CFRA Announcement

For those of you who are regular followers of my blog, you will know that I am the current coordinator of the NCAA-recognized College Football Researchers Association Poll.

The College Football Researchers Association was originally founded by the late Anthony Cusher of Reeder, North Dakota in 1982. It was an organization modeled after the Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) consisting of college football fans and writers dedicated to researching and analyzing the history of the game. The CFRA retrospectively elected national champions from the years of 1919-1981 based on a poll created by Harry Carson Frye and also voted on present-day national champions during the years of 1982-1992. They published their results in a monthly bulletin produced by Robert Kirlin of Spokane, Washington until after the ’92 season when the association ceased operations and several successor organizations, operating under different names, were created.

In fall of 2009, under the coordination of myself and others and with the involvement of past members, the College Football Researchers Association was reorganized, and a group of both new and original CFRA voters was assembled to recreate this influential poll. Basically, the CFRA poll functions like any other weekly college football poll with each of its voters submitting a top 25 ballot after each Saturday’s games. The polls are then posted each Monday morning on our organization’s website: www.cfrapoll.com.

Now, we are looking to further expand the poll by adding other avid college football fans who would like to participate. If you would like to become a CFRA voter, please e-mail me at bmatthews85@gmail.com and I will get you put on our mailing list and give you information on how to submit your weekly poll. It would also be great if you could provide me with your name, location, and brief description of your college football interests and involvement so that I know a little bit about each of the voters. We will probably allow for new voters to join throughout the first few weeks of the season, but there will be a deadline about when additional participants can be added.

Brad’s 2014 Mock NBA Draft

Before I go to London tomorrow to complete the lifelong dream of attending Wimbledon, I have decided to post my 8th annual NBA mock draft.  Please feel free to comment and be sure to tune into the draft on Thursday to see how my picks do.

 

Round 1

Pick # Team Player
1 Cleveland Andrew Wiggins (SF- Cleveland)
2 Milwaukee Jabari Parker (SF- Duke)
3 Philadelphia Joel Embid (C- Kansas)
4 Orlando Marcus Smart (PG- Oklahoma St.)
5 Utah Dante Exum (SG- Australia)
6 Boston Noah Vonleh (PF- Indiana)
7 LA Lakers Julius Randle (PF- Kentucky)
8 Sacramento Aaron Gordon (PF- Arizona)
9 Charlotte Doug McDermott (PF- Creighton)
10 Philadelphia Nik Stausaks (SG- Michigan)
11 Denver Gary Harris (SG- Michigan St)
12 Orlando Dario Saric (SF- Croatia)
13 Minnesota T.J. Warren (SF- NC State)
14 Phoenix Kyle Anderson (SF- UCLA)
15 Atlanta Jusuf Nurkic (C- Atlanta)
16 Chicago Tyler Ennis (PG- Syracuse)
17 Boston James Young (SG- Kentucky)
18 Phoenix Clint Capela (PF- Switzerland)
19 Chicago Rodney Hood (SF- Duke)
20 Toronto Elfrid Payton (PG- UL-Lafayette)
21 Oklahoma City Zach LaVine (SG- UCLA)
22 Memphis Jerami Grant (SF- Syracuse)
23 Utah Andreian Payne (PF- Mich. St)
24 Charlotte P.J. Hairston (SG- North Carolina)
25 Houston C.J. Wilcox (SG- Washington)
26 Miami Shabazz Napier (PG- Uconn)
27 Phoenix Walter Tavares (C- Spain)
28 LA Clippers Cleanthony Early (PF- Wichita St)
29 Oklahoma City Mitch McGary (C- Michigan)
30 San Antonio Glenn Robinson III (SF- Michigan)

 

Round 2

Pick # Team Player
1 Milwaukee Jordan Clarkson (SG- Mizzou)
2 Philadelphia K.J. McDaniels (SF- Clemson)
3 Cleveland Nick Johnson (SG- Arizona)
4 Dallas LaQuinton Ross (SF- Ohio State)
5 Utah DeAndre Daniels (SF- Uconn)
6 Milwaukee Cory Jefferson (PF- Baylor)
7 Toronto Jarnell Stokes (PF- Tennessee)
8 Detroit Jordan Adams (SG- UCLA)
9 Philadelphia Vasilije Micic (PG- Serbia)
10 Minnesota Johnny O’Bryant III (PF- LSU)
11 Denver C.J. Fair (SF- Syracuse)
12 Houston James Michael McAdoo (PF- UNC)
13 Atlanta Spencer Dinwiddie (SG- Colorado)
14 Minnesota Patric Young (C- Florida)
15 Charlotte Melvin Ejim (SF- Iowa State)
16 Washington Thanasis Anteokounmpo (SF- NBAD)
17 Philadelphia Dwight Powell (PF- Stanford)
18 Milwaukee Cameron Bairstow (PF- New Mexico)
19 Chicago Bogan Bogdanovic (SG- Serbia)
20 Phoenix Semaj Christon (PG- Xavier)
21 Dallas Alex Kirk (C- New Mexico)
22 Philadelphia Markel Brown (SG- Oklahoma State)
23 Minnesota Roy Marble (SG- Iowa)
24 Philadelphia Joe Harris (SF- Virginia)
25 Miami Khem Birch (PF- UNLV)
26 Denver Sim Bhullar (C- New Mexico State)
27 Indiana Russ Smith (PG- Louisville)
28 San Antonio Jahii Carson (PG- Arizona State)
29 Toronto Alec Brown (C- Wisc. Green Bay)
30 San Antonio Nikola Jokic (C- Serbia)

Brad-ketology: Final NIT Bracket

If you would like to see this in bracket form, let me know and I’ll send you an excel copy of the bracket. The regional final four pairings are Region 1 vs. Region 2 and Region 3 vs. Region 4.

Region 1

(1) Minnesota vs. (8) High Point

(4) Georgia vs. (5) Richmond

(3) Belmont vs. (6) Georgia State

(2) NC State vs. (7) Davidson

————————————————————–

Region 2

(1) Missouri vs. (8) Utah Valley

(4) Clemson vs. (5) Utah

(3) St. John’s vs. (6) West Virginia

(2) Toledo vs. (7) Vermont

—————————————————————-

Region 3

(1) SMU vs. (8) Robert Morris

(4) Illinois vs. (5) St. Mary’s

(3) Green Bay vs. (6) Maryland

(2) California vs. (7) UC Irvine

——————————————————————-

Region 4

(1) Florida State vs. (8) Florida Gulf Coast

(4) Arkansas vs. (5) Iona

(3) Louisiana Tech vs. (6) LSU

(2) Georgetown vs. (7) Boston University

Brad-ketology: Final NCAA Bracket

If you would like to see this in bracket form, let me know and I’ll send you an excel copy of the bracket. My regional final four pairings are South vs. East and West vs. Midwest.

South Regional- Memphis, TN (March 27, 29)

(1) Florida vs. (16) Albany- Thursday March 20 (Orlando, FL)

(8) Baylor vs. (9) Arizona State- Thursday March 20 (Orlando, FL)

(5) UCLA vs. (12) Stephen F. Austin- Thursday March 20 (Spokane, WA)

(4) San Diego State vs. (13) Tulsa- Thursday March 20 (Spokane, WA)

(6) North Carolina vs. (11) Providence- Friday March 21 (San Antonio, TX)

(3) Iowa State vs. (14) Mercer- Friday March 21 (San Antonio, TX)

(7) Saint Louis vs. (10) Stanford- Friday March 21 (Raleigh, NC)

(2) Virginia vs. (15) American- Friday March 21 (Raleigh, NC)

——————————————————————————————————————

West Regional- Anaheim, CA (March 27, 29)

(1) Arizona vs. (16) Weber State- Friday March 21 (San Diego, CA)

(8) George Washington vs. (9) Oklahoma State- Friday March 21 (San Diego, CA)

(5) Louisville vs. (12) Dayton/Nebraska- Friday March 21 (San Diego, CA)

(4) New Mexico vs. (13) Western Michigan- Friday March 21 (San Diego, CA)

(6) Oklahoma vs. (11) North Dakota State- Friday March 21 (San Antonio, TX)

(3) Creighton vs. (14) Eastern Kentucky- Friday March 21 (San Antonio, TX)

(7) UMass vs. (10) Brigham Young- Thursday March 20 (Milwaukee, WI)

(2) Wisconsin vs. (15) Wofford-  Thursday March 20 (Milwaukee, WI)

———————————————————————————————————

Midwest Regional- Indianapolis, IN (March 28, 30)

(1) Wichita State vs. (16) Mt. St. Mary’s/Texas Southern- Friday March 21 (St. Louis, MO)

(8) Colorado vs. (9) Memphis- Friday March 21 (St. Louis, MO)

(5) Cincinnati vs. (12) Harvard- Thursday March 20 (Spokane, WA)

(4) Michigan State vs. (13) Manhattan- Thursday March 20 (Spokane, WA)

(6) Kentucky vs. (11) Xavier- Friday March 21 (Raleigh, NC)

(3) Duke vs. (14) UL-Lafayette- Friday March 21 (Raleigh, NC)

(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) Pittsburgh- Friday March 21 (St. Louis, MO)

(2) Kansas vs. (15) UW-Milwaukee- Friday March 21 (St. Louis, MO)

———————————————————————————————————

East Regional- New York, NY (March 28, 30)

(1) Villanova vs. (16) Coastal Carolina/Cal Poly-  Thursday March 20 (Buffalo, NY)

(8) Texas vs. (9) St. Joe’s- Thursday March 20 (Buffalo, NY)

(5) UConn vs. (12) Iowa/Southern Miss- Thursday March 20 (Orlando, FL)

(4) VCU vs. (13) Delaware-Thursday March 20 (Orlando, FL)

(6) Ohio State vs. (11) Tennessee- Thursday March 20 (Buffalo, NY)

(3) Syracuse vs. (14) New Mexico State- Thursday March 20 (Buffalo, NY)

(7) Oregon vs. (10) Kansas State- Thursday March 20 (Milwaukee, WI)

(2) Michigan vs. (15) NC Central- Thursday March 20 (Milwaukee, WI)

———————————————————————————————————————

First Four

(16) Coastal Carolina vs. (16) Cal Poly- Tuesday March 18

(12) Iowa vs. (12) Southern Miss- Tuesday March 18

(16) Mt. St. Mary’s vs. (16) Texas Southern- Wednesday March 19

(12) Dayton vs. (12) Nebraska- Wednesday March 19

Mid-Major Cinderella Stories- Selection Sunday Update

The mid-major conference tournaments are the source of much of the early holiday season drama, as only the tourney champion will be able to put on their dancing shoes. While almost all mid-major NCAA teams have the chance to play Cinderella come Christmas Day (aka the first round of the NCAA tourney), it is particularly special when these teams have an inspiring sentimental storyline. Often times this involves a squad making its first trip to the Big Dance (see Northern Colorado in 2011). Other times there is a likable coach who warms the hearts of the nation (see Pete Carril in 1994, Andy Enfeld last season).  Here is a list of mid-major conference champs who are particularly lovable entering the Big Dance. Teams are listed in alphabetical order by conference.

Note: this is the third and final part of my Mid-Major Cinderella Watch for this season.

UMass (Atlantic 10)- Believe it or not, this team has still not made the NCAA tourney since Bruiser Flint’s second season in 1998. Right now, I have the Minutemen in as a 7 seed.

Mercer (Atlantic Sun)- Mercer has recently been an upper echelon mid-major program that has failed to break their lengthy NCAA tourney drought. The Bears haven’t danced since 1985 but after their upset win over FGCU, this squad will be in the dance field.

Coastal Carolina (Big South)- Cliff Ellis is finally going to take the Chanticleers to their first NCAA Tourney since 1993!

Cal Poly (Big West)- The Mustangs earned their first ever dance bid last night with an upset win over Cal State Northridge.  Any squad entering the Big Dance with a 13-19 record has to peak your interest.

Delaware (Colonial)- The Blue Hens hadn’t earned a Big Dance invite since the 1990’s but they punched their ticket last Monday with a nail-biting win over William & Mary.

Tulsa (C-USA)- The Golden Hurricane have been to the tournament frequently over the past couple of decades but this will mark the first-time a prior NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player will coach an NCAA Tourney game.  Can we get a sequel to Danny and the Miracles please?

Manhattan (MAAC)- The Jaspers inclusion on this list has a lot to do with my personal bias, but hey this is my list– not yours.  Steve Masiello was one of the most popular of the legendary cast of walk-ons Rick Pitino had at Kentucky.  He was apart of their 1998 National Championship Team and now will get to coach his first game in the Big Dance

North Carolina Central (MEAC)- The Eagles are the second Big Dance virgin (along with Cal Poly) to break through this season and earn a trip to the tourney. This program has gradually improved over the past several years and was able to knock off NC State in Raleigh earlier their season.  The sight of their head coach crying after their title game victory last night was definitely one of the most heart-warming moments of Championship Week.

Brad-ketology: Final Seed List

Well… the day has finally arrived! Our Christmas presents will be revealed for us tonight at 6:00. Here are the final seeds I have assigned to the NCAA and NIT tourney fields. I will publish a full bracket with seeds, sites, and game times later this afternoon, but I thought I would go ahead and just post the seeds so that you have an idea if your team is in or out and along what seed line you can expect to see your favorite team later tonight. Any discrepancies between these seeds and the ones published later today will be a result of bracketing principles and procedures which may force me to move a particular team up or down a seed.

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line. The italicized teams have clinched automatic berths into their respective postseason tournaments or are projected to later on today. This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Saturday March 10th and includes contingency plans to account for the potential outcomes of today’s conference title games.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Florida,  Arizona, Wichita State, Villanova

2-seeds: Kansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Michigan

3-seeds: Iowa State, Creighton, Duke, Syracuse

4-seeds: New Mexico, San Diego State, VCU, Michigan State

5-seeds: UCLA, Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn

6-seeds: Ohio State, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Kentucky

7-seeds: Saint Louis, UMass, Gonzaga, Oregon

8-seeds: George Washington, Texas, Baylor, Colorado

9-seeds: Memphis, Arizona State, St. Joe’s, Oklahoma State

10-seeds: Pittsburgh, Brigham Young, Stanford, Kansas State

11-seeds: Providence, North Dakota State, Tennessee, Xavier

12-seeds: Dayton, Iowa, Nebraska, Southern Miss, Harvard, Stephen F. Austin

13-seeds: Manhattan, Tulsa, Delaware, Western Michigan

14-seeds: Georgia State/UL-Lafayette, New Mexico State, Mercer, Eastern Kentucky

15-seeds: North Carolina Central, American, UW-Milwaukee, Wofford

16-seeds: Weber State, Albany, Coastal Carolina, Mount St. Mary’s, Texas Southern, Cal Poly

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Minnesota, SMU, Florida State, Missouri

2-seeds: Toledo, California NC State, Georgetown

3-seeds: St. John’s, Green Bay, Belmont, Louisiana Tech

4-seeds: Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia, Illinois

5-seeds: Iona, St. Mary’s, Utah, Richmond

6-seeds: West Virginia, Maryland, LSU, Georgia State/Middle Tennessee

7-seeds: Boston University, Vermont, Davidson, UC Irvine

8-seeds: Robert Morris, Florida Gulf Coast, Utah Valley, High Point

First Four Out: Marquette, Indiana, Indiana State, Washington

Brad-ketology: March 15th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the Big Dance.  The teams in bold are ones who have already clinched automatic bids to either the NCAA or NIT tournaments.  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Friday March 14th.  My Final Bracket Projection will be posted tomorrow afternoon on this blog.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Florida,  Arizona, Wichita State, Villanova

2-seeds: Wisconsin, Kansas, Creighton, Duke

3-seeds: Michigan, Iowa State, Virginia, Syracuse

4-seeds: San Diego State, VCU, New Mexico, Michigan State

5-seeds: UCLA, Ohio State, Cincinnati, Louisville

6-seeds: UConn, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky

7-seeds: Saint Louis, UMass, Gonzaga, Oregon

8-seeds: George Washington, Memphis, Baylor, Texas

9-seeds: Colorado, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, St. Joe’s

10-seeds: Pittsburgh, Brigham Young, Stanford, Xavier

11-seeds: North Dakota State, Tennessee, Kansas State, Iowa

12-seeds: SMU, Dayton, Nebraska, Southern Miss, Harvard, Louisiana Tech

13-seeds: Stephen F. Austin, Manhattan, Delaware, New Mexico State

14-seeds: Georgia State, Mercer, Western Michigan, Eastern Kentucky

15-seeds: North Carolina Central, American, UW-Milwaukee, Stony Brook

16-seeds: Wofford, Weber State, Coastal Carolina, Mount St. Mary’s, Texas Southern, Cal State Northridge

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Minnesota, Providence, California, Toledo

2-seeds: Florida State, St. John’s, NC State, Green Bay

3-seeds: Belmont, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgetown

4-seeds: Louisiana Tech, Stephen F. Austin, Clemson, Georgia

5-seeds: LSU, Illinois, Utah, Richmond

6-seeds: West Virginia, Maryland, St. Mary’s, Iona

7-seeds: Boston University, UC Irvine, Vermont, Davidson

8-seeds: Utah Valley, Robert Morris, Florida Gulf Coast, High Point

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Middle Tennessee, Marquette, Indiana, Indiana State, New Mexico State, Washington, Georgia State, Western Michigan

Brad-ketology: March 9th Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the Big Dance.  The teams in bold are ones who have already clinched automatic bids to either the NCAA or NIT tournaments.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.   This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Sunday March 9th.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Florida, Wichita State, Arizona, Villanova

2-seeds: Kansas, Wisconsin, Creighton, Syracuse

3-seeds: Duke, Michigan, Iowa State, Virginia

4-seeds: Cincinnati, San Diego State, Saint Louis, VCU

5-seeds: UMass, New Mexico, North Carolina, Michigan State

6-seeds: Oklahoma, UCLA, Ohio State, Louisville

7-seeds: UConn, Memphis, Oregon, Kentucky

8-seeds: Texas, George Washington, Gonzaga, Arizona State

9-seeds: Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Iowa

10-seeds: Kansas State, St. Joe’s, SMU, Brigham Young

11-seeds: Stanford, Xavier, Southern Miss, Pittsburgh

12-seeds: Dayton, Nebraska, Minnesota, Tennessee, Harvard, North Dakota State

13-seeds: Stephen F. Austin, Delaware, Iona, Boston University

14-seeds: Georgia State, Mercer, Western Michigan, UC Irvine

15-seeds: NC Central, Eastern Kentucky, Robert Morris, Utah Valley

16-seeds: UW-Milwaukee, Stony Brook, Wofford, Weber State, Coastal Carolina, Alabama State

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Providence, California, Arkansas, Missouri

2-seeds: Toledo, North Dakota State, Georgetown, Florida State

3-seeds: St. John’s, Green Bay, Belmont, LSU

4-seeds: NC State, Clemson, Illinois, Richmond

5-seeds: Utah, Louisiana Tech, Georgia, Maryland

6-seeds: Marquette, West Virginia, St. Mary’s, Stephen F. Austin

7-seeds: Delaware, Indiana, Washington, Middle Tennessee

8-seeds: Vermont, Davidson, Florida Gulf Coast, High Point

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Indiana State, Boise State, New Mexico State, Iona, Boston University, San Francisco, Ole Miss, Georgia State

Brad-ketology: March 3rd Edition

The teams below are displayed below on an S-curve, so they are ranked from left to right within each seeding line.  The italicized teams are ones predicted to win their conference tourney and gain an automatic bid to the dance.  For the conferences who currently have NCAA tourney teams, it is assumed that one of those teams will win their conference tourney.  If not, then a stolen bid would result, and the number of at-large bids would drop.

Also, just to clarify, my bracket projection is intended to project the NCAA Tournament field if it was chosen today.  Unlike some bracketologists, I am not trying to predict how each team will finish the season and then seed the teams based on that.  There is one slight exception to this rule, however, and that is that I have always chosen to award the projected automatic bid for each conference to my projected best team in that conference, and not the team who is currently leading the conference standings.   Given how unbalanced conference schedules are, it just seems like common sense to project that the best team in a conference will win the league championship, not the squad currently in first place.

Brad-ketology columns will be published at least twice a week (typically on Sundays and Fridays) and more often than that when it gets closer to tourney time.  This bracket projection has been updated through all games played on Sunday March 2nd.

NCAA Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Florida, Arizona, Wichita State, Syracuse

2-seeds: Villanova, Duke, Kansas, Wisconsin

3-seeds: Creighton, Virginia, Iowa State, Michigan

4-seeds: San Diego State, Cincinnati, UCLA, North Carolina

5-seeds: Michigan State, Saint Louis, Oklahoma, Texas

6-seeds: Kentucky, Ohio State, Louisville, UConn

7-seeds: UMass, New Mexico, VCU, George Washington

8-seeds: Memphis, Arizona State, Kansas State, Iowa

9-seeds: Colorado, SMU, Gonzaga, St. Joe’s

10-seeds: Pittsburgh, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Baylor

11-seeds: Oregon, Xavier, Southern Miss, Brigham Young

12-seeds: California, Missouri, Providence, Arkansas, Toledo, Harvard

13-seeds: North Dakota State, Green Bay, Belmont, Stephen F. Austin

14-seeds: Delaware, New Mexico State, Iona, Boston University

15-seeds: Georgia State, UC Irvine, NC Central, Vermont

16-seeds: Robert Morris, Davidson, Florida Gulf Coast, Weber State, High Point, Alabama State

NIT Tourney Field:

1-seeds: Minnesota, Tennessee, Florida State, Nebraska

2-seeds: Dayton, Toledo, Harvard, North Dakota State

3-seeds: Richmond, St. John’s, LSU, Clemson

4-seeds: Green Bay, Belmont, Georgetown, Marquette

5-seeds: Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Utah, NC State

6-seeds: Indiana, West Virginia, Washington, Georgia

7-seeds: St. Mary’s, Boise State, Stephen F. Austin, Delaware

8-seeds: Maryland, Middle Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss

Ranking of Other Postseason Contenders: Indiana State, New Mexico State, Iona, Boston University, San Francisco, Ohio

Mid-Major Cinderella Stories- March 1st Update

The mid-major conference tournaments are the source of much of the early holiday season drama, as only the tourney champion will be able to put on their dancing shoes. While almost all mid-major NCAA teams have the chance to play Cinderella come Christmas Day (aka the first round of the NCAA tourney), it is particularly special when these teams have an inspiring sentimental storyline. Often times this involves a squad making its first trip to the Big Dance (see Northern Colorado in 2011). Other times there is a likable coach who warms the hearts of the nation (see Pete Carril in 1994, Andy Enfeld last season). Inevitably, when the second week of March comes around, these stories will come to fruition. In the meantime, it’s worth looking at the standings and checking out which mid-major conference leaders/contenders could inspire us during ESPN’s annual championship week. Only teams currently in first or second place of their respective conferences will be included in this column. They are listed in alphabetical order by conference.

Note: an original list of mid-major Cinderella stories was posted a few weeks ago but this list is now updated to include teams who have made a last season surge and exclude others who have stumbled down the stretch.

Stony Brook (America East)- The Seawolves have been an America East powerhouse for the past several years, but believe it or not, they have still not gotten over the hump and earned the school’s first-ever NCAA Tourney bid.  They will need to pull off an upset over Vermont in the conference final to do it in 2014, but they shouldn’t have any trouble getting to the America East title game, as they will be a solid # 2 seed in the conference tourney.

SMU (AAC)- The Mustangs currently sit on the right side of the NCAA Tourney bubble.  The buzz about this squad will only increase could if SMU was to earn its first tourney bid since 1993 with the legendary Larry Brown at the helm.

UMass (Atlantic 10)- Believe it or not, this team has still not made the NCAA tourney since Bruiser Flint’s second season in 1998. Right now, I have the Minutemen in as a 5 seed.

Mercer (Atlantic Sun)- Much like the Seawolves of Stony Brook, Mercer has recently been an upper echelon mid-major program that has failed to break their lengthy NCAA tourney drought. The Bears haven’t danced since 1985 but currently find themselves tied atop the A-Sun standings.

Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun)- We all remember what this squad did in last year’s tournament and even though some of the personnel and head coach have changed, Lob City 2.0 would be a fun story if they could earn the A-Sun automatic bid.

North Dakota (Big Sky)- The Fighting Sioux have emerged from nowhere to challenge for their first-ever NCAA tourney bid.  They currently sit tied for second in the Big Sky standings in their first year as a member of a sanctioned NCAA Division 1 basketball conference.

Coastal Carolina (Big South)- The Chanticleers haven’t danced since 1993 and even though they no longer stand atop the conference standings, they get to host the entirety of the Big South tournament.

High Point (Big South)- The Panthers will enter the wide open Big South tourney as the # 1 seed, assured of school’s first-ever major postseason tourney berth.  Only question now is whether they will win a trip to the NCAAs or  to the NIT.

VMI (Big South)- Despite some recent successes, the Keydets haven’t danced since the late 1970’s.  They are currently tied for 2nd in the Big South.

Gardner-Webb (Big South)- This Big Dance virgin impressed me in the Big South semis last year and once again will be one of the top contenders in the league tourney.

UC Irvine (Big West)- Despite being a powerhouse in baseball, the Anteaters have never qualified for the NCAA basketball tournament. Now, they sit alone atop the Big West Standings.

Delaware (Colonial)- The Blue Hens haven’t earned a Big Dance invite since the 1990’s but they currently have a one game lead in the conference standings.

Towson (Colonial)- Not only does Towson have a 22-year tourney drought going, but they have also been one of the worst teams in this conference for the past decade or so. This year, however,the Tigers have a fighting chance for an auto bid as they currently stand alone in 2nd place in the Colonial.

Louisiana Tech (C-USA)- The Bulldogs’ fierce defense has them tied atop the C-USA standings, as they look to end their 23 year tourney drought.

Green Bay (Horizon)- Butler’s departure has opened the door for the Phoenix, who actually won a tourney game in 1994, to earn their first bid since ’96. This team has a solid two game lead in the conference standings and already has picked up a win against Virginia this season. If this story/video doesn’t get you excited about this program, then nothing will: http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/35087/green-bay-guard-pranked-with-scholarship.

Canisius (MAAC)- The Golden Griffins (great nickname!) haven’t put on dancing shoes since 1996, but they are currently for second in the MAAC standings.

Quinnipiac (MAAC)- Most experts predicted struggles for the Bobcats as they made the step up from the NEC to the Metro Atlantic.  This Big Dance virgin has answered the bell though and currently is tied for second in the league standings.

Toledo (MAC)- The Rockets have had a solid basketball program for years, but believe it or not they haven’t played in the Big Dance since 1980. This year they have the squad to not only make the tourney but also make some noise as a dangerous 12 or 13 seed.

Buffalo (MAC)- The Bulls have a commanding two game lead in the MAC East as they search for their first-ever NCAA tourney bid.

North Carolina Central (MEAC)- The Eagles are another Big Dance virgin currently sitting atop their conference standings. This program has gradually improved over the past several years and was able to knock off NC State in Raleigh earlier their season.

Elon (Southern)- My law school alma mater has underachieved slightly this season but they will still be a tough out in the upcoming SoCon tournament.  The Phoenix currently are tied for second in the league standings and already own a road victory against league leader Davidson.

IPFW (Summit)- All the talk from this conference right now is about North Dakota State, but the Mastodons of IPFW, are currently tied for second place in the Summit as they search for their first-ever tourney bid.

Utah Valley (WAC)- New Mexico State is the most talented team in the WAC, but the Wolverines of Utah Valley, who have never danced before, beat them head to head last week, lead the conference standings, and also appear to have the psychological edge over the Aggies.