Don’t Blame the NIT
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 16:03
The clock dwindled down and the final buzzer sounded as the dream of making the 2013 NCAA tournament died on that fateful night in Sioux Falls. The Bison were unable to dethrone the Summit League champs of a year ago and hung their heads as they walked off the court dodging ecstatic SDSU fans as they flooded the court.
From my view in the crow’s nest of the Sioux Falls Arena, I could almost see the hopes and dreams drift away from the few Bison faithful that remained in the crowd, dumbfounded and caught in an unfamiliar place. Losing is something the Bison haven’t done a lot of this year and the foreign feeling of failure showed its mighty horns leaving disgust in every fan draped in green and gold.
“It’s not over,” they said. “The NIT is in reach!”
How silly they were.
Selection Sunday came and Selection Sunday went. No call from the Big Dance or the NIT came and the Bison reluctantly accepted another invitation to the College Basketball Insider tournament. A terrific season will end with an anticlimactic finish.
Disclaimer: Due to deadline dates and the ridiculously slow business we call the newspaper, this column was written Tuesday, March 19, a day before the Bison played Western Michigan in their first round matchup of the CBI tournament. But I guess it doesn’t really matter…much like the CBI tournament.
The (24-9) Bison’s RPI to end the regular season was tied at 79 with (27-4) Stephen F. Austin, a school that will be represented in the NIT. Now it has come to my attention that many Bison fans are upset about the disrespect shown by the NIT committee for the Bison not receiving a bid.
When the bracket for the NIT was released Sunday night, fourteen teams in the tournament had an equal-or-lower RPI than the Bison.
Unfair, unjust or straight up ripped off, however you want to describe the Bison not being included; I’m going to have to disagree with you.
As much as we want to complain about generated rankings on a computer, we have to realize that’s the way it is and we should accept it now before the BCS screws us out of a chance for the 2025 BCS Football National Championship game. There is nothing we can do about it.
Out of the fourteen teams that have a higher RPI than the Bison, five are from the power conferences. It is difficult to argue with leaving a St. John’s or a Providence team out of the NIT, especially with the location of these schools.
It’s all about location for the nine mid-majors that slipped in ahead off the Bison, too. We can take a look at a Northeastern team ranked 165 in the RPI or a Norfolk St. that is ranked 178, it doesn’t matter where they are ranked-- it matters where they call home. And that’s the east coast.
The East Coast bias is very real in the NIT and it has always been that way. If we are looking for someone or something to blame for our lack of an invitation, it has to be the location of our school.
Fargo isn’t exactly the biggest media market or a hotbed for basketball talent.
Do we really want cameras in the BSA anyway? I, for one, would be embarrassed.
Best of luck to the Bison in the CBI and get ready to dance next season, #BisoNation.