Predicting the NCAA Tourament Round 5
Over 300 teams are in Division 1 college basketball, but each year only 65 teams are invited to the Big Dance. This year, more than ever, the mid majors are making a strong push to get at large bids. These are my picks for the week. To make these picks I considered the following: won loss record (overall and in conference), SOS, record vs. 1-25, 26-50 and 51-100 in RPI, non-conference SOS, and RPI among other things. Needless to say, a lot of time and information goes into making these picks.
The last 10 picks to get in were in no particular order: Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Houston, West Virginia, Indiana, Minnesota, Buffalo, New Mexico, St. Mary's (CA) and UTEP
The last 10 picks out in no particular order were: Virginia Tech, Memphis, UAB, Saint Joseph's, Utah State, Creighton, Akron, Kent State, Northern Iowa, Boston University
New teams that were added this week are noted in bold. Also, one team is in italics, because they have already made the tournament, because the Ivy League does not have a conference tournament to settle the automatic bid, instead giving it to the regular season champ of the conference, which was Penn. 4 other conference automatic bids will be settled by this time next week as the Big South, Atlantic Sun, Southern, and Ohio Valley will all have their tournament champions by Monday.
Big East (8): UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, BC, West Virginia
Big 12 (6): Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Iowa State
ACC (5): North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland, Georgia Tech
SEC (5): Kentucky, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, LSU
Conference USA (5): Charlotte, Louisville, Cincinnati, DePaul, Houston
Big 10 (5): Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Indiana
Pac 10 (4): Stanford, Washington, Arizona, UCLA
Mid-American Conference (2): Miami (Ohio), Buffalo
Mountain West Conference (2): Utah, New Mexico
West Coast Conference (2): Gonzaga, St. Mary's
Western Athletic Conference (2): Nevada, UTEP
America East (1): Vermont
Atlantic 10 (1): George Washington
Atlantic Sun (1): Central Florida
Big Sky (1): Portland State
Big West (1): Pacific
Colonial Athletic Association (1): Old Dominion
Horizon (1): Wisconsin Milwaukee
Ivy (1): Penn
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (1): Rider
Mid-Continent Conference (1): Oral Roberts
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (1): Coppin State
Missouri Valley Conference (1): Southern Illinois
Northeast Conference (1): Farleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley Conference (1): Tennessee Tech
Patriot League (1): Holy Cross
Southern Conference (1): Davidson
Southland Conference (1): SE Louisiana
Southwestern Athletic Conference (1): Alabama A&M
Sun Belt Conference (1): Denver
Teams that have been eliminated from the tourney since last week:
Miami: The Hurricanes beat Florida State last week, but then lost a huge game against Georgia Tech on Saturday. Miami lost by 4 points, and they are now 7-8 in conference, and 16-10 overall. They have one remaining game at Duke this Thursday, and then the ACC tournament. Assuming a loss on Thursday, the Hurricanes are going to need at least 2 wins in the ACC tourney to sneak in the Big Dance.
Virginia Tech: I so much wanted to include them in my predictions because I think that as a team they are a great story. However, getting blown out against N.C. State when they had 7 days to prepare for them is unacceptable. If they can win their last two games against Clemson and Maryland, and then win at least 1 game in the ACC tourney, I think they will be dancing. Otherwise, Seth Greenberg and his team will be in the NIT.
Marquette: All you need to know about this non-selection is that Travis Diener is out for the year. As horrible as it sounds, Marquette does not stand a chance at getting into the NCAA tourney without their leading scorer. He was their leader, the offense was run through him, and he made everyone around him better. Without Diener, this team will struggle.
Memphis: The Tigers had their chance last week to prove to the whole nation on ESPN primetime that they deserved an at large bid. Instead, they blew a lead at home against Louisville, and did not make a field goal over the last 14 minutes of the game. Combine that game with their loss earlier in the week against Charlotte, and you have a team that needs to win their final two games against St. Louis and Cincinnati to get in.
Saint Joseph's: As nice as their record in the A-10 is at 12-2, their record out of conference is just as bad at 3-8. With a loss to URI on Saturday, this team is in need of a big win soon. Luckily, they play George Washington on ESPN2 tomorrow night, and the Colonials are the favorite right now to get the bid from the A-10. Saint Joseph's better have something to prove to me, and the rest of the nation tomorrow night, or else they will continue to stay on the outside looking in.
Gardner and Webb: They still have a very good shot at getting into their tourney, but they must win their conference championship, because the Atlantic Sun is not going to get an at large bid. The reason I predicted that as of today Central Florida would get the bid from this conference, is because even though these two teams are tied in the standings for the lead, Central Florida beat Gardner and Webb last week.
Monmouth (N.J.): Different team, same scenario. Monmouth lost to Farleigh Dickinson on February 19th, so even though they are tied for the lead in conference at 13-4 with Farleigh Dickinson, I predicted UFD, because of the outcome of that game, among other things.
LA Lafayette: Losing both of your games in the week, is not a good plan in the competitive Sun Belt Conference.