It’s Championship Week!
Check out our list below of potential bid stealers to monitor in conference tournaments this week as we inch closer to Selection Sunday:
American Athletic Conference
NCAA Tournament Locks: Houston, Memphis
Bubble Team(s): SMU
Potential Bid Stealer: UCF
The Skinny: Finding a candidate to steal a bid out of this league felt a little bit like drawing straws. UCF gets the nod because of its experience at point guard with Darius Perry and its offensive firepower on the wings with Brandon Mahan and Darin Green Jr. The Knights have already won games this season against both Miami and Michigan.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Davidson
Bubble Team(s): VCU, Dayton
Potential Bid Stealer: St. Bonaventure
The Skinny: This is an easy one. The Bonnies were picked to win the Atlantic 10 during the preseason and return five starters — Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, Jalen Adaway, Jaren Holmes, and Osun Osunniyi — from last year’s team that lost to LSU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. One important thing to monitor: Four of the Bonnies’ top five scorers average 37 minutes or more.
ACCNCAA Tournament Locks: Duke, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Miami
Bubble Team(s): Wake Forest
Potential Bid Stealer: Virginia
The Skinny: This is the worst rendition of the ACC that I’ve ever covered in over 15 years on this beat. That opens the door for a program like Virginia and a veteran point guard like Kihei Clark (10.3 points, 4.2 assists) to make a statement during Championship Week. The Cavaliers are more capable than their 18-12 record indicates, as evidenced by a road win over Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium and a double-digit neutral site victory over Providence.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Baylor, Kansas, Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa State, TCU
Bubble Team(s): None
Potential Bid Stealer: Oklahoma
The Skinny: Porter Moser has gotten blood from a stone during his first year in Norman. Will that be enough for the Sooners to run the table this week in Kansas City? Probably not, but Oklahoma (17-14) has a better chance than the other two Big 12 teams in the Big 12 Tournament — Kansas State and West Virginia — who are not currently projected to make the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Providence, Villanova, UConn, Marquette, Creighton, Seton Hall
Bubble Team(s): Xavier
Potential Bid Stealer: St. John’s
The Skinny: The Red Storm have been inconsistent for the majority of the season, but they still do possess two of the top 10 players in the Big East — Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander — on their roster. St. John’s also will be playing on its home floor at Madison Square Garden.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa
Bubble Team(s): Indiana, Michigan, Rutgers
Potential Bid Stealer: Nebraska
The Skinny: Don’t laugh. It’s highly unlikely that any team other than the one of the nine that’s listed above wins the Big Ten Tournament, but it’s tough to ignore how well the Huskers have played lately. Nebraska has won three straight road games at Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin — the latter coming without star freshman Bryce McGowens. This team is significantly more talented than its 10-21 record indicates.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Boise State, Colorado State, Wyoming, San Diego State
Bubble Team(s): None
Potential Bid Stealer: UNLV
The Skinny: Home court advantage? Check. A star player in Bryce Hamilton who can single handedly take over a game? You better believe it. UNLV is 6-3 against Mountain West opponents on its home floor at the Thomas & Mack Center — which is also the site of this week’s Mountain West Conference Tournament.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Arizona, UCLA, USC
Bubble Team(s): None
Potential Bid Stealer: Arizona State
The Skinny: Don’t judge this team by its 14-16 record. The Sun Devils will enter the Pac-12 Tournament winners of four in a row and seven of their last eight. The one loss during that span? A road defeat at UCLA. Arizona State is extremely balanced, as five players —DJ Horne, Jay Heath, Kimani Lawrence, Marreon Jackson, and Jalen Graham — average between 9.9 points and 12.3 points.
NCAA Tournament Locks: Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU
Bubble Team(s): Florida
Potential Bid Stealer: South Carolina
The Skinny: Frank Martin has scratched and clawed to get this team to an 18-12 record. Can he will them even further? It’s not a likely scenario, but South Carolina is the best candidate among the eight SEC teams that are not projected to be in the NCAA Tournament.
- Episode 349 — Davidson’s Matt McKillop
- Atlantic 10 Offseason Breakdown
- Weekend Brunch: Pac-12 basketball hanging in the balance, Michigan State’s non-conference schedule, Derek Kellogg deserved better from LIU Brooklyn
- San Diego State, Saint Mary’s to play in Phoenix on 12/10
- Auburn, Memphis to meet at State Farm Arena in Atlanta on 12/10