Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Representative At-Large

By Mel Greenberg

Since it's getting late (or early if you're on the other side of sunrise), here's a quick numbers look and we'll be back tonight when we know how all but three conferences were decided. Missouri Valley, America East, and Ivies finish Sunday.

Anyhow, without the finite numbers, here's my list of locks. There are some on the bubble I could add here but felt they deserved to be compared to others I had in the next category.

Let me note, it's a big year for the Mountain West, which seems heading for four teams. All the numbers are pointing that way. The conference is being helped by external factors - less depth in the Big 12, Big 10, and Conference USA, and favorable numbers unless the committee goes real deep in the Big East and Atlantic Coast conferences.

The group (without regard to one already in the automatic bid pile) is as follows.

Atlantic Coast: Duke, Maryland, North Carolina State, and Florida State

Atlantic Ten: George Washington, although you can read numbers anyway you like.

Big 12: Baylor/Oklahoma (whoever loses tonight), and Texas A&M.

Big East: DePaul, Rutgers, and St. John's, which would hold up with rest of conference hopefuls and finished fourth.

Big Ten: Purdue, Michigan State, and Minnesota.

Mountain West: Utah/BYU loser, TCU, and New Mexico. This has already been addressed.

Pac-10: Stanford and Arizona State.

Southeastern: LSU, Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, and Vanderbilt.

That totals 23, meaning 10 more come from a bubble list of 19, without accounting at this hour, wrong losers.

This list is longer than I would at this point, because once the bracket is out, I have to look at the picture to see if an outsider makes it, someone from the bubble crowd makes it when I didn't think so, and vice versa.

Atlantic Coast may get one more, but could get three of these four: Boston College, Miami, (weak RPI), Virginia Tech, and Virginia.

Stony Brook is sort of on the list, but probably couldn't hold up in this group, nor could Hartford.

Charlotte out of the Atlantic Ten had a bad tournament loss and has a high RPI. But keeping them around in case they make it.

Missouri is right on the fence with a weak RPI and weaker SOS. I've eliminated Texas Tech, but keeping them in case someone's emotions get the best of them on the committee. :)

The Big East: Ah, the Big East, what are we going to do. Well, remember, some of these would have worked well in their old C-USA home. But Marquette, Cincinnati, and Louisville probably lost ground on an early tournament exit. If everything breaks right, the rest of the group fares well, although Pittsburgh's high RPI and SOS is a concern. Villanova actually has better numbers than a year ago when we all thought the Wildcats were in. Notre Dame, South Florida are also likely candidates.

The Big Ten: Don't know how Iowa nor Indiana can make it out of the Big Ten, but they're on the list. If you read between the lines here, you can make cuts yourself and see we can get very close to the field, depending on today's games.

Pac-10: Washington and Southern Cal may both get in, unless the USC injury situation works against them.

Seedy Talk.

I'll save this until after the Big 12 title game since Oklahoma is a factor in the discussion. And now, good night and good morning.

-- Mel

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