Time to dance: Auburn returns to the NCAA Tournament

Pat Wise
March 12, 2018

Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Jim Littell bristled just hearing the word.

Fast forward to the present day, I can relate to those of you who fans whose teams snubbed from the 2018 NCAA tournament field. "Experience helps, but being ready to play that night is the most important thing".

Virginia, which began the season unranked in The Associated Press poll, might be considered the prohibitive favorite, as much as the notoriously anarchic tournament can be said to have one. Villanova has advanced out of the opening weekend only twice in the last 10 seasons - when it reached the Final Four in 2009 and when Kris Jenkins hit a 3 at the horn to win it all in '16.

"I'm a junior, and they've come such a long way since my freshman year".

Other Big 12 teams in the tournament include Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, TCU, West Virginia and Oklahoma.

As the 5-seed in the Big East Tournament, the Friars knocked off Creighton in the first round to advance to the semifinals.

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Montana, which has an RPI of 76 compared to Michigan's 12, went 16-2 in the Big Sky this season. They also shoot 38.2% from three, which is significantly above the national average. Six of OSU's 10 losses are to teams now ranked in the top 12. Davidson, also known as the Wildcats, has won eight of its last nine games.

The regular season was fun, but at the end of the day, Nebraska was not worthy of partaking in this year's tournament.

So maybe that's where some of the bubble talk is coming from.

"The games in November and December count the same as the games in February and March", said Rasmussen, in contradiction with everything else the committee claims to go by. "We will wait and see what happens on Monday, but I think if you look at the big picture, we've had an outstanding year". Marshall earned an automatic berth as the Conference USA Tournament champion and is going to its first NCAA Tournament since 1987. New Mexico State's Jemerrio Jones was named the Western Athletic Conference Tournament MVP after averaging 18.3 rebounds and 12.3 points.

Coale's regular-season schedule was the second-toughest in the NCAA. The Southeastern Conference, which has made a concerted effort to transfer its success in football to the hardcourt, got 8 of its 14 teams into the field.

Two years ago, Villanova came out on top of one of the most wonderful championship games in the big tournament when Kris Jenkins hit the game-winning shot from beyond the arc to give the team their first title since 1985. Big teams have posed major problems for the Gators all season. Syracuse was 5-5; Alabama was 4-6. Auburn finished first in the SEC during conference play, so there was no way to leave them out. The Crimson Tide earned an NCAA Tournament bid with stellar wins against stiff competition.

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