North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)
In the first time since both universities have been Division I participants, both North Dakota and North Dakota St have legitimate shots to go dancing.
At the publishing of this post, North Dakota is in first place by a half-game in the Big Sky while North Dakota St is tied for first in the Summit with South Dakota.
This would be quite the feat for the two universities and would give the state bragging rights over the Dakota to the South. Both schools will most likely be 15/16 seeds, but that doesn’t take away of how historic this will be for the state. Besides, the world needs to see North Dakota’s Quinton Hooker in the Big Dance.
Stock Up: Wichita St. As you will see below the Shockers are an No. 8 seed without an at-large resume. That’s because I believe what my eyes tell me when I watch them play. This is a tournament team. They are destroying the Missouri Valley. In 13 of their 15 conference wins, the margin has been double digits. In fact they beat Illinois St, the team they’re tied with for first place, by 41 points earlier this month. You don’t want to see this team in March.
Stock Down: Virginia. I’m starting to wonder if the rest of the ACC has figured Tony Bennett out. It happens from time-to-time, but the Cavaliers are currently on a four-game losing streak and haven’t looked good in the process. There is now a scenario where Virginia is playing in a 7/10 or 8/9 game in the Big Dance.
Stock Up: Bucknell. On Sunday, Bucknell traveled to Boston University to play a game for first place in the Patriot League. When the game was over; there was no doubt. Bucknell throttled Boston 86-66 to take a two-game lead and are now the odds-on favorite to win the automatic bid.
Stock Down: Mountain West. Last week we spoke about the downturn of Conference USA and this week it’s the Mountain West, which appears to be a one-bid league again. Long-term this appears to be more of a blip than a trend as it has major state universities. However, more is expected of this league.
Last Four In: TCU, Seton Hall, Syracuse, California
Last Four Out: Alabama, Marquette, Providence, Illinois St
This bracket is good for games through 2/19.
1.Villanova16.UC Irvine/Mount St Mary’s Buffalo
8.Virginia Tech9.Saint Mary’s
5.Florida St12.Texas-Arlington Orlando
7.Northwestern10.Kansas St Indianapolis
2.Louisville15.Florida Gulf Coast
1.North Carolina16.North Dakota Greenville
6.Creighton11.Tennessee Salt Lake City
7.South Carolina10.USC Tulsa
1.Gonzaga16.North Dakota St Sacramento
8.Wichita St9.Georgia Tech
5.SMU12.Syracuse/Seton Hall Milwaukee
6.Iowa St11.California/TCU Greenville
7.VCU10.Michigan St Sacramento
1.Kansas16.North Carolina Central/New Orleans Tulsa
5.Notre Dame12.UNC-Wilmington Milwaukee
6.Virginia11.Middle Tennessee St Indianapolis
7.Minnesota10.Arkansas Salt Lake City