Every summer I like to research a sports topic from Springfield’s past that fascinates me.
Sometimes these topics are worth celebrating, like 2003 Southwest Missouri State baseball team that reached the College World Series or take a deep dive into the the most influential female sporting figures in the history of our proud sporting region.
But sometimes I’m obsessed with stories that have heartache, but also joy to discover at the same time.
This summer, I decided to examine what I consider to be the most damaging decision in Missouri State men’s basketball history: the NCAA Tournament selection committee’s choice to let the Missouri State outside the big ball in 2006.
To this day, fans still talk about their nightmares from that Selection Sunday – and for good reason. The Bears probably should have entered the tournament with the No. 21 RPI in the country. Many of the team’s characters are still beloved to this day and I believe they fully deserved to perform on the sport’s biggest stage.
What fascinated me most, at the start of this research, was the impact this decision had on the lives of those directly involved with the team; most notably, former Missouri State head coach Barry Hinson.
Hinson’s life and the last 17 years of Missouri State men’s basketball would have been a lot different if the people in an Indianapolis conference room had decided that the Bears were more deserving of an offer than a team like the Air Force.
“Snubbed” is a seven-part series that looks back at the 2005-06 Bears. The purpose of this series was to celebrate and remember the team as one of the school’s best while investigating the heartbreaks and decisions made by key figures of the time.
Among the hours of interviews collected are conversations with Hinson, administrators, former players, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi and others. They shared happy behind-the-scenes stories of the season, the heartbreak they felt during Selection Sunday, their thoughts on the many “what ifs” that decision created and the fallout that is still felt by the program nowadays.
The first part of the series will be published on Sunday and another will follow each day, skipping Saturday, with the final chapter of the story being published on July 16.
Stories will be available to all readers to preview online on the day they are published. Thereafter, the series will only be available to News-Leader subscribers.
All-access digital subscriptions start at $1 for the first six months, which will also give readers access to all of our high school and football coverage for the season as well as basketball season previews. ball to come.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee’s decision impacted many lives and the fallout is still being felt today – and it was completely out of the Bears’ control. Who knows where Missouri State men’s basketball would be if the right decision was made? We will never know.
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist for the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at email@example.com or Twitter at @WyattWheeler_NL.