Men's Club Bracketology: Mid-March Update
With just 3 weeks remaining in the NCBBA regular season 23 teams have clinched a spot in the 40-team bracket. There have been some risers of late like WUSTL, Syracuse, and UCLA – who finally knocked off undefeated and top ranked USC in their third bout of the season to win the PAC-West. The New England region has four teams ranked in the top 10, but none have yet to clinch a playoff berth! These storylines as well as those fighting for remaining spots and seeding make way for an exciting finish.
*= Clinched regional playoff berth.
Great Lakes Regional:
1 Central Michigan* (North Champion) VS 8 Iowa State (West Runner-Up)
4 Indiana* (South Champion) VS 5 Ohio State* (East Runner-Up)
3 WUSTL* (West Champion) VS 6 Butler (North Runner-Up) Indiana (South Runner-up)
WUSTL has officially clinched the GL-West conference title going undefeated in conference play. They did so in dominant fashion, with only 2 conference games coming with 5 points, winning the rest by 18 or more. It will be their first ever regional appearance in their 3rd NCBBA season after missing the postseason by a game last year. The Bears also recently cracked the top 20 poll at #19 with one first place vote. They have yet to play anyone outside of the GL-West, so their regional opponent will be an unfamiliar foe.
2 Xavier* (East Champion) VS 7 DePaul* (South Runner-up)
1 Virginia Tech (South Champion) VS 8 Maryland* (West Runner-Up)
Maryland clinched their spot in the M-A regional after going 7-1 in the West. They gave Georgetown their lone loss on the season splitting the series with the Hoyas back in week 17. The Terrapins will finish as conference runner-up after allowing just three more points than Georgetown in conference games. They recently got swept by Salisbury, so Maryland will be underdogs heading into the playoffs.
4 Loyola MD* (East Champion) VS 5 St. Joes* (North Runner-Up)
3 Georgetown* (West Champion) VS 6 Salisbury (East Runner-Up)
2 Villanova* (North Champion) VS 7 James Madison (South Runner-Up)
New England Regional:
1 UCONN (South Champion) VS 8 TUFTS (North Runner-Up)
4 Fairfield* (West Champion) VS 5 Boston College (East Runner-Up)
3 Vermont* (North Champion) VS 6 Brown (South Runner-Up)
2 Northeastern (East Champion) VS 7 Sacred Heart* (West Runner-Up)
Sacred Heart will make their 3rd NCBBA regional appearance finishing 9-3 in conference play. They were able to respond to an 11-point loss to Iona with an 18 point win back in week 16 and sweep Yale in week 17 to secure their spot. Their reward will be playing the highly ranked South or East conference champion, but the Pioneers have size and seniors, two things that make them a team you do not want to play in the postseason.
North Atlantic Regional:
1 Penn State* (South Champion) VS 8 Rochester (West Runner-Up)
4 Montclair State* (East Champion) VS 5 Robert Morris* (South Runner-Up)
3 Syracuse* (West Champion) VS 6 Binghamton-Green (North Runner-Up)
Syracuse began the year losing 3 games by a combined 13 points, but from February on they have been "Orange" hot. They have won their last 8 games by over 21 points a game. Sitting at 6-0 in the conference they need just a split with St. Bonaventure to win the West. The Orange peaking at the right time could make them a dark horse contender in the NA.
2 Albany (North Champion) VS 7 TCNJ* (East Runner-Up)
1 UCLA* (South Champion) VS 3 Stanford (North Champion)
Stanford and Cal Poly split their week 11 series to begin conference play at home. 6’8” senior center Calvin Acker had a variety of defenders thrown at him. The Cardinal will travel to the Mustangs week 20 to end conference play, with likely the lone spot from the PAC-North on the line.
2 GCU-Purple* (East Champion) VS 4 USC-Cardinal (At-Large Bid)
1 Coastal Carolina (North Champion) VS 4 Auburn (South Runner-Up)
2 Florida State* (South Champion) VS 3 Wake Forest* (North Runner-Up)
Wake Forest clinched a spot in the SA regional after South Carolina forfeited their series against the Demon Deacons. The conference title will come down to their trip to Coastal Carolina in week 20, with each team sitting with just one loss on the season. There will be bragging rights, a championship, and the reward of avoiding 7-1 Florida State in the first round on the line.
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