SUMMIT LEAGUE: The Oakland Grizzlies are in complete control over this league – cruising through conference with only one loss. Greg Kampe’s squad is one of the best mid-majors in the country. They beat Tennessee and had near-misses against Illinois and Michigan St. A championship game against IUPUI or Oral Roberts may be difficult, but the winner of that game may be too tired to give Oakland a good run. Oakland will make a return trip to the dance.
SUN BELT: Unfortunately, it was another down year for the Sun Belt as it waits for Western Kentucky to get back on its feet. Florida Atlantic, almost by default, won the regular season with a 13-3 record, but this conference tournament will be wide open. Florida Atlantic is on the same side of the bracket as Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Lafayette, two teams that it lost too this season. For that reason, I’m going to give a team from the other side of the bracket, Arkansas St, the edge to get to the dance.
BIG SKY: Northern Colorado and Montana battled all year to see who would win the regular season title in the Big Sky. Northern Colorado eventually won out, but the one game difference shows how close the two teams are to each other. That one game also proved to be of paramount importance as Bears won the right to host the conference tournament on their home court. That will prove to be the difference as Northern Colorado will go dancing.
MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: Just about everybody expected Morgan St to run away with its fourth consecutive regular season title in the MEAC, but it didn’t work out that way. The Bears garnered the No. 4 seed in the tournament with Bethune-Cookman, Hampton and cross-town rival, Coppin St finishing ahead of them. I think Morgan St will find itself in the finals again, but Hampton will be there to avenge a loss earlier this season.
Today’s Bracket Projections:
Last Four In: Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Butler, Washington St
Last Four Out: Baylor, Memphis, Virginia Commonwealth, Michigan
Good for Games through 3/3
1.Kansas16.McNeese St/Bethune-Cookman Tulsa
5.Connecticut12.Missouri St Tampa
6.Texas A&M11.Florida St Washington, D.C.
7.George Mason10.Marquette Washington, D.C.
1.Duke16.Long Island Charlotte
5.Kansas St12.Richmond Tampa
6.West Virginia11.St. Mary’s Denver
1.Purdue16.Coastal Carolina Chicago
5.St. John’s12.Butler/Virginia Tech Tucson
4.San Diego St13.Oakland
7.Temple10.Boston College Charlotte
2.Louisville15.Long Beach St
1.Ohio St16.Northern Colorado/Texas Southern Cleveland
5.Georgetown12.Washington St/Nebraska Tucson
3.North Carolina14.Kent St
2.Notre Dame15.Florida Atlantic