The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 26, 2012

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments Guide

Filed under: College Basketball — Tags: , , , , — piratings @ 7:09 pm

Selection Sunday is just two weeks away, and it is time to start looking at the conference tournaments.  It can be hard to find one source with all the details on the conference tournaments, so we here at the Pi-Rate Ratings have compiled all the particulars for you.

 

Conference tournament action kicks off Monday night with the Big South Tournament’s opening round.  It concludes on March 11, Selection Sunday.

 

Here is a breakdown of each conference plus a list of which teams are in the running to receive at-large bids should they fail to win the automatic bid.

 

The Selection Committee will be looking at RPI, Strength of Schedule, and results against the top 50 and top 100 RPI-rated teams.  How a team performed in its last 10 games is no longer part of the equation, but how a team performed on the road all season is a factor.

 

America East

Date: March 1-4, 10

Location: Hartford, CT (Championship at Higher Seed)

Teams in Tournament: 9

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Semifinals on ESPN3, Championship on ESPN2, All others online free at www.americaeast.com

 

Stony Brook (14-2/20-8) secured the number one seed with a win over Maine Sunday.  Vermont (13-3/20-11) is the number two seed.  These two teams are in a class by themselves in the A-East.

 

Boston U. (12-4/16-15) is the number three seed, while Albany (9-7/18-13) is the number four seed. 

 

Any of these four teams can win the conference tournament, and only the champion will earn a bid to the Big Dance.

 

Atlantic 10

Date: March 6, 9-11

Location: Atlantic City, NJ (opening round at higher seed)

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 2 or 3

TV: Quarterfinals on CBS College Regional; Semifinals on CBS College Network; Championship on CBS

 

Temple (11-3/22-6) is a lock to make the Big Dance.  St. Louis 10-4/22-6) is on the high bubble.  If another team wins the conference tournament, the A-10 could send three members to the NCAA Tournament.

 

Xavier (9-5/18-10) and St. Joe’s (9-6/19-11) are off the bubble, but those two along with Dayton (8-6/18-10), St. Bonaventure (9-5/16-10), UMass (8-6/19-9), and LaSalle (7-7/18-11), are talented enough to get hot in a couple of weeks and win the automatic bid.

 

Atlantic Coast

Date: March 8-11

Location: Atlanta

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 4 to 6

TV: Opening Round on ESPN-U; Quarterfinals on ESPN2; Semifinals & Finals on ESPN

 

Duke (12-2/25-4), North Carolina (12-2/25-4), and Florida State (10-4/19-9) are locks to make the field of 68.  Virginia (8-6/21-7) is firmly on the bubble.  Miami (8-6/17-10) and North Carolina State (7-7/18-11) are on the bubble and need some key wins to make the tournament as at-large teams.

 

Atlantic Sun

Date: February 29 to March 3

Location: Macon, GA

Teams in Tournament: 8 (9th & 10th place teams left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Quarterfinals on ESPN3; Semifinals on A-Sun TV & Comcast Sports South; Championship on ESPN2

 

The bracket for this tournament is set.  The opening round is Wednesday.

 

Atlantic Sun Tournament Bracket @ Macon, GA (Mercer)

 

 

 

All Times EST

 

Quarterfinals

 

1-Belmont (16-2/24-7) vs. 8-Jacksonville (6-12/8-21)  Wed. F.29 2:30 PM

 

4-East Tennessee (10-8/16-13) vs. 5-North Florida (10-8/16-13)  Thu. M.1 2:30 PM

 

3-USC-Upstate (13-5/20-11) vs. 6-Florida Gulf Coast (8-10/13-16) Thu M.1 8:30 PM

 

2-Mercer (13-5/21-10) vs. 7-Lipscomb (8-10/13-17) Wed. F. 29 8:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—Friday, March 2

 

Belmont-Jacksonville winner vs. East Tennessee-North Florida winner 6:00 PM

 

USC-Upstate-Florida Gulf Coast winner vs. Mercer-Lipscomb winner 8:30 PM

 

 

 

Championship—Saturday, March 3  7:00 PM

 

Belmont swept Mercer, but can the Bruins beat the Bears on their home court twice in one week?  This tournament produces many upsets, but usually one of the top two seeds wins the championship.

 

Big 12

Date: March 7-10

Location: Kansas City

Teams in Tournament: 10

Estimated Dance Tickets: 3-6

TV: Opening Round on Big 12 Network; Quarterfinals half on ESPN2 & half on Big 12 Network; Semifinals on Big 12 Network & ESPN-U; Championship on ESPN

 

The barbecue sales will soar as fans of the 10 teams hit KC and head over to Gates and Bryant Barbecue up in the Brooklyn area where the old Kansas City Municipal Stadium once stood.

 

Kansas (14-2/24-5), Missouri (12-4/25-4), and Baylor (11-5/24-5) have already secured at-large bids.  Iowa State (11-5/21-8) has been one of the nation’s top surprises, and first year coach and Cyclone alum Fred Hoiberg could earn National Coach of the Year honors.  ISU is on the bubble.  Kansas State (8-8/19-9) moved from questionable status to central bubble status with two big wins this week.  Texas (8-8/18-11) has work to do.

 

Big East

Date: March 6-10

Location: New York City

Teams in Tournament: 16

Estimated Dance Tickets: 6-9

TV: Opening Round half on ESPN2 & half on ESPN-U; All other games on ESPN

 

Ah, New York!  What better place to view five days of excellent basketball while munching on the best deli delicacies in the world?  Watch out for those onion rolls and knishes; there are more calories in a couple of those than a steak!

 

Syracuse (16-1/29-1) will be a number one seed.  Marquette (13-3/24-5) won’t be too far behind in the seeding.  Notre Dame (12-4/20-9), Georgetown (11-5/21-6) and Louisville (10-6/22-7) are locks to get bids.  Things get murky after these five.

 

South Florida (11-5/18-11) is on the higher end of the bubble, while Cincinnati (10-5/20-8) is on the bottom of the bubble with an RPI in the low 70’s. Their resume is 50-50.

 

West Virginia (7-9/17-12) and Connecticut (7-9/17-11) are below .500 in the league, but both are squarely on the bubble with higher RPIs than Cinti.

 

South Florida (10-5/17-11) and Seton Hall (8-9/19-10) have stayed under the radar for most of the year, but both teams are on the bubble.  The five days at Madison Square Garden should allow one to three or four of these non-lock teams to work their way into at-large status.  Of course, if one of these, or even a bottom eight team could win five games in five days like UConn did last year.

 

The bracket for the Big East is unique.  On the opening day, seeds 9 through 16 play, eliminating four to lower the remaining teams to 12.  On the second day, seeds 5 through 8 join the four winners from day one to lower the remaining teams to eight.  The top four seeds do not play until the quarterfinals on the third day.

 

Big Sky

Date: March 3, 6-7

Location: 1st Round at Higher Seeds; Semis and Championship at Regular Season Champion (Weber State or Montana)

Teams in Tournament: 6 (7, 8, and 9 left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Semifinals on Altitude Network; Championship on ESPN2

 

In this conference tournament, the number six seed plays at the number three seed, and the number five seed plays at the number four seed.  The top two seeds receive byes to the semifinals.

 

In the semis, the number one seed hosts the lower-seeded first round winner, while the number two seed plays the higher-seeded first round winner on the number one seed’s floor.

 

Weber State (14-1/23-4) and Montana (14-1/22-6) have both won 17 of their last 18 games.  The Wildcats and Grizzlies hook up Tuesday night at Montana for the regular season championship.  The winner will host the semis and finals of the conference tournament.  Earlier this year, Weber State trounced the Grizzlies 80-64, but Montana outscores conference opponents by 18.6 points per game at Dahlberg Arena.

 

Weber State could move into the bubble talk.  If the Bulldogs win Tuesday and lose to Montana in the finals of the conference tournament, they might have a really slim chance at sneaking in as one of the last four in.

 

Big South

Date: February 27, 29, March 1, 3

Location: 1st round and championship at higher seeds; quarterfinals and semifinals at regular season champion

Teams in Tournament: 10 (#11 left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Opening and quarterfinal rounds on Big South Network, Semifinals on ESPN-U, Championship on ESPN2

 

The bracket for this tournament is set.  The opening round is tomorrow.

 

 

Big South Tournament Bracket

 

All Times EST

 

 

 

Opening Round—Monday, February 27

 

10-Radford (2-16/6-25) at 7- VMI (8-10/14-15)  7:00 PM

 

9-Gardner-Webb (6-12/12-19) at 8-High Point (8-10/12-17) 7:30 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—February 29 at UNC-Asheville

 

2-Coastal Carolina (12-6/19-10) vs. VMI/Radford Winner  12:00 Noon

 

3-Campbell (11-7/17-14) vs. 6-Winthrop (8-10/11-19)  2:00 PM

 

1-UNC-Asheville (16-2/21-9) vs. Gardner-Webb/High Point Winner  6:00 PM

 

4-Charleston Southern (11-7/18-11) vs. 5-Liberty (9-9/14-17)  8:00 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 1

 

Coastal Carolina/VMI/Radford Winner vs. Campbell/Winthrop Winner  6:00 PM

 

UNC-Asheville/Gardner-Webb/High Point Winner vs. Charleston Southern/Liberty Winner 8:00 PM

 

 

 

Championship— March 3  12 Noon

 

UNC-Asheville is at #124 in the RPI, and there is no way the Bulldogs can creep onto the bubble.  The champion of this tournament will be a #15 or #16 seed in the Big Dance.

 

Big Ten

Date: March 8-11

Location: Indianapolis

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 5-8

TV: Opening Round half on Big Ten Network & half on ESPN2; Quarterfinals half on Big Ten Network & half on ESPN; Semifinals and Finals on CBS

 

The Big Ten is the top power conference this year, but there are only five sure at-large teams as of today.  Michigan State (13-3/24-5), Ohio State (11-5/23-6), Michigan (11-5/21-8), Indiana (9-7/22-7), and Wisconsin (10-6/21-8) are definitely in the Dance.

 

Purdue (9-7/19-10) is on the high end of the bubble; one more win should be enough.  Northwestern (7-9/17-11) is on the lower middle of the bubble (the Wildcats have never been in the NCAA Tournament).  An upset at home over Ohio State on Wednesday could be enough, but the Wildcats need to advance past the first round in Indianapolis to have a shot. 

 

Illinois (6-10/17-12) and Minnesota (5-11/17-12) are off the bubble and need to still be playing on Selection Sunday to have any chance to make the field.  Bruce Weber’s job status in Champaign-Urbana is in serious jeopardy.

 

Big West

Date: March 8-10

Location: Anaheim, CA

Teams in Tournament: 8 (9th team left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Semifinals on ESPN-U; Championship on ESPN2

 

Note: Tournament will re-seed after the opening round, just like the NFL Playoffs.

 

Long Beach State (14-0/21-7) wrapped up the regular season title many days ago.  The 49ers are a definite bubble team with an RPI of #34.

 

Cal State Fullerton (10-4/19-8) will have a shot to upset the 49ers at home to close out the regular season.  It may be better for the Titans to lose a close game and gain the confidence to win in the tournament a week later than to upset LBSU and face their wrath for all the marbles.

 

UC-Santa Barbara (10-4/16-9) is the third quality team in the league.  The Gauchos did not compete with the 49ers in their two losses.

 

Colonial Athletic

Date: March 2-5

Location: Richmond, VA

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Quarterfinals & Semifinals on CAA-TV & Comcast Sports regional networks.  Championship on ESPN or ESPN2

 

The bracket for this tournament is set.  The opening round commences on Friday, March 2.

 

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament–Richmond, VA

 

All Times EST

 

 

 

Opening Round—March 2

 

8-James Madison(5-13/12-19) vs. 9-UNC-Wilmington (5-13/9-20)  12:00 Noon

 

5-Delaware (12-6/17-12) vs. 12-Towson (1-17/1-30)  2:30 PM

 

7-Northeastern (9-9/13-16) vs. 10-William & Mary (4-14/6-25)  6:00 PM

 

6-Georgia State (11-7/20-10) vs. 11-Hofstra (3-15/10-21)  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 3

 

1-Drexel (16-2/25-5) vs. James Madison/UNC-Wilmington 12:00 Noon

 

4-Old Dominion (13-5/19-12) vs. Delaware/Towson Winner 2:30 PM

 

2-Va. Commonwealth (15-3/25-6) vs. Northeastern/William & Mary Winner 6:00 PM

 

3-George Mason (14-4/23-8) vs. Georgia State/Hofstra Winner 8:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 4

 

Drexel/JMU/UNCW Winner vs. Old Dominion/Delaware/Towson Winner 2:00 PM

 

VCU/Northeastern/Wm. & Mary Winner 4:30 PM

 

 

Championship—March 5  7:00 PM 

The CAA may get a second bid as long as Virginia Commonwealth is in the mix.  The Rams will get the benefit of the doubt coming off a Final Four trip in 2011 and following it up with an even better team this year.

 

Drexel is a few spots behind VCU in the RPI, but the Dragons are the better team this year.  Bruiser Flint’s team proved just how strong they were with the blowout win over Cleveland State in the Bracket Buster.  The Dragons have won 17 games in a row and 23 out of 24!

 

George Mason and Old Dominion can compete for the tournament championship, while the rest of the league figures to be cannon fodder for the top four.

 

Conference USA

Date: March 7-10

Location: Memphis

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 2 or 3

TV: Quarterfinals & Semifinals on CBS Sports Network; Championship on CBS

 

Memphis (11-3/21-8) and Southern Mississippi (10-4/23-6) appear to be safe at-large teams, which means if someone other than the Tigers or Golden Eagles wins the conference tournament, three teams would receive bids.

 

Tulsa (10-4/17-11) always seems to be so close yet so far at Dance time.  The Golden Hurricane have yet to play Memphis, and they lost in overtime at Southern Miss.

 

Central Florida (9-5/20-8) owns victories over both Southern Miss and Memphis.  Marshall (8-6/17-11) has the talent to win the tournament, but the Thundering Herd has not reached their potential.

 

Horizon League

Date: February 28-29, March 2-3, 6

Location: 1st round & Championship at higher seeds, Quarterfinals & Semifinals at regular season champion (Valparaiso)

Teams in Tournament: 10

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Opening Round & Quarterfinals free online at http://www.horizonleague.org/mens-basketball.html; Semifinals on ESPN-U; Championship on ESPN

 

The bracket for this tournament has been set.  Opening round action begins Tuesday.

 

Horizon League Tournament

 

All Times EST

 

 

 

Opening Round—February 28

 

Game 1: 10-Loyola (Chi) (1-17/7-22) at 3-Detroit (11-7/18-13)  7:00 PM

 

Game 2: 7-Green Bay (10-8/15-14) at 6-Youngstown St.(10-8/15-14)  7:00 PM

 

Game 3: 9-Illinois-Chicago (3-15/8-21) at 4-Milwaukee (11-7/19-12) 8:00 PM

 

Game 4: 8-Wright State (7-11/13-18) at 5-Butler (11-7/18-13) 7:00 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 2

 

Game 5: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 6: Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 3

 

Game 7: 2-Cleveland State (12-6/22-9) vs. Game 5 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 8: 1-Valparaiso (14-4/21-10) vs. Game 6 Winner  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Championship—March 6 @ Higher Seed  9:00 PM

 

Cleveland State was once a near sure bet to qualify for at-large status, but the Vikings fell apart after a wonderful start.  CSU still has an outside chance to make it in as one of the last four in if the Vikings lose to Valpo in the Championship Game.

 

Butler appears to be a very long shot this year.  The Bulldogs will have to win twice just to get to the semifinal round to face Valpo.

 

M A A C

Date: March 2-5

Location: Springfield, MA

Teams in Tournament: 10

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Quarterfinals & Semifinals on ESPN3; Championship on ESPN2

 

Iona (15-3/24-6) is number 37 in the current RPI, so the Gaels stand a good chance of getting an at-large bid if they lose in the conference tournament championship.

 

Loyola (MD) (13-5/21-8), Manhattan (12-6/20-11), and Fairfield (12-5/17-12) would make for quite an interesting semifinal round if the trio could join Iona.

 

M A C

Date: March 5, 7-10

Location: Opening Round at higher seeds, all others at Cleveland

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: 2nd Round, Quarterfinals, and Semifinals on Sports Time Ohio; Championship on ESPN2

 

The top five MAC teams reside in the East Division.  Akron (12-2/20-9) was the only team with a chance to earn an at-large bid prior to their slaughter to Ohio U Sunday.  The Zips were number 59 in the RPI, but that ranking will fall.

 

Buffalo (10-4/17-9), Ohio (10-4/23-6), Kent State (9-5/19-9), and Bowling Green (8-6/15-13) are the other four quality East Division teams.  It will be an interesting tournament. 

 

M E A C

Date: March 6-10

Location: Winston-Salem, NC

Teams in Tournament: 13

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Championship on ESPN2

 

The MEAC has two teams capable of pulling off an opening round win.  Savannah State (12-2/19-10) is riding an 11-game winning streak.  The Tigers have outscored their opponents 70.8 to 52.5 in this run.

 

Norfolk State (11-3/20-9) penned one of the two losses on Savannah State.  The Spartans went 9-6 outside the MEAC, including wins over Drexel and Long Island and a two-point loss to Marquette.

 

The bracket is formatted to give the top two seeds a much easier path to the title game.  Seeds 8-9, 4-13, 5-12, 7-10, and 6-11 play on March 6.  The number one seed then plays the winner of 8-9, and the number two seed plays the winner of 7-10 on March 7.  The number three seed plays the winner of 6-11 on March 8, giving 6 or 11 an extra day’s rest.  The 4-13 winner plays the 5-12 winner on March 8 as well.

 

The semifinals take place on March 9, giving the top two seeds an extra day of rest.

 

Missouri Valley

Date: March 1-4

Location: St. Louis (Arch Madness)

Teams in Tournament: 10

Estimated Dance Tickets: 2 or 3

TV: Championship Game on CBS; all others on MVC TV Network

 

The bracket for this tournament is set.  Opening round play begins Thursday.

 

 

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament—St. Louis

 

All Times CST

 

 

 

Opening Round—March 1

 

Game 1: 8-Indiana State (8-10/17-13) vs. 9-Southern Illinois (5-13/8-22)  6:00 PM

 

Game 2: 7-Drake (9-9/16-14) vs. 10-Bradley (2-16/7-24)  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 2

 

Game 3: 1-Wichita State (16-2/26-4) vs. Game 1 Winner 12 Noon

 

Game 4: 4-Illinois State (9-9/18-12) vs. 5-Northern Iowa (9-9/19-12) 2:30 PM

 

Game 5: 2-Creighton (14-4/25-5) vs. Game 2 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 6: 3-Evansville (9-9/15-14) vs. 6-Missouri State (9-9/16-15)  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 3

 

Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner 1:30 PM

 

Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner 4:00 PM

 

 

 

Championship—March 4  1:00 PM

 

 

 

This tournament is definitely one to watch.  Wichita State has Final Four potential; the shockers are every bit as strong as the last two Butler teams.

 

Creighton has the big star in Doug McDermott, who averages better than 23 points and 8 rebounds per game, while shooting almost 61% from the field, better than 80% at the charity stripe, and 48% from behind the arc.

 

Mountain West

Date: March 8-10

Location: Las Vegas

Teams in Tournament: 8

Estimated Dance Tickets: 3 or 4

TV: Quarterfinals on The Mountain Network; Semifinals on CBS Sports Network; Championship on NBC Sports Network

 

This will be one of the best conference tournaments and not because it is in Vegas.  Three teams, UNLV (8-4/24-6), New Mexico (8-4/22-6), and San Diego State (8-4/22-6) have Dance tickets coming.  TCU (7-5/17-11), Colorado State (6-6/17-10), and Wyoming (5-7/19-9) all have the talent to win the tournament. 

 

Colorado State is actually number 24 in the RPI, but if the season ended today, we believe the Rams would be the highest-rated RPI team left out.

 

Northeast

Date: March 1, 4-7

Location: All games at higher seed

Teams in Tournament: 8 (teams 9 through 12 left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Semifinals on MSG Network and Fox College Sports; Championship on ESPN2

 

The Bracket for this Tournament is set.  Quarterfinal action begins Thursday.  After quarterfinals, the bracket is re-seeded so that the highest remaining seed plays the lowest remaining seed.

 

Quarterfinals
Thursday, March 1

#8 Sacred Heart (8-10/14-17) at #1 Long Island (16-2/22-8) 7:00 pm EST
#7 Central Connecticut (10-8/13-15) at #2 Wagner (15-3/24-5) 7:00 pm EST
#6 Monmouth (10-8/12-19) at #3 Robert Morris (13-5/22-9) 7:00 pm EST
#5 Quinnipiac (10-8/17-12) at #4 St. Francis (NY) (12-6/15-14) 7:00 pm EST

Semifinals
Sunday, March 4

Lowest Remaining Seed at Highest Remaining Seed, 12:00 or 6:00 pm EST (TBD by Television)

3rd Highest Remaining Seed at 2nd Highest Remaining Seed, 12:00 or 6:00 pm EST (TBD by Television)

Championship
Wednesday, March 7  7:00 pm EST on ESPN2

 

This conference turned topsy-turvy on the final day of the regular season.  LIU lost by 28 at Monmouth and Wagner lost by 17 at Central Connecticut.  Number three Robert Morris and Number four St. Francis also lost.

 

Things should return to normal, as the big two play at home where they are close to unbeatable.  Look for Wagner to head to Brooklyn to face Long Island in the title game, and it will be one you do not want to miss.

 

Ohio Valley

Date: February 29 to March 3

Location: Nashville

Teams in Tournament: 8

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Opening round and Quarterfinals on www.OVCSports.TV .  Semifinal games will both air on ESPN3 and one will also air on ESPN-U.  The Championship Game will air on ESPN2

 

The bracket for this tournament is set.  Opening round play begins Wednesday.

 

 

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament—Nashville

 

All Times CST

 

 

 

Opening Round—February 29

 

Game 1: 5-Southeast Missouri (9-7/14-15) vs. 8-Eastern Kentucky (7-9/16-15)  6:00 PM

 

Game 2: 6-Austin Peay (8-8/12-19) vs. 7-Jacksonville St.(8-8/14-17) 8:00 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 1

 

Game 3: 4-Tennessee Tech (9-7/18-12) vs. Game 1 Winner 6:00 PM

 

Game 4: 3-Morehead State (10-6/17-14) vs. Game 2 Winner 8:00 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 2

 

Game 5: 1-Murray State (15-1/28-1) vs. Game 3 Winner 6:00 PM

 

Game 6: 2-Tennessee State (11-5/19-11) vs. Game 4 Winner 8:00 PM

 

 

Championship—March 3  1:00 PM  

 

If the Racers take the OVC Tournament, Murray State should be the higher seed in an opening round NCAA Tournament game.  If they do not emerge as the tournament champion, they still should earn an at-large bid.

 

Tennessee State won at Murray, but the Racers won big in Nashville against the Tigers.  It will be a major upset for any team other than Murray State to win.

 

Pac-12

Date: March 7-10

Location: Los Angeles

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 2 or 3

TV: Championship on CBS; All others on Fox Sports

 

California (13-4/23-7) was number 35 in the RPI prior to losing to Colorado Sunday, but we believe the Selection Committee will take the Bears if they do not win the automatic bid.

 

Washington (13-3/20-8) may be the stronger team at this point in the season, but the Huskies are not guaranteed an at-large bid.  Their RPI rating is 52, and a couple of losses could drop them off the bubble.

 

Oregon (11-5/20-8) is just one behind UW in the RPI Ratings, but the Ducks will not earn an at-large bid unless they beat Colorado and Utah to close out the season and then advance at least to the semifinals in the tournament.

 

Arizona (12-5/21-9) is flying under the radar and not on the bubble.  The Wildcats have the talent to compete for the tournament championship.

 

Colorado (11-5/19-9) will be a force to be reckoned with in the conference tournament, but the Buffaloes look more like an NIT team again this year.

 

Patriot League

Date: February 29, March 3, March 7

Location: All Games at Higher Seed

Teams in Tournament: 8

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Semifinals and Championship on CBS Sports Network

 

The Bracket for this tournament is set.  The Quarterfinal round begins Wednesday.

 

Patriot League Tournament—Higher Seeds Host All Games

 

All Games EST

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—February 29

 

8-Navy (0-14/3-25) at 1-Bucknell (12-2/22-8) 7:00 PM

 

5-Lafayette (7-7/12-17) at 4-Holy Cross (9-5/15-13) 7:00 PM

 

7-Colgate (2-12/8-21) at 2-Lehigh (11-3/23-7) 7:00 PM

 

6-Army (5-9/12-17) at 3-American (10-4/19-10) 7:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 3

 

Navy/Bucknell winner vs. Lafayette/Holy Cross winner 2:00 or 4:30 PM

 

Colgate/Lehigh winner vs. Army/American winner 2:00 or 4:30 PM

 

 

Championship—March 7  7:00 PM  

Bucknell has a relatively easy path to the Championship Game, where they would be the host team.  In the other half of the bracket, Lehigh and American split in the regular season, and a semifinal game at Lehigh would be exciting. 

 

S E C

Date: March 8-11

Location: New Orleans

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 4-6

TV: First Two Rounds on SEC Network, Semifinals and Finals on ABC

 

Kentucky (14-0/28-1) has already clinched the top seed, and the Blue Mist will descend on the French Quarter.  The SEC Tournament should be nothing more than a Big Dance tune-up for the Wildcats.

 

Florida (10-4/22-7) and Vanderbilt (9-5/20-9) have secured at-large bids, while Alabama (8-6/19-9) maybe needs one more win.  After that, there are five teams still in contention for an at-large bid.  Any of the quintet will need to win four more games to have any chance at an at-large bid.  They are: Tennessee (8-6/16-13), LSU (7-7/17-11), Mississippi State (6-8/17-10), Arkansas (6-8/18-11), and Ole Miss (6-8/16-12).

 

Southern

Date: March 2-5

Location: Asheville, NC

Teams in Tournament: 12

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: 1st Round on SoCon TV; Quarterfinals on ESPN3; Semifinals on SoCon TV & ESPN3; Championship on ESPN2

 

The Bracket for this tournament is set.  Opening round play begins Friday.

 

 

Southern Conference Tournament — Asheville, NC

 

All Times EST

 

 

 

Opening Round—March 2

 

Game 1: 4S-College of Charleston (10-8/19-11) vs. 5N-Appalachian State (7-11/12-17)  11:30 AM

 

Game 2: 3N-Western Carolina (8-10/14-17) vs. 6S-Citadel (3-15/6-23)  2:00 PM

 

Game 3: 4N-Samford (8-10/11-18) vs. 5S-Furman (8-10/14-15)  6:00 PM

 

Game 4: 3S-Georgia Southern (12-6/14-14) vs. 6N-Chattanooga (5-13/11-20)  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 3

 

Game 5: 1N-UNC-Greensboro (10-8/12-18) vs. Game 1 Winner  12 Noon

 

Game 6: 2S-Wofford (12-6/19-12) vs. Game 2 Winner  2:30 PM

 

Game 7: 1S-Davidson (16-2/22-7) vs. Game 3 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 8: 2N-Elon (9-9/14-15) vs. Game 4 Winner  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 4

 

Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Championship—March 5  9:00 PM

 

 

Davidson (16-2/22-7) has an outside shot at an at-large bid if the Wildcats lose in the SoCon Finals.  At 24-8, their RPI would be in the low 70’s.

 

Southland

Date: March 7-10

Location: Katy, TX

Teams in Tournament: 8 (9th through 12th teams left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Semifinals on Southland TV; Championship on ESPN2

 

Texas-Arlington (14-0/22-6) is too low in the RPI ratings to get onto the bubble.  If the Mavericks lose a game, their RPI would be in the 80’s at best, so they must win the automatic bid. 

 

If another team upsets UTA, it will be tough to see that team having any chance in the first round of the Big Dance.  UTA has the talent to win the first game and contend for a spot in the Sweet 16.

 

S W A C

Date: March 7-10

Location: Garland, TX

Teams in Tournament: 8 (Southern & Grambling ineligible due to APR scores)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1

TV: Quarterfinals & Semifinals on SWAC TV; Championship on ESPN-U

 

The SWAC is the overall weakest conference in the NCAA, as seven of the 10 teams are rated 300 or worse in the RPI ratings.  Even the Great West Conference and the Independents, which do not receive automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, have higher overall RPI ratings.  Probably the team with the best chance at winning an opening round game in Dayton, Southern, isn’t even eligible due to poor APR scores.

 

Mississippi Valley State (16-0/17-11) has run roughshod over the league with 16 consecutive wins.  But, the Delta Devils went 1-11 outside the league.

 

Texas Southern (10-5/11-16) and Prairie View (8-7/12-16) are vying for the number two seed.  The bottom four seeds in the tournament could all have 20 or more regular season losses.

 

Summit League

Date: March 3-6

Location: Sioux Falls, SD

Teams in Tournament: 8 (9th & 10th teams left out)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Championship on ESPN2; All others on Fox College Sports & Midco Network

 

The Bracket for this tournament is set.  Quarterfinal round play begins Saturday.

 

Summit League Tournament—Sioux Falls, SD

 

All Times CST

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 3

 

Game 1: 1-Oral Roberts (17-1/26-5) vs. 8-I P F W (5-13/11-18)  6:00 PM

 

Game 2: 2-South Dakota State (15-3/24-7) vs. 7-I U P U I (7-11/14-17)  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 4

 

Game 3: 4-Western Illinois (9-9/15-13) vs. 5-North Dakota State (9-9/17-12)  6:00 PM

 

Game 4: 3-Oakland (11-7/17-14) vs. 6-Southern Utah (8-10/13-16)  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 5

 

Game 5: Game 1 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 6: Game 2 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner  8:30 PM

 

 

 

Championship—March 6  8:00 PM

 

Oral Roberts should be safe if they fall to South Dakota State in the Championship Game.  The Golden Eagles are Number 46 in the RPI ratings.  South Dakota State was the lone team to beat ORU.  The Jackrabbits won by 15 at home after losing by 22 at ORU.  With the Summit League Tournament just 55 miles down the road in Sioux Falls, SDSU will enjoy considerable home fan advantage, almost as much as home court advantage.

 

Sunbelt

Date: March 3-6

Location: Hot Springs, AR

Teams in Tournament: 11 (UL-Monroe is ineligible)

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Quarterfinals involving Middle Tennessee and UALR games on SBC Network; Semifinals on SBC Network; Championship on ESPN2

 

The Bracket for this Tournament is set.  Opening round play begins Saturday.

 

Sunbelt Conference Tournament — Hot Springs, AR

 

All Times CST

 

 

 

Opening Round—March 3

 

Game 1: 6-South Alabama (8-8/16-11) vs. 11-Troy (5-11/10-17)  6:00 PM (Summit Arena)

 

Game 2: 7-Western Kentucky (7-9/11-18) vs. 10-Florida International (5-11/11-20)  8:30 PM (Summit Arena)

 

Game 3: 8-Florida Atlantic (7-9/11-18) vs. 9-Arkansas State (6-10/12-19)  6:15 PM (Convention Center)

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 4

 

Game 4: 1-Middle Tennessee (14-2/25-5) vs. Game 3 Winner  6:00 PM (Summit Arena)

 

Game 5: 2-Arkansas-Little Rock (12-4/15-15) vs. Game 2 Winner  8:30 PM (Summit Arena)

 

Game 6: 4-Louisiana-Lafayette (10-6/16-14) vs. 5-North Texas (9-7/16-13)  6:15 PM (Convention Center)

 

Game 7: 3-Denver (11-5/21-8) vs. Game 1 Winner  8:45 PM (Convention Center)

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 5

 

Game 4 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner  6:00 PM (Summit Arena)

 

Game 5 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner  8:30 PM (Summit Arena)

 

 

Championship—March 6  6:00 PM (Summit Arena) 

Middle Tennessee has a chance to earn an at-large bid if the Blue Raiders lose in the Championship Game to Denver or UALR.  Denver defeated Middle Tennessee in the regular season.

 

W A C

Date: March 8-10

Location: Las Vegas

Teams in Tournament: 8

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

TV: Championship Game on ESPN2; All other games free online at: http://www.wacbasketballtournament.com/

 

Nevada (11-1/23-5) is number 59 in the RPI ratings, and the Wolfpack are on the bubble.

 

New Mexico State (9-3/22-8) is number 74 in the RPI, and the Aggies will need to win the automatic bid to get to the Big Dance.

 

If any other conference team wins the tournament, there is a chance UN-Reno will not receive an at-large bid due to a drop in RPI.

 

West Coast

Date: February 29 through March 3, March 5

Location: Las Vegas

Teams in Tournament: 9

Estimated Dance Tickets: 2 or 3

TV: 2nd Round on BYU-TV; Quarterfinals on ESPN-U; Semifinals on ESPN2; Championship on ESPN

 

West Coast Conference Tournament — Las Vegas

 

All Times PST

 

 

 

Opening Round—February 29

 

Game 1: 8-Portland (3-13/6-23) vs. 9-Santa Clara (0-16/8-21)  6:00 PM

 

 

 

2nd Round—March 1

 

Game 2: 5-San Francisco (8-8/18-12) vs. Game 1 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 3: 6-San Diego (7-9/12-17) vs. 7-Pepperdine (4-12/10-18)  8:20 PM

 

 

 

Quarterfinals—March 2

 

Game 4: 4-Loyola Marymont (11-5/19-11) vs. Game 2 Winner  6:00 PM

 

Game 5: 3-B Y U (12-4/24-7) vs. Game 3 Winner  8:20 PM

 

 

 

Semifinals—March 3

 

1-Saint Mary’s (14-2/25-5) vs. Game 4 Winner 6:00 PM

 

2-Gonzaga (13-3/23-5) vs. Game 5 Winner 8:20 PM

 

 

Championship—March 5  6:00 PM 

This will be one spectacular tournament, especially if the top four seeds advance to the Semifinals.  Loyola Marymount has the confidence to contend with St. Mary’s and even pull off another upset.  BYU and Gonzaga could play 10 times, with at most one team winning six games.

 

We expect St. Mary’s, Gonzaga, and BYU to make the Big Dance, but if LMU should somehow beat BYU in the Championship Game, there is an outside chance that four league teams could be invited.

 

The Ivy League—No Conference Tournament

Estimated Dance Tickets: 1 or 2

 

Penn (9-2/17-11) won at Harvard (10-2/24-4) last night to split the series for the year.  The Quakers have home games with Brown and Yale next weekend and close at Princeton on March 6.  If Penn runs the table, and Harvard wins at Columbia and Cornell this weekend, there would be a playoff for the title.

 

Yale (9-3/19-7) is still mathematically alive for a possible three-way tie, but the Bulldogs would need to sweep Princeton and Penn on the road to have a chance, and then they would need Harvard to lose to either Columbia or Cornell.  Even though Yale was swept by Harvard, in the Ivy League, all ties result in playoffs.

 

Harvard is still high enough in the RPI ratings to qualify as an at-large team if the Crimson wins their final two games and then lose in a playoff.  No Ivy League school has ever earned an at-large bid.

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