For the second straight season, the Missouri State basketball had reason to be excited, and reason to be nervous coming into Selection Sunday.
And for the second straight season, the Bears left Selection Sunday with a broken heart.
The Bears players, coaches and families huddled together at Hammons Student Center on Sunday, with high hopes of making it into their first NCAA tournament since 1999.
But school by school, bubble teams not named Missouri State came across their TV screen.
It all came down to final bracket, and the final at-large team, a spot that went to Stanford. A team that went just 18-12 this season.
Nathan Bilyeu/Bears Senior: "It was a tough one. A lot of hardship, a lot of tears shed, it's tough looking at your teammates and knowing you have no other chance of making it with them to the NCAA tournament."
Blake Ahearn/Bears Senior: "You know, it's obviously hard for us right now, hard for Nate, Tyler and myself, people ask how it's different from last year. And for us, we'll never get another chance, so it's hard on us right now."
Barry Hinson/Bears Head Coach: "The biggest dissapointment is not not making it into the tournament, it's that our seniors didn't get in the tournament. Three young men that have given us four wonderful years. I feel like a father to our players, and if I could be a father and take away the pain, I would do that."
The good news is that the NIT came calling, and the Missouri State bears know they'll live to play at least one more game.
Ahearn: "It's a chance to play college basketball again, and not a lot of teams can do that right now, and we're going to play as long as we can."
Bilyeu: "It's always hard not getting into the NCAA tournament, but at least we have more games to play and it's not the end of my career yet."
Bears coach barry hinson had a rough day in more ways that one.
Hinson: "This put this in perspective. I'm driving down 44, and a car in front of me flips and goes off in the ditch. I pull over and I pull a girl out of a car today and thought she was dead and she ended up living and I thought what a day, so that put everything in perpective. This girl got to live and we didn't get to get into a tournament. And I thought, dawg gawn it, there are a lot more important things in life, not to a lot of our fans, that put a lot of things into perspective for me. It's been a different day for me, I can tell you that."
As for the NIT, the Bears will host San Diego State this Wednesday night at 9 p.m. the Bears are the number three seed in the south region.
Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.