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Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Conference Predictions

Yesterday I covered the major conferences so today I'll move on to the mid-majors.

Colonial Athletic Association
Conference Champ: Old Dominion
Other contenders: George Mason, Drexel, VCU, Delaware
Multiple Bids?: 40%
I'm not sure who the best team is.  I know Old Dominion has three impressive wins already (Clemson, Xavier, Richmond) and that they were very good last year.  VCU and George Mason are usually in the mix and the conference's most improved team, Drexel, will be as well.

Conference USA
Conference Champ: Memphis
Other contenders: UTEP, Central Florida, Southern Mississippi
Multiple Bids?: Yes
Apologies to Memphis for not including Conference USA with the other major conferences in yesterday's post. I just have a hard time considering this a power conference when there's only one team who is consistently worthy of a top 5 seed.  That being said, with the expansion in this year's tournament I can see possibly three teams qualifying. Jordan's kid (UCF) is fun to watch.

Horizon League
Conference Champ: Valparaiso
Other contenders: Butler, Cleveland St.
Multiple Bids?: 25%
Still a league that gets no respect even after Butler's run for the ages last year.  I'm picking Valpo on a hunch although I believe Butler is the best team.  Cleveland St. has shown they're no slouch either as they beat Butler twice in 2008-09.

Missouri Valley
Conference Champ: Wichita St.
Other contenders: Missouri St., Northern Iowa, Illinois St., Creighton
Multiple Bids?: 50/50
As usual, the MVC is a solid conference.  There are no elite teams but the top half can compete with just about anybody.  Unfortunately the best win for the conference thus far is Evansville's road victory over Butler.  Only UNI has beaten a power conference team and that was Iowa St.  Not exactly impressive resumes being built here.

Mountain West
Conference Champ: San Diego St.
Other contenders: UNLV, BYU, New Mexico
Multiple Bids?: Absolutely
Last year the MWC proved it was the best mid-major and should possibly be considered a power conference.  This year is the same story. SDSU, BYU, and UNLV should all be ranked and will likely grab a couple of top 5 seeds if they take care of business versus conference opponents as they have already notched quality wins against non-conference foes.  If New Mexico can finish fourth and sneak in a couple of wins from the top three schools they may get an at-large bid as well.

West Coast Conference
Conference Champ: St. Mary's
Other contenders: Gonzaga, Portland
Multiple Bids?: 35%
St. Mary's is my pick this year as they look to build off last year's success in the NCAA Tournament.  A lot of people may think I'm overreacting but has anyone seen Gonzaga play this year?  They've played five teams that can be considered top 50 teams and they are 0-5 in those games.
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