Yesterday was a tough day if you’re a CSU Men’s Basketball fan.
On the edge all day awaiting the field to be named for the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament. And then disappointment when our Rams were not included in the Field of 68 but named as one of four schools on call to be added if a team named to the field is forced to stop out because of COVID.
First of all, let’s get something straight.
No team is going to drop out of the tournament
You only need 5 healthy players and with all of the protocols being followed, everybody will be able to meet that standard.
And so the next best thing is the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) which is 16-team affair being played in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. The Rams were named a 1-seed in that tournament and begin play on Friday.
A reward for a great season for sure, but it doesn’t minimize the hurt the team felt as they watched the Selection Show yesterday. For all the hurt we felt as fans you can multiply that by 100 for players and coaches alike yesterday. They have given their all in a difficult year and were certainly deserving of an at-large bid. And its obvious that they fell just 2 spots short of a bid.
I’m not going to discuss my thoughts on the Rams vs. some of the teams that were named to the field because it’s water under the bridge (cough, cough Syracuse and Wichita State).
In the end, two teams that would not have qualified as At-Large teams ended up winning their respective conference tournaments, earning a trip to The Dance. Those teams were Georgetown in the Big East and Oregon State in the PAC-12. They took the last two spots and pushed CSU out.
Would another win in the regular season or Mountain West Tournament been enough to overcome that?
We’ll never know whether a second home won over Boise State would have been enough. Or whether a win in the final conference game vs. Nevada or a win over Utah State in the MWC tourney semi-final would have gotten the Rams there.
The answer is probably.
And let that sink in a bit. Especially the Nevada loss. CSU with the ball in the final seconds failing to score, Nevada scoring a difficult three-ball with a second remaining to win the game.
All of the hard work to go dancing done in by a single possession.
And so now its on to preparing for the NIT.
The Rams have remained in Las Vegas following their Friday evening loss to Utah State. They are headquartered at a hotel where they are in individual rooms to minimize contact for COVID reasons. They do get to have meals together as a team and they have practiced. But they are alone most of the time.
Don’t forget that they are still students so players like Adam Thistlewood and David Roddy talked yesterday about getting ahead on schoolwork and working with professors to deal with the fact that they will be on the road for weeks as they try to finish their season successfully.
Which also means days spent doing mundane things such as laundry. I remember those laundry days in college way back when. I’ll bet it takes a ton of quarters these days. Does anybody know if they still have those cool little boxes of Cheer or Tide available in vending machines?
Time to Award the Trophy for Cracker’s Front Range League (CRFL)
Because of COVID and the limited number of meetings between Front Range teams this season, I was going to award the CRFL title based upon NET Rankings. But that all changed on Saturday night when CU inexplicably lost in the Pac12 Championship game to Oregon State, allowing the Beavers to “steal” a bid.
So I decided I would put together the standings of games actually played. And it looks like this:
So I am awarding the coveted 2021 CFRL trophy to the Colorado State Rams. The trophy consists of a photo of Salma Hayek, a cheese ball, and a cigar.
I can do this because I am the Commissioner. And I take my commissioner responsibilities seriously. I back my teams. And I punish my teams when they do a fellow member dirty like CU did. The trophy was yours Buffs until you conjured up a way to lose to a mediocre team like Oregon State. An Oregon State team that lost at home earlier in the season to last place CFRL squad Wyoming.
I will not be updating the CFRL trophy with a new Salma photo. That doesn’t mean that I can’t do something cheesy like post another picture of her. Rumor has it she was delivering a strong message to Craig Thompson regarding his failures as MWC commissioner when this photo was taken.
I’ll talk more on the NIT game on Friday in another post tomorrow. Lots of good stuff to talk about including Isaiah Stevens’ return to his hometown and Assistant Coach JR Blount’s handling of the scouting report for Buffalo, who are coached by Jim Whitesell. Whitesell was JR’s coach when he played at Loyola (IL).