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SMU headlines the list of bubble teams that got snubbed

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One of the big questions after the unveiling of the NCAA Tournament bracket every season is if the committee got it right when it comes to the bubble teams seeking at-large bids.

In our modern era of college basketball Bracketology — where everyone seems to be an expert when it comes to the ins and the outs of the field — it seems to be even more difficult to determine which teams should make it in.

Here’s a look at some of the bubble teams that missed the cut of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

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SMU: After spending time in the top 25 the last few weeks of the season, Larry Brown’s Mustangs (23-9, 12-6) were expected by many to be a lock to enter the field of 68 on Sunday. But thanks to a first-round loss to Houston in the AAC Conference Tournament, SMU is on the outside looking in. So what was the undoing of a team that everyone thought would make the field? An RPI of 55 for SMU isn’t bad, but a strength of schedule at 303 in the non-conference portion of the slate might have done the Mustangs in. SMU had only four top-100 RPI wins on the season — UConn (2), Memphis and Cincinnati — and with two sub 150-RPI losses at Temple and at South Florida, the committee had plenty of ammunition to keep SMU out of the field.

California: The Golden Bears (19-13, 10-8) were hoping to be the seventh team to make the cut from the Pac 12, but they lost five of their last seven games to end the season. Cal looked like it would be dancing after a win over then-No. 1 Arizona, but the Bears only beat Washington State, Washington, USC and Colorado the rest of the season.

RELATED: CBT’s 2014 NCAA Tournament Headquarters

Florida State: The Seminoles (19-13, 9-9 ACC) started out 12-4 on the season with wins over VCU and UMass, but quickly sputtered as the ACC got the best of Leonard Hamilton’s team. After beating then-ranked UMass on December 22nd, the Seminoles didn’t beat a ranked opponent the rest of the season and had three opportunities to do so. Although Florida State defeated Maryland in the first round of the ACC Tournament, a loss to Virginia ultimately hurt the Seminoles, as a win over the No. 1 seed Cavaliers would have surely bolstered their résumé.

Green Bay: The mid-major darling of the at-large field, many fans and pundits were hoping the committee would let the Horizon League regular season champs into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. It didn’t happen for the Phoenix (24-6, 14-2) , as an overtime loss to Milwaukee in the Horizon League Tournament semifinals ended Green Bay’s NCAA Tournament hopes. It was the second loss of the season for Green Bay to Milwaukee, but the Phoenix still owned a home win over No. 1 seed and ACC champion Virginia and a respectable three-point loss to Wisconsin. Horizon League Player of the Year Keifer Sykes wasn’t healthy during the Horizon League Tournament, but the committee didn’t seem to notice that Green Bay was playing at less than full strength.

BOOKMARKRead through all of our bracket analysis here

Georgetown: The Hoyas lost five of their last seven games down the stretch and ended the season at 17-14. It helped Georgetown’s resume that they had non-conference wins over Michigan State, Kansas State and VCU, but does anyone deserve to make the field if they lose to DePaul on a neutral court?

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers (20-13, 8-10) were hoping to make it seven teams from the Big Ten entering the field of 68, but after a poor showing against Wisconsin in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, Richard Pitino’s team won’t be dancing. Minnesota finished seventh in the Big Ten at 8-10 and their only two wins since a February 25th home win over Iowa were against Penn State.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.