Selection Sunday is approaching quickly in college basketball. Selection Sunday is March 15, 2015, and teams are running out of time to make their bids as to why they should be in the tournament and not the NIT. This past week, teams have been making their presence felt by punching their tickets to the NCAA tournament with conference wins.
This past week, Wofford defeated Furman in the Southern Conference to automatically clinch their tournament bid. Also, Belmont defeated Murray State (ranked 25) in the Ohio Valley conference to clinch their bid as well. Other notable teams to seal automatic bids are: North Florida from the Atlantic Sun conference, Coastal Carolina from the Big South, Northeastern from the Colonial Athletic, Manhattan from the Metro Atlantic Athletic conference, and Northern Iowa from the Missouri Valley conference (according to www.si.com/college-basketball).
Lafayette College of the Patriot League clinched a tournament berth with a win of their conference on March 11, 2015.
Some other college basketball teams that are definitely heading to the tournament without winning their conference championships are Kentucky, Duke, and Maryland, just to name a few. At this point in the season, it should be a question mark as which team will be the favorite. This year is a different year and there is a clear favorite to win the championship.
Kentucky is the clear front-runner to win the title that will be held on April 6, 2015, in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (http://www.ncaa.com/final-four). Kentucky has 10 very good players that can strongly impact the outcome of their games. They have 2 strong line-ups that they switch between throughout each game.
Senior Willie Cauley-Stein is the center for the Kentucky Wildcats that will put the team on his back and carry them all the way to the tournament championship.
A hometown favorite team that many people would like to see go far in the tournament are the Maryland Terrapins. Maryland has a strong starting 5 led by freshman Melo Trimble, playing point guard, and senior Dez Wells at small forward. Both players have made very strong cases as to why they should be Big 10 player of the year.
Melo Trimble is looking to claim his title for freshman of the year in the Big 10. He is battling fellow freshman D’angelo Russell from Ohio State who also had a huge year for the Buckeyes (according to espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/). Trimble hopes to lead his team to a 3 seed.
As Selection Sunday vastly approaches, teams are scurrying to put together a quality RPI, short for Rating Percentage Index, which is used to pick teams into the tournament based on quality wins and losses, and the strength of the schedule the team played, that can get them picked into the tournament and not the consolation tournament. The consolation tournament is a “slap-in-the-face” for many teams because it shows that the team didn’t have a very good season, and that they are in a rebuilding year.