The Rutgers University men’s basketball team was kicked out of the NCAA tournament on Selection Sunday, with a large contingent expressing their discontent on social media.
When the 68 teams that did the dance were announced, Rutgers, which owns a 19-14 record on the season (10-10 in conference), was left out despite many believing the selection committee would involve them.
“Rutgers got screwed,” The Ringer’s John Jastremski wrote on Twitter. “I don’t understand how you take 4 Mountain West teams…”
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The selection committee considers each team’s schedules and, more importantly, the strength of those schedules.
But Kristian Dyer of Rutgers Wire noted that he believed a tournament team picked over Rutgers was a “shockingly bad” decision.
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Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post added a different perspective on the matter.
“I feel bad for the #Rutgers seniors, but this could be the overdue wake-up call the program needs to schedule better in November and December. There are better NJ high school games most nights.” he wrote on Twitter.
Rutgers has been able to beat out top talent this season. They defeated one of the tournament’s No. 1 and Big Ten Tournament winners at Purdue, 65-64, on January 2. But they struggled for consistency against others, including losing seven of their last 10 games.
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Rutgers was not the only team rejected by the tournament. Oklahoma State was another that some believed would make it, but fell short in the eyes of the committee. UNC, however, made a bad story after losing the most games of any preseason AP No. 1 seed, also missing the tournament.
Rutgers, however, will accept an invitation to play in the National Invitational Tournament, says head coach Steve Pikiell.
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“Yes, absolutely,” Pikiell said via NJ.com. “We’re going to try to keep playing. I want Caleb (McConnell) and Paul (Mulcahy) to play as many games (as possible). I don’t want this season to end. This group has been really great and has done a lot of great things for us. …Having maybe the opportunity to play a home game here for those guys would be very important and I think in the appropriate way (to end the season) I will not apologize for playing the postseason here at Rutgers Obviously our goal to The beginning of the year is the NCAA Tournament, but we’ll have to change quickly here.”