Sizing Em’ Up: Colonial Athletic, Metro Atlantic, Southern, West Coast Auto-Bids

March 8, 2011
By K. Becks

Teams like Virginia Tech, Michigan State, and Boston College can thank Old Dominion for preventing VCU from being a “bid stealer”. So far, George Mason is the only mid-major team that has burned one of the coveted at-large spots, but the number of those spots will continue to get smaller as the week wears on. Last night, four more teams punched their ticket to the Big Dance. Here’s a look at their chances that the glass slipper fits.

Colonial Athletic

Automatic Bid: Old Dominion

Projected Seed: Anywhere from 8 to 10

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Good

Other teams from the conference that will probably be in: George Mason

If Old Dominion gets an 8 or a 9 seed, I wouldn’t even consider them a Cinderella unless they were to knock off the number one seed in their region. However, if they receive a 10 seed, then this is definitely a team that could be called a Cinderella. Senior Frank Hassell is the leader of this Monarchs team, and was part of the Old Dominion team that upset Notre Dame in last year’s tournament. The Monarchs are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, and will be a handful on the boards for any team they face. In addition to Hassell, Old Dominion Kent Bazemore can do just about anything on the offensive end, except shoot free throws. The CAA was strong this year, so it would not be surprising at all to see both representatives of the conference move on to the second round or beyond in the NCAA tournament.

Metro Atlantic

Automatic Bid: St. Peter’s

Projected Seed: 15 or 16

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Very Unlikely

Most of St. Peter’s players weren’t even in grade school the last time the Peacocks made the tournament. That being said, they should take in every moment of the 40 minutes of their first game, because barring a small miracle, their stay in the tournament won’t be any longer than that.

Southern

Automatic Bid: Wofford

Projected Seed: 14 or 15

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Unlikely

The Terriers are making their second straight tournament appearance, and they’re hoping for a longer stay this year. Unfortunately, last year’s team, who played number four seed Wisconsin to a tough four point game, may have been a bit better than this year’s. The Terriers are a good three point shooting team, which could make them dangerous against a team that likes to slow down the pace. If Wofford is hitting their shots and can limit their opponent’s second chances, then they may be able to make things interesting. Still, they’re probably a long-shot to be a Cinderella.

West Coast

Automatic Bid: Gonzaga

Projected Seed: 9 or 10

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Decent

Other teams from the conference that will probably be in: St. Mary’s (CA)

Gonzaga seems to have hit their stride at the right time, coming into the Big Dance riding a nine game winning streak. The Bulldogs played a pretty tough non-conference schedule, and didn’t fare too well, which prompted some to wonder whether the Bulldogs would even make the tournament. Guard Steven Gray is a talented player whose intensity brings back memories of Adam Morrison, but they will need more than intensity in an 8 vs. 9 game. Gonzaga will need Gray to produce, as well as center Robert Sacre, who didn’t play particularly well in the WCC tournament, if they want to play multiple games in the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga seemed to struggle against teams that were similar in talent to them, which is why they only warrant “decent” probability of being a Cinderella.

- K. Becks

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