There were 61 conference tournament games played on Wednesday. Let’s go through who helped and hurt themselves and where things seem to stand.
- UNLV: Sitting around the NIT bubble the Rebels are into the Mountain West semifinals and are just two wins away from an NCAA tournament auto bid.
- Middle Tennessee: Couldn’t afford a loss to Old Dominion in the C-USA quarterfinals. Won by 14 after a big first half. Another C-USA team with an important win in the quarterfinals was Tulsa. Southern Miss also helped itself with a victory. Louisiana Tech finishing off Charlotte will mean all the top seeds advanced, which sets up an excellent semifinal day on Friday.
- Providence: Beat St. John’s in a play-out game. But Seton Hall won, which means that the Friars have an easier road to the championship, but… No chance to get a good win before the finals. It’s an interesting catch-22.
- Illinois: After all the craziness about the Illini and postseason tournaments it looks like they’re safely into the NIT at this point at 19-13, 7-11 in the Big Ten. Beating Indiana basically sealed their spot.
- Florida St.: They’re in the NIT. After beating Maryland they’re now trying to get serious consideration on the NCAA bubble. They’ll have to beat Virginia in Greensboro, NC to do it.
- Xavier: Beating Marquette in the Big East quarterfinals likely locked up an NIT bid for the Musketeers. That’s a good thing because they have to take on Creighton in the semifinals.
- Minnesota: Beat Penn St. to keep their NCAA hopes alive. Definitely need at least one (and probably more) wins to get onto the right side of the bubble.
- Missouri: This category was made for teams like the Tigers, who beat Texas A&M in double-overtime. Survive and advance I guess. The Tigers now face Florida. A win there might make them tournament bound.
- Ole Miss: The Rebels are sitting on the NIT bubble and the win over Mississippi St. doesn’t really help them much, but it does set them up with an interesting opportunity when they take on Georgia in the last quarterfinal on Friday.
- LSU: Look, the SEC second round wasn’t a fun place to play for higher seeds. It could only end poorly. I had the Tigers on the right side of the NIT bubble and beating Alabama helps keep them there.
- N.C. State: The Wolfpack avoided a potential land mine to their NIT (and outside NCAA) hopes by defeating Miami (FL) in the ACC tournament’s second round.
- Clemson: Another team I have on the wrong side of the NIT bubble currently. The Tigers beat Georgia Tech in overtime and now take on Duke, which is great opportunity to get another quality win over the Blue Devils.
- Colorado: Survived against California to get a key win in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament.
- Richmond: Were on the wrong side of the NIT bubble coming into the day, but by beating Duquesne in the Atlantic 10 tourney they avoided finishing with a bad loss.
- Dayton: Beat Fordham. Moved on in the Atlantic 10 tournament and now has to play Saint Joseph’s. The winner will lock up an NCAA bid. The loser sweats on Selection Sunday, but certainly isn’t out.
- St. John’s: What did the Red Storm have to do to make the NCAA tournament? Whatever it was it definitely included beating Providence in the Big East quarterfinals. It didn’t happen.
- Ohio: Lost a tough game to Akron in the 4/5 game of the MAC quarterfinals. The Bobcats looked like an NIT at-large coming into the game, but may drop out.
- California: Put their NCAA tournament fate in the hands of the committee by losing to Colorado in the Pac-12 quarterfinals.
- Arkansas: Basically ended any hopes of an NCAA appearance by losing to South Carolina in the second round of the SEC tournament. A bad loss the Razorbacks just couldn’t afford.
- Marquette: The same game that put Xavier in the “Helped” group put Marquette down here. The Golden Eagles finish 17-15, with just a 2-11 record against the RPI Top 50. That’s a lot of games to play against that group and not many wins. They’re right on the edge for a home game in the NIT.
- UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos were gaining some steam as a potential NIT at-large, but a head-scratching 31-point loss to Cal Poly in the Big West quarterfinals means they’re headed to the CBI or CIT instead.
- Utah: The Utes got annihilated by Arizona in the Pac-12 quarterfinals, basically ending any of the NCAA hopes.
- Maryland and Indiana: Two power conference teams that have seen better days and lost to conference foes early in their respective tournaments. Maryland is definitely in danger of dropping out of the bracket. IU is hanging by a thread.
- UTEP: I had the Miners on the wrong side of the NIT bubble coming into Thursday, but I really wanted to put them in, but after a home loss to Southern Miss – a team still hoping for an NCAA at-large – in the C-USA quarterfinals, they’re probably done.
- Buffalo: The Bulls had an outside shot at reaching the NIT with a strong run in the MAC tournament, but they were upset by Eastern Michigan. They’re probably headed to the CBI or CIT.
- West Virginia: Losing to Texas in the Big 12 quarterfinals isn’t a bad thing, but the 17-point margin certainly isn’t going to make anyone feel good. It’s a bad taste to leave in people’s mouths at the end of the regular season.