Mid-Major Conference Tournament Previews (Week 2)

Whew. How about that Wes Washpun step-back jumper to put Northern Iowa in the tourney?  The 1 seeds in the conference tournaments are not having a fun time, as N. Florida, Belmont, Wichita State have all gone down.  My projections from Week 1, likewise, are a complete disaster.  Well, this is March Madness.

Here’s who is in:

OVC – Austin Peay (Fly’s open…Let’s Go Peay!)
Ivy – Yale (first tournament berth since 1962)
MVC – Northern Iowa (the first potential bid felon)
Big South – UNC Asheville
ASun – Florida Gulf Coast

Mike will be posting conference tourney previews for the big guys on Tuesday, with significant detail on the A10.

Follow us on Twitter this March for all your NCAA Tournament coverage: @headvgut, @nhansen14, @MikeBaniak

Big Sky

Location – Reno, NV
Championship – March 12 (???)
Regular Season Champ – Weber State
RPI Leader – Weber State (126)
Bubble Teams – None

The Favorite – Weber State

Sleeper(s) – Idaho:  The Vandals have won 8 of 10, and just took down Weber State at home on March 3.

Projection – Weber State

When in doubt, go with the class of the conference.

Big West

Location – Anaheim, CA
Championship – March 12 (ESPN2)
Regular Season Champ – Hawaii (due to their sweep of UC Irvine)
RPI Leader – UC Irvine (68)
Bubble Teams – None

The Favorite – Good question.  Probably UC Irvine or LBSU because the tournament is in Anaheim.

Sleeper(s) – Long Beach State:  Who has the #1 non-conference strength of schedule in the country?  Nope, not Kansas.  Long Beach State.  They also swept Hawaii and have won 9 of 10.

Projection – Hawaii

I have that Diamond Head Classic game stuck in my head where they almost beat Oklahoma, so I have to pick them.  Not very confident in this pick at all.

Conference USA

hamilton

Location – Birmingham, AL
Championship – March 12 (Fox Sports 1)
Regular Season Champ – UAB
RPI Leader – UAB (77)
Bubble Teams – None

The Favorite – UAB:  Not only did they win the conference, they are playing the tournament at home.

Sleeper(s) – Louisiana Tech:  Yeah, they just lost to the Fighting Big Red Amorphous Blobs (W. Kentucky), but they have Alex Hamilton.  Beat UAB in the only regular-season meeting.

Western-Kentucky-Big-Red-jamierhodes

Someday, I will Terry Tate this thing.

Projection – Louisiana Tech

Alex Hamilton is really good.  Taking a chance on this one, as I think UAB gets knocked off.

MAC

Location – Cleveland, OH
Championship – March 12 (ESPN2)
Regular Season Champ – Akron
RPI Leader – Akron (34)
Bubble Teams – None

The Favorite – Akron:  They have regrouped after three straight road losses (all five conference losses were on the road), but this shows that they can be beat.

Sleeper(s) – Buffalo:  Played a very difficult non-conference schedule, but lost by 20 at St. Joe’s, Duke, Iowa State and VCU.  They lost twice to both Akron and Ohio, but you never know…

Projection – Akron

I can’t think of any reason why they don’t win this tournament.  Remember when the MAC was filled with pretty solid teams?  It’s been a long time.

MEAC

Location – Norfolk, VA
Championship – March 12 (???)
Regular Season Champ – Hampton
RPI Leader – Hampton (180)
Bubble Teams – Yeah, right.

The Favorite – Hampton

Sleeper(s) – Norfolk State:  Just pounded Hampton by 20 on March 3.  Howard:  James Daniel leads the country in scoring with 27.4 ppg.

Projection – Hampton

This conference is a complete dumpster fire.  The entire conference has…wait for it…one Top 100 win.  I’m going with the favorite.

Mountain West

Location – Vegas
Championship – March 12 (CBS)
Regular Season Champ – San Diego State
RPI Leader – San Diego State (45)
Bubble Teams – San Diego State

The Favorite – San Diego State

Sleeper(s) – Boise State:  They have disappointed this year, but do have wins over Oregon and at San Diego State (last Saturday).

Projection – San Diego State

It really is disappointing how bad this conference is this year.  Three short years ago when we were in attendance for the semifinals for my bachelor party, all four teams ended up making the tournament.  San Diego State is excellent defensively and will smother everyone.

Southland

Stone Cold

Location – Katy, Texas
Championship – March 12 (ESPN2)
Regular Season Champ – Stephen F. Austin
RPI Leader – SF Austin (78)
Bubble Teams – None

The Favorite – SF Austin:  Not only did they go undefeated in conference play, they have won each of their last seven by 20+.

Sleeper(s) – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi:  Well, at least they only lost to Stone Cold by 5 at home.  That’s better than most.

Projection – Stone Cold

It looked like a down year for the Lumberjacks, but then they got to beat up on their brutal conference.  Thomas Walkup is a stud and gets one last chance at a Cinderella run.

SWAC

mikedavis

Location – Houston, TX
Championship – March 12 (ESPNU)
Regular Season Champ – Texas Southern
RPI Leader – Texas Southern (188)
Bubble Teams – Ha…no.

The Favorite – Texas Southern:  Former IU coach, Mike Davis, won the conference by three games after a 1-11 non-conference record.

Sleeper(s) – Alabama State:  Winners of 8 of 12, they have the lone Top 100 win in the conference (at Virginia Tech) and almost won at UAB.

Projection – Texas Southern

Talk about challenging yourself.  The Tigers scheduled 10 true road games in the non-conference.  They lost them all.  See you in Dayton.

WAC

NCAA Basketball: New Mexico State at Baylor

This guy can play.

Location – Vegas
Championship – March 12 (ESPNU)
Regular Season Champ – New Mexico State
RPI Leader – Grand Canyon (93) – Ineligible
Bubble Teams – None

The Favorite – New Mexico State:  Pascal Siakam is a beast, averaging 21 and 12 per game.

Sleeper(s) – CSU Bakersfield:  At least they played NMSU tough in two losses.

Projection – New Mexico State

The fact that Grand Canyon isn’t eligible for the tournament makes no sense.  Seriously, someone explain it to me (I understand it’s their first year in D-1).  I’d be picking Majerle’s boys as they have already won at San Diego State this year.  New Mexico State is the next best team (and they lost to Wichita by 30 a few weeks back.

 

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