I want to be mad at the NCAA Selection Committee this morning, but I can’t.
Sure, it’s annoying that the NCAA a few years ago switched from RPI — which has Vanderbilt 40th — to NET, which has Vanderbilt 81st. It’s obnoxious that winning five Quad 1 games didn’t mean anything. It sucks that Mississippi State rolled a crap nonconference schedule, finished three games behind Vanderbilt in the SEC standings, and is in the NCAA Tournament.
Fine. Really, though, we all know why Vanderbilt isn’t in the tournament. Over the course of the regular season, they lost two Quad 3 games (to Southern Miss at home and at LSU) and a Quad 4 game (to Grambling at home.) Those three games are why Vanderbilt isn’t in the tournament. Honestly, beat Grambling and they’re probably in. Beat Grambling and win literally any other game on the schedule that they lost — whether it’s erasing one of the two Quad 3 losses or picking up another Quad 1 win — and they’re definitely in.
Which, all right. It’s still annoying to compare Vanderbilt’s resume to those of the last four teams in the tournament. We’ve mentioned Mississippi State, and there’s also Pitt — which ranks 67th in NET, won four Quad 1 games, has a Quad 3 loss and a Quad 4 loss, and also lost to Vanderbilt. Arizona State, 66th in NET, also took a Quad 4 loss and went 9-11 against the first two quadrants (compared to Vanderbilt’s 10-11.) Nevada went 7-8 against the first two quadrants and had two Quad 3 losses, though no Quad 4.
It’s certainly a value judgment that this is how the selection committee evaluates resumes, but again, when you fuck around like Vanderbilt did in November and December (and, hell, most of January), you can’t really complain. Vanderbilt lost games that it shouldn’t have, and as a result, they’re playing in the NIT. It is what it is.