Conference tourney previews, Part 2

South Carolina Gamecocks v Florida Gators

Since the other half of the country’s conferences have now completed their regular season schedules, CHD presents its predictions for which of these teams will win their remaining conference tourneys and secure a spot in the NCAA tournament next Sunday:

  1. ACC tourney predicted champ: Duke (The Blue Devils have only lost 1 game all year in the state of NC, and the tourney is in Greensboro.  Also, Coach K has won the tourney 10 times in the past 14 years, and Ryan Kelly’s return comes at the best possible time.)
  2. A-10 tourney predicted champ: St. Louis (The Billikens are 1 of the hottest teams in the country, with a double-digit win over VCU and a sweep of Butler within a 23-day stretch.  That being said, the addition of Butler/VCU last year plus the fact that 3 different schools have won this tourney over the past 3 years make this 1 of the most intriguing of all.)
  3. Big East tourney predicted champ: Louisville (The Cardinals have been in the tourney title game in 3 of the past 4 years, and they were a 5-OT road loss away from going undefeated in February.  Also, their defense allows less than 60 PPG, which will keep them in any game they play.)
  4. Big Sky tourney predicted champ: Weber State (Montana grabbed the top seed and gets to host the tourney, but the Wildcats beat them by 24 points on Valentine’s Day, a couple of days before Montana’s leading scorer Mathias Ward hurt his foot and was forced to miss the rest of the season.  Also, having lost to the Grizzlies in the tourney title game 3 times since 2005, you know that Weber will be out for revenge.)
  5. Big Ten tourney predicted champ: Indiana (This is going to be an all-out war, with a bunch of ranked teams beating up on each other.  Perhaps Illinois will take advantage of the tourney’s return to the United Center for the 1st time since 2007, plus the fact that the Illini need the wins more than anyone else.  However, I will go with the Hoosiers, as 4 of their 5 losses this season were by a total of 13 points.)
  6. Big 12 tourney predicted champ: Kansas (The only 2 schools that have won this tourney since 2006 are the Jayhawks and Missouri, and the Tigers have moved on to the SEC.  Also, the tourney is in Kansas City, which is a home away from home for Kansas.)
  7. Big West tourney predicted champ: Long Beach State (The 49ers are the #1-seed and will feel right at home in Anaheim, where they won the tourney last year and were runner-up in 2010 and 2011.  Also, Hawaii is new to the league, and Long Beach State is out for revenge after a 20-point loss to #2-seed Pacific last Saturday.)
  8. CUSA tourney predicted champ: Memphis (The Tigers finished undefeated in conference play, and have won 6 of the past 7 tourneys.)
  9. MAC tourney predicted champ: Akron (Akron and Ohio have alternated as champ over the past 4 years, including a 1-point game last year and a pair of OT games in 2010 and 2011.  Since the Zips won in 2009 and 2011, did not lose a game in January/February, and swept the Bobcats this season, they will continue the odd-year trend and win it again in 2013 despite losing PG Alex Abreu due to a marijuana trafficking charge a few days ago.)
  10. MEAC tourney predicted champ: Norfolk State (The Spartans are 3-0 against the 3 top teams chasing them, sweeping Hampton, beating Savannah State in their only meeting way back on December 1st, and not playing #2-seed NC Central at all.  It is tempting to pick the Eagles because they have 16 wins and only a single 8-point loss since New Year’s Eve, but since the tourney is in Norfolk I will go with the defending champs.)
  11. MWC tourney predicted champ: New Mexico (The Lobos are the defending champs so they will not be afraid if they have to play UNLV in Las Vegas, despite a double-digit road loss to the Rebels in February.  They swept both Colorado State and Boise State this year and avenged their 21-point loss to San Diego State with a double-digit win over the Aztecs last month.)
  12. Pac-12 predicted champ: California (The Bears have had a very unusual season: they won their 1st 6 games, then lost 9 of 16, then reeled off 7 straight wins before a fight-marred loss to arch-rival Stanford last Wednesday.  Cal has never won a Pac-12 tourney title, but they were 4-0 against their 3 top competitors [Arizona/Oregon/UCLA] in February.)
  13. SEC predicted champ: Florida (The Gators have not won an SEC title since 2007, which is the same year they won the NCAA title.  They are 2-0 against Mississippi/Alabama, and will be out for revenge against Kentucky after a 4-PT loss to the Wildcats last Saturday.)
  14. Southland predicted champ: Stephen F. Austin (This tourney has had an astounding 8 different champs over the past 8 years, so be prepared for literally any team to win it.  The Lumberjacks have only lost 3 games all year, but they needed a late layup to avoid getting swept by #2-seed Northwestern State earlier this month, so prepare for the battle of Nacogdoches vs. Natchitoches.)
  15. SWAC predicted champ: Southern (With both Texas Southern and AR Pine Bluff ineligible for the conference tourney, Southern was awarded the #1-seed and is the heavy favorite.  Each of the other 6 eligible teams have overall losing records, and 2 of the Jaguars’ 3 conference losses were to the Tigers/Lions, so unless the Wizard of SWAC adds a team called the Bears [Oh my!], there is no reason why Southern should not win this tourney.)
  16. WAC predicted champ: Louisiana Tech (The Bulldogs won 18 in a row before a pair of blowout losses last week to close out their regular season.  They lost the tourney title game to Utah State in Las Vegas last year, so they better find an answer in a hurry if they hope to turn their luck around this year.)


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