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InsideHoops [NCAA HOME] Nov. 20, 2003

College Hoops: The Spin - Predictions





Last week's edition featured a season preview, focusing on a hypothetical Sweet 16. This week, attention will be given to each conference as The Spin releases its preseason Field of 65.

Every March, it's fun to look back for the sake of comedy as I am reminded that I picked a team like Georgetown to somehow squeeze into the field, despite the fact that Craig Esherick hasn't proven he can coach himself out of a paper bag, let alone into the Big Dance.

So, with no further adieu, here is this season's predicted NCAA field, broken down by conference (and remember that in most one-bid conferences, it's a best guess as to who will the conference tourney - not necessarily the best team in regular season play):

America East: Northeastern
ACC: Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Maryland, Georgia Tech
Atlantic Sun: Georgia State
Atlantic 10: Saint Joseph's, Xavier, Temple
Big East: Connecticut, Syracuse, Providence, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall
Big Sky: Eastern Washington
Big South: Winthrop
Big Ten: Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, Iowa
Big 12: Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
Big West: UC Santa Barbara
Colonial: George Mason
Conference USA: Louisville, Marquette, Cincinnati, UAB
Horizon: Illinois-Chicago
Ivy: Cornell
MAAC: Niagara
MAC: Miami (OH)
Mid-Continent: Oakland
MEAC: Hampton
Missouri Valley: Wichita State
Mountain West: Utah, BYU
NEC: Monmouth
OVC: Austin Peay
Pac-10: Arizona, California, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon
Patriot: American
SEC: Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, LSU, Tennessee
Southern: East Tennessee State
Southland: Texas-San Antonio
SWAC: Grambling
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky
WCC: Gonzaga

As you see, I went heavy on the Big Ten (7), Big East (6) and Big 12 (6), and it's almost a sure thing that at least one of those conferences will come back to bite me on Selection Sunday.

Because of my overflow in those conferences, here are the five schools I left out that are most likely to prove me wrong:

NC State (ACC)
Auburn (SEC)
Florida State (ACC)
Colorado (Big 12)
USC (Pac-10)

And you may have also noticed that I don't have any mid-major conferences getting multiple bids, which hasn't happened since 1997. Just to be clear, I feel that there are 10 major conferences (ACC, A-10, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mountain West, Pac-10, SEC and WAC).

Here are the top five mid-majors I neglected that could very well be dancing in March:

Iona (MAAC)
Manhattan (MAAC)
Akron (MAC)
Bradley (MVC)
Creighton (MVC)

The Top 25 will debut on Monday, Nov. 24, so please check back for that.

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