Case Study No. 1: The Horizon League.
Oakland, the No. 1 seed and co-conference champion, lost on a last-second layup to No. 9 seeded Youngstown State on Saturday. That, naturally, was followed up by No. 10 seed Milwaukee stunning No. 2 seeded Valpo.
A league that once had two teams that truly had the ability to take down a big boy in the NCAA Tournament is now looking at the likes of Green Bay and Northern Kentucky to carry the league's banner. It's a disaster.
In years past, Princeton, the Ivy league, would have wrapped up the league's auto-bid weeks ago. That's because prior to this season, the Ivy League did not hold a postseason tournament connected with the auto-bid. That has now changed, and it can really only hurt Princeton.
The Tigers went 14-0 in conference this year, but if Princeton doesn't win - which means beating No. 4 seeded Penn and the winner of Harvard/Yale - the best Ivy League team in a decade won't go dancing.
Anyway, here's the updated bracket (thru Saturday night's games):
|LAST FOUR IN: Syracuse, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, USC|
FIRST FOUR OUT: Iowa, California, Rhode Island, Illinois
NEXT FOUR OUT: Indiana, Georgia, Kansas State, Houston
BRACKET THOUGHTS: Congrats to Jacksonville State (which is in Alabama, by the way) for locking up the first spot in the 2017 NCAA Tournament field. The Jaguars snatched the Ohio Valley Conference bid last night.
Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are trying their best to play their respective ways into the tournament. Vanderbilt beat Florida at home, completing a season sweep of the Gators. If Vandy doesn't win the SEC Tournament, it'll have 15 losses. Inclusion into the field would set a new record for losses. The previous record of 14 has happened seven times, with five (!) of those coming in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
See ya, Illinois. Maybe it's harsh, but after seemingly getting hot at the right time and playing itself into the field (the First Four at least), Illinois went and lost at Rutgers. That's why you can't have nice things, Illinois.
On the other hand, the Big Ten continues to get messier by the day. Iowa is seemingly trying to get into the discussion with a late-season run and an overall comparable bubble resume. Watch out for a Hawkeye surprise on Selection Sunday.