GV Men’s Basketball being left off DII NCAA tournament bracket is downright blasphemous


GVL / Meghan Landgren

Kellen Voss, Sports Editor

By Kellen Voss ([email protected])

Following Saturday’s GLIAC semifinal loss to Michigan Tech, in the middle of junior Christian Negron’s response to how he would remember this season if the team didn’t get a postseason bid, Grand Valley State coach Ric Wesley interjected.

“It’s hard to imagine this is it,” Wesley said. “To win the (GLIAC) South division, to get to the semifinal in the conference tournament, the number of wins we had — if that’s not good enough to get a bid, then our league needs to think long and hard about what we’re doing. I would argue Ferris, us and Michigan Tech are on of the top 64 teams in the country. I don’t think this is the end for us.”

Much to the surprise of Wesley and the rest of the GVSU men’s basketball team, when the NCAA revealed the DII bracket last night, March 9, only two GLIAC teams were included: Ferris State and Michigan Tech.

It felt like a mistake. It felt like a misprint. Upon seeing the bracket and after uttering a few choice four-letter words, I wanted to call the NCAA personally to question their judgement.

I had the pleasure of covering this team all season long. This was one of the most talented basketball team that I had ever watched, full of skilled players and brilliant, strategic minds in the coaching staff that combined for one of the more successful seasons in recent program history.

23 wins. A GLIAC South Division title. A GLIAC tournament semifinal finish. The seventh toughest schedule in DII. A consistent top-25 ranking. Two wins against teams who made it into the Midwest region by a combined margin of 21 points. That’s a pretty formidable resume if you ask me.

And to add insult to injury, the Lakers were ranked fourth in the latest Midwest region ranking last week. I guess a single loss to one of the nation’s hottest teams in Michigan Tech was enough to drop GVSU from the bracket entirely.

Following the news, GVSU assistant coach Taylor Johnson tweeted out that he will never forget this team, and I couldn’t agree more.

This was a talented group of classy guys lead by wise veteran seniors, talented juniors who racked up all-conference awards and young players ready for a starting role in the next few years. They deserved more basketball, and definitely don’t deserve this blasphemy.

As Wesley echoed in that post-game press conference, the NCAA DII tournament committee needs to think long and hard about what they are doing. Leaving a talented team like GVSU off the bracket entirely is an absolute joke, and is another edition to the laundry list of reasons as to why the NCAA continues to be one of the most inept organizations in the world.

To wrap a bow on the 2019-20 men’s basketball team, they were always a joy to watch and were a consistent force all season long. This has to be bulletin-board material for next year’s, as freshman Jett Fortuny has already tweeted about a revenge tour.

Next year’s GVSU basketball team should have one mission: prove the NCAA that they were wrong once again, and earn more postseason basketball to get justice for this year’s seniors in Jayden Hodgson, Ben Lubitz and Jeremiah Ferguson, who all had their Laker careers prematurely cut short.

GVSU has put the rest of the DII basketball world on notice, as they will be playing next season with a colossal chip on their shoulder. You’ve been warned, @GLIAC.