results, though, don't get your hopes too high.
Western Athletic Conference
Chicago State lost 79-57 to NMTC member Cal State Bakersfield. While that is sad, this loss pales in comparison to what is actually going on at Chicago State right now. You see, the state of Illinois has decided to drastically cut funding to public universities. Chicago State, one of the few universities that services low-income families in Chicago, is going to close down and has already fired its entire staff. Alex Putterman at Vice.com wrote an insightful article on the basketball situation at Chicago State and what the team is going to do if/when Chicago State closes. It's really depressing.
Also, it's still baffling why Chicago State is in Western Athletic Conference with teams like Seattle and UT Rio Grande Valley. The travel expenses must be absurd. By the way, Chicago State almost upset Illinois earlier this year. Unfortunately it ended the season with a 4-28 record.
Utah Valley lost 80-78 to fellow NMTC team UMKC. The Northwestern women's team played UMKC earlier this year, which was the first time I'd hear of the existence of the UMKC Kangaroos. Seattle defeated Texas-Rio Grande Valley 75-52 , which was not a surprise.
UC-Davis got smacked by UC-Santa Barbara. UC-Davis went down by 19 in the first half and eventually lost 87-61. UC-Riverside lost to Long Beach State. There are no more NMTC teams left in the Big West. The horror!
Friday's Never Made The Tourney Club Action
No. 5 UMKC (20% KenPom) vs. No. 1 New Mexico State - 8:00 p.m. CST
No. 2 Cal State Bakersfield vs. No. 3 Seattle - After the game above
No. 5 Savannah State (35% KenPom) vs. No. 1 Hampton - 6:00 p.m. CST
No. 5 North Dakota (35% KenPom) vs. No. 1 Weber State - 7:35 p.m. CST
Four of the five remaining NMTC teams will be in action on Friday. Three No. 5 seeds have a chance to topple No. 1 seeds in the semifinals tomorrow. Statistically, it's likely that one of those teams should emerge victorious. For what it's worth, my money is on North Dakota.