Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Postseason Tournament Picks Part I

Horizon
Regular Season Champ- Butler
Predicted Tournament Champ- Wisconsin-Green Bay

Both Butler and Green Bay get byes to the semis where both will play at home. I think both win their semifinal game setting up a grudge match between the two. These teams split in the regular season against each other with both winning on their home floor. However, I think Green Bay wins at Butler because Butler hasn’t been playing as well as they were earlier in the year. So Green Bay gets the automatic bid and Butler gets an at-large.

Sun Belt
Regular Season Champ- Western Kentucky
Predicted Tournament Champ- Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky was volatile earlier in the season as they searched for its identity. They have beat Louisville by 14 and lost to Murray St. by 28 and Evansville by 32. However, since conference play started in full they haven’t lost a game by more than five and they won their final three games by double digits. They may play some close games but I see them winning three straight and getting the bid.

Big South
Regular Season Champ- Radford
Predicted Tournament Champ- VMI

Radford will be at home until they are eliminated or win it which is normally a good thing. However, all of Radford’s conference losses came at home (Gardner-Webb, VMI, and Liberty). They would only have to face one if they make it to the finals but that is where I think they lose to VMI.

OVC
Regular Season Champ- UT-Martin
Predicted Tournament Champ- UT-Martin

UT-Martin won the conference by a game over Murray St. and Austin Peay. The Skyhawks four conference losses came against teams that finished two through five although two of those losses came in early December. They finished 13-1 in conference and won’t have to play Murray St. (the team they lost to) until the finals but I don’t think Murray St. gets there so UT-Martin led by Lester Hudson is the pick.

A-Sun
Regular Season Champ- Jacksonville
Predicted Tournament Champ- Belmont

All these teams struggled to varying degrees down the stretch with the exception of Lipscomb who will also be playing at home throughout. Jacksonville gets a first-round bye meaning they only need two wins to get the automatic bid. Both those teams appear to be the best choices to win the automatic but I’m going with my preseason pick of Belmont who lost a chance at the one seed by losing to Jacksonville on the last day of the A-Sun’s regular season. I think Belmont is the most talented team as evidenced by their two point loss to Tennessee earlier in the year and they almost beat Duke last year as a 15 seed. The question will be how much they want it and I think they will take it.

Patriot
Regular Season Champ- American
Predicted Tournament Champ- American

American cruised through the Patriot League regular season only losing at Holy Cross. American will be at home throughout the tournament and I think they will make quick wok of Lafayette, Army, and Navy.

Ivy
Predicted Regular Season Champ- Cornell

Cornell was my preseason pick to win the Ivy and there’s no reason to change it now.

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