A Look Ahead to Conference Tournaments
Using the tool from bball.notnothing.net, I’ve simulated the rest of the regular season in some notable local conferences based on Sagarin Team Ratings to generate a conference tournament bracket. Let’s take a look.
Monmouth is probably the team most disappointed by this draw. If they come out as the number two team and Marist at 7, the Hawks would likely have to face the Foxes, who have been their kryptonite this year. As many have said though, the MAAC is a competitive league this year, and 10th seeded Manhattan and 11th seeded Canisius can each pull out some wins here and there. Iona would likely be the heavy favorite, and for good reason, they’ve pillaged the league all year, save a few games, but if Nelly Junior Joseph isn’t back to playing at his normal level, it could be trouble for Rick Pitino’s crew.
This bracket plays right into the hands of St. Bonaventure to make the semi-finals. They want to face Saint Louis, a team they’ve given fits to both times they’ve played. Fordham in the 8–9 game would be an absolute revelation for the program in Kyle Neptune’s first season, and VCU would love a chance at revenge against Dayton in the semifinals. Davidson has bent but not broken and they’re the favorite and with a somewhat favorable draw as well.
In the NEC, everything is setting up for a Wagner vs Bryant Part III on Staten Island, however, the Sharks of LIU played Wagner into 2OT in Brooklyn, and then led for a good portion of the first half in the 5th borough, and that was before Boogie Ford went down and out for the season. Bryant’s duo of Peter Kiss and Charles Pride would maybe be able to make some noise in the Big Dance.
This is really a “worst-case scenario” for the Seahawks of UNC Wilmington and a best-case scenario for the Pride of Hofstra. Towson seems to have Hofstra’s number, and the more chances that Towson has to lose before the final, the better for both UNCW and Hofstra, but the CAA is pretty tight, and you can’t count out Delaware, Drexel, or Charleston.
UConn would love to see this bracket. Being the 3 seed means having the latest game every night, meaning your fanbase can make the hour and a half drive after work on Thursday and Friday to come to the game, something UConn fans have done well in the past. They also avoid Villanova until the final barring Villanova getting upset, which is possible, as Marquette swept them. Providence is another really tough foe obviously that stands in the way, but if you’re UConn, you’d rather face the Friars than Villanova. Seton Hall and Creighton do have wins over UConn and I wouldn’t quite count out really anybody besides DePaul, Butler, and Georgetown to make a run to the Big East Finals in this bracket.
We’re only 14 days away from the greatest month ever. Buckle up.