Sunday, March 9, 2008

LandThieves NCAA Tourney Preview

My favorite time of the year is here. Here is my analysis of the Championship Week and likely entrants into the NCAA tourney. Number of teams making it in is in parenthesis.

  • America East (1) - the winner of the UMBC - Hartford game next Saturday will be the lone entrant from this league. The two teams have split their games this year, with each home team winning by a point.
  • Atlantic 10 - (2) Joe Lunardi, ESPN's Bracketologist, has two teams from the A-10. Xavier at 26-5 seems to be a lock whether they win the tourney or not, and Temple or Mass will be the other one in from this conference.
  • ACC - (5) I think 5 teams from the ACC make it in. North Carolina, Duke, Clemson and Virginia Tech all have over 500 records in conference. Miami FL has a 21-9 record and 8-8 in conference, and is also in.
  • Atlantic Sun (1) - Belmont is in as conference champ. The next best team is 18-13 Jacksonville, which has never recovered from Artis Gilmore's departure, and won't be returning to the big dance this year.
  • Big 12 (6) - Texas, Kansas, Kansas State and Oklahoma are safely in, as are Baylor and Texas A&M.
  • Big East (8) - the Big East is likely to get 8 teams in; Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, UConn, Marquette, West Virginia and Pitt. Villanova and Syracuse, 19 win teams with a 9-9 conference record, may work their way in this week with a solid showing in the Big East tourney.
  • Big Sky (1) - Portland State is the #1 seed in the Big Sky tourney, which concludes Wednesday. They will not have two teams in the tourney.
  • Big South (1) - Winthrop is the conference champ. Winthrop may cause some folks some trouble in the tourney, as they play competitive games against several large teams this year, including West Virginia, Baylor and Ole Miss. They tied for first in the regular season with UNC Asheville. UNCA is 23-9, but unlikely to sneak in for one of the at large bids.
  • Big Ten (4) - Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue are in. A recent 4 game losing streak by Ohio State likely keeps them out. No to mention the exhibition lost to Findlay.
  • Big West (1) - the Big West has an interesting tourney setup. The 3 and 4 teams get a bye, but the 1 and 2 teams get another bye into the semifinals. UC Santa Barbara is the #1 seed, and 4 teams have single digit losses headed into the tourney. It's still unlikely that more than 1 team makes it from this league.
  • Colonial (1) - William & Mary takes on George Mason Monday night to determine the champ from this league. Regular season champ Virginia Commonwealth has an outside chance at an at large bid.
  • Conf USA (1) - Memphis is a lock. Joe Lunardi is projecting one other from this conference, but I don't think that will happen, unless UAB or Houston wins the conf tourney.
  • Horizon (1) - Number 1 seed Butler, 28-3 on the year, takes on Cleveland State Tuesday night for the championship. Cleveland State needs to win to be in. Butler will make it in either way.
  • Ivy (1) - Cornell went undefeated in Ivy League play this year, and their five losses were to Duke, Syracuse, Ohio, Bucknell and Colgate. Perennial Ivy League power Penn was down this year, and noone else will make the big dance.
  • MAAC (1) - 22-9 Rider plays 21-10 Siena Monday night for a ticket to the dance. Only one will make it in.
  • MAC (1) - Kent State is your #1 seed headed into the MAC tourney. The champ will make it, but it's tough to see other teams making it from this conference this year.
  • MEAC (1) - Morgan State heads into the MEAC tourney as the #1 seed. This is another single bid league, and Hampton is your next best team in the conference.
  • Missouri Valley (2) - Drake - Drake had three losses in conference by a total of seven points, and a non conference loss on the road at St Mary's. I think they will make some noise in the tourney; Illinois State - fear the Redbirds. ISU's nine losses are to Drake (3x), Indiana, Kansas State, Bradley, Northern Iowa, Indiana State, and Eastern Maryland. The only home loss was to Drake.
  • Mountain West (3) - BYU, UNLV and New Mexico are all likely to make it in, barring a collapse in the MWC tourney.
  • Northeast (1) - Mount St. Mary's plays Sacred Heart on Wednesday for this league's championship and the right to be a 16 seed in the big dance.
  • Ohio Valley (1) - Austin Peay is in. I see the Governors as being one and done. They lost to juggernauts Tennesee Tech and Samford during the year. The next best team in the OVC is Murray State Racers, who have recovered somewhat from Popeye Jones departure, but they aren't making it to the dance this year.
  • Pac 10 (7) - this is the best conference in the country this year. Stanford, UCLA, Washington State and USC should all be in. Arizona is 17-13, but has played the nation's toughest schedule, but has a below 500 conference record and may make it in anyway. Oregon has also played a top 5 slate this year and will make it in as a double digit loss at large bid. Arizona State finished 500 in the league, but had a much easier non conference schedule.
  • Patriot League (1) - Bucknell or Holy Cross usually represent the league and make some noise in mid-March, but not this year. #1 seed American plays #3 seed Colgate on Friday for this league's bid.
  • SEC (4-5) - Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are in. Kentucky has won 12 of 13 and also will be in. Arkansas is on the proverbial bubble.
  • Southern (1) - Davidson went 20-0 in conference and should be in regardless. The final on Monday night pits Davidson against Elon, who went 9-11 in conference play.
  • Southland (1) - Stephen F Austin is the top team in the leauge. Lamar - previous coaching stop of Billy Tubbs - is the other top team in the league, but only the postseason champ will make it.
  • Summit (1) - IUPUI and Oral Roberts are the cream of the crop here, but only one is going to make it through.
  • SunBelt (1) - South Alabama and Western Kentucky finished the season 16-2 in league play. Those teams have made the semifinals. Only one team makes it in this league.
  • SWAC (1) - The Alabama State Hornets are the #1 team headed into the conference tourney.
  • WAC (1) - the WAC is down this year and is a single bid league. Boise State, Nevada, Utah State and New Mexico State tied for first in the regular season, but only one will make it.
  • West Coast (2-3) - Gonzaga and St. Mary's are locks from this league. Barring a run by tourney host San Diego which just made it to the WCC finals, they will be the only two from the WCC.

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