The March Madness selection process is being taken as a slap in the face this year by the SU Orange. For the first time since 2001-2002, no “Big Dance” for the boys from Syracuse. Their barely welcome consolation prize will be a mid-week NIT appearance.
As for the NCAA tourney, an index that guides team selection, recently mocked at SU, was the squad’s downfall:
Syracuse Coach Jim Boehiem called the Ratings Percentage Index “the biggest joke of all time” two weeks ago, but it appears that his team’s R.P.I. of 50 helped undo the Orange. Boeheim mocked a reporter after Syracuse’s win against Connecticut in the Big East tournament who suggested that victory assured them an N.C.A.A. tournament spot. Boeheim insisted that they would have been in without that victory. Boeheim has been the most vocal proponent of an expanded tournament, and this perceived snub will only fuel his fire for that.
Here’s the record SU points to as some on the the Hill feel- and others openly exclaim- “We wuz robbed!”
SU finished the season with 22 wins and 10 losses. It was 10-6 in Big East play during the regular season, good enough for fifth place. It defeated Big East champion Georgetown in its second-to-last regular season game, and it finished with seven wins in it’s last 10 games. But all of that wasn’t enough to get into the tournament.
So Syracuse is among 32 teams in the field for the 70th annual National Invitation Tournament. The Orange got the second seed in the South region, and will host a first-round game against South Alabama on Wednesday. Coach Boeheim says he expects it to be a tough game.
Here’s the video of his very subdued public reaction to his team having been passed over by the NCAA.
As always, some great basketball will be played in the NCAA tournament this year, but this time around SU will not be playing it. For those anticipating the games and, face it, planning to put some money on them, here are the March Madness brackets.