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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Moments ‘til Madness: Each conference’s questions

Examining the state of every Power 6 conference.

"Moments 'Til Madness " Column Graphic
Graphic by Gretta Goorno

Here are my big questions for every conference in the college basketball Power 6.

Atlantic Coast Conference: Will the Mountain West Conference get more tournament bids?

The ACC currently has just three of its 15 teams ranked in the AP Top 25, with just one other team being projected to make the tournament. Wake Forest University is right on the edge as of now, but the Mountain West has six teams in based on Joe Lunardi’s bracketology. It wouldn’t be a great look for the ACC to have fewer teams in their signature sport make the tournament than a non-Power 6 conference like the Mountain West.

Big East Conference: Which bubble teams will be playing in March?

Right now, if you look at Lunardi’s projections, the Big East has five teams on the bubble. Butler University is the only one of these schools that is expected to actually make it to March Madness. But if all of these bubble teams can squeak their way into the tournament, the conference will have eight out of its 11 teams playing in March. Almost all of these squads will play each other again by the end of conference play, so there could be a lot of movement on the bubble soon.

Big 12 Conference: Who will be atop the conference standings by the end of the season?

University of Houston is the top team as of now, but Iowa State University has the same amount of losses and is only behind by one win. With Texas Tech University’s dominant win Monday night over the University of Kansas, they are right below Iowa State, followed by Baylor University. With such little separation in the one through four spots in the standings, it’s going to be a very close race. Texas Tech likely has the easiest schedule remaining, but there are no easy games in the Big 12.

Big Ten Conference: Will anyone come close to Purdue University?

The Boilermakers are up 2.5 games for the No. 1 spot in the Big Ten standings. Before the end of the season, though, they have games against Michigan State University, University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin. All three of these teams are projected to make the tournament, but Purdue hasn’t seemed to have much trouble against anybody in the conference this year. Still, if they drop any of the games against those teams and maybe an additional upset, Zach Edey and his squad could be out of the top spot. We’ll have to see.

Pacific-12 Conference: Is Washington State University a legitimate tournament team?

Before a week or two ago, I don’t think anyone was talking about this Washington State team. Now, they’re projected to earn an at-large bid and are No. 2 in the Pac-12. The Cougars are on a five-game win streak and have wins against the University of Arizona and the University of Utah, the only other expected tournament teams in their conference. Their numbers aren’t great, positioned around forty in both KenPom rankings and Bart Torvik’s T-Rank. But their resumé is solid, and they could make a splash in March.

Southeastern Conference: Is the University of South Carolina a top-three team in the conference?

The University of Kentucky just lost to Gonzaga University and is barely still ranked. The University of Tennessee dropped a game to Texas A&M University and is occupying fourth place in the conference. Auburn University has lost three of their last six games and are below South Carolina in the SEC standings. Not to mention, both Kentucky and Tennessee have lost to the Gamecocks in the last month. The only top team in the conference that South Carolina has yet to beat is the University of Alabama. They’re currently ranked No. 11 in the country and have won seven straight games. Watch out for the Gamecocks.