Rutgers should’ve made NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament ‘full stop,’ New Jersey governor says
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy was just as upset as every other Rutgers fan on Monday as the Scarlet Knights were left out of the field of 68 for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Despite being ranked 35th in college basketball analyst Ken Pom’s rankings, having a NET ranking of 40 and picking up victories over Purdue, Northwestern and Penn State, Rutgers was out of the tournament even as teams with lower NET rankings made it into the Big Dance.
Murphy tweeted his displeasure with the NCAA Selection Committee.
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“#35 in KenPom rankings. Beat #1 seed Purdue on the road and nearly beat them again two days ago. And won against a number of strong teams during the season,” Murphy tweeted.
“Rutgers should have made the Tourney. Period. Full stop.”
There will still be a rooting interest for Murphy as Princeton and Fairleigh Dickinson made the men’s field. Princeton and Monmouth made up the field on the women’s side. However, Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth are in play-in games to get to the first round.
Rutgers has been able to beat top talent this season. They defeated one of the no. 1 seeds in the tournament and the Big Ten Tournament winners in Purdue, 65-64, back on Jan. 2. However, they struggled to maintain consistency against others, including losing seven of their last 10 games.
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Rutgers was not the only team to be spurred by the tournament. Oklahoma State was another one that some believed would make it, but they fell short in the eyes of the committee. UNC, however, made some bad history after losing the most games of any AP preseason No. 1 seed, and they also missed the tournament.
Rutgers, however, will say yes to a nod to play in the National Invitation Tournament, says head coach Steve Pikiell.
“Yes, absolutely,” Pikiell said, via NJ.com. “We’re going to try to continue 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 done a lot of great things for us.
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“… Having maybe an opportunity to play a home game here for those guys would be very important and I think appropriate way (to end the season). I’m not apologizing for postseason play here at Rutgers. Obviously, our goal at The beginning of the year is the NCAA Tournament, but we’ll have to shift here quickly.”
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.