home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Men’s Basketball: UL’s Marlin miffed over NCAA Tournament mid-major snubs

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, March 14, 2016


His Ragin’ Cajuns will be playing for a second straight season in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT), opening Wednesday night at the Cajundome against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

But UL basketball coach Bob Marlin is well-aware of which programs are in, and which are out, of this year’s NCAA Tournament, when gets under Tuesday night.

And Marlin, when asked Monday what he thought of widely perceived Big Dance snubs experienced by multiple mid-majors in 2016, wasn’t shy about sharing his feelings on the hot-button topic.

“Disappointed,” he said.

“You know, why play the regular season if it doesn’t matter? That’s what one national writer wrote. I don’t like it at all.

“You can look at Little Rock in our league,” added Marlin, whose Cajuns went to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. “Would they have gotten in (without winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament)? Probably not – and they had four losses. They’ve got the best record in the country.”

Arkansas-Little Rock, which beat UL in the semifinals and UL Monroe in the championship game of the SBC tourney in New Orleans that concluded this past Sunday, is headed to the NCAA Tournament toting a 29-4 overall record.

“That’s what’s so good about the CIT, and these secondary tournaments (the College Basketball Invitational, and the new Vegas 16 in Las Vegas) that are coming onboard, is that they give you an opportunity to continue to play,” Marlin said.

“Just like in football: You’ve got the major bowls; you’ve got other bowls that reward teams that have good years.

“But with the (basketball) mid-majors, I think it hurts the (NCAA) Tournament personally,” he added. “And I’ve been on both sides.”

Marlin also twice took Southland Conference-member Sam Houston State to the NCAA Tournament.

He previously worked as an assistant coach at Alabama, among other programs.

“I’ve been at smaller schools, and I’ve also been in the SEC,” the Cajun coach said. “And I understand how it works – but I don’t have to agree with it.

“When you’ve got seven teams from – what, four leagues (in the NCAA Tournament)? – I mean, I thought the ACC Tournament was last week.

“If I was involved in doing it, I think if you’re not in the top four in your league, you don’t get in,” Marlin added. “I think you should be rewarded for a good season, and teams that are from different conferences that have great records should be rewarded as well.”

Among the mid-majors not getting at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament:

* St. Bonaventure, which went 22-8 and had an extraordinarily high RPI of 29;

* Monmouth, which was 27-7 despite playing 23 games away from home and had wins over both Notre Dame and Southern California;

* St. Mary’s, which was the West Coast Conference’s regular-season champion, went 27-5 overall and beat Gonzaga twice before losing to the Zags in the WCC Tournament title game; and

* Valparaiso, which went 26-6 but lost in the Horizon League Tournament semifinals.

Among those in – surprisingly to some – are 19-13 Syracuse, whose coach Jim Boeheim was suspended for nine games this season following a lengthy NCAA investigation into his program, and 21-12 Michigan, both teams from Power 5 conferences.

“Monmouth (not in)? I mean, what do you have to do? … Valparaiso had a great year,” Marlin said. “There are a handful of teams.

“St. Mary’s – golly, they win the league, they beat Gonzaga twice, and they lose in the tournament. It’s hard to beat a team three times, if you’re equal. And Gonzaga get ’em.

“Then,” Marlin added, “teams get rewarded that, I feel like, were mediocre – or had suspensions.”