Meanwhile, I just watched the Florida State/Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game on ESPN3.com. While Florida State was trailing 52-51, Derwin Kitchen made a jumper at the buzzer, but an official review found that when the buzzer sounded Kitchen still had the ball on his fingertips; thus the basket didn't count. Must've been really disappointing for the FSU fans and players with that temporary moment of excitement.
Adrian Oliver and Derwin Kitchen both missed potentially shocking shots. Worst of all, Oliver got the ball off a Utah State miss, scored a basket to make the score 56-54, was fouled, missed the free throw, and missed a three-point shot that he got after USU's Tai Wesley missed BOTH free throws!!!
Spartan fans should root for either Boise State or New Mexico State, whoever will challenge Utah State in the WAC championship final this Saturday 6PM Pacific time on ESPN2. And for Oliver, he is considering entering the draft this year. On the post-game show on KSJS-FM, SJSU athletic director Tom Bowen speculated that SJSU might have a seed in the College Basketball Invitational or CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Which brings up the next topic: How have losers of the WAC semifinals fared over the years?
- 2008: Semifinal losers were #1 Utah State and #2 Nevada. Utah State went to the NIT and lost in the first round. Ditto for Nevada albeit in the CBI.
- 2009: #3 Idaho lost the quarterfinals of the WAC tournament then advanced two rounds in the CIT. #5 New Mexico State lost the semis, that was it (wow...71-70 to Utah State!). Louisiana Tech, the sixth-ranked team that beat Idaho in the conference tournament only to lose in the semifinals, didn't make any postseason national tournament either.
- 2010: #4 Louisiana Tech (another victim of Utah State and sadly sank to a non-tournament ninth this season) lost the semifinals to Utah State and survived CIT all the way to round 2. #2 Nevada made the NIT.
So it seems that in years past making a postseason national tournament depended on conference ranking not how far a team goes in the conference tournament. However, Utah State was the regular season WAC champion in 2008 but only made the NIT due to losing the semifinals. In 2009, Idaho lost the quarterfinals and made the CBI, but the team that beat Idaho for another WAC round didn't make it anywhere. Still, from Bowen's statement, I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for an encore or two from the Spartans and opportunity in the national tournament scene.