>> Friday, March 5, 2010
Over the last several days we've taken the time to give you our thoughts on the "traditional" power conferences and they're possible bubble scenarios. Yet, the one great thing about college basketball is that a computer doesn't determine our champion. Mid-Majors and small conferences are awarded the same opportunity as the Dukes & Kentuckys of the world. The Atlantic Ten and Mountain West have had absolutely superb seasons for their stanards and both stand a chance to land four teams in the NCAA tournament, and if something crazy happens, five is not out of realm of possiblities.
A couple of weeks ago we were talking about the the possiblity of seven teams with tournament aspirations. However, Charlotte and Saint Louis have faltered down the stretch, and we are now assuming that an Atlantic 10 tournament championship will be their only entry to the Big Dance. Temple, Xavier and Richmond all have tournament ready resumes and lead a three-pack of teams that are going to be difficult outs when the chips hit the table. That leaves us with two teams that now are squarely on the bubble.
Rhode Island-Remember the days of Tyson Wheeler and Cutino Mobley roaming the backcourt for the Rams of Rhode Island? Doesn't seem like its been that long ago that URI was a dangerous team in the NCAA tournament. This year's version has talent, but lacks the quality wins versus top-50 RPI opponents to feel comfortably about their chances on Selection Sunday, but with a win in their finale and a strong run in the A-10 tournament, URI can land themsevlves in the field.
Dayton-The Flyers needed a win versus Richmond on Thursday to bolster their NCAA chances. Following that loss, anything less than a win on Saturday and a trip to the A-10 finals will leave the Flyers short on Selection Sunday. If you're a Flyer fan, you need to be hoping for bursting bubbles throughout the country.
Steve Alford has brought the Lobo's out of nowhere to claim its first outright MWC crown in nearly two decades and the Caucasian All-Stars down in Provo are putting together another stellar year, but the MWC has two other teams whom are fighting for their tournament life.
UNLV-This sure isn't the same Runnin' Rebs team that we grew up on during our youth, but Lon Kreuger has them winning consistently year-in and year-out, and doing it without a cheating bastard like The Tark roaming the sidelines. UNLV has a resume that seems fitting of an NCAA tournament bid, including win ten games within a tough MWC. Barring a first round loss in the MWC tournament, UNLV should feel comfortable about their position on the better side of the bubble.
San Diego State-Quick trivia question....How many of you actually knew that Steve Fisher has been coaching out in Sunny San Diego throughout the past decade? Yes, that same Steve Fisher that recruited the Fab Five and wasted more talent than Roy Williams circa 2010. Fisher and company have been impressive in conference, but they're lacking a strong OOC profile and anything resonating in the quality win category, other than beating conference foe New Mexico. If I were an SDSU fan, I would be hoping for a strong run and a tournament championship before I felt comfortable.
I was going to break down a few other teams from Mid-Major conferences tonight, but I've been on the road and worked for a combined 14 hours today, so that'll have to wait til tomorrow.