If you are a Middle Tennessee State fan, don’t go on twitter right now. The Blue Raiders suffered a crippling loss to Florida International 61-57 in the Sun Belt Conference tournament. With the loss they fell to 28-5 on the season and things unfortunately could not look bleeker for them.
They can look no farther than last season when Drexel lost in the CAA title game to VCU 59-56 in front of a decidedly impartial crowd rooting for the Black and Gold. The Dragons finished the year 27-6 with a win over the Rams in the regular season. Their RPI was 66 with a strength of schedule of 189. Despite the gaudy numbers and the talented team, they were relegated to the NIT.
Middle Tennessee’s numbers are much better then that with an RPI of 25 before the loss and a non-conference strength of schedule of 11. They beat Ole Miss (a bubble team) at home 65-62 while also knocking off Vanderbilt, who was weaker then they have been in the past. They have a Top-100 win at Central Florida although they are 100 in the RPI so that could fall off as well. The Blue Raiders have two bad losses which are FIU and Arkansas State. They have also fallen to Florida, Belmont and Akron who are all quality losses.
By the committee leaving out MTSU, they are saying that they didn’t do enough which couldn’t be farther from the truth. They were unlucky to get a poor Vanderbilt team at home and have a win against their bubble competition. Kentucky fluctuates from in and out, based on one game. What happened to a body of work? Why are we focused on the one win, when the rest of the body of work is terrible.
MTSU is 14th in the country defensively while checking in 47th offensively putting up just over 70 points per game. They play fantastic basketball featuring seven guys who score at least six points per game. Marcos Knight is a fun player to watch and putting them in the NIT would be a crock. Can the committee finally send a message and put these guys in? They may not win a game, but they belong more than Baylor does.