Taking our NET to the NIT

Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2019

What a bunch of wimps!

The committee in charge of selecting the field for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament wimped out on Sunday. The NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) needs some major tweaking after this debacle.

I’m in total agreement that losses to Wake Forest and Georgia Tech during the regular season plus having Oregon win the PAC 10 tourney title really hurt NC State’s chances to score an at-large spot in the national tournament. But yet the Wolfpack still boasted of the 33rd best NET ranking among the nation’s 353 D-I teams. It needs to be noted that of the 32 teams ranked higher, all were issued invitations to the Big Dance. The ones that got in by the skin of their teeth with at-large berths included Belmont (47th in NET), Temple (56), Arizona State (63) and St. John’s (73).

What I feel caused even more irreversible damage to NCSU’s chances was the fact that the ACC has three of the four #1 seeds (and rightfully so) in the tournament field; and the Selection Committee – thinking in advance of the grief they would catch if placing an eighth team from the ACC in the field of 68 – left the Pack (22-11 overall) outside looking in.

If you don’t agree, then please explain how the following teams received at-large berths:

Ohio State (19-14 overall and 8-12 in the Big 10 with a NET ranking of 55) lost regular seasons games to Illinois (with a 12-21 record this year) and Rutgers (14-17).

Minnesota (21-13; 9-11 in the Big 10; NET is 61) lost to Boston College (14-17, with two of those losses to NC State); Nebraska (18-15) and Illinois.

Baylor (19-13; a NET ranking of 39) finished the regular season with three straight setbacks and then lost their conference tourney opener.

Oklahoma (19-13; 7-11 in the Big 12; NET is 37) lost eight of their final 12 regular season games.

Florida (19-15, but with a NET ranking of 31) lost to South Carolina (16-16) and Georgia (11-21).

Meanwhile, of NC State’s 11 losses, five are to three #1 seeds (Duke, Virginia, UNC) in the NCAA tournament and they beat the SEC tourney champ (Auburn) during the regular season.

Here’s another “head-scratcher” – NC State (ditto for Clemson) wasn’t even worth a mention from the Selection Committee when they designated the first four teams NOT to make the tournament field. For those unaware of the “First Four Out” they were UNC Greensboro (NET 60), Alabama (59), TCU (52) and Indiana (54). Does anyone else other than me find it ironic that those four are the top-seeded teams for the 32-team National Invitational Tournament. NC State (and Clemson) made that tournament field….as a #2 seed.

NCAA Selection Committee Chair Bernard Muir said after Sunday’s field was announced that the committee did take note of how well teams faired against the top tier of the NET. He chose Belmont as an example, saying they had a 2-2 mark against those top-level teams while NC State posted a 3-9 record.

Well, I’m all giddy that a small school like Belmont was invited, but Muir is pulling the old “double-speak” ploy here. How can you compare the results of four games versus that of 12 games?

Put Belmont – or any of these others such as Baylor, OU, Minnesota and the like – up against a full-fledge ACC schedule and let’s see how they stack up week in and week out. It’s a grind in the ACC, not a cakewalk.

Good luck to all my friends that are fans of the Dookies and the Tar Heels…..maybe they’ll be rewarded with round #4 of the Battle of the Blues.

Meanwhile, my Wolfpack is taking their NET to the NIT.


Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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