Seven seconds left on the clock, Racers are up by two points, Belmont has the ball and a 3-pointer is made. Racer fans are silent; Steve Prohm hangs his head and Jarvis Williams’ jaw drops in shock.
You know the Racers lost the OVC Championship, but did they really? Just because I believe they deserve a bid doesn’t mean the statistics add up and they’ll get one.
As a reporter sitting on press row, we have to be unbiased. As a Racer fan sitting on press row we want to scream, shout and throw a fit.
The Racers are ranked 71 on the BPI with a 68.2 percent below average score; which is the basketball power index.
Looking at the bubble, we’re not in the last four byes, the last four in, and not even in the first four out; the Racers are in the next four out ranks below Illinois State and above Iona College.
There are players on the team that are in the top 10 for number of free throws made, players with a shooting average that puts them on the lookout for NBA scouts and almost half of the team has received an award or honor of some kind throughout this season.
The Racers succeeded in having the second longest win streak in the country, broke records, made unbelievable shots and have seen numerous NBA scouts sit in on their games.
Justin Seymour tweeted about his thoughts and I agree—you shouldn’t let one game define your season. They lost on a fade away 3-pointer by Belmont. Just because there is one loss doesn’t mean you let it define your whole perception of the team.
Though I sat on the sidelines and clenched my fist waiting for the final three-second shot, I’m not sure the NCAA will see all the work I’ve seen this season.
The NCAA only allows 68 spots on the bracket, and most of those spots are taken by conference champions and big major schools. We are a mid-major school that doesn’t get the option to play schools like the University of Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State or the University of Louisville.
It just doesn’t happen and we can’t compare ourselves to how we would match up, if we can’t play them.
Selection Sunday comes with angst for both players and fans alike. We’ll all watch around the TV or computer screen hoping our beloved Racers receive a bid to the NCAA.
Either way our start of Spring Break this year will be the start of a postseason tournament. My hope is that the Racers graciously accept a bid into the National Invitation Tournament. Even if we don’t receive a bid to NCAA, that doesn’t mean our momentum should stop or our Racer pride deplete.
There is no doubt the Racers have the resume to be in consideration for a bid into the NCAA Tournament; however, I can’t say I agree they will make it.
We have to weigh the idea that we could get into the NCAA Tournament and fall in the first round or we could potentially go all the way to Madison Square Garden and win the NIT.
Then again, we could win the NCAA or fall in the NIT.
The thing to remember is that we are Racers, we have pride, respect and love of our athletics and we shouldn’t let any loss bring us down.
Column by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor