2023 NCAA Tournament Snubs: UNC, Oklahoma State Among Teams Left Out of Bracket

2023 NCAA Tournament Snubs: UNC, Oklahoma State Among Teams Left Out of Bracket article feature image
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Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Love (North Carolina)

After the bracket was revealed, focus immediately turned to the four regions, dark horses, Final Four picks and more.

There is, however, a dark side to this glorious Sunday. Every year there are a handful of teams that believe they had done enough to warrant an at-large selection to the NCAA tournament, and ultimately do not hear their name called.

These players and coaches pour their blood, sweat and tears into the college basketball season, with the ultimate goal of reaching the Big Dance.

Below is my look at the biggest snubs from this year’s selection. I ranked the teams from most to least deserving in my estimation.


Oklahoma State Cowboys

Overall Record18-15
Quad 1 Record6-12
NET Ranking43
KenPom Ranking38
Non-Conf. SOS155

Plain and simple, I think the committee got it wrong taking Nevada over the Pokes for the final spot. Oklahoma State played in the unquestioned toughest league in America and won nine games against Big 12 opposition.

The Cowboys also ranked favorably in some of the key metrics — inside the top 45 in the NET and inside the top 40 in KenPom.

I understand that 15 losses is a lot, but when you win 10 games against the top two quadrants and play in the best conference in America, that should matter.

I feel for Mike Boynton and the Oklahoma State roster.


Clemson Tigers

Overall Record23-10
Quad 1 Record4-4
NET Ranking60
KenPom Ranking64
Non-Conf. SOS312

Clemson got a bit of a raw deal in basically the opposite fashion of Oklahoma State. Going 14-6 in a power conference and missing the NCAA tournament is almost unheard of — not to mention the ACC, given the history of that league.

The Tigers went 4-4 in Quad 1 games, but unfortunately for them, there were minimal chances to notch big wins due to the struggles of the conference.

A 312th-ranked non-conference strength of schedule also likely certainly played a part in keeping Clemson out of the dance.

23 wins and no tournament will be a tough one to stomach for Brad Brownell and company.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Overall Record19-14
Quad 1 Record4-7
NET Ranking40
KenPom Ranking35
Non-Conf. SOS222

Rutgers’ omission is probably the most surprising to the masses. Most bracketologists had the Scarlet Knights in the field this morning, but the committee had different plans.

Steve Pikiell’s team lost on a neutral floor to Temple early in the year — which likely hurt its case — and the overall non-league schedule left something to be desired.

Still, this is a team that ranked 35th in KenPom and had three very impressive road wins — at Purdue, at Penn State and at Northwestern.

Pittsburgh and NC State — two bubble teams that got in — did not have nearly the level of wins that Rutgers did.


Wisconsin Badgers

Overall Record17-14
Quad 1 Record5-7
NET Ranking80
KenPom Ranking77
Non-Conf. SOS117

The Badgers had some great wins, but their metrics are poor and there’s just too many losses on the resume.

Wisconsin sneaking in would have been a long shot, and I have no issues with the committee leaving it out.

Greg Gard’s team will be kicking itself for the missed opportunity against Kansas in the Bahamas, as the Badgers had the Jayhawks on the ropes late before falling short in overtime.

A win over a No. 1 seed would have made this a different conversation.


North Carolina Tar Heels

Overall Record20-13
Quad 1 Record1-9
NET Ranking46
KenPom Ranking47
Non-Conf. SOS17

Like Wisconsin, there wasn’t a great case for the Tar Heels.

The 1-9 record against Quad 1 opponents is an eyesore that is simply too big to overcome.

In the games where UNC faced elite competition, it fell short and couldn’t get over the hump.

As shocking as it is to see the preseason No. 1 miss the NCAA tournament, it was the right decision by the committee to omit North Carolina.

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Daniel Preciado
Jun 20, 2024 UTC