No exclusivity in this tourney field (cont.)
Locks: San Diego State, BYU
BYU went to San Diego and claimed a very impressive win, setting up for a run at a No. 1 seed in the West. Meanwhile, SDSU has to steady itself and hope for a third shot at the Cougars in the MWC final.
SHOULD BE IN
UNLV (22-7, 10-5; RPI: 26, SOS: 34)
The Rebels backed up last week's big road win with another at New Mexico and then beat Wyoming to look pretty golden as an NCAA team. Figure one more win should be enough. Maybe zero more at the end of the day.
GW: Wisconsin, Virginia Tech (N), at K-State (without Pullen/Kelly)?, at Colorado St.?
BL: UC Santa Barbara.
IN THE MIX
Colorado State (17-10, 8-6; RPI: 47, SOS: 38)
The Rams couldn't win at BYU and then suffered a crushing loss at Air Force. At-large hopes are extremely marginal now. Unless they sweep this week including a win at SDSU, they're probably auto bid or bust.
GW: at UNLV, Southern Miss (N)?
BL: Sam Houston State, vs. Hampton, at Air Force.
Locks: George Mason, Old Dominion
Book 'em. The Patriots are dancing after winning the CAA by two games. They're 8-3 vs. the top 100 and 11-5 away from home with a 15-game winning streak entering the postseason. They very well could be wearing white jerseys on Day 1 of the NCAAs. The Monarchs will join them thanks to a handful of solid nonleague wins and similarly good top-100 and away marks.
SHOULD BE IN
IN THE MIX
Utah State (25-3, 13-1; RPI: 19, SOS: 106)
Nothing's changed other than USU's win over Saint Mary's looking worse this week after the Gaels' semi-crumble in the WCC. Please get the auto bid so we don't have to figure out how the committee will evaluate this profile?
GW: at Saint Mary's.
BL: at Idaho.
Butler (20-9, 13-5; RPI: 45, SOS: 79)
The Bulldogs finished in a three-way tie for the Horizon crown and landed the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, which gives them a double-bye. The bad news is they very well could have to beat Cleveland State for a third time in the semis and the tournament is being hosted by UW-Milwaukee, the top seed. Unless the Panthers lose a semifinal at home, Butler will need to win a road game against a team that swept the Bulldogs to get the auto bid. This is the best setup for a possible at-large, though.
GW: Florida State (N), Washington State (N), Cleveland State (2x)?
BL: Evansville (without Nored), UW Milwaukee (2x)?, at Wright State, at Youngstown State.
Saint Mary's (21-7, 11-3; RPI: 49, SOS: 113)
The Gaels lost in OT to Gonzaga at home and had to settle for a share of the league crown that looked all but locked up two weeks ago. If they don't win two games in Vegas (likely with a final against the Zags), is this an at-large profile? SMC also scheduled a losable game against Weber State after the WCC tourney. That could be a huge misfire if they need an at-large and lose that one.
GW: St. John's.
BL: at San Diego.
Gonzaga (20-9, 11-3; RPI: 71, SOS: 91)
The Zags got it done in Moraga and swiped a share of the league crown -- their 11th straight league title. It's still unclear whether they could absorb another loss, even to Saint Mary's, but they're at least in position where that's now possible.
GW: Xavier, at SMC, Baylor (N)?, Marquette (N)?, OK State?
BL: at Santa Clara, at San Francisco.
Missouri State (23-7, 15-3; RPI: 43, SOS: 126)
The Bears won the Missouri Valley crown by sweeping Wichita State. Those are their only two top-50 wins of the season, though, so anything short of an auto bid makes it fairly likely the Bears will miss, fair or not. We'll see how this situation evolves over the next week or so as other leagues unfold.
GW: Sweep of Wichita State.
BL: at Tulsa?, at Evansville.
Others in consideration: Wichita State, UAB, Cleveland State, VCU, Memphis, Harvard, Belmont.
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