Monmouth coach: ‘Can everyone stop talking about how Monmouth is going to the tournament?’

The Monmouth bench mob may not be dancing come March.
Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you want to see Monmouth and its viral bench mob in the 2016 NCAA tournament, you better hope they win a game on March 7 at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York.

That’s the site and location of the MAAC tournament championship game.

After a 91-84 loss to Army on Monday night, King Rice quieted the hype his team has received in the first half of the season (via Matt Norlander of CBS Sports).

“If everyone would stop talking about, 'We're so great, we should go to the tournament and we should be ranked,'” Rice said. “When I'm the coach, nobody's making the tournament today. There's high-major schools who are looking like they're going (to the NCAAs) now — and they're not going to make. So, please, can everyone stop talking about how Monmouth is going to the tournament? We'll be in the tournament if we win our conference.”

Monmouth rose to nationwide popularity in part because of its upset wins over UCLA, Notre Dame and Georgetown. But mostly because of the elaborate and well-choreographed sideline antics from its bench mob. The bench mob craze has gone so far, the four players at the end of the bench created an instructional video.

The wins over UCLA and Notre Dame made it plausible for the Hawks to earn an at-large bid if they failed to win their conference title. Iona did it back in 2012. The selection committee ended up giving the Gaels a spot in the First Four even after they were bounced in the conference quarterfinals. That year, Iona had lost three non-conference games and three league games. Two of Iona’s MAAC losses that season came against Loyola (MD) and Manhattan. Both of those teams had at least 20 wins each and finished second and third in the league, respectively. 

We will have to wait and see just how strong the MAAC is this season, but it looks to be a competitive once again. Monmouth already has a conference loss, falling to Canisius back on Dec. 4. Iona (when healthy) and Siena also pose as major contenders for the conference crown.

In the latest Bracket Watch, FOX Sports’ Stewart Mandel has Monmouth as the MAAC champion. That’s still a possibility. The Hawks will likely have to go through Albany to make it a reality.

(h/t CBS Sports)

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