There are three conferences in the country that are destined to be 1-bid leagues come Selection Sunday that have at least 3 teams within 1 game of each other at the top; the Colonial, the Northeast and the Metro Atlantic. With at most six games remaining for the teams involved, the March Madness begins now for these three conferences.
Colonial: The conference home of Final Four darlings George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth has a foursome fighting out for conference supremacy. Joining GMU and VCU at 11-2 in the conference is Drexel and Old Dominion sits just one game back at 10-3.
ODU seems to be on the outside looking in here having been swept by George Mason and losing to VCU on the road. The Monarchs have home dates with VCU (Feb. 11) and a season-ender with Drexel (Feb.25), and should tiebreakers come in to play for tournament seeding purposes, ODU will need to take advantage of these games.
VCU may have the toughest remaining schedule of those in the hunt, besides the road game with Old Dominion, they have a home-and-home with George Mason (@ on Feb. 14, vs on Feb. 25) and a home bracket buster game with Northern Iowa (Feb. 18) among the six games remaining on their schedule.
The Drexel Dragons may have the easiest remaining schedule of the CAA contenders. Bruiser Flint’s squad has a home-and-home with James Madison and home dates with Hofstra and William and Mary. The Dragons do have a bracket buster game at Cleveland State (Feb. 18) and the season finale trip to Old Dominion (Feb. 25).
George Mason has just their two games against VCU as the only remaining games against above .500 competition on their schedule.
Four teams, likely one NCAA spot. The positioning heading into the CAA tournament should be fascinating to watch.
Northeast:For the majority of the year, the race in the Northeast Conference involved teams from behind chasing Long Island. Then came a 19-point loss at Robert Morris, and we had ourselves a race. The Blackbirds still lead the conference at 11-1 but now Wagner and St. Francis (NY) sit just 1 game back at 10-2.
LIU has six games left to play before the NEC tournament and only two of them are against teams with an above .500 record in the conference. That’s the good news, the bad news, the games are a home-and-home with 2nd place St. Francis(NY) at SFC on Feb. 8 and back in Brooklyn on Feb.12.
St. Francis is in the exact boat as LIU, they get to feast conference bottom feeders after they get two shots at the Blackbirds.
The team that may be in the best position in the Northeast could be 10-2 Wagner. While LIU and St. Francis battle each other, the Seahawks have a home-and-home with Mount St. Mary’s (4-8), home dates with Monmouth (5-7) and Fairleigh Dickinson (1-11)and finish up with road games at Bryant (1-11) and Central Connecticut State (7-5).
Metro Atlantic Athletic: There had been talk that Iona may have a shot at an at-large bid should they not win the MAAC. That line of thinking ended quickly with a loss to Siena. Now the Gaels find themselves in a fight, tied with Loyola (MD) at 11-2 with Manhattan at 10-3.
Iona has a chance at 25 wins and a sweep of Loyola (MD) when they hit the road on Feb. 10th. The only other big game left on their schedule is home bout with Nevada during bracket busters on Feb. 18.
Loyola (MD) has a season finale with Manhattan on the road as the biggest remaining game on the schedule. Manhattan, who has won 8 of their last 9 has that season finale circled as well as it is the last remaining game with above .500 competition.