Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather round as the most fantastic time of the year is upon us again.
While the official beginning of March Madness isn’t until the first four play-in games, these past few days leading up to selection Sunday has been conference championship week. All the speculation on who makes the tournament comes to fruition.
Automatic bids start are sorted out by those teams that won their conference tournament. The losers…sit there on Sunday and sweat it out until their name is said. Those teams in the top tier of conferences don’t have to sweat so much. I’m talking the Big-10’s, ACC’s, Big-12’s of the college basketball world. While those schools who don’t win their conference in the “mid-major” tier, have the most to worry about Sunday night.
This past season we have seen that the national title will be up for grabs this year. It has been tough for any team to consistently hold the top spot in the poles. This past week the only team to win their conference as a No.1 seed was Chattanooga. Up to this point most of the other No.1 seeds haven’t even made it to their conference final.
Now up to this point it has been mostly mid-major conferences sorting out their conference champions. This list includes two teams in particular, Monmouth and Valparaiso.
Valpo finished the season with a whooping 27-6, (16-2 Horizon) record, may not get that at-large bid when they were bounced from their conference tourney in the semis. Monmouth is in the same boat, they finished the season 27-7, (17-3 MAAC). Quite possibly the most exciting bench in college basketball lost the title game, and a guaranteed shot at putting on their dancing shoes.
With such an unbalanced season, there are many top 10 conference schools that will get the nod with a worse record. When looking at the teams schedules and strength of competition. The mid-major schools are in weaker conferences making an early tournament loss that much worse, even if that school has a good overall record.
Even in some top 10 conferences we run into there types of issues. This past season was a down year for the American Athletic Conference. Making their conference tourney a must win for possibly two to three teams in order to get in. UConn could’ve potentially kissed their tourney hopes goodbye today had they lost to Cincy. Fortunately Kevin Ollie’s Huskies survive through four overtimes. They face No.1 seed Temple tomorrow for a chance to make it to the conference final.
Houston and Tulsa are on the opposite side of the bracket and in a similar situation, win and in, if they don’t at least make it to the final. The cougars and shockers will have to sweat it out on Sunday.
The number one seeds have yet to be determined, and more Goliath’s may fall this weekend in their respective tourneys.
Sunday will be exciting as usual sorting out the regions, finding out which teams that were on the “bubble” will play next week. Some schools regardless of winning their conference tourney we know will be in.
It’s the Valpo’s and Tulsa’s of the college basketball world to pay close attention too.