Fab Four Mid- and Low Major Finals - Who Needs to Win?
Four finals are on tap tonight to determine conference representatives from the Colonial, Southern, West Coast and Metro Atlantic leagues.
While it's clear in the Southern, where the Appalachian State - Wofford winner will be the only team dancing, it's not as easy to discern in the other games.
In the Colonial, Old Dominion plays upstart William and Mary, who have literally come out of the clouds to contend this season.
The Monarchs won the conference with a 15-3 mark. They played a tough schedule that included Missouri, Mississippi State, Richmond, Dayton, Northern Iowa and Georgetown. Unfortunately, this translated into only one win - a big one, albeit - against the hometown Hoyas. Their RPI is good (33) and they do have 7 top 100 wins.
This team is probably good enough to get an at-large bid. A rare at-large bid went to the Colonial in 2006 and we can remember where that led. Not that there is a comparison to the Monarchs but they probably feel they have done enough to warrant an invitiation.
William and Mary, on the other hand is an enigma wrapped in a riddle that presents itself as a conundrum. Confused? Me too. Losing to teams like Towson, NC-Wilmington and James Madison is hard to comprehend when you've beaten Richmond (home) and more impressively, Wake Forest and Maryland on the the road.
Have they done enough to warrant an at-large bid? That win at Maryland is looking awfully good right now, especially since there is to be no emphasis placed on any particular stretch of games.
More clear cut perhaps is the fate of the Siena Saints. A win in their road game against Butler in the Bracketbusters would have sealed the deal but now Siena is really bereft of any marquee wins. They are a good team, one that no one really wants to play but they have NO top 50 wins and the committee will be looking hard at that.
In the West Coast conference finale, the St. Mary's Gaels find themselves in an eerily similar position to last year. Great season, a couple of decent wins but Gonzaga standing in their way. They have virtually the same record and RPI as last year but could once again be on the outside looking in if they lose. They have beaten San Diego State and Utah State but that's it for good wins. Gonzaga is in regardless.
Crunch time now for these teams and with the exception of Gonzaga, none of them can really afford to lose.
Colonial - Old Dominion
Metro Atlantic - Siena
Southern - Wofford
West Coast - Gonzaga
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