March 11, 2008

Mid-Major Conference Tournaments Bad News for Bubble Teams

Drake and Davidson did their part, but almost all of the other conferences with a chance at multiple bids have seen the best team(s) lose, adding good teams to the group looking for at-large bids.

San Diego Toreros - The 3rd seed in the West Coast Conference beat the top two seeds, St. Mary's and Gonzaga, to get an automatic bid. It didn't hurt that the tourney was at USD. Both Gonzaga and St. Mary's are RPI top 40, but is the WCC really a 3 bid league? #97 San Diego would not have been in the bubble discussion.

George Mason Patriots - VCU's loss in the semis to William & Mary opened the door for the Patriots, but #52 VCU now sits squarely on the bubble, though probably out. Their two best wins are over Maryland and Houston, both of whom are probably also out.

South Alabama Jaguars - Tonight, the #1 seed and #24 RPI Jaguars fell in the semis of the Sun Belt tournament, opening the door for either #46 Western Kentucky or Middle Tennessee St. to take the automatic bid. Neither of the teams in the finals probably would have made the field otherwise, and USA appears to be a lock (#9 seed before the loss). The Sun Belt is not supposed to be a two-bid league, and USA's loss probably takes a spot off the board. It will be interesting to see if USA's resume gets scrutinized and they fall onto the bubble. Their only good nonconference win was over Mississippi St.

Next up, Butler plays tomorrow in the Horizon final vs. Cleveland St., and a loss by the Bulldogs would definitely take away an at-large spot.

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