This is actually one of my favorite sports weeks of the year. NCAA conference tournaments. The NCAA tournament has really already started. Each of these mid and low major leagues are in the midst of the one and done part of their seasons already. The intensity of a semifinal OVC game is at a high level and the joy of upset victory is almost as sweet as it will be two weeks from now.
As we watch these games, the final 68 starts to crystallize. That will be a weird number to say for awhile, but who cares about the silly stuff. Let’s get to the games and teams.
2011 NCAA Tournament
Absolute No Question Locks (32) Automatic Bids(3)
Xavier (OH) Coastal Carolina/UNC-Asheville
Temple Belmont/ North Florida
Duke Morehead State/Tennessee Tech
San Diego State
There are a few teams that are very close to being locks. As the week goes by, we will be able to fill them in. Some like Michigan State just need one more win. Some like St. Mary’s need to make their conference tourney finals just to feel safe.
As for the 3 finals today.
The Atlantic Sun final is huge for Belmont. If they lose it’s NIT all the way, but if they get in they could be trouble. They will get as high as a 13 seed and they know how to win. Their schedule has been weak but it is never easy to go 30-4.
The Big South final will place a team in one of the play-in games, most likely the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina.
You want Morehead State to win the OVC final, if only for the childish snickering. But seriously, they also boast a beast named Kenneth Faried. He may be the best rebounder in recent college memory. It will be fun to see him go up against a big name on the big stage.
Let the fun begin.