#MarchMadness is officially upon us. And although I will admit to being a total homer for @SMUBasketball, the most interesting communication lesson comes from Illinois State.
@Redbird_MBB was left out of the field of 68 after what appeared, on paper, to be a solid case for their inclusion in the Big Dance. With 27 wins, an undefeated record at home and losing just one game in their conference, this team had to be in, right? Wrong. As is the plight of the mid-major schools and the reason you’re usually hearing about at least one snub when March rolls around. This year it’s Illinois State, in 2014 it was SMU. I’m not bitter, OK? But I do feel for the Redbirds.
To distill this in the simplest of explanations, according to the committee, Illinois State did not have the strength of schedule to warrant being put in the tournament above, say Vanderbilt, despite vastly different records. But here’s the problem: power conferences have nothing to gain and everything to lose from playing mid-major teams, but many mid-major teams need those “signature wins” to be considered a contender for the tournament.
What did Illinois State Head Coach Dan Muller do? He challenged all of the power conference teams via Twitter to schedule Illinois State for their out-of-conference schedule next year. Six hours after his tweet, he updated his followers that Ole Miss had agreed to play his team in the 2017-2018 season. Congratulations to Coach Muller for harnessing the power of social media and creating a national conversation. Also, keep your bitmoji game strong.
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