Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Most Auto-Bids This Side of eBay

Trying something new here: Xtreme white! Pun City's going to predict the automatic bid from each conference. This blog realizes it's at a great advantage picking this late in the season, but there's 31 conferences and that's tough enough even if you know the finalists in each tournament.

As a reminder, all automatic bids are determined by the conference tournament winners, with the exception of the Ivy League, which does not hold a conference tournament. Those crazy Ivies send their regular season champion to the NCAAs.

This blog tries to keep track of as many conferences as possible, but it doesn't quite keep track of all of them. For this reason, you can count on the shorter explanations being conferences this blog isn't too huge of an expert on. Here we go with part one, 15 random conferences:

Big Ten: This blog thinks that Wisconsin will win the Big Ten tournament. Bo Ryan isn't a huge fan of the tournament, but the Badgers seem to always end up in the final when they're about to get rooked out of a good seed. This blog wouldn't be surprised if they won the tournament but somehow ended up with a 2 seed, accompanied by some weak explanation from the committee that only infuriates Badger fans more. Then again, maybe Wisconsin just tanks an early round game to rest up for the NCAAs and Indiana storms through the tournament because they need it the most. Pick: Wisconsin Backup: Indiana

Mid Continent Oral Roberts is the pick. This tournament almost isn't fair. It's at the supposedly "Neutral" court at Union High School in Tulsa, which just so happens to be about 5 miles from.....Oral Roberts' campus. While not technically a home court advantage, all of the home fans will be out for their games, and last year's tournament finalist, Chicago State, has left the conference. All this, and ORU's top scorers Caleb Green and Ken Tutt are back. Pick: Oral Roberts Backup: Valparaiso I guess?

Mid American: This blog's going with Ohio. No great reason behind this, mainly being a "homer." This blog is going to watch a game at Ohio on February 24th, so it would be cool to say it saw another tournament team in person. Realistically, this blog isn't thinking the Bobcats can make it, especially after getting pummeled by Akron tonight. Akron on the other hand.... Pick: Ohio Backup: Akron

Conference USA: Memphis. This conference has really fallen off, it's basically Memphis and everyone else. Pundits were right when they predicted that Memphis in the 2000s would become very similar to UNLV in the 1990s, a team that dominated the WAC with no strong opposition. Hopefully Memphis isn't going to get wrung up on major recruiting violations 5 years down the road though. Oh, and did Pun City mention that this tournament is on Memphis's home floor? Well it is, so that's not going to hurt. Pick: Memphis Backup: If this blog were lazy, it would pick UAB. Because it is a sucker for an awesome school fight song, it's going with Central Florida.

Horizon League: Wright State. Everyone else is going to pick Butler here. This blog thinks that Butler very strongly parallels 2004's Pacific team. This was a very fundamentally sound team that scored major upsets with somewhat of a star (Christian Maraker) and a lot of good role players. Butler is a very fundamentally sound team that scored major upsets with a more convincing star (AJ Graves), and a lot of good role players. Pacific rolled through the Big West regular season, ensuring themselves an at-large bid, then lost in the tournament final to Utah State. Butler has already ensured themselves an at-large bid, and based on Wright State having beaten Butler already, this blog is convinced they can repeat the feat and get the Horizon League 2 bids. Pick: Wright State Backup: Butler (This blog wants to say UWM, but they're a year away and this blog can't see them winning 3-4 games in a row on the road).

Ivy League: Cornell. Simply because of the following sentence: Mark Vershaw is an assistant coach there. This blog can smell what the Big Red are cooking. Plus, they're tied with Yale for the lead and hold the tie-breaker. This would be stunning as Pennsylvania and Princeton have won something like the last 10 auto bids out of the Ivy. Pick: Cornell Backup: Pennsylvania

West Coast: Santa Clara. This blog is really convinced that Gonzaga is not going to be able to recover from their psychedelic trip. This was somewhat evident last night as Santa Clara snapped the Bulldogs' 50-game home winning streak. While the tournament will take place in Portland this year, which might lend it to being swarmed by Gonzaga fans, this blog doesn't think it's going to be able to string together 3 wins in a tournament it typically struggles in even when Gonzaga's a powerhouse. Santa Clara is trying to win a tournament for their retiring coach, Dick Davey. This sounds like a pretty cool Tom-Brennan-at-Vermont-esque storyline heading into the NCAAs. Pick: Santa Clara Backup: Oof, Gonzaga? Nah....San Francisco.

Missouri Valley: Missouri State has a veteran team that seems a bit inconsistent. That said, they're playing the tournament in their home state and will more than likely need a few conference tourney wins to ensure a spot in the NCAAs. After getting completely robbed last year with the #21 RPI in the nation apparently not being good enough for an at-large bid, this team doesn't want to give the committee a choice. Recent MVC tournaments have had a track record of teams rising to the occasion to qualify automatically. This blog thinks Missouri State will continue the trend. Pick: Missouri State Backup: Defending champ and top-25 Southern Illinois.

Big South: Winthrop. This blog doesn't know, they always win this thing. Backup: Coastal Carolina maybe? That'd be cool if Coastal coach Buzz Peterson faced his successor Bruce Pearl in the NCAAs.

America East: Vermont. See Winthrop. They always win this conference. Except last year. Backup: Albany.

Southland: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. A pretty good team, plus each year everyone's bracket needs that one team that is too long to fit on the bracket and screws up the font. This is that team. Backup: Sam Houston State

Big East: Marquette seems to be the flavor-of-the-week for pundits choosing a "wild card" Final Four team. This blog can envision a conference title adding fuel to their fire going into Selection Sunday, stirring up a frenzy for these experts. This blog can also see MU's lack of size making them a beatable mark for an early, undersized NCAA opponent. So why don't we pencil them in as Big East conference champs, and this blog will put Louisville in as the backup as a reward for cleaning Pitt's clock last night. (And they brought back Derrick Caracter who seems to be a spark for them).

Mid-Eastern Athletic: Delaware State, they've played everyone who's anyone in the non-conference schedule, then run through the MEAC with an 11-2 record to date. This blog thinks they're ready to dole out some Bluntt-force trauma to MEAC tournament opponents in Raleigh.

Atlantic Sun: Belmont, mainly because they're the home team and have a very experienced coach. Backup: Campbell, because they're the Camels. They should be able to smoke someone.

Big West: Cal-State Fullerton. Long Beach State probably should win, but this blog is guessing that eligibility issues will become too great of a distraction for the 49ers. The Titans have had a pretty strong year, and Pacific is way down. Backup's still Long Beach State though.

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Blogger GoBrewersGo said...

I like the new color scheme. Watch, as Wisconsin wins the Big Ten tournament, and gets a #6 seed, but everyone says its okay because they get a "home" game (2004)

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your America East commentary is both stunning and thorough.

I'm not a fan of the new color scheme. The white is so bright that it gets fuzzy and blends in with the lines above and below it... although it is much more cheery.

- Moike

5:22 AM  
Blogger Cooler Brian said...

1. Thanks, I got a verbal kudos on that also, so like 2/3rds of the readership likes it. Hopefully they only fall to a 3 and not a 6 this time.

2. True on the AmEast. I can see your point on the blending effect. I may alternate or something to get the worst of both worlds.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of the white text - it makes the page about as readable as a typical MySpace page. I like the old text color, but I like the use of the colored text used for the names.

9:56 PM  

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