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Colorado State Rams ripped off: NCAA Tournament snub is silly and sad

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March 16, 2015

Colorado Sate didn’t deserve this. “Team Together,” led by three senior stars, didn’t deserve this decision from the selection committee on Sunday.

While Mountain West cohorts Wyoming – who won the Mountain West Tournament for an auto-bid – San Diego State and Boise State made it in, it became clear CSU would be the one left out. No way the committee would select four MW teams, even if they are deserving. Three, from that conference way out west, is enough.

When Colorado State was considered a “first four out” team, the Rams were ripped off.

“They’re devastated, and they should be, because they’re certainly an NCAA tournament team,” head coach Larry Eustachy said of his players at his presser following the snub.

What did their 2014-15 resume look like? 27 wins, 6 losses, an RPI of 30. That’s certainly good enough to get in and better than Boise’s.

27 wins were a school-record and included a 14-game winning streak to start the year. All that winning pushed CSU into the Top-25 at one point; a point in time which now seems long ago. Colorado State became only the ninth team in the history of the NCAA Tournament to win 27 games and not make it in. A mere six losses on their record and five of those came against NCAA Tournament teams. The one loss that wasn’t against an NCAA team? It was against New Mexico in The Pit, where almost no team escapes with a win.

And as far as RPI is concerned, CSU is first team since the championship expanded to 68 teams in 2011 to be snubbed with at least an RPI of 30.

Some will question Eustachy’s willingness to sit star J.J. Avila in the semis of the MW Tournament. The night before, Avila rolled an ankle in the blowout win over Fresno State. In the lead-up to the semifinal against SDSU, the television broadcasters noted the Rams would sit Avila, partially because they thought they’d done enough to be an at-large bid. (Spoiler alert: They did.)

So, Avila sat, resting his ankle for the NCAA Tournament and the Rams were run over by San Diego State. Some think that if Avila played, the Rams would be in the tournament now. That’s likely not the case.

An injured Avila would have helped some, but SDSU is simply longer, taller and more athletic than CSU. It’s been the case for years and was again late Friday night. Even a healthy Avila probably wouldn’t have been enough to get the Rams past the Aztecs, especially when considering the physically intense style of defense SDSU employs.

Fans who are upset at Eustachy for resting an injured player should turn that ire toward the inept NCAA selection committee.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the committee’s folly. Look at Boise State’s record (25-8) and their RPI (42) and it’s clear they’re not the team Colorado State is. Yes, they split match-ups with CSU  in the regular season, but the Rams are better equipped to make a run in the postseason.

For now, Colorado State must look toward the NIT and their No. 1 seed.

On Wednesday, CSU hosts No. 8 seed South Dakota State at 8 pm inside Moby Arena. On the bright side, Ram fans get one more chance to cheer on Avila and fellow seniors Daniel Bejarano and Stanton Kidd in person.

Of course, this is one time fans would’ve rather stayed home and watched their Rams on TV, dancing, where they should be.


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