These Are The Little Guys, Right?

March 8, 2010

Tomorrow marks the start of the so called “major” conference tournaments, with the Big East kicking off play at noon. The start of the bigger conference tournaments often overshadows the smaller ones, but don’t worry; I’ll continue to cover the little guys up until Selection Sunday.

The last few conference championship games have been very interesting. I was starting to wonder if these games were going to produce some teams that we wouldn’t have expected to be dancing (hello, Fairfield and William & Mary). However, for the most part we got what we expected.

Missouri Valley

Automatic Bid: Northern Iowa
Projected Seed: Anywhere from 5 to 7
Probability of Being a Cinderella: N/A

This team has more or less been on college basketball fans’ radars for the entire season. That is why I don’t even consider them an upset special, lest they make it to the Final Four. Still, this team may take some casual fans by surprise, as they are not a household name. In addition to having a stifling defense, they sport a slow-paced, tempo-controlling offense that will (in the words of Peter Griffin) grind your gears. They may not be the most entertaining team to watch, but they know how to win. Expect the Panthers to do just that in about two weeks.


Automatic Bid: Old Dominion
Projected Seed: 12 or 13
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Decent

The Monarchs were the best team all year long in what is usually a pretty decent conference (remember George Mason and VCU, anyone?). In addition to having knocked off Georgetown earlier in the year, they stayed close in their losses against Richmond, Missouri, and Northern Iowa (all likely tourney-bound teams). Keep an eye on Old Dominion in their first round matchup, because they will likely keep it close no matter who they play.

Metro Atlantic

Automatic Bid: Siena
Projected Seed: 12
Probability of Being a Cinderella: Decent

For the third time in as many years, the Saints are the representatives from the MAAC. After upsetting Ohio State last year and Vanderbilt the year before, no one will be taking these guys lightly heading into the tournament. Although they don’t really have any marquee wins to hang their hats on to suggest they are capable of upsetting the big boys, the Saints have experience. Led by seniors Ryan Franklin, Edwin Ubiles, and junior Ryan Rossiter, Siena has a core set of players that know what it’s like to play in an NCAA tournament game. With that being said, do not count the Saints out to send someone packing early yet again.

– K. Becks

2 Responses to These Are The Little Guys, Right?

  1. andrew b on March 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    kyle im just a little disappointed that you didn't talk about the possible teams coming out of the WAC tournament and their chances. nevada it seems are almost always in the tourney but i see that utah state is the one seed in their conference tourney. what are your thoughts on the WAC making a splash in this years MARCH MADNESS? haha

  2. K. Becks on March 10, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Well I'll be talking about the WAC in a few days when they finish up their conference tournament. I think you're probably right; Utah State has been the best team by far all season in the WAC. I would be surprised if they didn't win their conference tournament (although it's happened recently in the WAC where the favorite doesn't win).

    As for "making a splash", they have a decent chance to do well. They played well last year against Marquette in the 1st Round. They have a core of players back from that team, so they're definately a team to keep an eye on assuming they make it to the NCAAs.

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