The Never Made The Tourney Club had some dramatic victories and heartbreaking losses yesterday. In today's edition of the NMTC, Stetson shatters more dreams, Bill Carmody gives Army a break, and the Presbyterian Blue Hose wins on a buzzer-beater.
If you missed the preview or yesterday's update, you can check it out here.
Stetson cannot be stopped. After demolishing NJIT's dreams, Stetson faced off against Lipscomb, another NMTC team. As a reminder, Stetson is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament. KenPom gave Lipscomb a 69 percent chance of winning, but Stetson absolutely destroyed Lipscomb and blew out a favored road team for the second time in three days. I guess you have to tip your hat to them, but this is getting a bit ridiculous. Lipscomb will have to wait to next year.
By the way, Stetson is ineligible because they were ONE MEASLY POINT below the NCAA APR grade standard. I assume Stetson is mad because the NCAA recalculated the standard for this year and moved Stetson into ineligibility in the process. If Stetson had gotten that extra point, we would be celebrating the Hatters' achievement. The cruel irony is that Stetson is making a run in the Atlantic Sun in the year that the Hatters are ineligible. It really does not make any sense that the Atlantic Sun let Stetson play in the conference tournament, but to be fair, the conference probably was not expecting the 285th-best team on KenPom to make a deep run. By the way, Stetson is currently 21 spots above Rutgers by that metric.
What's even more strange is that Stetson now gets to play in the conference title game against Florida Gulf Coast. FGCU destroyed No. 1 seed North Florida yesterday, but if Stetson wins, North Florida will make the NCAA Tournament because Stetson is ineligible.
HATTERS GONNA HATE
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Army, one of the Founding Fathers, beat Colgate 79-72. The game was relatively close but the Black Knights pulled away midway through the second half. Army will play Bill Carmody's upstart Holy Cross team, who upset No. 1 seed Bucknell in double-OT yesterday. That's huge because Bucknell beat Army by 34 points in the last meeting between the two teams.
Let's take a moment to appreciate that Bill Carmody pulled off an upset after being 13-point underdogs on KenPom and given an 11 percent chance of victory. Holy Cross' Robert Champion tied the game on a free throw at the end of regulation and hit a game-tying three at the end of the first overtime. How can you root against Carmody and Champion?
Also, Bucknell now automatically gets a spot in the NIT, which does not bode well for Northwestern's slim NIT hopes.
It was a good day for NMTC teams in the Big South. Longwood came back in the second half and defeated Charleston Southern 75-69. Presbyterian's Desean Murray hit a buzzer-beating to give the Blue Hose a 65-54 win over Radford in the following game. Yes, you read that right, it's the Presbyterian Blue Hose, and the Hose is advancing to the next round! It's fairly impressive for the worst team in the Big South this year.
No. 6 seed Gardner-Webb defeated Campbell 79-69 and will play No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina next.
Quinnipiac crashed out of the conference tournament with a 60-57 loss to Rider. Quinnipiac was leading in the first half, but the Bobcats lost as the game went down to the wire.
Friday's Never Made The Tourney Club action
All games are on ESPN3 tomorrow so it's a great opportunity to take in some NMTC basketball.
No. 10 Citadel (21% KenPom) vs. No. 7 Mercer 6:30 p.m. CST — ESPN 3
Citadel is not very good at basketball and plays at the fastest pace in the nation. Citadel is one of the three remaining Founding Fathers, along with Northwestern and William and Mary.
No. 1 High Point (79% KenPom) vs. No. 8 Longwood - 11:00 p.m. CST — ESPN 3
Both teams are NMTC members. High Point has one of the best shots to make the NCAA Tournament of this group, but star player John Brown's condition has yet to be determined.
No. 6 Gardner-Webb (37%) vs. No. 3 Coastal Carolina - 7:00 p.m. CST — ESPN 3
No. 10 Presbyterian (14%) vs. No. 2 Winthrop - 5:00 p.m. CST — ESPN 3
No. 2 Tennessee-Martin (29%) vs. No. 3 Morehead State - 9:30 p.m. CST — ESPN U
Back next year
South Carolina Upstate
Grand Canyon (ineligible)
Northern Kentucky (ineligible)
UMass Lowell (ineligible)
St. Francis (NY)