On Wednesday we looked at the Bubble Watch, teams that are vying to stick around the NCAA Tournament conversation. That same night, hours after West Virginia was placed on Bubble Watch, the Mountaineers earned a crucial victory against (21) Oklahoma in overtime. Their stock is rising but there are a lot of other teams, including the Mountaineers, that are attempting to avoid the bubble and get into the Big Dance the old fashion way: by automatic bids.
To earn an automatic bid, for the most part, a team must win its conference tournament. Those begin at the beginning of March. However, winning your conference’s regular season champion can have huge implications as well. Say a team were to win their regular season conference championship but lose in the championship game of their conference tournament. The selection committee would be forced to look at a number of factors to determine whether or not that team earns a trip to the 2014 NCAA Tournament, including the eye test, strength of schedule, RPI and non-conference records.
Everything included in these determinations is a huge undertaking for the selection committee, but its also important for the casual fan to keep track of conference races as well. We’re here to help everybody out. We’ll take a look at every conference race, the favorite to take home the crowd and which teams are already firmly in the NCAA Tournament conversation.
Much like the preceding photo, everything is a toss up right now.
*Note: all records and standings are as of Feb. 7