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Saturday, March 13, 2010
On William & Mary: Why not?

By Eamonn Brennan

William and Mary isn't going to make the NCAA tournament. At this point -- in 24 hours we'll be gazing at a finalized NCAA tournament bracket, and won't that be nice -- William & Mary isn't in anyone's tournament picture. Joe Lunardi has been rapidly switching his bubble in the past half hour or so, and in the latest configuration, William & Mary doesn't even warrant the respect of an "off the board" mention. There's no love for the Tribe in college hoopsdom.

That's probably fair. Let's not sugarcoat it: William & Mary has a couple of really bad losses, the kind of losses that make you flinch in horror. 83-77 to Towson? A 16-point loss at Iona? Iona? A one-point stunner to 5-13 CAA foe UNC-Wilmington? These are not the losses tournament resumes are made of.

But if you're a committee member interested in the ability to beat good teams, William and Mary's case is slightly more compelling. The Tribe beat Wake Forest at Wake Forest. They won at Maryland. They're 3-3 against the RPI top 50 and 6-7 against the top 100. As Joe Sheehan wrote today, the Tribe "have more good ACC road wins than Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Combined." Everyone keeps talking about how "soft" this year's bubble is, for good reason -- we can't find a place for a team with William and Mary's clear ability to beat major conference opponents in unfriendly environments? That's not doable?

Apparently not. The first sentence of this post is entirely true: William and Mary isn't going to make the NCAA tournament. But can we do the Tribe a favor and at least pretend we're giving them a shot? That record deserves more.