Cinderella Hoyas steal NCAA Tournament bid, shrink bubble

/ by Tyler Byrum
Presented By Chasen Boscolo

Everyone loves a good Cinderella story unless you're a team sitting on the NCAA Tournament bubble. 

By virtue of the Georgetown Hoyas stunning Big East Tournament crown and the conference's automatic bid, there is now one less at-large bid up for grabs, one less team dancing in March Madness that had realistic hopes they would. 

This season the Hoyas were not a team ever in contention for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Wins over Villanova and Creighton sparked some faint, distant hopes in early February, but their winning ways didn't continue. After all, the Hoyas were 9-12 entering the Big East Tournament only rising above .500 by winning four games in four days. 

On Selection Sunday, there's one less team that will be celebrating their tournament bid.

According to ESPN's Joe Lunardi, that was the Atlantic 10's Saint Louis bumped as of this writing. Battling coronavirus issues all year, the Billikens struggled through conference play after being picked as one of the favorites in their league. 

But that could also easily be Utah State or Wichita State edged out of the field, who both lost on Saturday and are just on the cusp of Lunardi's projected field. Drake is also in even more danger following Georgetown's win. So are Louisville and Colorado State depending on how the NCAA Selection Committee views those programs. 

Unlike most years, this year we will know for sure which team was knocked out due to the Hoyas' heroics. Four teams will be designated as potential replacement teams if a coronavirus outbreak should occur in one of the initial 37 at-large programs. The first team in line would have certainly been in had Georgetown not taken a bid away.


Poetically, Hoyas fans would love it if former Big East rival Syracuse was knocked out of the field. True rivals for nearly a half-century, the two programs have renewed acquaintances in the nonconference since the Orange departed for the ACC. There's also Memphis sitting on the bubble that had some notable contests against the Hoyas in the mid-2000s.

Neither, though should be affected too much. Syracuse might have dropped to the First Four, if anything, and the Tigers are now almost certainly on the outside according to most bracketologists.

The Hoyas will likely line up at the No. 12 or 13 seed line. They don't have the greatest of resumes but have several notable wins that will surpass many of the single-bid representatives. 

Typically bid thieves are from the mid-major conferences. A dominant regular-season champion does enough to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large, but then they fall in the conference tournament gifting the league two and sometimes multiple bids. Davidson, Rhode Island, Northern Iowa and Wyoming are all recent teams that were considered bid thieves, which is huge to the smaller leagues.

Big conferences don't see it as often because there are sometimes as many as eight or nine teams capable of winning the title and also earning an at-large bid. Just this season, Georgetown got hot at the right time and it didn't matter who stood in their way.