Let the Madness begin
Today is the day hoop crazy fans have been waiting for. It’s Selection Sunday, and millions of fans will be glued to their television sets to see where their favorite team is going to be sent.
The broadcast is set to start at 3 p.m. from NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis.
I remember the first year Nevada qualified for the NCAA after winning the WAC tournament in Fresno. The Wolf Pack didn’t have to wait more than a couple of minutes before learning they had been sent to Seattle. Nevada would go to the great Pacific Northwest and conquer both Michigan State and Gonzaga en route to the school’s first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.
Nevada has won just two NCAA first-round games since, beating Texas in Indianapolis and Creighton in New Orleans. Sandwiched between that was a first-round loss to Montana in Salt Lake City.
This will be a disappointing day for Nevada basketball fans. Many thought that the Wolf Pack would punch its NCAA ticket by winning the WAC tournament, which was being played on its home floor this past week. Those hopes went out the window on Friday when Nevada dropped an 80-79 decision to third-seeded New Mexico State, a team it had swept during the regular season.
Nevada coach David Carter admitted New Mexico State wanted it more than his team. He pointed out that the Aggies were first to loose balls and made hustle plays.
Nevada’s only two decent out of conference wins were against Houston and Tulsa. They lost to BYU, Virginia Commonwealth and North Carolina.
Carter & Co. will find out sometime today if there is postseason basketball in their future. With all the upsets happening in conference tournaments this week, I don’t believe Nevada will get an NIT bid.
I do believe that despite Utah State’s loss to New Mexico State in the WAC finals, the Aggies will get an at-large bid. I see Utah State as a No. 11 or No. 12 seed, while NMSU will be a No. 14 seed.
Rhonda Lundin, Nevada spokesperson, said that College Basketball Invitational personnel have had discussions with Nevada officials about playing in their tournament, but other than that didn’t shed any other information.
This year’s tournament should be an interesting one. I see only three really good first-tier teams – Kentucky, Syracuse and Kansas. There are a plethora of second-tier teams, including Duke and Kansas State.
Duke may get the final No. 1 seed, but the Blue Devils struggled on the road at times this year, and there are no true home games in the NCAA Tournament, although if Duke is a No. 1 seed it would be within easy traveling distance of its fans.
So basketball fans, gear up and get your vocal chords and tournament pools ready. You could be witnessing one of the most wide-open tournaments in recent memory. The lack of a “great” team will make it fun to watch.