Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Conference Tournament Picks, Part I

Big South
Pick- Winthrop

Winthrop is easily the class of the league and should have no problems breezing through the Big South tournament. They will be playing at home throughout where they haven’t lost this season. However if they lose then they would probably be on the wrong side of the bubble. Last season the committee, who are mostly the same as last year’s atrocious group, gave Winthrop a 15 seed. With the Big South rated as the 29th best conference according to the RPI, I don’t see them getting a bid although they would deserve it. High Point could get a NIT bid.

Horizon
Pick- Wright St.
At-large- Butler

I’d like to think Butler is a lock at this point even though they’ve played less then stellar down the stretch. Wright St. and Butler get free passes to the semis and Wright St. also gets home court advantage which is good for them since they’ve got some pretty bad road losses. The Raiders went undefeated at home in conference including a convincing win against Butler. Loyola Chicago might get a NIT bid.

OVC
Pick- Eastern Kentucky

Austin Peay is the regular season champ but the OVC doesn’t give home court to their top seed. Instead the semis and finals are played on a neutral floor. Since Eastern Kentucky ended the season winning eight out of ten (one loss was to Austin Peay) and Austin Peay lost three of four, I like the Colonels.

Patriot
Pick- Holy Cross

The final should come down to Holy Cross and Bucknell who are easily the top two teams in the Patriots and pretty evenly matched. They split their season series with each team winning at home. Bucknell has more big game experience but Holy Cross is nearly unstoppable at home where Bucknell did give them one hell of a game. However I like Holy Cross to win this rubber match. I expect Bucknell to get a NIT bid.

Sun Belt
Pick- Florida Atlantic

No team here really stands out from the pack. Western Kentucky has the most talent but was less than impressive in conference play. South Alabama won the regular season title but lost three straight to end the season and the Sun Belt doesn’t give home court to its top seed. Florida Atlantic could certainly win it. They beat both Western Kentucky and South Alabama in the last four games of their season. They finished third in the East behind the aforementioned teams as well. South Alabama and Western Kentucky will end up in the NIT.

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