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.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Road to the NCAAs: What A Weekend For Upsets

Guru's note: We're updating Sunday's blog to provide you with the AP Voter's link for week No.18 with one to go; and to correct a Conference USA typo, and to update through Sunday's game.

We're still in Cincinnati as the dateline says. We're assuming there's a Molto Monday since Acacia can now file directly when she doesn't need a second pair of eyes on her copy.

We'll be in Hartford for the Big East title Tuesday night.


By Mel Greenberg

CINCINNATI _
After a weekend such as the one just past, what’s an NCAA selection committee to do? Probably pop some extra headache medication after results had two projected No. 1 seeds – Duke and Tennessee – falling before reaching their respective conference title games.

And upsets weren’t limited to the so-called big timers. In the Patriot League, for the first time a No. 8 took down a No. 1 when Colgate upset Bucknell. When that score came in, writers began making travel arrangements for West Point, projecting Army would survive the weekend to become the host in the title game, Wednesday, on the first anniversary of the Knights’ title triumph that brought joy and later sadness when first-year coach Maggie Dixon died suddenly a day after the Final Four. However, several hours later Army was taken down by Lehigh.

And over in the Northeast Conference, after Long Island had a record-setting season, the Blackbirds fell at home to eighth-seeded St. Francis of New York.

Over here, 11th-seeded St. Louis nearly upset host Xavier, the No. 3 seed, in the Atlantic Ten tournament. The Big upset hit Sunday when St. Joseph's ended George Washington's 19-game win streak and conference tournament title hopes. The host Musketeers recovered from Saturday's challenge from St. Louis and went on to beat No. 2 Temple by a point. Game account of the doubleheader is at Philly.com.

So with all that said, here’s our up to date look at the locks and bubbles, let us count the ways. First, in a stricter interpretation, here’s the locks at this hour.

Atlantic Coast Conference (4) -- North Carolina meets North Carolina State for the title and both go along with Duke and Maryland.

America East (1) – Just the tournament winner, likely Hartford or Stony Brook.

Atlantic Ten (2) – Since George Washington can only go as an at-large now, tht means at least two, but it may become four if St.Joe's beats Xavier for the automatic bid Monday night. We believe Temple and Xavier are close to locks, but Xavier may take care of business Monday night unless the Hawks still have another effort in them.


Atlantic Sun (1) – Just the champion.

Big 12 (5) – Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, Nebraska, and Iowa State are tough enough.

Big East (4) – For now, it’s Connecticut, Marquette, Rutgers, and Louisville seem solid locks in this group. More will go, but we’ll place them in the other high bubble list for now. Yeah, we're switching Louisville and West Virginia after Sunday's result.

Big Sky (1) – Likely to be Montana and likely to be trouble if the Grizzlies don’t get an at-large bid if they fail in the title hunt. At-large hopefuls, to play it safe, should cheer for Montana.

Big South (1) _ Could be quite the battle if it involves Liberty and High Point in the championship contest.

Big Ten (3) – That’s all folks. Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, and enough said.

Big West (1) – UC Riverside won regular season, now it must prevail in the tournament.

CAA (1) – Maybe three will go out of this conference, but some games are still to be played among Old Dominion, James Madison, and Delaware.

Conference USA (1) – Just like the number says and it won’t belong to the regular season C-USA champion – Tulane, the top seed which was upset by Rice, Saturday. East Carolina beat Rice for the title making the Pirates' berth their first in 25 years when a Cathy Andruzzi-coached ECU squad went to the first NCAA tournament.

Horizon (1) – Likely to be nationally-ranked Wisconsin Green Bay.

Ivy (1) – Harvard has punched its ticket.

MAAC (1) – Marist has claimed the bid.

Mid-America (1) – Projecting nationally-ranked Bowling Green.

Mid-Continent (1) – They’ll give us the name when the dust settles this week.

MEAC (1) – Likely to be Coppin State.

Missouri Valley (1) – Likely to be Southern Illinois, but maybe not.

Mountain West (1) – Don’t know which one, yet, but it might be two.

Northeast (1) – Overall winner yet to be decided, but it won’t be Long Island after its big upset lost at home in the quarterfinals.

Ohio Valley (1) – Welcome SE Missouri.

Pacific Ten (3) – Stanford, California, and Arizona State

Patriot (1) – Winner to be determined.

SEC (5) _Still crowded but less so than in the past. The list has the usual suspects – Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, conference-tournament champion Vanderbilt, and Mississippi.

Southern (1) _ Welcome Chattanooga.

Southland (1) – Frontrunner SE Louisiana has a two-game lead.

Sun Belt (1) – Well, it’s two if the topic is politically charged.

SWAC (1) _ We have to do this under the rules of automatic bids to conference champions who excel.

Western Athletic (1) _ Louisiana Tech and Boise State might fight everyone at the end of this round.

West Coast (1) – Gonzaga checked in with a dance card Sunday night.

This gets us to a grand total of 50 locks. That means we have to go to the bubble teams to complete the field and fill 15 other vacancies. They should be easily found in this crowd.
Here’s the offerings believed to be in the quality bubble lists of committee members.

Florida State
Temple
George Washington
Louisville
Pittsburgh
South Florida
Notre Dame
DePaul (right on the bubble after the loss to Rutgers)
James Madison
Delaware
Washington
Southern Cal
Western Kentucky (early exit in Sun Belt tourney)
(well that gives us 13 -- Ithink and we still need two more so we’ll do this again near the end of the week after we see who makes a late charge to the shore.)

--- Mel

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