While many teams still have regular season games remaining, this next week a few conferences are starting postseason play this weekend. Many of these conferences will make up the 14 through 16 seeds in the tournament.
Although those conferences will be getting one bid, there are a few conference championships those teams on the last four in list will keep a close eye on: the Horizon, Missouri Valley, and West Coast Conferences.
These three conferences will be key to the shaping of the field of 65. Butler, Northern Iowa, and Gonzaga all have locked down their bids by their performance during the regular season. This provides many opportunities for upsets and teams that really have no business making the tournament, sneaking in.
Butler is the Horizon League. No other team beat them in conference play, leading to the thought that an upset is very unlikely. Although this is a very unlikely upset situation, stranger things have happened. With a look at the conference tournament history in two of the past three years, Butler won the league in the regular season, but ended up falling short in the conference tournament.
Northern Iowa ran through the first two months of the season with only a loss to DePaul. They have their share of impressive victories, while showing that they are very beatable, by losing to the worst team in the Valley in Evansville. This is one conference where I could see an upset happening.
They are stumbling into the tournament losing two of their last five games which does not sound bad, until you consider they have four total losses. Do not be surprised to see the Valley sending two teams because of an upset this weekend.
Gonzaga is an obvious lock and St. Mary's is close, but are literally right on the dividing line for NCAA and NIT.
The tournament format does not allow the Gaels to make much more of a name for themselves, being the second seed, they only have to win one game to reach the tournament championship game. They actually need either themselves or Gonzaga to get the automatic bid. If the likes of Portland or USF happen to win this tournament, St. Mary's could be the first team out by the unlikely hood of the selection committee putting three WCC teams in the dance.
Much of the bubble world will be watching this weekend, hoping these three teams with a combined 13 losses do not lose any more games as that could spell disaster for those bubble teams hoping to play themselves in by a good showing in their own conference tournament.