Bracket Watch: It’s very crowded on the tourney bubble

We'll have to wait and see if we'll have the joy of the Monmouth bench in this NCAA tourney field.

All the major conference tourneys are now underway, but the most intriguing story heading into Selection Sunday involves a quartet of teams that won’t play another game before then.

Wichita State (Missouri Valley), Saint Mary’s (WCC), Monmouth (MAAC) and Valparaiso (Horizon) all led their conferences virtually from start to finish this regular season, but all failed to win their mid-major league’s automatic berth. Now they must wait to find out if they’ll garner an at-large berth.

I currently have both the Shockers and Gaels in, but there are plenty who would argue against them due to their unimpressive resumes. Many others may prefer all four get in above a middling power conference team like 19-13 Syracuse.

To that end, the little guys must sit back Thursday and root against bubble teams like UConn, Florida, VCU and Michigan. But they also can’t afford for a team like LSU — which has no at-large hopes — to rise up and win the SEC tourney. The bubble is already extremely tight as it is.

NOTE: Teams in ALL CAPS have secured an automatic berth. For all other conferences, the highest remaining seed in this week’s conference tournaments is designated as the automatic berth (*).

Midwest Region (Chicago)
Seed
Team
Location
1
Kansas*
at Des Moines
16
FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON*/HOLY CROSS*
8
Providence
9
South Carolina
4
Purdue
at Spokane
13
Akron*
5
Texas A&M*
12
Stephen F. Austin*
6
Arizona
at Providence
11
Connecticut/St. Bonaventure
3
North Carolina*
14
IONA*
7
Texas Tech
at St. Louis
10
Wichita State
2
Xavier
15
GREEN BAY*