Saturday, December 27, 2008

One-Bids (part one)

Ivy – After having at least one decent team for years, the Ivy League is having a down year. Only Cornell seems to be having any flashes of decency, almost winning at St. Joe’s, and keeping it reasonable at Minnesota and Syracuse. But losing by 15 to IU? 11 to St. John’s? Big Red should win the conference easily, but expect nothing higher than a 15.

Patriot – While American was an early favorite to shock major conference teams, it just hasn’t happened, and they’ve been pounded by Oklahoma and Georgetown. Moreover, Navy has looked surprisingly solid, almost winning at Villanova. Lehigh has also been a bit of a surprise – ranked 206 in the Pomeroy Rankings. However, it should be noted that that has come against the 322nd schedule, so they may be a bit worse. I’m still going to call this a two horse race, with the winner garnering a 15-seed and a tournament beatdown.

Southern - I hear you out there. “But Bryce! If Davidson wins out, and loses in the conference championship, then surely the Southern Conference will be a two bid conference.” And so it would be. But Davidson won’t beat Duke, and they won’t have a big win on their record. Moreover, if they don't get the autobid, then they’ll have a bad loss. That’s why the SoCon is still a one bid conference. However, Davidson should have nothing to fear – the only team with a halfway decent chance of beating the Wildcats is the College of Charleston, and for the first time in forever, the conference tourney isn't in Charleston - its in Chattanooga.

Big South – There has been a changing of the guard in the Big South. UNC-Asheville is subpar minus Kenny George. High Point has fallen off their role of perennial runner-ups. And Winthrop, banner-waver of the conference, is a woeful 1-9, and ranked 301 in the Pomeroy rankings – a far cry from 06-07, when they ran the conference, and defeated Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament. So who does that leave? Liberty and VMI. Liberty is about 10 points away from an excellent 12-1 record. Instead, they are 9-4, with no shot of an at-large bid. VMI started out the year with that upset over Kentucky, and continue to play their up-tempo style of catch, shoot, and little defense. Expect one of these two to be playing in March.

NEC, MEAC, SWAC – Lets not kid ourselves. The representatives of these conferences are headed for 16 seeds. It will be whatever school decides to hang tough and win the conference tournament. I’m not even going to attempt to predict these. (Well, the NEC rep might make 15. If, like, the A-Sun, Big South, and Southland Champions all come from the bottom of the league.) (Thus I draw irate hate mail from Mt. St. Mary’s fans, despite their 0-2 start to conference play).

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