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NCAA snubs Gonzaga - and anyone else from around here

BULLDOGS • UPDATED: 9:40 P.M.

For a long time now I just figured the NCAA didn't like Whitworth. It was a Division III thing, I figured. No money, so let's cut corners by not inviting the Pirates to any postseason when we have an excuse. Basketball, softball, it didn't matter.

But I now realize that thought process was flawed. The NCAA isn't out to get Whitworth. It's pretty much the whole Inland Northwest the organization doesn't like.

The Division I baseball selections show that.

Gonzaga finished its baseball season 33-25 overall and second in the West Coast Conference with a 15-6 record. And yet, the Bulldogs failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Worse than that, Pepperdine, a team Gonzaga defeated two of three times down the stretch in a key series at Malibu is given an at-large berth. The only loss to the Waves was by a run in 11 innings.

And Oregon State, a team that finished sixth in the Pac-10 and a team Gonzaga defeated – one of only three Beaver non-conference losses – is in as well.

Then you hear the head of selection committee, Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton, talk on ESPN about how important is was for teams to play a tough non-conference schedule. He says that was the key factor in the committee's discussions.

So you look at GU's non-conference schedule and see 18 games against Division I tournament teams and two against Lewis-Clark State, the best NAIA team in the nation. In those 20 games, they were 8-12, not a bad record considering 13 of those games were at the opponent's field and three were at neutral sites. Plus, the first nine were played before Feb. 18, when there was still snow on the ground in Spokane.

You know where Spokane is, don't you? I'm sure you do. But it doesn't seem the NCAA does.

• UPDATE: Here's how Baseball America sees the Gonzaga snub.



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