Connect with us


Could Monmouth Receive An At-Large Bid To NCAA Tournament?

Previous Image
Next Image

info heading

info content

During my time attending Monmouth University (the intellectual center of the Jersey Shore), those years were considered the glory years of the school’s basketball program. Two Northeast Conference championships along with two NCAA Tournament berths. The Hawks won the play-in game in 2006 for their first NCAA Tournament win and took number one seed Villanova down to the wire unexpectedly. Marques Alston, Dejan Delic, Chris Kenny and Corey Hallett were some of the names that led Monmouth to 47 wins in three seasons.

The program fell on tough times after those years which led to the dismissal of head Dave Calloway and the hiring of former University of North Carolina guard King Rice to the position. The early years of the Rice regime had its ups and downs as the program won just 33 games in his first three seasons. The 2014-2015 season saw Monmouth reach 18 wins (13 of which came in MAAC conference play) and many saw big things in store for the Hawks for the 2015-2016 season. To say that Coach Rice and Monmouth have met expectations would be an understatement.

The Monmouth Hawks are 22-5 overall (a school record for wins) and 14-2 in MAAC conference play which puts them in first place in the conference by two games with four games to play. The season has been highlighted by road wins at Georgetown and UCLA and neutral site wins over Notre Dame and USC. Something that has been a revelation to the nation has been the Monmouth bench who has received national acclaim for their humorous antics and basket celebrations. Another discovery to everyone has been 5’8”guard Justin Robinson who leads the Hawks in scoring, averaging 20 points a game. With all the success the Hawks has seen this season, there is a chance that they could not win the MAAC Tournament which leads to the question…can the Monmouth Hawks be only the third team in MAAC history to receive an at-large NCAA Tournament bid?

According to the latest ESPN Bracketology predictions, Monmouth is a 10-seed in the Des Moines, Iowa region. Joe Lunardi is including Monmouth in his brackets by virtue of Monmouth winning the MAAC Tournament. But there is always a chance of upsets in any conference tournament so even with Monmouth winning the MAAC regular season crown, they could still be knocked out of the conference tournament. If that were to happen, you would then have to look at the other particulars of Monmouth’s tournament resume. Here are some important factors to look at for the Hawks:

RPI: 40

6-2 record against teams in the RPI Top 100 including two wins against RPI Top 25 teams

16-3 record against teams in the RPI sub-150

12-4 Road Record (12 wins leads the nation)

Compare Monmouth’s numbers against a team on the early bubble of the NCAA Tournament like one of Lunardi’s last four teams in, the Florida State Seminoles from the ACC.

RPI: 48

7-9 record against teams in the RPI Top 100 including a 1-4 record against teams in the RPI Top 25

4-5 Road Record

6-7 Conference Record

The one knock against Monmouth would be Strength of Schedule where Florida State has a 53rd rated SOS while Monmouth only has a 175th ranked SOS. Monmouth’s SOS is hurt by playing in the MAAC, the 20th ranked conference RPI in the country. It’s actually better than the 30th ranked Northeast Conference, the conference Monmouth was in just a couple of years ago. Besides that one caveat however, you could take Monmouth’s record as a mid-major against Florida State’s and many would select Monmouth’s resume over other teams without thinking twice about it.

All of the resume evaluation and comparisons to other teams become a mute point if Monmouth takes care of business by winning the MAAC regular season title and MAAC Tournament. But even with a slip up in the MAAC Tournament, the Monmouth Hawks should be one of the at-large teams in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The season they have had does not deserve just a NIT bid. The winningest season in Monmouth basketball history deserves to continue on to The Big Dance and represent not just the MAAC conference, not just the state of New Jersey but the many alumni like myself who has been drawn back to Monmouth University because of this basketball season.

This is the renaissance season that Monmouth basketball fans have been waiting for and the NCAA Selection Committee should see it as such. Put them in.

The following two tabs change content below.

Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in College