As the conference tournaments wind down, teams who come from one-bid leagues and teams on the bubble will be chomping at the bit until the field of 68 is announced today. This is always a tough time for teams as strong seasons are undone by either losing their conference tournament or a poor resume throughout the season. Let’s take a look at the potential teams who may not make the tournament.
Furman Paladins (25-7) Southern conference. The Paladins had an impressive season beating Loyola-Chicago and Villanova on the road. They were ranked for a bit of the season and had the looks of a potential Cinderella team. The clock struck 12 as they lost to UNC- Greensboro in the Southern conference tournament.
Belmont Bruins (26-5) OVC. The Belmont Bruins are a very good team! They may be able to get into the tournament with an at-large bid based on their resume. A lot will depend on what happens with the rest of the conference tournaments as they are not a lock. Belmont lost to Murray State in the OVC final and will have a long wait to see if they’re dancing in March.
Indiana Hoosiers(17-15) Big Ten. The Indiana Hoosiers had a nice start to the season but with seven and five-game losing streaks at the start of conference play had them spiraling down and becoming a bubble team. The Hoosiers were ranked as high as 21 in the ESPN polls and looked like they would be a force in the Big Ten in Archie Miller’s second season as Head Coach. With a loss in the Big Ten tournament and too many bad losses, the Hoosiers will most likely miss the tournament.
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers( 20-13) Missouri Valley. Last year’s Cinderella team won’t be dancing this year as they were knocked out in the Missouri Valley tournament by the Bradley Braves. In what was an up and down year, the Ramblers never seemed to find consistency in their play. This was a team that played a lot of really good teams tough last season and yet we found them losing badly to Evansville and Missouri State! With that being said, it’s tough to replicate that same magic after you’re now on everyone’s radar which was the case this season.
UNC-Greensboro Spartans(28-6) Southern. The Southern Conference is a very good league, having three teams winning 25 games or more and four teams total with 20 wins. Much like Furman, their fate relied upon winning their conference tournament. With the emergence of Wofford almost certainly being in the tournament, ranked 20th in the nation, all they had to do was win. The opportunity was there as they gave the Terriers all they could handle in the Southern Final. Wofford deemed to be too much for the Spartans as they cruised to victory, 70-58.
Wichita State Shockers(19-14) American Athletic Conference. After making the conference for six straight seasons, The Shockers are most likely going to be left out of the field of 68 after selection Sunday. Struggles on the road and in the conference led to their demise. This team had to expect some regression after losing Landry Shamet to the NBA draft and now must develop the younger players on the team. While retooling, the Shockers still manage to put together a solid campaign, but with only two quality wins, Wichita State just doesn’t have the resume this season.
St John Red Storm(21-12) Big East. St John hopes of making the field of 68 were probably decided way before their huge loss to Marquette this weekend, but a weak non-conference schedule won’t help their case either. With two earlier wins over Marquette and a win over Villanova, they definitely have the potential to be a tournament team, but some bad losses can offset what was otherwise a solid campaign for the Red Storm.
Tune in tonight see if these teams make it in the field of 68!