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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What the Tournament looks like today

After completing the Power 16 yesterday, I began wondering what kind of representation each conference would get if it was already March.  I thought it would be a nice little exercise to go through each conference and see who's in, who's out, and who is somewhere in between.

Big East
Locks: Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia
Lookin' Good: Georgetown, Pittsburgh
Bubble Watch: Notre Dame, Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, Seton Hall
Not quite 100:1 odds:  Marquette, Providence, St. John's
No Chance: Rutgers, DePaul, South Florida
The Big East is the deepest conference in the country.  Unfortunately that allows for a lot of teams to beat up on each other.  Unimpressive conference records may be ignored as the committee instead looks at impressive road wins and how bubble teams fare in their conference tournament.
Likely bids: 7

ACC
Locks: Duke
Lookin' Good: Wake Forest, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia
Bubble Watch: Florida St., Georgia Tech, UNC, Virginia Tech
Not quite 100:1 odds: North Carolina St., Miami
No Chance: Boston College
Although Duke is a lock, they don't appear to be the dominating team they've been in years past.  That they're the best in the conference represents an unusual case for the ACC.  The likely effect is more teams jumping off the bubble and into the field of 64.
Likely bids: 6 maybe 7

Big 12 
Locks: Kansas, Texas
Lookin' Good: Kansas St., Missouri
Bubble Watch: Baylor, Texas A&M, Oklahoma St.
Not quite 100:1 odds: Texas Tech, Oklahoma
No Chance: Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa St.
The elite teams in the Big 12 are quite possibly two of the top five teams in the land.  The middle of the conference has really improved in recent years thus giving the committee even more reason to dig deep.  Any team with a winning conference record may qualify. 
Likely bids: 6

SEC 
Locks: Kentucky, Tennessee
Lookin' Good: Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Mississippi St. 
Bubble Watch: Florida  
Not quite 100:1 odds: Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia
No Chance: LSU, Auburn, Arkansas
Kentucky and Tennessee will have excellent seeds but one of the other schools will have to get a couple of statement wins to get higher than a six.  The bottom of this conference is really bad. 
Likely bids: 5

Atlantic 10
Locks: Temple
Lookin' Good: Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island
Bubble Watch: Richmond, Charlotte
Not quite 100:1 odds: St. Louis
No Chance: St. Joseph's, Fordham, George Washington, LaSalle, Duquense, UMass, St. Bonaventure
Rhode Island, Richmond, and Charlotte's strong seasons have turned the A-10 into a very underrated conference.  If Richmond and Charlotte play well down the stretch and beat Temple and/or Xavier this could be a five bid conference.  Thank you, Pac 10.
Likely bids: 4

Big Ten
Locks: Michigan St., Purdue, Wisconsin
Lookin' Good: Ohio St.
Bubble Watch: Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota
Not quite 100:1 odds: Michigan
No Chance: Penn St., Indiana, Iowa
The three bubble teams here are barely on the bubble.  One of them will have to make a statement soon or it's the NIT for certain.
Likely bids: 4

Pac 10 
Locks: none
Lookin' Good: Cal, Arizona St.
Bubble Watch: Arizona
Not quite 100:1 odds: Stanford, Washington, Washington St.
No Chance: Oregon St., Oregon, UCLA, USC (ineligible)
Cal is starting to play well which should put them in the tourney.  Arizona St has the  best RPI after Cal and since they are one of the Big 6, this conference should get multiple bids. 
Likely bids: 3.  There will probably only be two deserving but the committee has a history of giving Pac 10 bubble teams the benefit of the doubt.

Mountain West 
Locks: BYU
Lookin' Good: UNLV, New Mexico
Bubble Watch: San Diego St.
Not quite 100:1 odds: Utah
No Chance: Air Force, TCU, Colorado St., Wyoming
BYU is already a lock for a top four seed.  San Diego St. needs to get a good win on the road and win their bracket buster matchup to get in.  I hope they get it done.
Likely bids: 3

West Coast
Locks: Gonzaga
Lookin' Good: none
Bubble Watch: St. Marys
Not quite 100:1 odds: Portland
No Chance: Everyone else
Portland has really faded since their incredible start. They would probably need to win out in order to reach the big Dance.  As it stands now, I think St. Mary's is in but they'll need to beat Portland again and win two games in their conference tournament.
Likely bids: 2

Conference USA
Locks: none
Lookin' Good: UAB, Tulsa
Bubble Watch: Memphis, Marshall, UTEP
Not quite 100:1 odds: Houston
No Chance: Rice, East Carolina, Southern Miss, SMU, UCF
This is a really interesting conference this year.  Without Memphis' dominance it's really wide open.  UAB and Tulsa are each undefeated in conference and while this is impossible to continue, I think each has done enough to warrant an at-large bid thus far.
Likely bids: 2

Colonial 
Locks: none
Lookin' Good: Old Dominion
Bubble Watch: William & Mary
Not quite 100:1 odds: VCU, Northeastern, George Mason
No Chance: Drexel, UNC-Wilmington, Towson, Delaware, Hofstra, James Madison, Georgia St.
The Tribe look to get their first ever NCAA bid.  They'll need a strong showing at bracket buster plus a split with Old Dominion to feel safe.
Likely bids: Right now, 2

Horizon
Locks: Butler
Lookin' Good: none
Bubble Watch: UW-Milwaukee
Not quite 100:1 odds: none
No Chance: Everyone else
Unless Milwaukee wins the conference tournament this will be a one bid league.  Butler's a lock even if they don't win their tournament.
Likely bids: 1

MVC
Locks: Northern Iowa
Lookin' Good: none
Bubble Watch: Wichita St.
Not quite 100:1 odds: Creighton, Illinois St., Drake
No Chance: Bradley, Southern Illinois, Missouri St., Indiana St., Evansville
The only reason I've put three schools in the "Not quite 100:1 odds" group is that I can see any one of these teams winning the conference tournament.  Wichita St. needs to win their bracket buster and reach the final of the MVC tournament to get an at-large bid. Even then that may not be enough.
Likely bids: 1

Metro Atlantic Athletic
Locks: none
Lookin' Good: none yet
Bubble Watch: Siena
Not quite 100:1 odds: Iona
No Chance: everyone else
Siena is ALMOST there.  Currently 10-0 in conference play, if they can finish with two or fewer conference losses I'm sure they will clinch an at-large berth.  Iona is the only team that could really challenge them for the conference tournament title. 
Likely bids: 1

Ivy
It's likely between Cornell and Harvard here.  Cornell has the national exposure and is currently tied with Harvard atop the Ivy League standings.  If Harvard can split with Cornell and tie for the Ivy crown, a one game playoff will follow (there is no conference tournament).  Harvard will need to win in order to get in while Cornell's fate would be left to the committee.  Could two Ivy League schools get in?
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