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Twitter Mailbag: What teams are poised for postseason success?

At-large bids, conference sleepers, and more are featured in this mailbag.

NCAA Basketball: Fresno State at Nevada Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

By the end of this month, some conferences will have wrapped up regular season play and tipped off their conference tournaments. To compare it to a golf tournament, this stretch of the season is Moving Day at the Masters.

Some schools - mainly high-major programs - have locked up at-large bids. A few mid-majors are sitting in a good spot, and others have some work to do to achieve their postseason goals. February consistently delivers really exciting basketball as league foes go through the second half of the schedule.

With all that in mind, a lot of the discussion is focused around the NCAA Tournament. As always, we turned to our beloved Twitter followers to lead the discussion.

We have long been proponents of #TWOBIDWAC both publicly and privately. History tells us that, no, the WAC will not be a two-bid league. It would most likely require New Mexico State to win out until the WAC Championship game. At that point they’d be sitting at 29-4, which ~should~ put them right on the bubble. They’ll need Miami to close out the season strong, and teams like Davidson and New Mexico picking up wins helps as well. It’s going to be close, but we’re cheering hard for a #TWOBIDWAC.

Nevada is one of those teams that’s in the camp of “probably being fine but can’t afford too many slip ups”. The scenario mentioned above should have Nevada firmly in the tournament. Nevada currently sits as an 8-seed in the Bracket Matrix, which feels about right. Seeing the Wolfpack anywhere from an 8-10 seed wouldn’t surprise me. As far as their ceiling goes, this team can make it to the second weekend. Their offense is versatile and efficient with the high-major talent on the roster. I’m going to be giddy when they beat Purdue in the second round.

In short, yes. Programs should always be looking to improve their situation in the college basketball landscape. But they shouldn’t move just to move. There has to a be a fit. Wichita State moved up because the program was being held back by staying in the Missouri Valley. Valparaiso took their spot because they fit in well with the basketball culture. Gonzaga is a good example of the opposite end of the spectrum. If there were ever a good opportunity that presented itself, they’d almost assuredly consider it. Until then, though, I’m sure they’re content with dominating the WCC year in and year out.

This may be a bit of a hot take, but I don’t really care for the conference challenges. I’d rather just see good mid-major teams schedule a series with each other. Conference challenges can be a good way to promote two leagues, but it sucks when a team that is legitimately good gets stuck with a bad matchup that doesn’t help them.

One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing is geographical challenges. Let’s take Indiana for example because I live here. Let’s get an event with Valparaiso, Ball State, IUPUI, Fort Wayne, Evansville and Indiana State. Fans would come out for that and it would probably be a relative success. Something like that would be a lot more interesting to me than miscellaneous conference challenges.

Your guess is as good as mine. There’s five or six teams that might actually be good? But then they all go and lose and it muddies the waters even more. There are six teams that are at .500 or better in conference play. Charleston had a lot of hype to start the year, and I still think they’re the most talented team. With that being said, it’s going to be wild when Drexel wins the CAA Tournament.

I have some bad news for you, at SPORTSLIKER. Your favorite team is actually bad. Unless your favorite team happens to be my favorite team. Then they’re actually good.

According to Bart Torvik’s WinMatrix, there’s a 7.4% chance of Montana finishing the regular season undefeated in Big Sky play. Games at Eastern Washington and Idaho won’t be a walk in the park by any means. The conference tournament is obviously a different beast, but assuming Montana wins that too, you can probably expect them to be looking at a 13 or 14 seed.

Yes. And they probably will. No bad losses, a pair of good wins over Seton Hall and Providence, and a dominant showing in the Atlantic 10 should be more than enough to get Rhode Island into the tournament. And they’re going to be dangerous.

This is obviously entirely based on matchups and who actually gets in, but let’s throw out some names that wouldn’t be surprising to lose in the first round to a mid-major:

Literally any Big Ten team.
Kentucky
Clemson
Arizona State

Would also like to preemptively congratulate those teams on making deep runs because I’m always wrong about these things. So there you go.

Potential teams in 4th or worse that could get hot and play spoiler in a conference tournament:

Montana State
Missouri State
St. Bonaventure
Albany
Oakland

This list will absolutely change by this time next week. Please don’t read into it at all.

You’re probably best suited to just pull a name out of a hat and hope for the best. Loyola has been the best team to date, but then there’s a team like Missouri State that has underachieved but has talent. Drake, and Bradley have had good seasons so far, and Evansville or Indiana State could get nuclear hot from downtown. It probably won’t be Northern Iowa or Valpo though.

Buffalo makes the NCAA Tournament, and might even win a game! St. Bonaventure jusssssst misses the cut and goes to the NIT, but makes it to Madison Square Garden. Canisius and Niagara probably end up in the CBI or CIT.