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Georgia State coach Ron Hunter: ‘Common sense’ has been taken out of NCAA Tournament selection process

The Panthers coach did not hold back, defending the mid-majors

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Nashville Practice
Georgia State coach Ron Hunter says mid-major programs are being pushed out of the NCAA Tournament.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

NASHVILLE — Georgia State coach Ron Hunter says the NCAA Tournament is in trouble and that non-power-conference schools are getting shut out.

“I think the funny thing about the NCAA Tournament, what’s made it, are the upsets,” he said Thursday during his team’s media availability. “VCU getting to the Final Four, what Butler has done. We kind of forget about that type of thing. I think it’s terrible.”

Hunter, best known for coaching in the 2015 tournament from a stool because of a torn achilles, is making his second visit to the Big Dance with his Panthers and his third overall. He attempts to use the small school versus big school angle to his advantage with his own players, but he believes the mid-majors are getting run out of the national championship scene.

“One thing we’ve taken out of the room is common sense,” Hunter said. “Common sense has been taken out. Middle Tennessee should have been in this tournament. Period. I think that’s a problem. This is a Power 5 tournament.”

Hunter complained that mid-major teams have no chance of being selected for the NCAA Tournament without winning their conference tournaments. He noted his 2014 team went 17-1 in Sunbelt Conference play and was sentenced to the NIT.

Power 5 teams don’t have that disadvantage.

“There are Power 5s that can go 8-10 in their league and still get in,” Hunter added. “I think it’s completely unfair. I just think the system is wrong. I’ve said it before. I’m on a number of committees, and the ADs and the presidents have heard me say it. It’s wrong. That’s the world we live in and that’s what every mid-major coach has to understand.”

Hunter’s Panthers (24-10) battle 2 seed Cincinnati (30-4) Friday afternoon.