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Rutgers left out of NCAA Tournament: Rapid Reaction Video



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

The other slipper dropped for Rutgers men’s basketball on Selection Sunday. The Scarlet Knights were left out of the Field of 68. Despite being projected by 94% of Bracketologists on the Bracket Matrix, RU will be heading to the NIT. Head coach Steve Pikiell confirmed this on a zoom call following the NCAA Tournament Selection Show.

Rutgers was in prime position to make a program record third straight NCAA Tournament before finishing the season with a 3-7 record. This coincided with the seasons ending injury to Mawot Mag. During the CBS telecast of the Selection Show, player availability was confirmed as a factor in evaluating teams. On ESPN’s show, it was specifically mentioned that the way RU played without Mag was a factor in being left out.

Strength of record and four quad three losses were also major factors. Despite a strong resumein other areas that included a KenPom ranking of No. 35 and NET ranking of No. 40, the Scarlet Knights fell to the bubble in recent weeks. Steve Pikiell’s team recovered and delivered a strong performance in this past week’s Big Ten Tournament. However, it wasn’t enough to regain their footing and earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

There is a lot to process and I’ll have more on being left out of March Madness soon, including quotes from Pikiell.

Here is my rapid reaction video walking through the disappointment of missing the big dance. I also discuss the NIT bid and what this means for the program moving forward.

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  1. thevinman

    March 13, 2023 at 1:36 am

    Aaron, besides what we did or didn’t do, I keep coming back to the fact the the Big Ten hasn’t done very well in the NCAAs the past few years, with perhaps their worst performance was last year. We can talk about how tough the league is all we want but performance in the NCAAs is how a great deal of the reputations of the conferences are made. If they gave a bod to Rutgers then the Big Ten would have had more teams in the NCAAs than any other conference.

    All we can do now is just hope the Big Ten finally has a very good year. Well, that an root for the bubble teams who edged us out to get hammered. The best outcome would be if Purdue could somehow win the National Championship, but trouble in handling the press makes me doubt they can. I hope they can at least make the Final Four.

  2. BataliBoli98

    March 13, 2023 at 2:07 am

    I’ll listen to the reaction on my way to work tomorrow so hopefully I’m not redundant. A few takeaways:
    1) I guess that this is further proof that winning games in the conference tourney simply doesn’t carry as much weight. Beat MI handily and give Purdue all they can handle and it still wasn’t enough.
    2) 9-4 in Q3 and Q4 was the obvious killer. As a point of comparison, MN, by far the worst team in the conference, was 6-3 against Q3 and 4 teams.
    3) The paired loss of OSU and then SHU was a killer. I’ll always be convinced that if RU beat OSU then they also would’ve handled SHU. It was too much of a hangover.
    4) I wish that Pikiell would’ve turned to Simpson sooner. I don’t care about his shooting percentage. The kid brought desperately needed speed to the court and was the only guy who could beat his man off of the dribble thus allowing for better spacing.
    5) My lasting positives from the year are: 1) The maturation of Simpson and what his recent experience might mean for a Derek, Cam, and Gavin combo next season; 2) Getting to watch Caleb bring it on D every game. I will really miss that. The negatives: RU up 13-3 on Nebraska who looked completely overwhelmed and instead of going for the kill, Cliff came out of the game and Nebraska suddenly started scoring at will; 2) Hyatt passing the ball backwards against MN. I might never get that image out of my head.

  3. BataliBoli98

    March 13, 2023 at 2:13 am

    Looks like RU vs. Hofstra on Tuesday (3/14) at home at 7:00 on ESPNU. Win and RU will play the winner of Cincinnati vs. Va Tech. Here is the full bracket:

    • pj43

      March 13, 2023 at 3:02 am

      Hey, BataliBoli98! Thanks for the link
      I’ll just add a few comments here in general. Rutgers can’t complain. It’s hard to figure how the committee comes to the 4 in/4 out, etc. The fact is Rutgers controlled it’s destiny after Mag’s injury and came up short against MN & NE in particular. Regarding the NIT, I have more interest in this tournament because of Rutgers (my sons went to RU) and my alma mater, Villanova. The only way they meet would be in the finals, so I’ll follow the tournament until they lose. There are a number of worthy NCAA tournament teams in the NIT. I share the thevinman’s comment about the Big Ten, which I think may be overrated, so I’ll be interested to see how the Big teams do, not only in the NIT, but also the Big Dance.

    • Aaron Breitman

      March 13, 2023 at 4:52 am

  4. InPikeWeTrust

    March 13, 2023 at 2:19 am

    This is such a gut punch because of the way we played the last 2 games. If this decision was done in a vacuum I could accept it but you take a look at some of these teams that got in and it becomes very difficult to stomach. Pitt is 77th in the KenPom. I realize it’s predictive but come on. BTW, I don’t think these guys watch that much and how could they because they’re so many teams/games. Maybe re-examining how the teams are selected would help. If you watched us play the last 2 games and looked at our resume, you can’t keep us out. Obviously I’m bias but I think we got hosed.

    • BataliBoli98

      March 13, 2023 at 1:49 pm

      Based on what I see, RU was #77 in KenPom last year and got it so it’s tough for us to complain about that. Clemson is the team that can really be upset. They went 3 – 0 against NC State with a final total of 254 points vs. 189 for NC State. They have a very legitimate gripe as far as I am concerned.

  5. Angry as Hell

    March 13, 2023 at 2:43 am

    The NCAA says they value high quad 1 road wins, they say they rely on the NET, the said they would consider the OSU game result, they say that all games are equal not more recent games, what they say is BS. They use the excuse that since MAG got hurt we had a poor record, and now we aren’t the same team, so what if all games are equal. Obviously they care about who you lose to over who you beat. For example, NC State had 1 quad 1 win and only 2 bad losses, we had a higher NET, but they get in over us. How many tournament teams did they beat? We beat PU, IU, PSU twice, NW, and MSU. This is the usual screw Rutgers by the NCAA, just look at what they did to women’s team more than once.

    • Aaron Breitman

      March 13, 2023 at 5:02 pm

      You forgot a double digit home win over Maryland too. I wrote on Saturday only 15 teams in the field had more than seven wins against the field. Only three others had seven aside from Rutgers. That’s top 20.

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