Summary: Ranked 25th in the AP poll heading into Selection Sunday, the Mustangs are the most glaring exclusion from the NCAA Tournament field -- for good reason. Larry Brown's team may have finished the season on a three-game losing streak, but the Mustangs are one of the stingiest defenses nationally, capable of shutting down even very good offenses. For a reference, just ask UConn just how good SMU was -- the Mustangs beat the tourney-bound Huskies twice. SMU's defense kept it in every game this season, and it likely would have done the same in the tournament. Plus, 5-foot-9 sophomore Nic Moore would have been one of better point guards in the field.
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY SportsJim Cowsert
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
BPI: 52; RPI: 59; KenPom: 35
Summary: Very few teams want to run with the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech and its swarming defense (23rd in D-I in efficiency; 10th in turnover percentage) could have wreaked havoc in the right regional with their undersized but athletic style of man-to-man defense. The Bulldogs played a weak schedule, but they did take down Oklahoma in overtime in non-conference play and were the best team in Conference USA all season before Tulsa stole the automatic bid. The deep and upperclassmen-laden group would have been an intriguing draw.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY SpIvan Pierre Aguirre
Florida State Seminoles
BPI: 50; RPI: 52; KenPom: 41
Summary: Before conference play started, the 'Noles knocked off Tournament teams VCU and UMass and lost by one to No. 1 overall seed Florida and in overtime to 2-seed Michigan. This is not a list based entirely on résumés, but Leonard Hamilton's team was one of the more balanced teams around this season, ranking top-60 in offensive and defensive efficiency. There are some NCAA-tested seniors (Okaro White, Ian Miller) on the roster and 6-foot-5 Aaron Thomas could have been a March star to keep an eye on.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY SportsBob Donnan
St. John's Red Storm
BPI: 44; RPI: 65; KenPom: 38
Summary: Another defensive-minded bunch, St. John's protected the rim better than pretty much any other team in the country, boasting the nation's best block percentage at 19.9. By holding opponents to 43.9 percent shooting on two-point attempts, a prospective tournament opponent would have been forced to hit outside shots against the Red Storm. It worked against the likes of Creighton and Providence this season. Also of note: Junior D'Angelo Harrison is a very, very good offensive player with the ability to carry his team's lackluster offense for a game or two.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsBrad Penner
BPI: 53; RPI: 79; KenPom: 50
Summary: For those tuning into Virginia's systematic dismantling of the ACC in both regular season and conference tournament play, Clemson employs a similar style of basketball. The Tigers are essentially Virginia Lite: boasting less individual talent but playing at a more deliberate, slow-it-down pace ... if that's possible. Coach Brad Brownell's Tigers were the third-slowest team in the country this season, which would have been a frustrating addition to any region, and star K.J. McDaniels is a force to be reckoned with. Just not in this Dance.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY SporJohn David Mercer
Green Bay Phoenix
BPI: 63; RPI: 56; KenPom: 61
Summary: The inside-outside threat of 5-foot-11 guard Keifer Sykes and 7-foot-1 center Alec Brown is as fun to watch as it sounds. Those two combined for 35.9 points per game (while boasting offensive ratings over 110) en route to a 24-6 record that included a win over 1-seed Virginia. An opening-round loss in the Horizon League tourney derailed its NCAA hopes, but Green Bay is a formidable team that ranked in the top 100 in most defensive categories. Popular upset pick no more.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY SportsMary Langenfeld
BPI: 54; RPI: 48; KenPom: 77
Summary: If Missouri could have found some sort of defense, it wouldn't be in this predicament, because the Tigers can sure score the ball. With one of the best backcourts in the country (Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson, Earnest Ross), each standing 6-foot-5, few teams can match up with Coach Frank Haith's perimeter players. Mizzou finished top-35 in offensive efficiency and nobody wants to see that in their regional.
Dak Dillon-USA TODAY SportsDak Dillon
Georgia State Panthers
BPI: 83; RPI: 76; KenPom: 55
Summary: The Panthers endured perhaps the most gut-wrenching tournament snub of all, losing in the Sun Belt Tournament final by one point in overtime after holding a commanding lead in the second half and running away with the regular season trophy. Tough, tough break. Boasting a high-major backcourt in senior Devonta White, Kentucky transfer Ryan Harrow and potential NBA draft pick R.J. Hunter, Georgia State was a dangerous offensive force (best turnover efficiency in the country) that just didn't have the résumé to match.
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY SporCrystal LoGiudice
Arkansas Razorbacks/LSU Tigers
BPI: 41/60; RPI: 68/80; KenPom: 59/69
Summary: These two SEC teams deserve to be lumped together since they are so similar: athletic, balanced teams in terms of efficiency, but both incapable of putting together the necessary wins to get into the Big Dance. The most dangerous aspect of both teams? Pace. Both the Razorbacks and Tigers excel at dictating tempo and ranked in the top 25 in Division I in terms of possessions per game. Either one could have gotten a slower, higher seed out of its comfort zone. (Photo by: Crystal LoGuidice/Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
BPI: 65; RPI: 31; KenPom: 63
Summary: Conference USA's second team on this list, the Golden Eagles do a couple things exceptionally well: crash the offensive boards and win the free throw battle. Southern Miss ranks top-15 nationally in both categories, which is not an easy task, especially not for one of the shortest teams in the country. Their shooting woes probably would have caught up to them in the tournament, but it would have been interesting to see if the Golden Eagles' deliberate offensive gameplan could have stolen a game.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY SpIvan Pierre Aguirre