- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008


Teams that appeared in last season’s tournament but didn’t make the field this season:

Florida: The two-time defending national champions had an 18-game postseason winning streak, the longest since the UCLA dynasty, end at the SEC tournament in Atlanta. On Sunday, the Gators’ run of nine straight NCAA appearances also ended after they went 21-11 against a soft schedule. It’s the first time since Kansas in 1989 that the defending champ missed the field, and those Jayhawks were on tournament probation.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes lost their two best players and most of their top scorers after getting to the national championship game last season. Ohio State’s young team struggled early against one of the nation’s toughest schedules. Yes, they improved during the season and won 19 games. But the mediocre Big Ten couldn’t get a fifth bid, making it the first time since 1980 that both teams from the previous NCAA title game were left out.

Boston College: The Eagles were one of the ACC’s top teams the last couple of seasons and appeared to be headed toward another strong season this year. Losing 13 of their final 15 games changed everything, leaving Boston College with a 14-17 mark and out of the tournament.

Creighton: Missouri Valley Conference teams had been all the rage the last two seasons. Not this year. Creighton’s 21-10 mark wasn’t enough for an eighth NCAA appearance in nine years.

Georgia Tech: Early season losses to North Carolina-Greensboro and Winthrop were a precursor of what was to come for the young Yellow Jackets. They finished strong, winning four-of-six, but a 15-17 record gave them no chance of making the field.

Illinois: The 2005 national runner-up struggled with a young roster this season, losing 13 games by eight or fewer points. As usual, Illinois played well in the Big Ten tourney, winning three times in three days. But they needed four wins in four days to make it after going 12-18 during the regular season.

Maryland: The 2002 national champions were done in by inconsistency. They lost back-to-back home games against Ohio University and American, then won three straight road games in the ACC. That season-long pattern continued in the conference tournament where the Terrapins (18-14) were knocked out by Boston College. Maryland, seeded fourth in last year’s tournament, went out in the second round to Butler.

Miami (Ohio): The RedHawks, a two-point loser to Oregon in the first round last year, finished 17-15 and without their coach, Charlie Coles, who was in the hospital after undergoing a heart procedure.?

Nevada: The 2004 NCAA tournament darling when it reached the regional semifinals, ended its streak of four straight NCAA appearances.

Southern Illinois: The Salukis spent the past few years in the role of being a favorite to upset the big boys. They won’t get that chance this season after reaching the regional semifinals twice since 2002, including last year. The absence ends their run of consecutive NCAA trips at six.

Texas Tech: The Red Raiders slim hopes slipped away after Bob Knight’s resignation in February. His successor and son, Pat, went 4-7 after the midseason change. And even though Texas Tech finished 16-15, it wasn’t good enough.

Virginia: A 15-15 record wasn’t nearly good enough, and the seven-game losing streak in January and February ended their final hopes. Any questions? The athletic department even announced Saturday it had accepted a bid to the new CBI tournament ” if it wasn’t selected for the NIT.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies (19-13) wanted the committee to look at its ACC tourney performance against No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday. Instead they looked at an RPI rating of 58 and a 5-5 record over the last 10 games. The Hokies were eliminated in the second round last year by Southern Illinois.

Virginia Commonwealth: Apparently, 24 wins and a regular-season conference championship weren’t enough to impress the committee. VCU, which upset Duke in the first round last year, will have to settle for the NIT.

Also out: Albany, Central Connecticut State, Florida A&M;, George Washington, Holy Cross, Eastern Kentucky, Jackson State, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Niagara, North Texas, Old Dominion, Penn, Texas A&M-Corpus; Christi, Weber State, Wright State

” Associated Press

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