Another mid-major top seed has been eliminated from its conference tournament. George Mason won its first two CAA tournament games but lost twice today, faling 9-3 to Georgia State and 5-3 to UNC Wilmington. Expect the Patriots to earn an at-large bid, making the CAA a two-bid league and eliminating another spot for a bubble team like Duke, Stanford, Oregon State, Hawaii or South Florida.
A few bubble teams have already been eliminated from their conference tournaments and likely lost their chances at an at-large bid, such as Troy, Florida International, College of Charleston, Western Carolina, Illinois, New Mexico, Indiana State Southeastern Louisiana. All of those teams probably needed to make deeper runs than they did this week to get at-large spots, especially after the departures of top seeds Eastern Illinois and George Mason likely ate up two at-large spots (though neither EIU nor Mason is a lock).
Also, Utah beat San Diego State today to force a decisive championship game tomorrow, and if the Utes win the automatic bid, the Mountain West is likely a three-bid league. There’s another at-large spot lost for bubble teams. And Missouri State was eliminated from the Missouri Valley tournament today. The Bears stand a decent chance of earning an at-large bid, potentially making the MVC a two-bid league and taking another at-large bid from one of the other bubble teams.
The hosting picture is cloudier than ever. Going into the weekend, I assumed Georgia Tech was a lock to host and figured South Carolina, East Carolina and Texas Christian were the top candidates to fill the last two open hosting slots. But the Yellow Jackets have dropped their first two games and might be in danger of not hosting if they lose to Florida State tomorrow to go 0-3 this week. And the other three teams all went 1-2 in their respective conference tournaments. Assuming the Yellow Jackets win tomorrow, I still believe TCU and South Carolina will earn the final two hosts, but it’s very much up in the air. Ohio State is still in the mix also, but the Buckeyes suffered a setback today, getting pounded by Indiana, 13-3. OSU probably needs to come back and win that tournament to have a shot at hosting. I’m going to pencil in Louisville as one Midwestern host, and Ohio State will need a conference tournament title to convince the committee to put two regionals in the area.
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