Thursday, January 23, 2014

How many Virginia teams are going to the Big Dance?

Speculation about college basketball is fun for hoops junkies in July. It’s mandatory in January. Which inevitably leads to guessing the number of Virginia schools that will go to the NCAA postseason tournament by way of an invitation. Speculating about who might win conference tournaments is too much of a reach.

Conference affiliations?

There are four schools in the Big South. Three are in the Atlantic 10. Two are in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Colonial Athletic Association and Mid-Eastern. One plays in Conference USA.

If the selection committee had to make its choices today, only two programs would probably get bids to the field of 68 based on their records. A third team would be on the bubble. That, with 14 D-I programs in the commonwealth.

As of today Virginia has the best RPI, according to CBS Sports. The Cavaliers (14-5, 5-1 in ACC) are sitting at No. 22. Next is VCU (15-4, 3-1 in A-10) at No. 37. After pulling out of brief slumps both have played well recently. 

Richmond (13-6, 3-1 in A-10) is the team on the bubble at No. 52. The Spiders still could shoulder their way in with some good road wins.

All the way down at No. 178, the next on the RPI list is Wm. & Mary (10-7, 2-2 in CAA). With 351 D-I programs that means the Tribe stands in the lower half of them.

While ODU (9-9, 3-0 in Conf. USA) is currently leading its league, at No. 180, to put dancing shoes on in March the Monarchs will need to win their conference tournament.

After this the picture only gets more dismal. There’s really no point in bringing any other teams into this discussion. But as we all know, a late-blooming team can upset the field in March and qualify by winning its conference's tournament. That's why they play the games.

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