Colgate's Mike Murphy not holding out for NCAA tournament

With an 8-6 record and one final regular-season contest at No. 11 Maryland, Colgate has not been mathematically eliminated from consideration for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. But unlike last year when the team went 13-3 in the regular season and garnered only the program’s second tournament appearance, coach Mike Murphy is not holding out for another at-large spot when the 16-team bracket is unveiled Sunday night.

“I’m sure there’s probably some sort of mathematical substance to that, but we’re 29th in the RPI, and I don’t know that a team outside of the top 17 or 18 in the RPI has ever made it to the NCAA tournament that wasn’t an automatic qualifier,” he said Tuesday. “So it’ll be interesting. You look at [No. 13] Hopkins and if we were to beat Maryland, do we have a better win on our resume than Hopkins does? How does the Ivy League tournament play out? How does the [Colonial Athletic Association] tournament play out? I’ve got to imagine that [No. 17] Bucknell, our runner-up in the Patriot League tournament, they’re going to receive potentially an at-large bid because they’ve got some quality wins. So I think for my team, we’ve just got to worry about playing Maryland and trying to beat a very talented Maryland team. If we make the NCAA tournament, then somebody upstairs is looking out for us. But my main concern for my team is just making sure that as a program, we’re looking to end the 2013 season in the best possible manner.”

Last season, the Raiders knocked off then-undefeated Massachusetts in the first round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Duke in the quarterfinals. Repeating that run appears unlikely, but that does not mean that the players can expect to coast into the offseason against the Terps (9-3) – a team that has lost to Colgate in each of the last two regular-season finales for both sides.

“I haven’t made a big deal about the glimmer of hope of the NCAA tournament just because I’ve been around long enough to know that I definitely think we’re on the outside looking in,” Murphy said. “I have said to the senior class and to the guys coming back that you’re always being evaluated as a player. As a senior, you want to go out in the best possible fashion. Right now, we’re 8-6. So what’s the best possible finish for us? It’s 9-6. So I need to make sure that our senior class is leading us and is coming with great emotion and great focus at practice. And we need the same thing from our underclassmen. The juniors need to start to realize their leadership roles. Our younger guys need to realize that their standing on this team for next year, that evaluation is ongoing.”

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