PATRIOT LEAGUE: Lehigh won the regular season crown but it does not give of the vibe that its a favorite. It only finished one game ahead Bucknell and two games ahead of Lafayette, both of whom have victories over Lehigh. I just worry about the Mountain Hawks ability to get through this tournament. Even their first round opponent, Army, finished with a .500 overall record in the regular season. I believe Navy has an ambush set up and will win this tournament-only to be sent to the play-in game.
MISSOURI VALLEY: This is a tournament where the No. 1 seed doesn’t win all that often. That’s because of how competitive the conference is. Northern Iowa is far and away the best team in the league, but they’re going to the Big Dance regardless of whether they win this tournament or not. Illinois St guard Osiris Eldridge came back for this very moment. He saw the dream of going to the Big Dance vanish in OT of last year’s MVC title game. This year, he’s going to cut the nets down.
NORTHEAST: Defending champion Robert Morris had a pretty good stranglehold on the NEC before two late season losses ended forced them into a first-place tie with Quinnipiac. They both finished three games better than Mount St. Mary’s, but no team in the conference has it going more than Mount St. Mary’s. After a rough start, the Mountaineers have won 10 in a row. At the end of the NEC tournament, it’ll be 13 in a row.
COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Routinely, the CAA is one of the best conferences outside of the top-10 and this year was no different. Old Dominion, Northeastern, William & Mary, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth, the league’s top five teams, can compete with teams from any conference and all five are capable of winning this tournament. William & Mary’s style of play will be difficult to prepare for in such short time and I expect the Tribe to go dancing.