Tourney Watch, Part 2

In our second look at the NCAA Tourney we'll investigate eleven more conferences, including the overrated Big 10 and the underrated Conference USA. Does the Big 10 deserve more than three bids? Can Conference USA get five or six? Is Creighton done?

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.

BIG TEN

In: (2) Illinois, Wisconsin
Cusp: (1) Michigan State
Bubble: (3)Iowa, Michigan, Purdue
Rising: Iowa
Slipping: Purdue

The Big Ten deserves just three bids, but will get more. This just isn't a very good conference, but is still living on their reputation. Michigan State is playing their way into a pretty good seed, while Illinois has been playing under the radar.

BIG WEST

In: none Cusp: (1) Utah State
Bubble: none Utah State deserves to be in no matter what, but the Aggies have been left out too many times. Pacific is a quality ball club that could win the conference tourney.

COLONIAL ATHLETIC

A one-bid conference. Virginia Commonwealth and Drexel seem to be the class of the conference, but that isn't saying much.

CONFERENCE USA

In: (2) Memphis, Cincinnati
Cusp: (2) Charlotte, Louisville
Bubble: (3) DePaul, UAB, Marquette
Rising: UAB
Falling: Marquette

This is an underrated conference, which deserves at least five bids, maybe six. Marquette looks to be done, but UAB and DePaul are making great cases for their bids.

HORIZON LEAGUE

One bid for the Horizon. Wisconsin-Milwaukee is a quality team who could cause some trouble in the Tournament, but will probably need the tournament title to get there. They played a tough schedule, but lost all of those games. Illinois Chicago is a decent club, but does not have any hopes of an at-large bid. IVY LEAGUE

Princeton has all but clinched the Ivy League title and should get the lone bid. The Tigers are a quality team, one that no one wants to see in their bracket. Penn and Brown have outside shots at the Ivy Crown, but they are not in Princeton's class.

METRO ATLANTIC

Manhattan deserves an at-large bid, but will be on the bubble if they don't win the conference tournament. They are an exciting, up-temp squad that will cause some nightmares for a higher seeded team if they get in.

MIDCONTINENT

A one-bid conference. No team jumps out, as the whole league has more than 10 losses. Valpo and IUPUI have been to the big dance before, and coincidentally are first and second in the league.

MISSOURI VALLEY

In: none
Cusp: Southern Illinois
Bubble: Creighton
Slipping: Creighton

Creighton is all but done, but Southern Illinois looks to be a Cinderella. The Salukis could make a very nice run and should have a nice seed.

MOUNTAIN WEST

In: none
Cusp: Air Force
Bubble: (2) BYU, Utah
The Falcons won the regular season crown and appear to have done enough to get an at-large. BYU has a slight edge over Utah after the Cougars' win over the Utes the other night.

NORTHEAST CONFERENCE

A one-bid conference that will likely get a 16 seed. Not a lot of quality teams here.


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