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2011 March Madness: Washington State Basketball Laments Losses, Misses NCAA Tournament

The Washington State Cougars faltered down the stretch, missing out on the NCAA Tournament with late-season losses even with a soft bubble this year. When the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed, it brought disappointment to the Washington State faithful, who realized just how close their team was to the NCAA Tournament. USC, VCU and others slid in under the wire with resumes comparable to that of the Cougars, making Selection Sunday all the more painful.

CougCenter's Jeff Nusser took a look at the NCAA Tournament bracket, lamenting what might have been.

When USC is in ... when Alabama-Birmingham is in ... when Virginia Commonwealth is in ... it's really, really, REALLY hard not to dwell on what could have been for WSU. We'll never know for sure how many more wins it would have taken to get into the field, but one can now surmise it wouldn't have been very many.

Wins over Stanford and/or ASU? One more win over UW? Beating UCLA at home?

So many what-ifs. I'll say this, though: Who knows if all four of those things would have even done the trick. Colorado wasn't even really considered on the bubble by most people, and they're now in the same spot as WSU -- headed for the NIT.

Instead, Washington State awaits its fate during the NIT Selection Show, set to take place at 6 p.m. The Cougars will likely join the best of the rest in the NIT field, gaining some postseason experience in the process. Unfortunately, a win here or a win there could've lifted the Cougars into the Big Dance instead of lamenting the missed opportunities.

For more on the Sunday's NIT selection show, check out our NIT bracket StoryStream. To check out the NCAA Tournament bids, visit our Selection Sunday StoryStream or check out SB Nation's 2011 NCAA Tournament printable bracket. For more on the Cougars, visit SB Nation's CougCenter.