Cinderella Casting: Big Sky, Northeast, Patriot Auto Bids

March 8, 2012

Another day brings a few more automatic bids.

Here is a look at three more teams that punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament last night.

Big Sky

Automatic Bid: Montana

Projected Seed: 14 or 15

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Unlikely

The Grizzlies looked really good in the Big Sky final, allowing one of the nation’s best scorers in Damian Lillard to drop in 29 points but not allowing much else from the Weber State Wildcats. If Montana were projected to receive a higher seed, they might be a team on the “spoiler radar”. The Grizzlies have size (in 7’0” center Derek Selvig) and solid backcourt play (in junior Will Cherry and sophomore Kareem Jamar) that should allow them to compete for at least a half with most teams in the country.

Montana may not get to play more than one game, but this is a team that will give their opponent everything they can handle. The Grizzlies are not a low seed to be taken lightly.


Automatic Bid: LIU Brooklyn

Projected Seed: 15 or 16

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Very Unlikely

The Blackbirds are making their second trip in as many years to the Big Dance (you may remember them simply as Long Island last year), but that doesn’t mean they have a much better shot at making it out of the second round. The Northeast Conference is known for annually taking one of the 15 or 16 seeds, which isn’t a great spot to be in if you want to do some damage in the tournament. In fact, a team from the Northeast Conference hasn’t been higher than a 15 seed since 2002.

In other words, this team is likely a one-and-done squad. Enjoy the atmosphere, gentlemen.


Automatic Bid: Lehigh

Projected Seed: 14

Probability of Being a Cinderella: Unlikely

Lehigh was fairly competitive against the other two tourney bound teams on its schedule (Iowa State, Michigan State), has won 11 of its last 12 games, and has one of the top scorers in the country in junior guard C.J. McCollum. This all adds up to one thing: the Mountain Hawks should be interesting to watch, but probably won’t be making an extended stay in the tournament.

McCollum will be exciting to watch, but chances are the Mountain Hawks will be going up against a team that will let him have his points but shut down the rest of the offense.  Lehigh is yet another example of a team that, given a higher seed, could be very dangerous. Against a top seed, they’ll be cute for a half and maybe a little longer.

– K. Becks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *