Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
With March Madness around the corner, it's time for Sippin' on Purple's annual look at the teams - besides Northwestern - never to have gone dancing.
It's March. It's March!
I'd be super-pumped even if my job didn't involve me making a bunch of extra cash to write about college basketball's unrealistically exciting finale. This has been the most exciting college basketball season I can remember, and I've absolutely devoured it. I ended up watching a college basketball game - more often, two - four out of five nights, and it's pretty much occupied my Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and yet it very rarely backfired. Every Big Ten game was spectacular, and with the intense parity in the top few spots, so were a lot of other leagues. It gets even better with the conference tournaments and eventually, the NCAA Tournament.
And yet, Northwestern will be only a very small part of the excitement. In a few days, it will become official that Northwestern will not qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Thus, it's time for a feature as old as the site itself: the 2013 rendition of the Never Made The Tourney Club, a day-by-day analysis of the teams that have never gone dancing, college basketball's virgins. We embrace this group of misfits, if only because it strengthens our desire to never be associated with any of them ever. But for now, they're our brothers, and we must embrace them.
On the serious: You can say you want to fire Bill Carmody. I still am not sure whether I disagree with you. But whether you fire him, or whether you don't, we have to all acknowledge how damn frustrating it is to be a Northwestern basketball fan. The reason I do this post every year is so that we can stew in it. To move forward, we have to reconcile ourselves with the past, and right now, the past is this list of schools with no ambitions to move past college basketball's small stage with Northwestern right smack dab in the middle of it. Maybe Carmody's the guy for NU. Maybe he isn't. Until we figure it out, we have to deal with being stuck at college basketball's kiddie table.
With conference tournaments starting Tuesday, here's the full list of Division I that have never made the NCAA Tournament. Hypothetically, most of these teams could still go dancing by winning their conference tournament - none of these teams are close to being at-large bids - although some can't for reasons I'll explain.
As always, I'll update this post every day, and y'all know I like to have fun with it. It's college basketball! This is the best time of the year, honestly.
Right now, the list stands at 50. 44 of those are still alive, possibly less - I haven't checked each conference tournament to see who didn't qualify, bear with me - and if a team in each conference with a tourney wins, 18 could make it this year. Enjoy!
Never made the tourney club
America East: Hartford Hawks, Maine Black Bears, New Hampshire Wildcats, Stony Brook Seawolves
Atlantic Sun: Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, Kennesaw State Owls, Lipscomb Bison, North Florida Ospreys, South Carolina Upstate Spartans, Stetson Hatters
Big Sky: North Dakota [REDACTED], Sacramento State Hornets
Big South: Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, High Point Panthers, Longwood Lancers, Presbyterian Blue Hose
Big Ten: Northwestern Wildcats. YUPPP
Big West: Cal Poly Mustangs, UC Davis Aggies, UC Irvine Anteaters, UC Riverside Highlanders
CAA: William & Mary Tribe
Great West: Chicago State Cougars, NJIT Highlanders, Texas Pan-American Broncs, Utah Valley Wolverines
Independent: Cal-State Bakersfield Roadrunners
Horizon League: Youngstown State Penguins
MAC: Buffalo Bulls
MEAC: Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, North Carolina Central Eagles, Savannah State Tigers, Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks
Northeast Conference: Bryant Bulldogs, Quinnipiac Bobcats, St. Francis (NY) Terriers, Sacred Heart Pioneers
Ohio Valley Conference: Jacksonville State Gamecocks, SIU-Edwardsville Cougars, Tennessee-Martin SkyHawks
Patriot League: Army Black Knights
SoCon: Elon Phoenix, The Citadel Bulldogs
Southland Conference: Central Arkansas Bears
SWAC: Grambling Tigers
Summit: IPFW Mastodons, South Dakota Coyotes, UMKC Kangaroos, Western Illinois Leathernecks (DAMN the Summit League brings it with its names)
WAC: Denver Pioneers