Indiana State misses March Madness, excluded from 2024 NCAA tournament

Indiana State Sidelined: Excluded from 2024 NCAA March Madness Tournament

Indiana State, boasting a remarkable 28-6 season and clinching the regular-season title in the Missouri Valley Conference, unfortunately, did not secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. The team, coached by Josh Schertz, found itself just outside the selection, ranking third among the first four teams not included. Dr. Charles McClelland, the NCAA selection committee chairman, mentioned that unexpected outcomes during the conference tournaments led to five spots being taken, one of which would have likely gone to Indiana State.

The turning point for Indiana State came on March 10, when they faced a defeat against Drake with a close score of 84-80 in the MVC championship game. This loss put their fate into the hands of the selection committee. The team spent the following week hoping for a favorable decision while other teams had additional chances to strengthen their cases.

The term “Arch Sadness” fittingly describes Indiana State’s anxious wait for Selection Sunday, following a spirited comeback that ultimately fell short.

Since the introduction of the NET (NCAA Evaluation Tool) in the 2018-19 season as the primary metric for tournament selection, Indiana State, ranked 29th, became the highest-ranked team to miss out on the NCAA tournament. This was a title previously held by North Carolina State, which was ranked 33rd in the NET in 2019 and did not make the cut.

Dr. McClelland acknowledged Indiana State’s impressive season and strong metrics. However, he pointed out that the committee had to scrutinize their non-conference performance, which ultimately played a significant role in their exclusion from the tournament.

In the race for the last spots in the tournament, Boise State (ranked 27th in NET), Colorado (25th), Virginia (54th), and Colorado State (36th) were chosen over Indiana State. These teams are set to compete in the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, with hopes of advancing to the first round.

A critical factor in Indiana State’s omission was their record of just one Quad 1 victory throughout the season. Their sole top quadrant win was against Bradley on December 4. Unfortunately, the Sycamores lost their other four Quad 1 games, including away non-conference matches against Alabama and Michigan State, both of which received at-large bids.

Despite a strong 12-1 record in Quad 4 games, a single loss to Illinois State on February 17 significantly damaged Indiana State’s tournament hopes. This loss was more detrimental than their limited success in Quad 1 games.

The team’s dynamic offense, led by center Robbie Avila and a talented group of shooters, was not enough to overcome the deficiencies in their resume. With their NCAA tournament hopes dashed, Indiana State now turns its attention to the NIT.

The NIT bracket announcement is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.