Every year one of the great debates among fans is who was left out that deserved an invite and who made it that was undeserving. Here’s a look at a couple of teams some of the major conference teams will be thrilled they might not have to face because of the possibility of being left out.
At 16-2 CAA and 25-5 overall, the Dragons currently lead the Colonial having won 23 of their last 24 – including 17 in a row. They will have to win the conference tournament to get in according to many experts. VCU and George Mason will both be tough games in the tournament and if Drexel does lose, the NCAA may cite the lack of a quality win against a top-50 RPI team.
It would be a shame if at least two teams from the Colonial weren’t given bids. The CAA has wrecked bracketology twice in the last few years with George Mason and VCU both making the Final Four. The quality of play in this conference may be the most underrated of any in the land.
As for bettors around the world, they already know how good Drexel is when their money is on the line. They have covered 14 of their last 17 games and three in a row despite a rapidly increased rating on them along the way. If the oddsmakers handed out invitations for the NCAA’s, Drexel would be a lock as an at-large bid.
At 10-2 in the Ivy and 24-4 overall, the Crimson looked to have the automatic bid for winning the league in the bag. However, a loss to Penn on Saturday gave them both two losses. Harvard has two games left (at Columbia and Cornell) and Penn three. Since there is no conference tourney, a tie would result in a one-game playoff to decide who represents the Ivy in the NCAA’s.
At 8-6 in the A-10 and 18-10 overall, just when it looked like we stuck a fork in the Flyers’ chances of making the NCAA’s after a four game losing streak, they’ve won four of five, including a 33-point drubbing of U-Mass last Saturday. At the moment Temple, Xavier and Saint Louis figure to get invitations. With a good showing to close out the season and possibly one upset in the Atlantic 10 tourney, Dayton may have a shot at sneaking in. In addition to quality wins within the A-10 against all the top teams, they have defeated Alabama, Mississippi, Minnesota and Wake Forest.
At 7-5 in the MWC and 17-10 overall, the Rams may not be in a tougher conference in college basketball. It’s nice to see the RPI reflect the Mountain West at No. 5 overall. With three teams looking like they’ll get a bid for sure, there is a small chance CSU could get some love from the committee as a fourth entry. It might take a win against UNLV this Wednesday night to do so and then maybe even a victory against one of the MWC big-3 (Rebels, New Mexico, San Diego State) in the tournament.
The Horned Frogs are making a hard charge to the top that could do some damage to Colorado State’s chances at an NCAA bid. The Frogs have won four of their last five games (covered the spread in all 5), including victories against CSU, UNLV and a 19-point triumph against New Mexico last Saturday. Their RPI doesn’t stack up with CSU, but TCU’s outside shooting gives them a shot against anyone and could be great to back early on in the MWC tourney. TCU closes the regular season at Wyoming and at home against San Diego State.
The losses within the MWC by the top teams don’t take much away compared to the boost it gives the conference’s overall value come selection day. When middle tiered conference teams are taking the best to the brink with wins and narrow losses, coupled with huge wins against other major conferences, it tells everyone who matters that the Mountain is quality basketball.
The Utes are still a miserable team within the woeful Pac-12 despite beating Stanford last Saturday for their third conference win. Utah has gotten the money over the last five, has been double-digit dogs in the last nine. They dropped the first four, but have played better than their rating over the last five. We’ll see how the streak fares this week. The Utes are at the two Oregon schools this week and will again be large dogs.
The Dukes of Pittsburgh had a challenge issued to them three weeks ago where their future play could get them into the Big Dance. They proceeded to fail, getting progressively worse as the inevitable became apparent to all on the team. Duquesne has lost four of five and hasn’t covered any during that stretch. The Dukes close out the regular season at Charlotte and then host Saint Louis.
The Golden Eagles covered their last five and nine of eleven. They have been just as good on the road as at home. Marquette rolled through the Big East with only three losses and looks to be a strong long shot candidate to win the NCAA’s at 50-1.
The Mountaineers might be one of the most disappointing teams this season, struggling at home (four straight losses) and dropping seven of nine. They’ve only covered once in their last seven and don’t look to be too excited about making things any better going into Big East tournament play.
The Orange may only have one loss one the season, but their inflated power rating has surpassed their ability over their last six games. They’ve failed to cover the number in their last four contests and five of the last six.
One of the better bi-weekly teams to bet against is the ‘Cats. They’ve failed to cover their last eight games going one and seven straight-up.