NCAA Tournament Bracketology 2014: One-Bid Conferences

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The Mercer Bears are heading back to the Big Dance for the first time since 1985 (Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports)

Over the next few days I will be dispensing all the up-to-the-minute info you’ll need to know before you fill out your 2014 NCAA Tournament brackets next week.

In this piece, the first of a ongoing series, I will focus on many of the teams from the traditional one-bid conferences that have already secured automatic entry into the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

These teams may seem unimportant, but don’t be so sure about that. Bracket busters over the last five years such as Northern Iowa, Bucknell, Savannah State, Davidson, and George Mason all came from one-bid conferences.  Any one of the teams in this column could pull off the same feat!

Check back later today as I complete my predictions and help you fill out that perfect bracket!

Now, let’s go dancing…

 

(RPI are in parentheses)

AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE:

Regular Season Champion:  Vermont

Conference tourney champion: TBD (Albany vs. Stony Brook, March 15)

Albany (17-14, RPI 212, SOS 297)

vs. RPI top 50: 0-1

vs. RPI under 200: 12-5

Quality wins: NONE

Projected Seed: 16

Bad losses: vs. (254) Colgate, at (282) Massachusetts-Lowell, at (340) New Hampshire, at (233) Hartford, at (327) UMBC

The Great Danes’ conference tourney win over Vermont seems like a fluke considering the Catamounts beat them by a combined 40 points in their two regular season meetings.  The Danes have a good shot at their second straight NCAA Tournament berth considering they beat Stony Brook at home by 10 points on January 29th.

Stony Brook (22-9, RPI 154, SOS 328)

vs. RPI top 50: 0-2

vs. RPI under 200: 21-2

Quality wins: NONE

Bad losses: at (212) Albany, vs. (340) New Hampshire

Projected Seed: 16

For the second time in three seasons, the Seawolves are on the cusp of their first ever NCAA Tournament berth.  All they have to do is get by a pesky Albany team that they split the season series with — losing by 10 in Albany and winning by five at home.  Regular season champion Vermont lost to Albany in the conference tournament semifinals, missing out on their first tournament berth in two years.  The Catamounts seem to be NIT-bound with their 105 RPI.

 

ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE

Regular Season Champion: Florida Gulf Coast

Automatic Bid: Mercer

Mercer (23-8, RPI 81, SOS 218)

vs. RPI top 50: 0-2

vs. RPI under 200: 14-1

Quality wins: at (87) Mississippi

Bad losses: at (209) Evansville

Projected Seed: 14

The Bears are dancing for the first time since 1985 after knocking off a Florida Gulf Coast team that decimated thousands of brackets last year in the NCAA Tournament.  FGCU will now have to try to do to the NIT bracket what they did in the NCAAs last year.

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