This is the second group of conference tournament I’ll take a look at. Earlier I looked at the Big South and Horizon tournaments.
The Atlantic Sun is mostly a two-team conference. Florida Gulf Coast ranks as the best team in the conference (#173 in my predictive rankings), but Mercer is close behind (#184) while grabbing the top seed and having the benefit of hosting the conference tournament. That is enough to make Mercer a better bet than the field here at 54%. FGCU is the only other team in double digits (23%), as far as their chances to go dancing.
|2||Florida Gulf Coast||68.3||53.4||23.0|
|5||South Carolina Upstate||69.4||20.5||9.0|
|6||East Tennessee State||26.6||3.5||0.1|
The Northeast Conference is split between the haves and have-nots. With home court going to the higher seed, all of the top 4 seeds are at least 3:1 favorites to advance. The home court advantage gives top seed Robert Morris a 40% chance of cutting down the nets, while the other three top seeds all have around a 15-20% chance of knocking off RMU.
|3||Long Island University||74.7||36.6||16.7|
|5||Mount St. Mary's||24.4||8.2||2.8|
|7||Central Connecticut State||21.5||3.4||0.9|
|8||St. Francis (NY)||19.4||3.6||0.7|
What was supposed to be a great two-team race in the Patriot League has turned into a one-team coronation thanks in large part to Lehigh star CJ McCollum’s injury. With his status in doubt for the conference tournament, Mike Muscala and Bucknell have clear sailing to a tournament berth. My simulation gives the Bison a 74% chance to win the conference’s auto bid; only Southern in the SWAC has a better chance at an auto bid (77%). Should someone upset Bucknell, it is still likely to be Lehigh, with or without McCollum’s presence.
In the Ohio Valley, the clear best team is Belmont. Despite strong teams the past couple seasons, the Bruins have yet to breakthrough with a big upset in the NCAA Tournament. To have another chance, Belmont would be advised to take care of business in the OVC tourney although they may have a (long)shot at an at-large bid. Their biggest challenge is likely Murray State, who has not been able to recapture last year’s magic touch, but still has a 21% chance to get back to the dance.
|6||Southeast Missouri State||63.8||16.1||4.2||0.8|
Tell me if this is getting old, but we have yet another two-team race, this time in the West Coast Conference. And it’s the same two teams that it always seems to be: Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. Everyone knows about Gonzaga, who recently ascended to #1 in the polls, and my predictive rankings agree that they are a top 5 team. However, Saint Mary’s appears to be vastly underrated, with my rankings putting them at #15 in the nation. Both teams get the double bye into the semis, and over 90% of the time one of them will win the conference tournament. Keep an eye out for BYU and Santa Clara, two teams that rank in the 60s in my predictive rankings and could give the big two a run for their money.
|2||Saint Mary's (CA)||78.6||26.7|
Next up: The MVC begins Thursday and the Southern, MAAC, and Sun Belt start on Friday.