Conference Tournament Preview
At the beginning of January, I tried to project the 68-team field for March Madness. As a part of this projection, I threw out my picks for the winner of the conference tournaments, which are set to get under way this week, starting with the Big South, Horizon, Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, Patriot and West Coast conferences. The big conferences start next week.
For those that are new to The Madness, each winner of the conference tournament gets an automatic bid into the tournament, so there is a lot at stake for each of these teams (Note that the Ivy league does not hold a conference tournament; their regular season champion gets the automatic bid, which Harvard can clinch later this week).
With these stakes in mind, here are my updated
guesses projections for the conference tournament winners (italics indicate different than original post):
|Big Sky||Weber St.|
|Big South||Coastal Carolina|
|Big Ten||Ohio St|
|Big West||Long Beach St|
|Conference USA||Southern Miss|
|Missouri Valley||Wichita St.|
|Ohio Valley||Murray State|
|Summit League||Oral Roberts|
|Sun Belt||Middle Tennessee|
After the 31 automatic bids are handed out to the conference champions, the rest of the field is completed using the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), as well as some other tools employed by the NCAA Division I Basketball Selection Committee. With the strength of the “power conferences” consolidated to only a couple this year, I think we see a resurgence of the mid-majors and a lot of them given tickets to the dance. I will have my full tournament projection in a couple weeks.
Until then, enjoy the conference tournaments!
… and that’s the last word.