The number of at-large teams from mid-major conferences is continuing to dwindle. In spite of the success and high quality of many mid-major programs, and their consistent deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, it seems as though the programs outside the major conferences are getting less and less respect.
Perhaps that’s why Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall had a bone to pick with CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm. You see, Wichita State did indeed clinch another bid to the NCAA Tournament with a victory over Illinois State in the MVC title game on Sunday. However, Palm said that it was a must-win game for the Shockers because whoever lost would be eliminated from tournament consideration.
Same for Wichita https://t.co/KyHj11w46d
— Jerry Palm (@jppalmCBS) March 5, 2017
This, in spite of the Shockers being ranked #21 in the country with a 27-4 record overall and a 17-1 record in the conference. For what it’s worth, Illinois State had the same record in conference and a 27-6 overall record. So after the game, Marshall called out Palm and dissed his ranking among fellow bracketologists.
— Will Kunkel (@KWCHWill) March 5, 2017
To be honest, I’m surprised more coaches and players in NCAA basketball haven’t used the bracketology snub more often and more publicly as motivation. Bracket predictors are almost reaching the same level of cultural significance as mock drafters and the football world loves to look back at draft predictions gone awry.
Marshall says that Palm is ranked #61 out of 88 bracketologists. While that may sound like a random claim that’s pulled out of thin air to try to discredit him it’s actually true! The website Bracket Matrix has a ranking of 88 bracketologists with a five year average score and Palm does indeed rank in the bottom third at #61. In case you were wondering, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi ranks #22, four spots behind Wild Bill’s Bracketology. Maybe the lesson here is that bracketology isn’t the exact science we’ve all believed it to be…