There are no more Sundays between now and Selection Sunday. So for the MSU basketball fan of the last six or seven years, that means nervously awaiting the NCAA selection committee's ruling. On the bubble means nervous anticipation as CBS doles out the brackets. It won't be any different this year, as the Dawgs find themselves squarely on the bubble once again.
The selection committee has been cruel more times than kind to MSU over the years. This post is dedicated to remembering all those times. To the times where the man has stuck it to us.
I'll start by saying the state of Mississippi stuck it to us when Babe McCarthy was the coach. In 1958 (20-5), '59 (24-1 SEC Champs), '61 (19-6 SEC Champs) and '62 (24-1 SEC Champs) Mississippi State would have been eligible and gone to the NCAA Tournament if not for a state prohibition against playing integrated teams.
The rest is the fault of the NCAA. And I'll start in 2002.
It wasn't the seeding, because a 3 seed in '02 was very fair. It was about having to play in Dallas, TX when the 6 seed in the same bracket was the University of Texas. MSU beat McNeese State in the first round and then had to indeed play the Longhorns. The idea of the "pods" were to allow the higher seed to be closer to home and sell more tickets, however, the brilliant minds on the committee were unable to crack the code: they thought 6th was greater than 3rd. Perhaps the committee tried to make amends in 2003 by sending State to Birmingham as a 5 seed with Louisville being the 4. It didn't matter though, MSU lost to Butler in the first round.
Fast forward to 2007, State was 18-13 (8-8). The Dawgs had only gone 9-4 in the non-conference, losing to Winthrop, Clemson, Missouri and George Mason (who had gone to the Final Four the previous year). But that team was loaded with young talent that were coming together towards the end of the season. State had won 6 of their last 9 including beating Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. But it wasn't enough as the committee has recently devalued 'playing well at the end of the season'. The Bulldogs were the #1 overall seed in the NIT and tore through the field to the final four, where they lost a heart-breaker to West Virginia in New York.
In 2008, MSU was 9-5 before SEC play after losing the Delk twins to transfer. But in conference, State was 12-4 only losing at Arkansas, to #7 Tennessee, at Ole Miss and of course the Shan Foster game at #16 Vanderbilt. MSU was upset by UGA (on their way to a highly unusual SEC Tourney Championship), and they got an 8 seed...perhaps the reason Stansbury has never been to the Sweet 16. They were obviously mis-seeded, taking #1 Memphis to the buzzer in the 2nd round. The Tigers ripped through the rest of the tourney field until they hit Kansas and Mario Chalmers in the championship game.
In 2009, State was 19-12 (9-7) coming into the SEC Tournament. They had won two in a row and were seemingly on the bubble. Apparently not. The Dawgs went on an inspired run in Tampa, FL beating Georgia, South Carolina, LSU and Tennessee in four days to capture the tournament championship. The prize: a 13 seed. But oh no, that's not all. MSU was forced to fly across the country to Portland, Oregon to face 4 seed Washington (in their neighboring state). If that wasn't enough, they scheduled the game for Thursday afternoon!
In 2010, State was on the bubble again coming into the SEC Tourney. MSU had lost two in a row after winning 5 of 6, but one would have thought the chances were good with a couple of wins. The Bulldogs did just that, beating Florida and Vanderbilt, and then came within a split second of beating #2 Kentucky. The Wildcats received the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, as they had five players on that team who were taken in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft. Yet, Mississippi State taking them to overtime TWICE and a 24-12 record didn't carry enough weight for the precious committee. The Dawgs settled for a 1 seed in the NIT.
So there's plenty of examples for you of how State has been hosed by the NCAA selection committee. We'll see what happens this year, but being on bubble isn't going to be good for my MSU nausea. Even if we win the SEC Tournament I won't feel safe from getting screwed by those scoundrels.