Stop whining: There’s no such thing as an NCAA tournament snub

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Stop it. Please. Stop. You know who you are. Just — come on, it’s time to stop.

Despite the annual charade of defending, analyzing and mourning those poor, unfortunate basketball teams deemed unworthy of joining the Madness, these so-called snubs do not exist. Snubs are a unicorn, a leprechaun or a Trump presidency — they are figments of the imagination and, in at least two of those cases, the imaginations of the media, who have nothing interesting to say about Seton Hall getting a No. 6 seed but can rattle off why Monmouth deserved a bid because it’s far more interesting. (And it is, I’ll admit. And Monmouth did, but we’ll get to that.) Snubs are only the story tonight and tomorrow because, other than making picks, there’s surprisingly little to talk about until that glorious moment at noon ET on Thursday when a slate of 32 games in 36 hours begins. At that point, no one will remember the Monday morning debate except for the allegedly aggrieved parties, because the NCAA tournament isn’t about the five teams who almost made it, it’s about the 68 teams who did.

That’s not to say snubs are a myth. They have their use and place. Snubs are what makes high-school reunions tolerable. They’re for .38 Specials. A snub is what happens after you see your ex-boyfriend’s best friend sitting three-tables over at brunch. They are for the Oscars, when movie nerds like to rattle off seven names of guys left off the Best Actor list but don’t mention which nominee didn’t deserve one. But again, in college basketball they are nothing but figments of Jay Bilas’s imagination.

I wanted Monmouth too, but they didn’t do enough to make their bid undeniable. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Why? It’s quite simple, really; College basketball teams generally play between 30 and 34 games during the regular season and conference tournament. When you are in a position to be "snubbed" you have invariably suffered bad defeats and left numerous chances for victory on the table over the course of the previous four months. Every team who didn’t make it has no one but itself to blame for not having a better body of work. They all played their way onto the bubble instead of into the field.

None of this is to endorse the selection committee’s picks. They were far too kind to middling big-conference teams (hello Syracuse and Michigan) and bizarrely affectionate of The American (Temple and, the worst surprise of Sunday, Tulsa). They also basically ignored the mid-majors. Give the world Monmouth over Tulsa every day of the week.

Let’s take South Carolina. Saying the Gamecocks were spurned would be like saying an 18-year-old who applied to that school with a 1.3 GPA and a 720 on his SAT was snubbed by the admissions office. SC beat Texas A&M and Vanderbilt and, appallingly, Tulsa. But they lost in the opening round of the SEC tournament. They lost to one of the worst big-conference teams in the nation in Missouri. And with the NCAA tournament at its fingertips, South Carolina lost to Georgia twice in eight days. And that, not any snub, is why that team is going to a tournament with three letters instead of four.