Wednesday, February 11, 2009

State of the bubble(Part 3)

Yes, I was going to do the third part of the State of the bubble series on Thursday, but I couldn't resist doing one before the first really important UNC/Duke game tonight. So here we go into the....

Horizon League
Likely number of bids: 1-2
Lock: Butler
In the mix: Green Bay
Remember all those preseason predictions that Butler would quietly sink to the middle of the pack in the Horizon? Of course you don't. We should've seen this coming from Brad Stevens' Bulldogs. Of course they couldn't get by the Phoenix last week in the frozen tundra, giving Green Bay an outside chance at an at-large.

Ivy League
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Cornell
Cornell still is favored by a more favorable schedule in league play. But it's Princeton who's the league leader, with a 20 point shellacking of the Big Red last week. There's no tournament in the Ancient Eight, so the winner has to earn it the hard way.

Metro Atlantic
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Siena
The Saints 90-88 loss to Rider last Sunday has all but eliminated it from at-large contention, or was it even in contention to begin with? Well failing to score a non-conference scalp against the likes of Tennessee, Pittsburgh, etc. would have hampered the Saints even if they went 18-0 in the MAAC.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Buffalo
The Bulls are favored over Miami(OH) by virtue of it's non-conference performance(Winning the Rainbow Classic; close loss to Connecticut). If Buffalo can win, it would be it's first Big Dance in it's history.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Morgan State
The Bears are in the same boat as Buffalo, looking to nail down it's inagural Big Dance invite. Todd Bozeman's team came close last year, but were upset by Coppin State in the conference championship.

Missouri Valley
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Creighton
Dana Altman's charges have the best RPI in the league and on Tuesday defeated current leader Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Despite remaining in the top 10 of both the RPI and Ken Pomeroy's ratings, the valley is destined to be a one-bid conference for the 2nd straight year.

Mountain West:
Likely number of bids: 2-4
In the mix: Brigham Young, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah
Of the five teams listed here, the Utes have the most perplexing profile. Wins over Gonzaga and Louisiana State are offset by losses to Idaho State and Division II Southwest Baptist(WTF is with that?). The MWC should get at least 2, but if it gets 3 or 4, I won't be surprised. If gets only one, it may be a greater injustice than Utah being denied a national championship if football.

Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Robert Morris
Falling short of the field last season, the Colonials are 2 games clear heading in to the stretch drive. Anyother team that wins the tournament will likely be headed to Dayton for the opening round.

Ohio Valley
Likely number of bids: 1
The favorite: Morehead State
The last time the Phil Simms' alma mater was dancing was 1984. They should go again, despite challenges from resurgent Tennessee-Martin, last year's winner Austin Peay and ole standbuys Murray State.

Part 4 tomorrow, I promise.

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