Tourney Watch Part 1

The NCAA Tournament is almost here. We take a conference by conference look at who has a shot at getting into the ‘Big Dance'. We'll look at those who are in and those who have some work to do. This installment will look at the America East, Atlantic 10, ACC, Atlantic Sun, Big 12, Big East, Big Sky and the Big South.

We break the teams down into five categories:
In: This means the team is a lock. They are in regardless.
Cusp: This means the team is all but in. It would take a major collapse not to get in and even then they have a shot.
Bubble: These teams still have work to do. This is the broadest category as some teams are closer to being on the cusp, while others are all but done.

The next two categories are mainly for bubble teams or teams that have just moved onto the cusp or have just seen their bubbles burst.
Rising: Teams that are seeing their stock rise.
Slipping: Teams that are not playing well down the stretch or have suffered a major injury.

AMERICA EAST

In: None
Cusp: None
Bubble: (1) Boston U.
Slipping: Vermont

In a perfect world, the Terriers would be a near lock to get in the tournament, regardless of how they fare in the conference tournament. They have beaten Michigan and are on a roll, but small conference teams have no guarantees. Vermont is a pretty good opponent and not a team to be taken lightly in the conference tourney.

ATLANTIC TEN

In: (1) St. Joe's
Cusp: (1) Dayton
Bubble: (1) Xavier
Slipping: Xavier

St. Joe's is a lock and Dayton should get in. Xavier hurt their chances with a loss over th weekend.

ACC

In: (3) Duke, NC State, Wake Forest
Cusp: (2) Georgia Tech, North Carolina
Bubble: (3) Florida State, Virginia, Maryland
Slipping: Maryland, Virginia

The ACC is the best conference in America, but getting eight teams in is a stretch. It could still happen, but it is a shame if teams that are four games under .500 in conference play get into the tournament. High RPI's will help ACC bottom feeders and probably knock out a mid-major or two.

ATLANTIC SUN

In: none
Cusp: none
Bubble: (2) Troy State, Central Florida

Two teams could make a claim for bids, but the Atlantic Sun will only send one school. Troy State is a little bit better than Central Florida, although both are having great seasons.

BIG 12

In: (2) Oklahoma State, Texas
Cusp: (2) Kansas, Texas Tech
Bubble: (5) Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa State
Slipping: Oklahoma, Iowa State
Rising: Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska

This one is a hard race to follow. A month ago Kansas and Texas Tech seemed like locks, while Colorado and Missouri seemed dead in the water. Now a number of teams are fighting for what looks to be six or seven bids.

BIG EAST

In: (3) Pitt, UConn, Providence
Cusp: (1) Syracuse Bubble: (4) Seton Hall, Boston College, Rutgers, Notre Dame
Slipping: Notre Dame
Rising: Seton Hall

Another conference with a strong middle. The Big East will likely get six bids. Seton Hall and BC are the front runners.

BIG SKY

The Big Sky is a terrible conference. Only one team has a winning record in conference, so Eastern Washington should be a favorite to win a 16 seed.

BIG SOUTH

Another weak conference. No hope for an at-large bid. Birmingham Southern is the only team with less than 10 losses.


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