Rob Dauster

2016 NCAA TOURNAMENT BREAKDOWN: Did the committee make right call on bubble teams?

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The one thing that the NCAA tournament selection committee made clear to us on Sunday: With the exception of Wichita State, they did not value the profiles of the mid-major programs.

Monmouth, Saint Mary’s and Valparaiso did not get in. San Diego State — from the typically high-major Mountain West Conference — and St. Bonaventure — from the Atlantic 10 — did not get in, either.

Instead, Michigan will play Tulsa and Vanderbilt will play Wichita State in the play-in games on the No. 11 seed line. Perhaps more confounding than that, Syracuse, who no one thought would be in the tournament, ended up as a No. 10 seed.

[   INSTANT ANALYSIS: East | South | Midwest | West   ]

I understand why the Selection Committee did not put Monmouth in the tournament. We’re talking about a team that lost three games to sub-200 opponents and whose elite road wins — at UCLA and at Georgetown — ended up being decidedly more mediocre on paper than we thought they would be when they happened.

I get that.

But this is also a mid-major team that can only get so many games against elite competition. It’s not their fault that UCLA and Georgetown were terrible this season. They challenged themselves, they won those games — oh, and they beat a good USC and a good Notre Dame team on a neutral court — and they’re out because when they lost road games in league play, they lose to MAAC opponents instead of ACC opponents?

I just can’t wrap my head around that.

Saint Mary’s didn’t beat anyone other than Gonzaga and didn’t leave California until Feb. 4th. Whatever. Valparaiso is good enough to be a Sweet 16, but they didn’t win the games they needed to win. I wish they were in, but I get it. That’s not the hill I’m going to die on. San Diego State? They beat Cal … and basically no one else, while losing to San Diego (gross). Again, whatever.

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But Monmouth challenged themselves, came through on those challenges and got left out for a Syracuse team that has the lowest RPI in the history of at-large bids? That lost 13 games, including at St. John’s? That lost five of their last six games? The Orange got in because Jim Boeheim somehow convinced the committee that Mike Hopkins can’t coach and that’s why Syracuse went 4-5 in his absence?

And what about Tulsa?

They beat UConn. They beast Cincinnati. They beat Tulsa. They won at SMU. And then they lost to three teams ranked outside the top 125. Why is that so much better than what Monmouth did?

I’ll never know.

2016 NCAA Tournament Tip Times and Announcer Pairings

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NCAA First Four
Tuesday, March 15

6:40 p.m., truTV, Dayton
No. 16 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl)

9:05 p.m., truTV, Dayton
No. 11 Vanderbilt vs. No. 11 Wichita St.(Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl)

NCAA First Four
Wednesday, March 16

6:40 p.m., truTV, Dayton
No. 16 Holy Cross vs. No. 16 Southern U. (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio)

9:05 p.m., truTV, Dayton
No. 16 Michigan vs. No. 16 Tulsa (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio)

[   INSTANT ANALYSIS: East | South | Midwest | West   ]

First Round Games
Thursday Afternoon, March 17

12:15 p.m., CBS, Providence
No. 4 Duke vs. No. 13 UNCW (Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn)

12:40 p.m., truTV, Raleigh
No. 8 Texas Tech vs. No. 9 Butler (Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson)

1:30 p.m., TNT, Des Moines
No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Connecticut (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

2:00 p.m., TBS, Denver
No. 4 Iowa State vs. No. 13 Iona (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Eradhl)

2:45 p.m., CBS, Providence
No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 12 Yale (Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn)

3:10 p.m., truTV, Raleigh
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Hampton (Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson)

4:00 p.m., TNT, Des Moines
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Austin Peay (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

4:30 p.m., TBS, Denver
No. 5 Purdue vs. No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Eradhl)

First Round Games
Thursday Evening, March 17

6:50 p.m., TNT, Providence
No. 3 Miami vs. No. 14 Buffalo (Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn)

7:10 p.m., CBS, Des Moines
No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Chattanooga (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

7:20 p.m., TBS, Raleigh
No. 1 North Carolina vs. Florida Gulf Coast-Fairleigh Dickinson winner (Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson)

7:27 p.m., truTV, Denver
No. 3 Utah vs. No. 14 Fresno State (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Eradhl)

9:20 p.m., TNT, Providence
No. 6 Arizona vs. Vanderbilt-Wichita State winner (Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore, Evan Washburn)

9:40 p.m., CBS, Des Moines
No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Stony Brook (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

9:50 p.m., TBS, Raleigh
No. 8 USC vs. No. 9 Providence (Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Lewis Johnson)

9:57 p.m., truTV, Denver
No. 6 Seton Hall vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Eradhl)

First Round Games
Friday Afternoon, March 18

12:15 p.m., CBS, St. Louis
No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Syracuse (Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson)

12:40 p.m., truTV, Brooklyn
No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 UNC Asheville (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

1:30 p.m., TNT, Oklahoma City
No. 7 Oregon St. vs. No. 10 VCU (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio)

2:00 p.m., TBS, Spokane
No. 4 California vs. No. 13 Hawaii (Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Ros Gold-Onwude)

2:45 p.m., CBS, St. Louis
No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 15 Middle Tennessee St. (Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson)

3:10 p.m., truTV, Brooklyn
No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 10 Temple (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

4:00 p.m., TNT, Oklahoma City
No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 15 CSU Bakersfield (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio)

4:30 p.m., TBS, Spokane
No. 5 Maryland vs. No. 12 South Dakota St. (Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Ros Gold-Onwude)

First Round Games
Friday Evening, March 18

6:50 p.m., TNT, St. Louis
No. 7 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Pittsburgh (Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson)

7:10 p.m., CBS, Brooklyn
No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Stephen F. Austin (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

7:20 p.m., TBS, Oklahoma City
No. 3 Texas A&M vs. No. 14 UW-Green Bay (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio)

7:27 p.m., truTV, Spokane
No. 1 Oregon vs. Holy Cross-Southern U. winner (Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Ros Gold-Onwude)

9:20 p.m., TNT, St. Louis
No. 2 Xavier vs. No. 15 Weber St. (Brian Anderson, Steve Smith, Dana Jacobson)

9:40 p.m., CBS, Brooklyn
No. 6 Notre Dame vs. Michigan-Tulsa winner (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)

9:50 p.m., TBS, Oklahoma City
No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Northern Iowa (Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski, Jaime Maggio)

9:57 p.m., truTV, Spokane
No. 8 St. Joseph’s vs. No. 9 Cincinnati (Spero Dedes, Doug Gottlieb, Ros Gold-Onwude)

2016 NCAA TOURNAMENT PRINTABLE BRACKET

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[   BRACKET BREAKDOWN: East | South | Midwest | West   ]

NEW PODCAST: Get all your bracket analysis right here

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INTRODUCING CINDERELLA: Meet the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners

Cal State Bakersfield's bench reacts during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against New Mexico State in the final of the Western Athletic Conference men's tournament Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
(AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
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Conference: WAC

Coach: Rod Barnes

Record: 24-8, 11-3

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 95
RPI: 138
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: Bakersfield isn’t going to end up with a seed that’s strong enough to give them a real shot at pulling off an upset, but they may be able to avoid the 16-seed line.

Names you need to know: Bakersfield has five guys that average double-figures this season, which may strike you as odd considering how defensive-minded they are. Aly Ahmed is the star, but it was Dedrick Basile that hit the shot that sent them to the tournament.

Stats you need to know: The Roadrunners are 25th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which is really impressive given the schedule that they’ve played. In terms of their raw defensive points-per-possession numbers, they’re fourth nationally. They can lock up.

Big wins, bad losses: CSU-Bakersfield didn’t land any wins this season that were all that notable, but they did pick off Grand Canyon — a top 100 RPI team — once and they beat New Mexico State — who only lost once in league play — in the league title game.

How’d they get here?: The Roadrunners finished tied for second in the WAC, rolling through the league tournament and eventually picking off league champ NMSU in the title game thanks to this buzzer-beating, bid-clinching three.

Outlook: Bakersfield is one of those teams that is going to be annoying to get matched up with in the first round. They can really get after you defensively, and those teams can be dangerous in the tournament. Get someone frustrated, get them out of a rhythm and get hot offensively, and suddenly Bakersfield is in a close game with a No. 2 seed with five minutes left. I’m not saying to pick them in your bracket, but I am saying that this is the kind of team that could throw a scare into someone.

How do I know you?: You probably don’t, because Cal State Bakersfield has never been to the NCAA tournament before. So good for them.

VIDEO: CSU-Bakersfield earned a bid to the tournament on this buzzer-beater

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That’s a helluva way to get into the NCAA tournament.

The hero of the night? Dedrick Basile: