Yesterday, all hell broke loose on the mid-major level. Number 1 seeds in the Colonial, Missouri Valley, Metro Atlantic Athletic, America East, and Sun Belt all lost.
In addition to that; College of Charleston had to come back from a double-digit second half deficit and Bucknell won with the aid of a no call to stave off disaster.
I say all of this to prove that’s its March and no one is safe. Not on the mid-major level. Not on the high-major level. Even Purdue lost to lowly Iowa on Saturday.
A lot of people, this time of the year, get extremely concerned with seeding, but that’s not nearly as important as playing well. Kansas was the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament last year and look how much that helped the Jayhawks in bowing out early in the Big Dance.
I know being a No. 1 seed is good and is helpful, but playing well helps even more. Last season, Butler and Michigan St both got to the Final Four as No. 5 seeds. The name of the game is not getting a high seed. It’s winning.
More Conference Tournament Previews:
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE: This was once again a sub par year in the MAC as failed to cracked the top-15 in Conference RPI. In fact, it sits at 20 with conferences such as the Northeast, Atlantic Sun and Ivy in front of it. Due to that fact, it’ll be another one-bid year for the conference, which magnifies the importance of the conference tournament. Kent St won the regular season title, but it was just by one game over Miami (Oh) and Western Michigan. Despite the one-game difference, I do expect the Golden Flashes to make it to the title game and reclaim the MAC championship.
SOUTHLAND: The Southland Conference has had some really good showings in the NCAA tournament in the past five years, but this doesn’t look like a year where that’s going to be the case. In fact, the winner of this tournament may be relegated to Dayton to play in one of the “First Four” games. McNeese St won the regular season title, but the difference between first and eighth place in this league is just three games. It’s going to be terribly difficult for the Cowboys to navigate this tournament successfully. Mike McConathy is the best tournament coach in this league and I expect him to lead his Northwestern St. ball club back to the NCAA tournament.
SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC: The SWAC has needed one team to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league and that’s exactly what happened this season. Texas Southern was on auto-pilot for most of the conference season finishing with a four-game cushion for the league title. The Tigers should enjoy the same kind of success in the conference tournament. I expect Texas Southern to dance.
BIG WEST: Long Beach St has had no peer in the Big West this season, running away with the conference title. In fact, outside of a minor blip at the end of January, the 49ers have been downright dominant in the 2011 calendar year. This team has won 15 of its last 17 with ten of those wins coming by double figures. There is no reason to believe that Long Beach St is going to forget how to win. The 49ers are the pick to win the Big West.
Today’s Bracket Projections:
Last Four In: Memphis, Colorado, Butler, Richmond
Last Four Out: Michigan, Virginia Commonwealth, Clemson, USC
Good for Games through 3/6
1.Ohio St16.McNeese St/Bethune-Cookman Cleveland
5.Texas A&M12.Harvard Tampa
6.Temple11.Georgia Washington, D.C.
7.Cincinnati10.Boston College Tulsa
1.Duke16.Boston U Charlotte
5.St. John’s12.Butler/Colorado Washington, D.C.
2.Notre Dame15.Northern Colorado
5.Kansas St12.Richmond/Memphis Tucson
4.San Diego St13.Belmont(ASun)
6.Connecticut11.Michigan St Tampa
2.North Carolina15.Long Island
1.Kansas16.Texas Southern/Middle Tennessee St Tulsa
5.West Virginia12.St. Mary’s Tucson
6.Arizona11.Florida St Denver
2.Purdue15.Long Beach St