The most surprising team omitted from the NCAA tournament is Kentucky, simply because of the committee's history of rewarding ninth-place Southeastern Conference teams that have strong RPIs. The Wildcats are 33rd, according to Boyd's World, and have 16 wins against the top 50. But their omission is perfectly defensible given the way they finished the season, losing a series against lowly Georgia. If you're going to miss your conference tournament, you'd better at least finish strong (like North Carolina did) in the regular season to have a chance. The Tar Heels also were 12 spots higher in the RPI.
If I were on the committee, I would have lobbied for Wichita State as the last team over Arizona or Kentucky. Wichita's RPI (56th) meant it was a long shot, but it's a lot more difficult to construct a solid RPI playing in the upper Midwest and playing a Missouri Valley Conference schedule than it is in warm-weather locales, and at least the Shockers won an early-season series at fellow bubble dweller Florida Gulf Coast. My next team would have been Pittsburgh, which was also sabotaged by the RPI (No. 57) and by a poor finish over the last two weeks. But it's not at all surprising that both of those teams were omitted, and it's far from egregious.
Other bubble teams that were left out of regionals that would have been solid at-large choices: Texas State and Florida Gulf Coast, but again, neither omission is glaring, since both teams lacked quality wins. Other fringe bubble teams that did not get nods: Liberty, Boston College, Western Carolina, Western Kentucky, Rutgers, Southeastern Louisiana.
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