More Conference Tournament Previews

AMERICA EAST: Albany was by far the most dominant team in the league this season. The Great Danes didn’t lose their first conference game until Feb. 17. With all games being at campus sites its going to take a lot to keep Albany from repeating.

MISSOURI VALLEY: This certainly was a top heavy league this year as Wichita St and Northern Iowa ran away and hid from the rest of the conference. That’s why it is expected that those will be the two teams playing for the championship on Sunday. In the rubber match, expect Wichita St, the team with the superior experience and talent, to cut down the nets.

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: A loss on the last day of the regular season is the only thing that kept Iona from winning the league by three games. The Gaels’ misstep doesn’t scare me too much as they’ve been to the tournament recently and will be tough prep on short rest. The tournament will be competitive as always, but expect Iona to go dancing.

SOUTHERN: As good as Wofford has been over the course of the year, Chattanooga has been right there all along. The two squads were far and away the class of this conference and appear to be on a collision course for a Monday night showdown. The teams won on each other’s home floor so this creates a bit of intrigue. Wofford is the favorite here, but not by much.

COLONIAL: The regular season in the CAA finished in a four-way tie for first place. If there’s anyone out there who’ll tell you they have this league pegged than than call that person’s bluff. On a true neutral court in Baltimore anything can happen. Given the disappointment from last season and performing well against the other top teams in the league, I’m going with William & Mary.

WEST COAST: There may be many people wondering if there’s a major kink in the armor of Gonzaga after losing to BYU in it’s last regular season home game. I am not one of those people. BYU played fantastic and could very well be a tournament team itself, but Gonzaga is one of the best teams in the country and it’ll have motivation. The Zags will win in Vegas.

SUMMIT: South Dakota St and North Dakota St went back and forth this season vying for the Summit League’s No. 1 spot. At the end of the day, both teams finished with 12-4 records with South Dakota St winning the tiebreaker. Playing the tournament in the state of South Dakota gives the Jackrabbits a bit of a chance. Despite that, there’s a team on their side of bracket who’s beaten them and is even closer to the site where the tournament will be played. That’s the South Dakota Coyotes and they’re my upset pick to win the Summit League.


BRACKETOLOGY: Tuesday March 11, 2014 (Welcome Delaware, Manhattan, Wofford)

The last of our conference tournament previews.  We’re going to start with the Summit League championship game.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: North Dakota St and IPFW will be meeting for the this league’s title and judging by the semifinal results, North Dakota St is ready to go dancing.  However, things don’t always go that way.  Expect a really competitive game and North Dakota St to go dancing.

SOUTHLAND: If you’re a regular of this blog, you know how I feel about the Southland conference champion.  Stephen F. Austin dominated the regular season going a perfect 18-0 in league play.  So far, that hasn’t proven to translate into conference tournament success, but there’s something to be said about a team that won every time it stepped on a court in league play.  I fully expect the Lumberjacks to go dancing.

BIG SKY: Weber St has the luxury of not only having a bye into he semifinals, but the Wildcats will also be hosting this tournament.  While, that didn’t work for Green Bay in the Horizon League, Weber St has recent history of navigating through this tournament.  In Ogden, at elevation and on short rest I don’t think there will be anyone who can beat the Wildcats this week.

BIG WEST: There have been years where the Big West has been much better, but with the loss of Pacific it may take a while for the remaining schools to get to that level.  UC-Irvine and UC-Santa Barbara spent much of the season jostling for the No. 1 spot in the league with UC-Irvine finishing a game ahead.  That puts the Gauchos on the other side of the bracket with third-place finisher Long Beach St.  The 49ers know this tournament all too well and I think they’ll be the squad going dancing.

WESTERN ATHLETIC: No matter what happens in Vegas this week, everyone will think about the ugly incident that took place at Utah Valley when they defeated New Mexico St.  It just so happens that those two teams finished 1-2.  I believe they’re on a collision course and there will be plenty of bad blood between the two teams.  New Mexico St is the more talented team and the Aggies will return to the dance.

SUN BELT: Here is another league that was hurt by defections to other leagues.  That has hurt he overall quality of the teams.  Georgia St entered the conference from the CAA and immediately staked its claim as the top dog.  At 17-1 the Panthers look to be on the fast track to the big dance.  Despite that, Western Kentucky sitting around as a team that’s won this tournament recently is a scary site.  Georgia St won’t have to play until the semifinals though and the five-game difference in the standings is enough to project the Panthers as winners of this tournament.

On to the bracket.

Last Four In: Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee, Saint Joseph’s

Last Four Out: California, Pitt, Georgetown, St. John’s


1.Florida16.Stony Brook Orlando

8.Oklahoma St9.Gonzaga


4.Louisville13.Stephen F. Austin

6.New Mexico11.Iowa Buffalo


7.VCU10.Stanford St. Louis

2.Kansas15.Eastern Kentucky(OVC)


1.Villanova16.Wofford(SoCon)/Alabama St Buffalo

8.Kansas St9.Arizona St

5.Saint Louis12.Tennessee/Minnesota San Antonio

4.Cincinnati13.Boston U

6.UCLA11.Saint Joseph’s/Arkansas Milwaukee

3.Iowa St14.NC-Central

7.Memphis10.Colorado Raleigh

2.Duke15.Georgia St


1.Arizona16.Weber St San Diego

8.UConn9.George Washington

5.Ohio St12.Louisiana Tech San Diego

4.North Carolina13.Manhattan(MAAC)

6.Kentucky11.Nebraska Spokane

3.San Diego St14.UC-Irvine

7.Baylor10.BYU Milwaukee

2.Wisconsin15.Utah Valley


1.Wichita St(MVC)16.Coastal Carolina(BSouth)/Wright St St. Louis


5.Michigan St12.Western Michigan Spokane

4.Oklahoma13.North Dakota St

6.Texas11.Xavier San Antonio


7.Oregon10.Dayton Raleigh

2.Virginia15.Robert Morris

BRACKETOLOGY: Tuesday March 12, 2013 (Welcome Western Kentucky, Davidson, James Madison, Gonzaga, Iona)

Before we get to the bracket I’m going to preview tonight’s Summit League final as well as the conference tournament in the SWAC, Southland, Big Sky, WAC and Big West.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: This was a nice three-team race to watch between finalists South Dakota St and North Dakota St along with Western Illinois.  The two teams split the regular season match-up and I expect a barnburner in the third.  It’s on the Jackrabbits home court so you have to give SDSU the edge.

SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC: Three teams are missing from this conference tournament due to APR penalties leveled against them. Two of those teams, Texas Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff won the regular season championship and finished tied for second respectively.  That leaves the Southern Jaguars as the heavy favorites to win the SWAC.

SOUTHLAND: This is a tournament that protects its top teams from playing until the semifinals.  Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern St have been impressive all season.  They split the two regular season games including a one-point win by the Lumberjacks 10 days ago.  I think Northwestern St gained confidence from playing them so tough though and on a neutral floor I expect the Demons to go dancing.

BIG SKY: There’s no doubt that Montana and Weber St are on a collision course.  These have been the best programs in the Big Sky for a number of years and they are head and shoulders above the rest of the league.  They’ll meet one more time in the finals where Montana’s home court will give them the edge.

WESTERN ATHLETIC: Louisiana Tech was running away with the league title for much of the year, but their two toughest games were in the last week.  Road games at New Mexico St and Denver resulted in double digit losses for the Bulldogs – tarnishing a possible at-large resume.  It’s tough to think they’ve recovered from those defeats in time for the WAC tournament and I think Denver will make its first ever trip to the Big Dance.

BIG WEST: Long Beach St by far has the most talent of any team in the Big West, but the 49ers aren’t playing their best ball.  They’re coming off a 20-point beatdown at the hands of Pacific.  That game was the last scheduled home game Bob Thomason is going to coach and his Tigers gave an inspired performance.  I expect them to have the same inspiration as they try to get him to one last NCAA tournament.  Pacific is going dancing.

On to the Bracket

Last Four In: Virginia, Boise St, Saint Mary’s, Tennessee

Last Four Out: Kentucky, Mississippi, Iowa, Middle Tennessee St


1.Indiana16.Western Kentucky(SBelt)/Long Island Dayton, OH

8.Wichita St9.San Diego St

5.Pittsburgh12.Saint Mary’s/Virginia Austin

4.Oklahoma St13.Louisiana Tech

6.VCU11.Minnesota Austin


7.Memphis10.Colorado St Philadelphia

2.Georgetown15.Florida Gulf Coast(ASun)


1.Louisville16.James Madison(CAA)/Liberty(BSouth) Lexington, KY

8.NC State9.Temple

5.UCLA12.Tennesse/Boise St   Salt Lake City

4.Kansas St13.Davidson(SoCon)

6.Creighton(MVC)11.Colorado Dayton, OH

3.Ohio St14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Butler10.Villanova Lexington, KY



1.Duke16.Norfolk St Philadelphia

8.Iowa St9.Illinois

5.Saint Louis12.Cincinnati San Jose


6.Syracuse11.Bucknell  Auburn Hills, MI


7.UNLV10.California Kansas City

2.Kansas15.Long Beach St


1.Gonzaga(WCC)16.Southern San Jose


5.Wisconsin12.La Salle Kansas City


6.Notre Dame11.Belmont(OVC)  Salt Lake City

3.New Mexico14.South Dakota St

7.North Carolina10.Oklahoma  Auburn Hills, MI

2.Michigan St15.Montana

Conference Tournament Predictions Continued

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC: Iona has been on my radar since I watch it go blow-for-blow with Purdue in November.  This team can flatout score.  This is one of the most dangerous mid-majors in the country as it has three pros on the roster.  That being said, the Gaels don’t really care to much to play defense and that’s why a team like Loyola is a real threat.  Despite that, I don’t think Iona will be denied this year.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Up until mid-February, people were talking about the down year in the CAA.  Then came Bracketbusters where the CAA once again flexed its mid-major muscle.  Drexel, Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason and Old Dominion all scored big wins leading many pundits to say this is a multi-bid league again.  I’m not so sure of that but I do know that Drexel and VCU will play a classic championship game.  That game will be won by Drexel.

SOUTHERN: Davidson served notice to the nation earlier this season when it beat Kansas.  It followed that impressive win up with a 16-2 league record.  The Wildcats have a solid RPI and is far and away the best team in this league, but I don’t have a good feeling about them winning the conference championship.  There’s one team though, which has been knocking on the door and that’s the College of Charleston.  The Cougars have won six of their last seven and they’ll carry that momentum into a SoCon championship.

SUN BELT: Middle Tennessee St put the nation on notice when it took UCLA apart in November.  With only five losses, the Blue Raiders have done that to most of their opponents this season.  This team is the class of the Sun Belt and, with the exception of Denver, has no peer.  The Blue Raiders are going dancing.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: You’re 17-1 in league play and one of the best mid-majors in the nation.  How are you rewarded – by playing the conference tournament on the homecourt of the second place team in the conference.  That’s what Oral Roberts’ dilemma is as it prepares for the conference tournament hosted by South Dakota St.  That South Dakota St team is responsible for Oral Roberts lone conference loss.  On March 6, it’ll be responsible for Oral Roberts’ second conference loss.

BIG SKY: Weber St and Montana went toe-to-toe all season long in a conference race that wasn’t decided until the last game of the regular season.  That game determined where the conference tournament would be played.  Unfortunately for Weber St, they’re going to have to go through the regular season champion Montana on its home court.  Not likely.  The Grizzlies are going to the NCAA tournament.

Even More Conference Tournament Previews

Greg Kampe's Oakland squad could be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament

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
8.UCLA9.Michigan St
5.Connecticut12.Missouri St Tampa
6.Texas A&M11.Florida St Washington, D.C.
7.George Mason10.Marquette Washington, D.C.
2.Wisconsin15.Murray St
1.Duke16.Long Island Charlotte
8.Cincinnati9.Utah St
5.Kansas St12.Richmond Tampa
6.West Virginia11.St. Mary’s Denver
7.Tennessee10.Washington Cleveland
1.Purdue16.Coastal Carolina Chicago
5.St. John’s12.Butler/Virginia Tech Tucson
4.San Diego St13.Oakland
6.Vanderbilt11.Illinois Tulsa
7.Temple10.Boston College Charlotte
2.Louisville15.Long Beach St
1.Ohio St16.Northern Colorado/Texas Southern Cleveland
8.Villanova9.Old Dominion
5.Georgetown12.Washington St/Nebraska Tucson
6.Arizona11.UAB Denver
3.North Carolina14.Kent St
7.UNLV10.Georgia Chicago
2.Notre Dame15.Florida Atlantic

In Graphical Form

Conference Tournament Previews (Addendum)

SUN BELT: Troy, North Texas and Middle Tennessee St all tied for the overall conference title with 13-5 records. Troy is the No. 1 seed by way of a 2-1 record against UNT AND MTSU. However, the Trojans has been done no favors by having Western Kentucky on its side of the bracket. There’s not team in this conference that strikes fear in the heart of its foes like the Hilltoppers. They have wins over Vanderbilt, Murray St and Mississippi St out-of-conference and are on a six-game winning streak. Their experience and confidence will carry the Hilltoppers to another Sun Belt title.

SUMMIT LEAGUE: I’ve never seen a team with one league loss in more trouble than Oakland. There’s no question that IUPUI and Oral Roberts are capable of winning this tournament. IUPUI has already proven it can beat Oakland and Oral Roberts has wins over Missouri and New Mexico. That being said, Oakland has been consistent all year. It has only lost once in the 2010 calendar year going 16-1. With IUPUI and Oral Roberts fighting it out on the other side of the bracket, Oakland will have smooth sailing to the NCAA tournament.

BIG SKY: Weber St finished just one game ahead of Northern Colorado in the league standings. The Wildcats are very fortunate that the tournament is played on the home court of the regular season champion because I don’t think they want to see the 23-win Bears on a neutral floor. However, the Bears will have to travel to Ogden shorthanded as junior guard Devon Beitzel is out with a broken foot. Weber St played a tough schedule to prepare itself for this moment and the fact that it’ll get home cooking will put it over the top.

MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC: It’s clear that Todd Bozeman has Morgan St in complete control of this conference. The Bears won their third consecutive regular season championship and are poised to win their second straight tournament title. The way the MEAC’s tournament is set up actually takes the advantage of the buy away so Morgan will have to deal with that. However, only one team was able to beat the Bears in conference this season and they bounced back with five consecutive league wins after the setback. They’re experienced, tournament tough and have Reggie Holmes. The Bears go dancing again.

Today’s Bracket Projection:

Last Four In: Mississippi, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, San Diego St
Last Four Out: Rhode Island, Memphis, UAB, Mississippi St

Click the link below
NCAA Projected Bracket

From now until Selection Sunday, the bracket will be updated daily (Twice on Selection Sunday)

Bracketology: Saturday March 7, 2009 (Welcome Cornell)

We have more predictions for you today and the first of our daily bracket projections.  Congratulations to the Cornell Big Red for becoming the first team to secure a berth in the NCAA tournament.


The Favorite: This moment has been brewing for North Dakota St in only its fourth year as a Division-I member.  The Bison are finally a full member of the Summit League they’re making the most out of it.  Led by the explosive Ben Woodside, the Bison are on the verge of their first NCAA Tournament berth.  They’ve rolled to a 16-2 league record and have won 15 out of 16 games.  This is a team that can points on the board in bunches and they’ll be hard to guard in South Dakota this weekend.

The Challenger: Oral Roberts is accustomed to this moment.  The Golden Eagles are attempting to make the NCAA tournament for the fourth year in a row, a feat that hasn’t been done since Valparaiso’s run from 1996-2000.  They’re used to having a home court advantage but now that the conference tournament has been moved to South Dakota, things will be a tad more difficult for them.  Head Coach Scott Sutton will his team prepared nonetheless and they’ll expect to win the tournament.

The Darkhorse: The Oakland Grizzlies are hotter than anyone in the Summit League outside of North Dakota St.  Winners of 7 in-a-row, they’re the only team in the conference that can claim to have beaten both the Bison and the Golden Eagles.  The Grizzlies have ridden the back of deadly three-point shooter, senior Eric Kangas to a third place finish.  If Kangas get’s hot this weekend, the Grizzlies may make they’re second trip to the Big Dance.

The Conference knew what it was doing when it shifted the conference tournament location from Oklahoma to the Dakotas.  The balance of power is shifting and it’ll be on display this weekend.  Oral Roberts has had a great run, but it ends this season.  North Dakota St will claim its first NCAA bid.


The Favorite: The Weber St Wildcats are looking to extend their dominance of the Big Sky into the postseason.  Big Sky MVP, senior Kellen McCoy, and Freshman of the Year, Damian Lillard, lead the best backcourt in the Big Sky.  The Wildcats have only lost once this calendar year and they don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.  Not only are they winning, but only 3 of they’re 15 conference wins were by single digits.  It’s clear who the top dog in the Big Sky is.

The Challenger: If any team is capable of competing with Weber St, it’s the Portland St Vikings.  Last year’s Big Sky champion is back with first-team all-conference guard, senior Jeremiah Dominguez.  After the experience of making it to last year’s tournament coupled with victories against Boise St and at Gonzaga, The Vikings will not be intimidated by the moment.  They’ll give Weber St all it can handle.

The Darkhorse: The Montana Grizzlies have been one of the most consistent programs in the Big Sky.  The owner’s of the conference’s last NCAA Tournament victory, Montana boasts a proud tradition in the Big Sky.  They enter the postseason having lost 2 of 3, but they’d reeled off 7 in-a-row before hand.  The Grizzlies will be a team to reckon with this postseason.

Weber St and Portland St will receive byes in the quarterfinals as only the top six teams are invited to the Big Sky tournament.  That’s not an extra help they needed because these are clearly the top two teams in the conference.  They’ll meet in the championship game where playing on the Wildcats’ home floor will be the difference and Weber St will return to the dance.


The Favorite: There’s nothing more painful to a mid-major than to win a regular season title and lose in the conference tournament.  That’s the pain the Morgan St Bears has endured for a full year.  They’ve taken their frustrations out on MEAC opponents this season to the tune of a 13-3 conference record.  They’ve won 10 of 11 and have an upset win at Maryland.  Head Coach Todd Bozeman has turned around this program in just three seasons and has them on the verge of their first trip to the Big Dance.  This is definitely a hungry group.

The Challenger: The second place team in the MEAC, South Carolina St, enters the postseason almost as hot as Morgan St.  The Bulldogs have won 10 of 12 and have turned their season around after a rough start.  In the mid-to-late 90’s, they enjoyed as much success as anyone in the MEAC and are seeking to re-claim that prominence.  Led by senior Jason Johnson, the Bulldogs are a top challenger to the Bears championship aspirations.

The Darkhorse: Morgan St would only have one conference loss had it not been for the Hampton Pirates.  Hampton swept the Morgan St this season proving to everyone in the league that despite its 8-8 record, Hampton is capable of playing with any team in the MEAC.  Hampton has been gold standard this decade and is attempting to return to the tournament for the first time in three years.

The MEAC tournament is usually one of the most unpredictable conference tournaments in the country.  As was the case last year when Coppin St won the tournament from the #7 seed, this tournament is up for grabs.  That being said, Morgan St has been stewing on last year’s disappointment and it is ready to boil over.  The Bears are going to make history and head to their first NCAA Tournament.

Last Four In: Rhode Island, New Mexico, Michigan, South Carolina

Last Four Out: San Diego St, Arizona, Maryland, Northwestern


1.Connecticut16.Jacksonville Philadelphia, PA

8.Arizona St9.Minnesota

5.LSU12.New Mexico Miami, FL

4.Clemson13.Virginia Commonwealth

6.Illinois11.Dayton Portland, OR

3.Washington14.North Dakota St

7.Florida St10.Creighton Minneapolis, MN

2.Oklahoma15.Weber St


1.Duke16.Cal St Northridge Greensboro, NC

8.BYU9.Oklahoma St

5.Purdue12.Siena Miami, FL


6.Gonzaga11.Utah St Boise, ID


7.Marquette10.Ohio St Kansas City, MO



1.Pittsburgh16.Radford/Alabama St Dayton, OH

8.Texas9.Boston College

5.California12.Michigan Portland, OR

4.Xavier13.Western Kentucky

6.West Virginia11.South Carolina Philadelphia, PA

3.Wake Forest14.American

7.Butler10.UNLV Dayton, OH

2.Michigan St15.Robert Morris


1.North Carolina16.Austin Peay Greensboro, NC

8.Texas A&M9.Penn St

5.Syracuse12.Davidson Boise, ID

4.UCLA13.Rhode Island

6.Tennessee11.St. Mary’s Minneapolis, MN

3.Kansas14.Stephen F. Austin

7.Utah10.Wisconsin Kansas City, MO

2.Louisville15.Morgan St