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 10, 2007

Road to the NCAAs: Locks, Near Locks, and Bubbles

(Updating to reflect conclusion of Sunday conference games -- MVC and Amer. East Also correcting numbers below in second group. BYU was already listed in the lock group, meaning three spots open for third group on my chart -- Guru)

By Mel Greenberg

This edition is about picking the teams. The previous post focuses on the upsets within conferences and the consequences or lack thereof.

The committee is going to have a bigger problem at the bottom of the bracket than at the top because of the number of mediocre RPI/Strength-of-schedule/Won-loss records of wrong winners that did barge their way through.

As previously noted, few teams are getting displaced off the wrong winners list other than seven or eight regular season conference champions along the way. Three more No. 1 conference seeds in play on Sunday’s wrap-up schedule.

We’re going to project ODU as the CAA winner, although either way the Monarchs and James Madison are in our field. We’ll also project Hartford in the America East and Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Horizon as Sunday winners, for the sake of this exercise.

Undoubtedly, some teams will come out of nowhere – they always do – and some we all think should be there, will vanish.

We will give BYU out of the Mountain West a rescue award and we will leave Tulane under consideration.

That said, here, first, is the lock list that includes all automatic bids to date, except the Big Sky title showdown between Northern Arizona and Idaho State. We cannot rescue Big Sky regular season champion Montana off the Grizzlies’ strength-of-schedule.

Locks – 56 and *-indicates a conference winner.

ACC (5)
*North Carolina
North Carolina State
Florida State

*UMBC is America East winner (1)

Atlantic Ten (2)
George Washington
(Note – We’d take Temple, just holding them for comparison’s sake)

*Belmont is winner of Atlantic Sun (1)

Big Ten (3)
Ohio State
Michigan State

Big 12 (4)
Texas A&M
Iowa State

Big East/Old CUSA (8)
Marquette (old CUSA)
West Virginia
Louisville (Old CUSA)
Notre Dame
South Florida (Old CUSA)

*UC-Riverside is winner of Big West (1)

*Idaho State is winner of Big Sky (1)

*N.C.-Asheville is winner of Big South (1)

*Old Dominion is CAA winner (1)
Holding two others for comparison

*East Carolina in Conference USA winner (1)

*Wis.-Green Bay is Horizon winner (1)

*Harvard is winner Ivy League (1)

*Marist is winner of MAAC (1)

*Delaware State is winner of MEAC (1)

*Bowling Green is winner of Mid-American (1)

*Oral Roberts is winner of Mid-Continent (1)

Mountain West (2)
*New Mexico
BYU (regular season winner)

*Robert Morris is winner of Northeast Conference (1)

*SE Missouri is winner of Ohio Valley (1)

Pacific Ten (4)
Arizona State

*Holy Cross is winner of Patriot League (1)

SEC (5)

*Chattanooga is winner of Southern Conference (1)

*Texas-Arlington is winner of Southland (1)

*Middle Tennessee is winner of Sun Belt (1)

*Prairie View A&M is winner of SWAC (1)

*Boise State is winner of Western Athletic (1)

*Gonzaga is winner of West Coast (1)

*Drake winner of Missouri Valley (1)
Next Group off high bubbles (5)

James Madison

Fighting for last three slots (7)

Georgia Tech
Texas (Committee might)
DePaul (worth examining if over injuries)
Tulane (wrong loser saved?)
Ball State (MAC runnerup)
Southern Cal

Note—some out there would interchange the bottom two groups.

-- Mel


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