First, a poem:
"And I -- my head oppressed by horror -- said:
"Master, what is it that I hear? Who are
those people so defeated by their pain?"
And he to me: "This miserable way
is taken by the sorry souls of those
who lived without disgrace and without praise.
They now commingle with the coward angels,
the company of those who were not rebels
nor faithful to their God, but stood apart.
The heavens, that their beauty not be lessened,
have cast them out, nor will deep Hell receive them --
even the wicked cannot glory in them."
That is from Dante's Inferno.
That should set the tone for the rest of this article.
In truth, none of the member teams who played yesterday have much to be ashamed of. They all tried really hard. They are all better at sport than like 99 percent of people on this Earth. They are trying to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. For us to mock them because of the generations prior that came and went without going to the NCAA Tournament is a remarkably unfair exercise.
And yet here we are.
Another day, another bloodbath.
Another day, another set of fanbases rocked with grief.
But behold, my friends. The Land of Gold and Hope may yet prove fruitful.
Call me old fashioned, but giving up 58 percent shooting from the field, 73 percent shooting from deep, and getting outrebounded by 16 is not a good strategy in shootyhoops. Shoutout to Savannah State for trying it anyway. It didn't work. Top-seeded Hampton rolled up 52 points in the last 20 minutes and rolled over the Tigers 89-55. Woof.
Quinton Hooker really wanted to make the NCAA Tournament. But wanting something is not enough because the universe is so big and Quinton Hooker is so small. Despite his 38 points, nearly half of his North Dakota Fighting Hawks total score, it was not to be, as Hooker and North Dakota came up short in OT, losing to Weber State 83-78 in the Big Sky Championship. So close. So far. So long.
UMKC was winning 21-20 with 9:36 left in the first half. Less than 8 minutes later they were down 42-23. They didn't come back. The Kangaroos went down to the top-seeded Aggies of New Mexico State 78-64.
But there's a reason the West is the Land of Opportunity. That reason is Cal State Bakersfield. The Roadrunners trampled all over Seattle, 72-47. They will play in the WAC championship game at 11 p.m. ET Saturday night. It will probably not be on TV at your establishment of choice. So stay in and buckle up.
Saturday's Never Made The Tourney Action
No. 3 Vermont vs. No. 1 Stony Brook (80% chance to win via KenPom) — 10 a.m. CT, ESPN2
PLEASE. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE GIVE THIS ONE GAME TO US.
We thought all along that Stony Brook and High Point were the club's best shots. Stony Brook needs to be the team that gets it done.
Update: STONY BROOK WINS. STONY BROOKS WINS. SO LONG GOOD FRIENDS.
No. 1 New Mexico State vs. No. 2 Cal State Bakersfield (54% chance to win via KenPom) — 10 p.m. CT, ESPN2
OR THIS ONE. PLEASE.
BACK NEXT YEAR
South Carolina Upstate
Grand Canyon (ineligible)
Northern Kentucky (ineligible)
UMass Lowell (ineligible)
Abilene Christian (ineligible)
Central Arkansas (ineligible)
St. Francis (NY)
William and Mary
Texas-Rio Grande Valley