NCAA Tournament 2019: Examining the Hottest Teams Heading into Selection Sunday
With a slew of conference tournaments underway, there is plenty of NCAA men’s college basketball movement beforehand of Selection Sunday. As a result, among the convention champions and the automatic bids that have already been passed out, we realize a terrific quantity of the Big Dance entrance already. The NCAA awards 32 computerized bids before Selection Sunday to convention event champions, with the ultimate 36 earning at-huge bids on that day. Some of those automated bids have gone to squads just like the Patriot League’s Colgate Raiders, as a way to play inside the NCAA event for the primary time given that 1996, and crimson-warm Murray State, which took down pinnacle-seeded Belmont to relaxed the Ohio Valley Conference name. Let’s take a closer look not most effective at the ranked and unranked convention champions which can be hot heading into Selection Sunday, however also the top packages that are cruising and the unranked teams that have a few unfinished enterprises to take care of on this yr’s Big Dance. We’ve protected squads which have either gained 5 in a row or 9 in their last ten video games.
Unranked Conference Champions
Colgate Raiders With their win over Bucknell in the Patriot League championship, the Raiders earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Colgate finished the season 24-10—the best in application history. They need to be feeling correct heading into the NCAA match, where the music as a potential No. 15 seed. However, we’ll see if the Raiders can maintain the most chill vibes going. Matt Langel’s squad did not play any ranked groups, even though the Raiders did play Syracuse (and misplaced seventy seven-fifty six). Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs The Runnin’ Bulldogs need to be feeling brilliant approximately themselves, as their victory over Radford in the Big South event earns them an automatic bid to their first NCAA match look. And their wins had been decisive. Radford becomes the reigning Big South champion, and inside the convention semifinals, Gardner-Webb toppled top-seeded Campbell in enemy territory. As a first-time entrant in the Big Dance and a possible No. Sixteen seed, the Runnin’ Bulldogs, may not make a good deal noise beyond the primary spherical. Iona Gaels, The Gaels in no way, sniffed a ranking this season, however irrespective of: Iona nevertheless confirmed what it could do inside the MAAC with a 12-6 conference document. The Gaels bring a 10-recreation win streak into the Big Dance and are riding high following their 81-60 victory over Monmouth for his or her fourth straight MAAC title. On Selection Sunday, the Gaels figure to earn a No. 16 seed as they put together for their fourth consecutive NCAA tourney look underneath coach Tim Cluess. Murray State Racers The Racers, cream of the Ohio Valley Conference, earned the primary computerized bid this 12 months by way of topping Belmont 77-sixty five inside the convention identify sport. NBA fans who’re hoping their team may draft Racers big name sophomore defend Ja Morant this spring can watch the ability top-5 pick within the tourney, and due to his skills, the Racers have first-spherical Cinderella electricity. Murray State projects as a No. 12 seed. Will conference rival Belmont make it in as an at-large team? Northeastern Huskies The Huskies took care of enterprise inside the CAA identify recreation in opposition to Hofstra, selecting up an automated bid with an eighty two-seventy four victory. Coach Bill Coen ran a good delivery in the season’s 2nd 1/2, with the Huskies prevailing their remaining seven and 12 in their ultimate 13. Guard Vasa Pusica leads the team in points (17.8), assists (4.2) and steals per game and looks to steer his squad into March as a probable No. 13 seed. Northern Kentucky Norse The Horizon League champion Norse knocked off top-seeded Wright State 77-66 inside the conference title sport, punching their ticket to their 2d NCAA tournament in three seasons. The Norse have a collection of excessive scorers in sophomore protect Jalen Tate (14.Zero ppg), junior guard Tyler Sharpe (14.1 ppg) and senior forward Drew McDonald (19.1 ppg), however, they haven’t faced intense competition. Projecting as a No. 14 seed inside the NCAA match, this squad will in all likelihood play a No. Three seed. Saint Mary’s Gaels The Gaels don’t quite in shape the standards on the intro slide, but you may need to forgive us for the exception. Saint Mary’s drew No. 1 Gonzaga inside the West Coast Conference title sports Tuesday, and to say that the Gaels’ possibilities of earning an automatic bid regarded low would be an understatement. Saint Mary’s had fallen to the Zags in previous meetings—a 94-forty six drubbing in early February and a 69-fifty five March 2 choice. But Saint Mary’s turned into unstoppable within the WCC name sport, outshooting Gonzaga 45.1 percentage to 37.5 percent from the field. It turned into the first time in program history the Gaels toppled a Top Five crew, not to mention a No. 1. Now, the Gaels are driving excessive into Selection Sunday, at the same time as the Bulldogs lick their wounds—left to surprise if a No. 1 seed remains in play. Ranked Conference Champions
Wofford Terriers With their decisive 70-fifty eight wins over UNC Greensboro inside the Southern Conference identify game, the Wofford Terriers earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. They head into the Big Dance on a 20-sport winning streak and project as a No. 7 seed. No. 6 would not be out of the question, either. That 20-recreation streak covered a glowing 18-zero report towards convention foes. As a result, Mike Young’s squad heads to its fifth NCAA tourney in 10 years. It’s lonely for the Terriers within the organization of ranked applications who’ve already clinched a convention championship. This remaining time year, the ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs had secured the West Coast Conference name, but this season, unranked St. Mary takes that honor. The Big Ten’s ranked Michigan Wolverines had additionally earned an automatic bid, however this year, that conference match will run properly through Sunday. Unranked Teams with Unfinished Business
UC Irvine Anteaters, The Anteaters, have been on a roll, prevailing their last 15 directly. Saturday night, they will vie for the Big West identify and an automated against Cal State Fullerton. Even if they don’t clinch the conference, the Anteaters’ resume looks strong enough. They venture as a No. 13 seed within the NCAA event. But with a power of agenda ranked 268th, the query lingers whether or not UC Irvine can make noise towards top applications. Oregon Ducks Though inconsistent through the normal season, the Ducks found their footing past due, and feature cruised to a 22-12 document and seven-recreation win streak, along with a 79-seventy five additional time winner against Arizona State to advance to the Pac-12 very last. The Ducks failed to face many top opponents. However, they did earn a Quadrant 1 victory in their simplest recreation against a ranked foe—an eighty-65 win over then-No. 15 Syracuse in mid-November. The Ducks’ NCAA match hopes were on life assist just a month ago, however a Pac-12 title could deliver them an automatic bid Utah State Aggies The Aggies have a hazard to fasten down the Mountain West identify Saturday night time after they face off against San Diego State inside the conference championship, however even without a identity to their name, the Aggies are in perfect form heading into Selection Sunday. With a NET rating of 30, the Aggies have cruised to a 9-recreation win streak and feature taken 16 in their last 17 contests. They determine as a No. 10 seed. New Mexico State Aggies, The Aggies, have gained 18 in a row, that is the kingdom’s 2nd-longest winning streak. They play Grand Canyon inside the WAC match name game Saturday night time. Without an unmarried Quadrant 1 victory, the Aggies might need to secure an automobile bid to make the NCAA match. Top Programs Cruising
Florida State The No. 12 Seminoles had been on a tear, prevailing 15 of their last sixteen, consisting of provoking No. 2 Virginia within the ACC tournament semifinals. It all culminates in an identify-recreation clash with No. 5 Duke on Saturday night time, but although Florida State cannot pull out the ACC title, its fortunes look robust heading into Selection Sunday. The Seminoles assignment as a No. Four seed, and with 8 Quadrant 1 win underneath their belt, they’re fit to tango with any crew that shows up on their dance card. Houston Cougars The No. 11 Cougars have gone a stellar nine-1 of their last ten games and have handiest dropped two at the season for a shining 30-2 file. Along the way, Houston took down great packages in Oregon (sixty five-sixty one), LSU (82-seventy six) and Cincinnati twice. They should earn as high as No. Three seed. Michigan State Spartans The Spartans persevered to show why they’re the cream of the Big Ten crop and the No. 6 team inside the country Friday, as they cruised past the Ohio State Buckeyes within the convention tourney. The Spartans challenge as a No. 2 seed inside the NCAA event and feature an opportunity to make noise there, after 2d-spherical exits the remaining two years. Tom Izzo’s squad has confronted its percentage of adversity, losing junior shield Joshua Langford for the season to a foot injury in the past due January and simplest currently getting junior ahead Nick Ward again from a damaged hand. But Ward’s go back came at a suitable time for Sparty to make a run. Auburn Tigers Auburn has gained seven straight, inclusive of a win over Tennessee (a projected No. 2 seed). The Tigers will wish to live hot in Sunday’s SEC name sport. Buffalo Bulls Buffalo would not straight away come to thoughts as a pinnacle program, but at 30-three, it’s far worthy of mention. The Bulls, ranked No. 18 within the AP ballot, have won eleven in a row and play in the MAC event identify recreation Saturday night time. After making the spherical of 32 closing year, they’re primed for a run to the second weekend.