6 biggest March Madness snubs for men’s 2024 NCAA tournament


Bubble drama became a major storyline entering the 2024 NCAA tournament. This year’s bubble situation was stacked with comparable resumes and complicated conference tournament developments. The unpredictable weekend altered so many dreams and changed a great deal of travel plans.

Five bid thieves: New Mexico, Duquesne, UAB, Oregon and N.C. State became agents of chaos to the NCAA tournament committee’s plans. Suddenly, there was a major crunch for at-large bids. The five bid thieves winning auto bids essentially erased an entire seed line of at-large teams and made for a long weekend for teams on the bubble.

Now that the 2024 NCAA tournament bracket has been revealed, here are six teams who can feel snubbed after a wild week of conference tournaments. While a lot of people are upset Virginia made the field of 68, a lot of these times might have had better overall profiles.

St. John’s

Things were looking positive for St. John’s earlier this week based on metrics. The Red Storm are top 40 in NET (32) and KenPom (26) and won six straight games before falling to UConn in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

But with the extra spots being gobbled up, the Big East saw mid-tier teams get left out. It also gave St. John’s only one win over an NCAA tournament team (Creighton), with other Big East teams like Providence and Seton Hall also missing the tournament. At only 4-10 in Quad 1 games, St. John’s probably needed one more win to get into this field.

Shockingly, Virginia is 44 spots below St. John’s in KenPom’s rankings, a gigantic disparity between a bubble team that got in and one that was left out.

Seton Hall

The case for Seton Hall comes from five Quad 1 wins, including particularly notable Big East wins over UConn and Marquette. Not many teams in the field can boast two wins over top two seeds.

But the Pirates’ very low NET ranking of 67 was sunk by a non-conference schedule with only a high-major win against Missouri and losses to USC, Iowa and Rutgers.

Despite a Seton Hall regular season sweep of St. John’s, the Pirates couldn’t get past the Red Storm for a third time in a game with big bubble implications in the Big East tournament. Beating St. John’s all three tries and getting another crack at UConn could have been the difference. Next year will see Seton Hall look to improve a non-conference schedule in the mid 200s.

Pitt

The main bone to pick for Pitt is owning a head-to-head win over Virginia, a team who got into the field even though they had worse computer numbers. Although the Panthers played an easy non-conference schedule that didn’t give them a signature win, a win over Duke and a road win at Virginia matches the two Quad 1 wins that Virginia owns.

With the ACC being down this season and Pitt’s non-conference schedule hovering into the 300s, the Panthers clearly didn’t win enough marquee games to get in.

Indiana State

This season’s mid-major darling fell victim to the brutality of Championship Week after falling to Drake last weekend. The Sycamores gained a national cult following thanks to head coach Josh Schertz’s fun offense and a team of talented and interesting players led by big man Robbie Avila.

Despite a NET rating as high as 29 during the week, Indiana State didn’t have enough quality wins. Going 1-4 against Quad 1 teams and 5-5 against the top two quads didn’t help an at-large cause in a tight year. It’s terrible that Indiana State has a difficult time regularly scheduling difficult non-conference games. But the Sycamores didn’t help their own cause by losing two out of three to Drake in conference play.

Providence

Despite six Quad 1 wins and no very bad losses, Providence finds itself out of the NCAA tournament picture.

Two wins over Creighton and wins over Marquette and Wisconsin, while not having worse than a Quad 2 loss is much stronger than many on the bubble can claim. The Friars also sustained a solid season despite the season-ending injury to starting forward Bryce Hopkins early in conference play. Overall, the Big East was done no favors on the bubble this season and many of Providence’s key wins turned out to be against teams held out of the NCAA tournament.

Oklahoma

Even though the Big 12 was the best and deepest league in the country, the Sooners didn’t do enough to get in. With only a 4-12 record in Quad 1 games, the Sooners sputtered down the stretch and didn’t clean up numerous opportunities to enhance their stock.

But to see a Big 12 team with metrics this high be left out is a little bit surprising. Oklahoma still beat a two seed in Iowa State, but the lack of other marquee wins over tournament teams probably kept them out.





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