March Madness Bubble Watch: Leagues That Could Deserve More Than One Big
by Doug Upstone Scores & Statson
We are drawing ever closer to March Madness. Because the NCAA tournament's designed to help the rich and not the less fortunate, the rules to get in is rigged to help the power conferences. Granted, they generate the majority of the revenue, particularly television, which makes it hard to argue with. However, the field is NEVER the best 68 teams because plenty of conference champions would never qualify, nonetheless, nobody ever said life was fair.
What we will talk about today is conferences with teams that deserve a stronger look and should not be judged purely on Quadrant Wins, because they would never get the chance to play that many contests against those types of leagues based on the conferences they play in.
The opinions expressed here are based on several factors including current records and any team could fall off by losing multiple times, diminishing their already razor-thin chances of making the Big Dance.
Betting Look at More Mid-Major Conference Bubble
In looking at the Mountain West and MAC, they deserve strong consideration for a second team in the field.
Utah State Aggies or Fresno State Bulldogs In the Mountain West, Nevada is a lock and if they keep winning and others lose, they could be a 2-seed. Both Utah State and Fresno State are worthy of making the tourney and respected KenPom.com agrees at this time with the Aggies ranked 42nd and the Bulldogs 63rd. But this is not how it works and likely only one team has a chance to make it. Both could make a stronger case, still having Nevada on the schedule in the regular season and probably one more in the MWC tourney. Having split their games neither can afford a loss other than to Nevada going forward.
Toledo Rockets Buffalo for sure is in from the MAC and Toledo (53rd KenPom) should at least be in the conversation. The Rockets just missed a golden opportunity in losing 88-82 at home to Buffalo. For them to make a strong case, Toledo has to finish the regular season without another loss and at least reach the MAC championship tilt. If they do that and lose to the Bulls in that contest, the Rockets would be 28-6 and that would be hard to overlook.
San Francisco Dons The Dons are 20-6 and are really solid at No. 48 at KenPom. Though the West Coast Conference is vastly improved this year from the middle up, not sure that will play well enough. San Francisco has four WCC losses and cannot afford another. Probably a reach, but they would be more interesting than say Ohio State.
Murray State Racers or Belmont Bruins Both teams have enjoyed excellent seasons at 21-4 and tried to play power conference teams, but in some cases, those clubs were weaker than anticipated. Belmont (64th KenPom) has won their one lone meeting and they should meet again in the Ohio Valley finals. If Murray State (56th KenPom) and the Bruins have not lost between now and then, it will be tough to swallow for the loser of the title game if they don't get in.
Wofford Terriers - NC Greensboro Spartans - Furman Paladins The Southern Conference is loaded. The records of these teams in order is 22-4 and the other two are 22-5. Wofford is 28th at KenPom (not a misprint), Furman is 52nd and we are not even including East Tenn. State who is 68th at 21-7. (Greensboro is 90th) Realistically, Wofford should already be like Buffalo, in the tourney no matter what, unless they lose their last three regular season games. Greensboro will probably have to win the SoCon, but if Furman knocks off Wofford this week and loses to them in the finals, they are another team that belongs.