The Mid-Major conference tournament to watch? The Colonial Athletic Conference. They have four teams who I would not be surprised to see in the second weekend. Old Dominion already took down Georgetown. But you know what? With Northeastern and Virginia Commonwealth rocking the suburbs, and William and Mary lurking, you will not see ODU win the conference.
Virginia Commonwealth will. Utah State will probably run down Louisiana Tech and get the WAC coming into the home stretch. Charlotte also probably won’t win the A-10, and with Richmond and Dayton with very similar solid resumes? The March 5th game in Dayton will likely decide who joins Xavier, Temple, and Rhode Island.
The Big East dream of 8 bids is very much alive. South Florida has climbed up onto the bubble with Gus Gilchrist nursing a mangled ankle. And I’m sure that all is forgiven for that CMU loss. Louisville will have the super SOS number that will have 20 wins be enough for their entry. Marquette has been suffering through some bad luck this year, but their schedule is soft enough that they can run to the Conference tourney unbeaten.
The Pac-10? They will be lucky to get three bids. Arizona State doesn’t have the computer numbers. USC’s digits are worse. Arizona will inexplicably get a bid just to spite me.
Northwestern also could get in despite the computer numbers saying nothing of the sort. Pomeroy has this team going 21-10 and 9-9. If they beat the Golden Gophers at Welsh-Ryan and hold serve with the downy soft schedule. It’s the one team that has never made the tournament from a Big Six school that went better than .500 in conference. You think a team like UAB is going to get in over them?
Teams like UAB, Wichita State, William and Mary, Richmond, Northeastern, and San Diego State will further prove the continuing irrelevancy of the RPI to the selectionariat. All these teams will have decent to great computer numbers. All will go to the NIT.
The most backdooring bubble team in the last four in? Oklahoma State. James Anderson will carry the team upon his back.
The worst team that is still currently still alive for an at-large berth? Southern Miss.
The three conferences that will steal an at-large berth for a multi-bid league? The MVC, the Horizon, and the West Coast. If Siena doesn’t win their tournament? Well. That would be interesting, now wouldn’t it?
We’ll be living in a weird world where the Mountain West will be getting more bids than the Pac-10 and as many as the SEC. The A-10 has a legitimate case for five bids. That’s on the level of any conference not named the Big East. I’d be very disappointed if the selection committee shorts these leagues.