NORFOLK (WAVY) – The perfect storm sank Old Dominion’s postseason chances. The Monarchs (25-7, 15-3 in Conference USA), who were eliminated from the Conference USA Tournament in the semifinal round, were denied a trip to the National Invitational Tournament on Sunday night, and thus are done playing basketball this season.
The record might indicate ODU was deserving of an NIT bid, given the team’s three conference losses were to Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky, respectively the first and second place finishers in the conference. A deeper delve into the numbers shows Old Dominion’s mediocre RPI rank (78), and very poor strength of schedule (209 out of 351 Division I teams).
ODU’s chances of making the NIT field took a hit on Thursday night, when conference champion Middle Tennessee lost to Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA quarterfinals. By virtue of winning the regular season crown, Middle Tennessee was all but assured of an NIT bid, assuming they were not granted an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Low and behold, the committee snubbed the Blue Raiders a day after Marshall upset Western Kentucky in the league championship game.
There was your dagger.
Marshall receives the automatic bid to the big dance, and with a considerably higher RPI (39) and strength of schedule (79), the Hilltoppers receive the final CUSA bid to the NIT.