There are plenty of huge programs that failed to make this year’s NCAA Tournament. None is bigger than Duke, which didn’t even wind up truly in the hunt for the bubble, after a 13-11 (9-9) season cut short by a positive COVID-19 test in the ACC Tournament.
The Blue Devils looked to make a deep run and potentially earn the conference’s automatic bid in Greensboro. They blew out Boston College and handled Louisville by 14, likely putting a dagger in the Cardinals’ own Tournament hopes, before having to bow out before what would have been a huge game against Florida State in the ACC quarterfinals.
Duke was super up-and-down, but still very talented. College hoops stats maven Ken Pomeroy‘s numbers bear that out. The Blue Devils are ranked 33rd in his efficiency rankings, the top team left out of the NCAA Tournament.
They’re followed by Penn State, Memphis, and then fellow power programs Arizona and Indiana. Interestingly, Memphis is the only one of these that got heavy NCAA Tournament consideration, though they were pretty far outside where things wound up.
Highest-ranked KenPom teams left out
35. Penn State
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 14, 2021
Louisville was the top team left out of the tournament selection committee. They ranked 54th in KenPom’s metrics. The rest of that “First Four Out” list: Colorado State (63), Saint Louis (47), and Ole Miss (48).
Wichita State is the lowest ranked at-large team in KenPom’s rankings, at 74th. The Shockers are one of the play-in teams, facing Drake (53 in KenPom) for the 11-seed in the West Region.
The other play-in game pits two huge programs against each other for the chance to play 6-seed BYU in the East Region: Michigan State (56 in KenPom) vs. UCLA (44).