Asked about TCU’s snub on Sunday night by the Star-Telegram, selection committee chairman Bernard Muir pointed to the Frogs’ road record and lack of non-conference Quad 1 wins.
A Quad 1 win is qualified by defeating a team that is ranked Nos. 1-30 in the NCAA’s NET at home; Nos. 1-50 on a neutral court; and Nos. 1-75 on the road.
TCU’s victory over Florida in the Big 12/SEC Challenge narrowly missed qualifying as a Quad 1 victory. The Gators are ranked No. 31 in the NCAA’s NET system.
“The thing that was pointed out was we didn’t have any non-conference Quad 1 wins. Well, Florida was a 31 instead of a 30, so they moved off Quad 1 to a Quad 2 in the last day,” Dixon said. “If that’s how they found the difference, that’s a little interesting. If they’re going to do the research, they should probably know the difference between 30 and 31 I guess.”
TCU went 3-9 against Quad 1 teams with the wins coming with a sweep of Iowa State, and at Texas in the regular-season finale. The Frogs were 9-13 against Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents, and were 11-0 against Quad 3 and Quad 4 teams.
Temple, for instance, got in with fewer Quad 1 wins (two) and also had a Quad 3 loss. Arizona State is in the Big Dance despite having a combined four losses to Q3/Q4 schools.
As far as road record, TCU went 3-7 on the road, but the committee has typically looked at road/neutral records in previous years, not only road. TCU’s road/neutral record was 8-8, including a win over USC at the Staples Center, a couple miles from USC’s campus in Los Angeles.
In the end, the committee has made up its mind and the reasons why can be dissected endlessly. Six programs with lower NET rankings than TCU (52) made the tournament.
“It was a really close call, but unfortunately they were on the wrong side of the bubble,” Muir said of TCU.
TCU simply has to live with it and prepare for an NIT matchup against Sam Houston State at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Schollmaier Arena.
“I understand the guys were disappointed last night and it was understood,” Dixon said. “For us [coaching staff], the same thing. We’ve looked at some things since it happened, in the last 12 hours or so, and still have a lot of questions. But it is what it is.
“Just like when you lose a game, you’ve got to move on to the next one. We have to do that. We’ll do that.”
Sam Houston State enters the NIT likely more motivated than TCU. The Bearkats won the Southland Conference regular-season championship before falling to the University of New Orleans in the conference tournament.
The NIT hands automatic berths to programs from conferences that win the regular-season title, but do not win the conference tournament and are left out of the NCAAs.
Sam Houston State will be looking to leave its mark, especially against an in-state Power Five team. But Dixon and his staff are determined to motivate TCU players to “prove the committee wrong.”
“We’re on it. We got film [on Sam Houston State] last night,” Dixon said. “You move on quick once you get that opponent, for coaches anyways. That’s where you get going, you see the personnel and you start going like that, putting together the scouting report. That opponent becomes the most important thing.
“We’re at that as far as coaches I think, and I think the players, once we start talking about Sam Houston State and playing and practicing, they’ll be on the same page.”
TCU will start selling tickets for Wednesday’s NIT game at 5 p.m. today. Tickets are $15 for reserved seats. Students get in for free.
Tickets can be purchased on TCU’s website.