Tourneys That Change The At-Large Picture

We have reached the second to last weekend before Selection Sunday, and now we have finally reached some conference tournaments where teams are looking to play their way into the tournament.  Let’s get right into it.

Colonial: Being a CAA alum, I do have a slight bias towards the Colonial.  I think both Drexel and VCU should be in, and I believe that their wins and RPI numbers support their case.  They each have a number of quality wins, each has few losses, and each certainly looks like a tournament team.  But we know that at least one of these teams will be sitting on Selection Sunday hoping to hear their name called.  All signs point to a Drexel/VCU final, and if that is the case, they both deserve to be in regardless of the result.  A dark horse team could be Delaware, who if they manage to reach Drexel in the semifinals, will be riding a 10 game winning streak.

MAAC: One team that has been getting very little attention on the bubble is Iona.  Perhaps being in first place in the MAAC has everyone assuming that they will win the tournament, but that is not a certainty.  If they lose, they could very well steal a bid from another bubble team.  Iona is 24-6, and has played a remarkable 19 games away from home before the MAAC tourney, winning 14 of those.  They’re 5-3 against the RPI top 100, and are 9-3 against the RPI top 130.  I think that if they do lose in the tournament, they’re almost a lock for an at large.  The Gaels are going to be a very tough out come tourney time.  Loyola could give them a run in the final, but I think Iona locks up an automatic bid.

SoCon: Just like the MAAC, Davidson has made a pretty decent case for an at large bid should they not win the Southern Conference tournament.  The case obviously is almost entirely based on a win over Kansas in Kansas City.  It’s not the Phog, but it was a Kansas home game.  I don’t think they would make it if they lose; being that their average RPI win is 216.  That’s almost unheard of.  The team that intrigues me here is UNC-Greensboro.  After a 2-14 start (with the only wins over Towson and a non D-1 school), Greensboro made a coaching change, and it was like a light switch was flipped on.  The Spartans finished 10-4, and actually finished first in the SoCon North.  What a story that would be if they won this tournament.

There will be some great action this weekend.

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