Les Robinson has been on the selection committees for the NCAA and NIT basketball tournaments for more than a decade.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON NIT APPEARANCES (4)All-Time NIT Record (4-4)1995 - C of C at Providence, L, 67-721996 - College of Charleston at Tennessee, W, 55-491996 - College of Charleston at Rhode Island, L, 58-62 (OT)2003 - College of Charleston at Kent State, W, 71-66, 2003 - College of Charleston at Providence, L, 64-692011 - Dayton at College of Charleston, W, 94-842011 - College of Charleston at Cleveland State, W, 64-562011 – College of Charleston at Wichita State, L, 75-82 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON CBI APPEARANCES (2)All-Time CBI Record (2-2)2009 – College of Charleston at Troy, W, 93-912009 – College of Charleston at Richmond, L, 74-722010 - College of Charleston at Eastern Kentucky, W, 82-792010 – College of Charleston at VCU, L, 86-93
In all that time, he can’t remember there being a season like this one, when there are so many bubble teams under consideration for the NCAA and NIT tournaments.
Robinson, who has been on the NIT selection committee since 2008, said the problem isn’t that there aren’t enough good teams, it’s that there are not enough great teams. Robinson will sit down with the rest of the NIT selection committee Sunday night, after the NCAA makes its picks, and put together the event’s 32-team field.
“There are about 20 to 25 teams that are on the so-called NCAA bubble, and normally that number is between 10 and 12 going into the conference tournaments,” Robinson said. “If I polled 10 different college basketball experts on those 25 teams, I’d probably get 10 different answers on what teams should and should not be in the NCAA tournament. The NCAA selection committee is going to have a difficult time, and so are we.”
Two teams with more than a passing interest in what the NIT selection committee will do Sunday night are Charleston Southern and College of Charleston.
Charleston Southern (19-12) won the Big South regular season title and received the league’s automatic bid into the NIT. Meanwhile, the Cougars (24-10) will be waiting to learn their fate.
“Obviously, Charleston Southern has its ticket, and we try to make it as much of a regional game as we can in the first round,” said Robinson, who served as the head basketball coach and athletic director at The Citadel. “We want their fans to be able to see them play.”
Robinson said the Cougars are among about two dozen teams under consideration for the NIT field. The Cougars’ 24 Division I wins, their 11-2 mark on the road and a win over Baylor, make for an impressive resume. The problem for the Cougars is that the Southern Conference was among the weakest leagues in the country this season.
“We’ll have to see how things go in the conference tournaments, but Charleston has had a great season,” Robinson said. “One of the main things we look at is a team’s non-conference schedule. We don’t punish a team for the conference they play in.”
This is only the second postseason appearance for the Bucs, who went to the NCAA tournament in 1997, losing to UCLA, 109-75, in the first round.
Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh said he’s not going to try and speculate on who the Bucs’ first-round matchup will be.
“It’s such a fluid situation,” Radebaugh said. “I was looking at it the other day, and there are so many different scenarios that I gave up. I know one thing — we’re happy and excited to be in a national tournament. It hasn’t happened every day around here.”
Radebaugh said he hopes that the NIT committee won’t send the Bucs too far away from the Lowcountry.
“We’re hoping for a bus ride, not a flight,” Radebaugh said. “We want our fans to be able to see us play.”
Charleston coach Doug Wojcik said the Cougars are a long shot to make the NIT field. The Cougars have played in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament twice and would be happy to return. Wojcik’s Tulsa team won the inaugural event in 2008. VCU, Oregon, Oregon State and Pittsburgh have all won the event.
“It’s a great tournament and it’s gotten better with each season,” Wojcik said. “You think about the teams that have won the tournament and the teams that have played in it, and it’s an impressive list. Butler played in it last year after going to the Final Four two straight seasons. This is something we’d love to be a part of.”
Photo by Al Samuels ¬ Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh as game winds down, congratulates Paul Gombwer (15)×
College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik, right, watches during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Davidson during the Southern Conference tournament, Monday, March 11, 2013, in Asheville, N.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)×