By Peter Gleason
Any way you look at it, the NCAA tournament gave itself a black eye by not choosing 27-7 Monmouth for its field of 68.
While the network’s two-hour Selection Show was rambling on last night, the field of 68 was leaked on Twitter after the South and East regions were revealed on TV during the first hour. Based on those two quadrants being correct, the leaked bracket appeared legitimate, which did not bode well for the Hawks, who were not on it. Eventually, CBS got to all four brackets, revealing what Twitter users already knew.
Monmouth will not play in the NCAA Tournament and will instead turn its attention to the National Invitation Tournament.
The Hawks were denied a bid to their fifth NCAA Tournament in program history and their first since 2006. Instead, the 32-team NIT field was revealed later on Sunday evening, with Monmouth as a 1-seed set to host No. 8 seed and Patriot League regular-season champion Bucknell on Wednesday evening (7:30 p.m., ESPN3). As a top seed, Monmouth has the ability to stay home through the semifinals, which will be played at Madison Square Garden on March 29.
Wednesday’s winner will face the winner of No. 4 seed George Washington and No. 5 seed Hofstra. Power Five programs Ohio State and Florida are also in Monmouth’s part of the bracket and could come to West Long Branch later this month for a quarterfinal.