SMU headlines the list of bubble teams that got snubbed

2 Comments
source: Getty Images
Getty Images

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.

RELATED: East RegionSouth Region | Midwest Region | West Region

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.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle to test NBA draft waters

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
1 Comment

Syracuse announced on Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Tyus Battle will be declaring for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, giving him until the NCAA’s May 30th deadline to withdraw from contention and return to school.

Battle averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore for the Orange, who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

He is a projected late-first round or early-second round pick given his size, shooting ability and skill with the ball in his hands.

Losing Battle would be a massive blow to a Syracuse team that is already going to be without Matthew Moyer, who transferred out of the program, and Dareus Bazley, who is heading to the G League instead of enrolling in college.

Maryland’s Kevin Huerter declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
1 Comment

Maryland wing Kevin Huerter announced on Friday afternoon that he will be declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, giving him the option of returning to school by May 30th.

“This will be a great experience for Kevin to get honest feedback from NBA teams and executives,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow Kevin and his family to make an informed decision about his future.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 wing known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He averaged 14.8 points and shot 42 percent from three as a sophomore.

He is also the third player from Maryland to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Justin Jackson, a borderline first round pick who missed time last season with a shoulder injury, has signed with an agent while Bruno Fernando is testing the waters. Maryland, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in, will be a preseason top 20 team if Huerter and Fernando both return to school.

Huerter is a borderline first round pick.

Michigan’s Charles Matthews to test NBA draft waters

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michigan guard Charles Matthews announced on Friday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft, but that he does not intend to sign with an agent, meaning he has until May 30th to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

“After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” said Matthews. “I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!”

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore that averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 boards for the national runners-up, was a four-star prospect coming out of Chicago and spent his freshman season at Kentucky.

Matthews is a likely second round pick with the potential to climb into the first round should he prove to be a more consistent three-point shooter. He shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc this past season.

Virginia’s Hunter to return to school for sophomore season

Eric Espada/Getty Images
Leave a comment

De’Andre Hunter announced on Friday afternoon that he will not be entering his name into the NBA draft and will return to Virginia for his redshirt sophomore season, a decision that will have as much of an impact on the 2018-19 college basketball season as any that is made this spring.

Hunter, now a potential top ten pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was one of the breakout stars of the 2017-18 season. A 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 boards while shooting 38.2 percent from three in just under 20 minutes a night for a Virginia team whose pace severely limits the kind of numbers a player like him can put up.

Throw in his ability to defend on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hunter is precisely the kind of player that NBA teams are looking to land as basketball becomes more and more built on positional versatility and the ability to space the floor.

And it’s that versatility that will make Hunter so important for the Cavaliers next season.

Let’s go beyond the simple fact that he is going to be the only guy on the Virginia roster that can create his own shot against length and athleticism and that there is a chance that he could end up being an all-american next season if things play out the right way. What makes Hunter so important to Virginia his that his defensive versatility is what allows Virginia to matchup with teams that want to try and play small-ball against them.

That’s precisely what UMBC did in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game that Hunter missed with a broken wrist. We all know how that played out, and I’m not even dumb enough to pin all the blame of a 20-point loss to a No. 16 seed on a guy that played less than 20 minutes a night.

Virginia choked once they realized that there was a chance this could happen, but I would argue that a major reason they couldn’t ever truly assert their dominance was because they were unable to matchup with UMBC’s four-guard lineup without Hunter.

With Hunter back, Virginia is the No. 6 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. If he had declared for the draft and signed with an agent, I’m not sure I would have had the Wahoos in the top 20.

He takes Tony Bennett’s club from simply being good to once against being a contender for the ACC regular season title.

Vanderbilt the sixth Kentucky player declares for the NBA draft

Michael Reaves/Getty Images
1 Comment

Jarred Vanderbilt is now the sixth Kentucky Wildcat to declare for the NBA draft this spring, joining P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel in testing the waters without signing with an agent.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo have all declared for the draft and signed with an agent.

Vanderbilt announced his decision on Friday afternoon.

“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said. “At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA.”

“I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school.”

Vanderbilt missed the first 17 games of his freshman season with a left foot injury, a foot that he had injured twice before during his high school career. He then missed all four of Kentucky’s postseason games with a left ankle injury, and there is a chance that he could end up needing surgery to correct this issue this offseason.

All told, the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt played in 14 games as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 boards in just 17 minutes a night. But issues with his ability to shoot from the perimeter and a lower left leg that has proven to be extremely problematic, there is a good chance that Vanderbilt would go undrafted should he decide to turn pro.