288 teams remain!! There were 13 conference tournamament games yesterday, and Fordham’s loss to Rhode Island mathematically eliminates them from the Atlantic Ten tournament.
-We basically had chalk all day, except in the Big South where #2nd seeded Coastal Carolina and #3 seeded Campbell both lost. VMI will now face Winthrop in the semifinals. Neither team has a winning record, but one of them will get the chance to play either UNC Asheville or Charleston Southern in the championship game. UNCA is hosting, and is the only team that has any hope of avoiding the opening round.
-Mercer, the host team and second place finisher in the Atlantic Sun, had to sweat out their win yesterday against Lipscomb, but they’re still alive. They will face either USC Upstate (another dangerous team) or UFGC in the semifnials. Belmont is still the team that is best built for success in the NCAA Tournament, but if they face Mercer in the championship game it isn’t likely to be a cakewalk.
-The NEC quarters get underway today. Long Island and Wagner are the top two seeds, and probably the two biggest rivals. The tournament is at campus sites, so it should be quite the showcase for the league as the two neighboring schools play conference tournament games on the same nights leading up to the finals.
-The Ohio Valley quarters and WCC quarters. I believe it’s safe to say that these games, along with all the others Chad listed, are knockout games. That will take us down to 273 teams remaining tomorrow. My team is still alive, and I want my “2012 Final 273” t-shirt.
-BINGHAMTON VS UMBC (America East Opening Round). This game gets mentioned because it’s a knockout game, and the winner advances to the Final 273, but also because if Binghamton loses, they could end up with the Centenary Award. It would be their 9th loss to a sub 300 RPI team, and they have six additional losses to sub 250 teams. Half their games played have resulted in losses to sub 250 teams. That is a strong case.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED MATCHUPS
-MICHIGAN AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten). If there is one thing Michigan could use a little more of on their profile, it’s road wins. If there is one thing Illinois could use a little more of on their profile, it’s wins of any kind. As bad as the Illini have been, they can still play their way inside the bubble.
-GEORGIA AT KENTUCKY (SEC). This would be nothing more than a blah win for Kentucky on their march to a #1 seed.
-NEW MEXICO STATE AT NEVADA (WAC). The best Nevada can hope for is a spot on the bubble. The opportunity to play their way safely inside it just isn’t there. If they win out, they should get a look, though.
-COLORADO AT OREGON (Pac Twelve). Both teams are outside the bubble and need a strong finish if they are to have any hope at all.
-WASHINGTON AT USC (Pac Twelve). As much as it makes me grimace, Washington could end up inside the bubble, but the must avoid bad losses.
-FLORIDA STATE AT VIRGINIA (ACC). Both teams appear to be safely in, but could really use this game to boost their resume.