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Lance Iversen, Associated Press
North Dakota forward Josh Collins celebrates the team's win over Weber State in an NCAA college basketball game during the final of the Big Sky tournament in Reno, Nev., Saturday, March 11, 2017.

Selection Sunday is finally here and, perhaps other than that national holiday known as the Super Bowl, it's probably the most anticipated day of the entire sports year.

After all, this afternoon we'll find out which 68 men's college basketball teams have earned the right to play in the NCAA Tournament with a glorious chance to win the national championship.

(Of course, in all honesty, there's only about a half-dozen teams that truly have a chance to take home the title. But still ….)

Later today, in that drawn-out Selection Sunday show on CBS-TV, we'll learn who made the cut, who's seeded where and who's headed to each regional bracket around the country.

Eight of those teams will be coming to Salt Lake City for first- and second-round games on Thursday and Saturday at Vivint Arena.

I can't wait.

Ah, yes, March Madness, which for many sports fans — as that great old Christmas song by Andy Williams says, "It's the most wonderful time of the year" — is upon us once again.

But, sadly, no teams from the Beehive State will be going to the Big Dance. Nope, darn it, for the first time since 2013, none of the state's six Division I men's teams earned a berth.

Sure, that delightful dance will still be rockin' for a whole lot of other happy folks across America, but no team from Utah got an invitation.

BYU got thumped by Saint Mary's in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament, and Utah dropped a tight contest to Cal in the Pac-12 tourney quarterfinals.

Unfortunately, neither the Cougars nor the Utes built a strong enough regular-season resume to receive an at-large big to the NCAA Tournament, so they'll both likely be relegated to play in the NIT — the ol' Nobody's Interested Tournament — and rumor has it they might even end up facing off against each other.

That would definitely help spark some interest among their fans who might otherwise not care much about those schools' postseason fortunes now.

Utah State got bounced out by Nevada in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament, and Southern Utah lost (to Weber State) in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky tourney.

With losing season records, the Aggies and Thunderbirds won't be going anywhere in March but home.

Utah Valley suffered a heartbreaking quadruple-overtime setback against Cal State Bakersfield in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament and, with a just-below-.500 record of 15-16, it's doubtful the CBI (Can't Be Interesting) or CIT (Could Increase Talent) would come calling on the Wolverines.

But maybe, if one of those tournaments has gotta fill out a bracket. …

And Weber State, the only in-state school to reach its tournament title game, lost in Saturday night's Big Sky championship in most disappointing fashion, dropping an overtime heartbreaker to North Dakota.

1 comment on this story

The Wildcats, at 19-13, probably warrant some kind of postseason consideration, and perhaps after playing in either the NIT, CBI or CTI for five straight seasons from 2009-13, reaching the title game of the CIT in 2013 and going to the Big Dance in 2014 and 2016, they'll hear from somebody.

All in all, though, seeing all six Beehive State schools get shut out of the only postseason tournament that really counts is a tough pill to swallow.

And, instead of enjoying the joy of March Madness, the Cougars, Utes, Aggies, Wildcats, Wolverines and Thunderbirds each wound up being simply mad at how things turned out instead.