March Madness Update: Chapter 2

You want chaos. You want upsets, you want a wide open NCAA tournament field when it is announced next month?

Say hello to College Basketball, 2018.

If the trends of the season are to believed, there is NO clear cut favorite this season. And if you are projecting Final Four teams, you need a list of at least 12 names–maybe more–to have any credibility.

You want examples?

How about St. John’s, which going into last week was winless in the Big East and a long shot to even be eligible for any post season play. All the Red Storm did was beat Duke and then prove that might not have been a fluke by going on to beat No. 1 Villanova.

Look at the Big 12, where Kansas has made winning the conference title an annual event. Last week, the Jayhawks, who had lost conference games to Texas Tech (a surprise at the time) and Oklahoma (not a surprise), walked off their home court at Allen Field House following a 5-point loss to Oklahoma State (a surprise).

In the Pac-12, UCLA was regarded as a “bubble” NCAA team until Thursday night, when they went to Arizona and stunned the first place Wildcats.

In the Big 10, Purdue, a somewhat surprising unbeaten (in the conference) leader, was knocked off by Ohio State, which came up with a game-winning basket with 2.8 seconds left to gain a 64-63 win and end Purdue’s 19-game winning streak, which had been the longest in college basketball.

February Frenzy is setting up as a new prelude to March Madness.

So let’s look at what we have as a possible NCAA tournament field.

Automatic qualifiers (32)

America East–Vermont

American–Cincinnati

Atlantic 10–Rhode Island

Atlantic Coast Conference–Virginia

Atlantic Sun–Florida Gulf Coast

Big 12–  Texas Tech

Big East–Villanova

Big Sky–Montana

Big South–UNC–Asheville

Big Ten–Purdue

Big West–UC-Santa Barbara

Colonial Athletic Association–Charleston

Conference USA–Middle Tennessee

Horizon–Wright State

Ivy–Harvard

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–Rider

Mid-American Conference–Buffalo

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference–Savannah State

Missouri Valley Conference–Loyola-Chicago

Mountain West Conference–Boise State

Northeastern Conference–Wagner

Ohio Valley Conference–Belmont

Pacific-12 Conference–Arizona

Patriot League–Bucknell

Southeastern Conference–Auburn

Southern Conference–East Tennessee State

Southland Conference–SF Austin

Southwestern Athletic Conference–Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Summit Conference–South Dakota State

Sun Belt Conference–Louisiana

West Coast Conference–Saint Mary’s

Western Athletic Conference–New Mexico State

AT LARGE (36)

33. Wichita State

34. Houston

35. Duke

36. Clemson

37. Louisville

38. Miami

39 North Carolina

40 Virginia Tech

41. Florida State

42.  Kansas

43.  Oklahoma

44. West Virginia

45. Kansas State

46. TCU

47. Xavier

48. Seton Hall

49. Butler

50. Creighton

51. Providence

52. Marquette

53. Ohio State

54. Michigan State

55. Michigan

56. Nebraska

57. USC

58. Washington

59. UCLA

60. Oregon

61. Kentucky

62. Tennessee

63. Florida

64. Gonzaga

65. Texas A&M

66.  Arizona State

67. NC State

68. SMU

About The Author

Mark Blaudschun

Grew up in Jersey, went to school in Miami. Spent 30 years working for Dallas Morning News and Boston Globe. Full circle, still in Boston area but always A Jersey Guy.

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