(Ed. note: simulations run for the Pre-Conference Preview Blowout do not include Monday’s action. Nor does any of the text.)
This is part 2 of the Pre-Conference Preview Blowout, where I preview conference races by simulating them 10,000 times using my ratings. In this edition we find that Duquesne is sneaky good and you should pay attention to them. I’ll check back on this as the season winds down to see where I screwed up.
Hampton 6015 Morgan St. 2811 Delaware St. 781 Coppin St. 155 Bethune Cookman 126 North Carolina A&T 95 South Carolina St. 13 Howard 2 Norfolk St. 4
There’s a new sheriff in the MEAC and its name is Hampton. Or at least it could be if this analysis is worth anything.
Temple 5495 Richmond 2714 Duquesne 1102 Xavier 403 Rhode Island 114 Massachusetts 80 Dayton 76 St. Louis 7 La Salle 5 St. Bonaventure 2 Charlotte 0
Let’s keep an eye on the Dukes over the next two weeks. Ron Everhart’s team doesn’t have the quality wins that would get his team some attention from the “Who have they beaten?” patrol, but his team has turned in nothing but quality performances this season. Maybe I am overrating them. But maybe I am not. I never would have given a second thought about them winning the A-10 without doing this analysis, but it doesn’t seem crazy. At the very least, expect them to screw up somebody’s tourney hopes.
Texas Southern 5430 Jackson St. 4176 Mississippi Valley St. 272 Alabama St. 49 Prairie View A&M 30 Alabama A&M 28 Grambling 9 Alcorn St. 5 Arkansas Pine Bluff 1
Texas Southern is the 2011 version of 2010 Pine Bluff. The Tigers survived the pre-season barnstorming tour with just two wins, but losses included a number of respectable performances against decent teams.
College of Charleston 5327 Davidson 1889 Furman 1467 Wofford 1251 Appalachian St. 47 Chattanooga 10 Samford 5 Western Carolina 2 Elon 1
Talk about unbalanced divisions. The top four teams here have put a ton of distance between them and the rest of the conference, and all four reside in the Southern South.
George Mason 5301 Drexel 3042 Old Dominion 1091 Virginia Commonwealth 539 James Madison 19 Delaware 8 Hofstra 1
Should be a good duel between GMU and Drexel, and from eyeballing it, the Dragons have the slightly easier schedule.
11. Sun Belt
North Texas 5260 Arkansas St. 2125 Florida Atlantic 1273 Western Kentucky 937 Denver 190 Middle Tennessee 124 Arkansas Little Rock 56 South Alabama 22 Florida International 13
Isiah, you still have a shot.
10. Conference USA
Central Florida 5190 Texas El Paso 1877 UAB 975 Southern Mississippi 880 Memphis 726 Tulsa 308 Marshall 21 Rice 19 Tulane 4
I get the feeling people think Memphis is a favorite to win the league despite their recent string of poor performances. In reality, UCF is the favorite based on its on-the-court play, and UTEP is a nice darkhorse thanks to a friendly schedule.
Quinnipiac 4927 Robert Morris 3115 St. Francis NY 1317 Long Island 417 Central Connecticut 122 Wagner 98 Fairleigh Dickinson 1 Monmouth 1 Sacred Heart 1 Mount St. Mary's 0
Quinnipiac has two losses by a total of six points, although almost every game has been an odyssey in late-game win probability swings.
Wichita St. 4826 Missouri St. 4578 Creighton 516 Northern Iowa 78 Illinois St. 1 Indiana St. 1 Southern Illinois 0
The Shockers and Bears are both 2-0 and if everything goes to plan, the race will be decided in the season finale between the two in Wichita.
7. America East
Vermont 4692 Maine 3174 Boston University 1721 Albany 212 Stony Brook 174 Hartford 17 New Hampshire 8 Binghamton 0
Vermont was picked fifth by the media (and fourth by the kenpom projection). BU was the media/kenpom favorite and still has hope despite starting the season 5-10 (0-1).
Princeton 4677 Harvard 4567 Pennsylvania 236 Yale 223 Cornell 221 Columbia 68 Brown 7 Dartmouth 0
The nation’s most improved conference figures to have a good race for the most important one-seed of all. There’s a 21% chance of a tie at the end of the regular season which included one case of a five-way tie.
Austin Peay 4412 Murray St. 3501 Morehead St. 2054 Tennessee St. 31 Eastern Kentucky 1 Eastern Illinois 0 Tennessee Tech 0
This was widely thought to be a Murray/Morehead race but Peay’s 4-0 start, including a wild OT win over Morehead, has changed the math.
4. Big East
Pittsburgh 4405 Syracuse 2821 Louisville 990 Villanova 957 Georgetown 248 Cincinnati 223 Notre Dame 205 Connecticut 47 Marquette 46 St. John's 34 West Virginia 22 Seton Hall 2
OK, so I went a little overboard with this tweet. Pitt
the favorite, but it’s largely attributable to schedule differences. The Panthers get the Orange at home and also get to double dip with South Florida.
Iona 4319 Fairfield 2704 Rider 2446 Siena 482 St. Peter's 39 Loyola MD 6 Canisius 4
Props to Rider, an after-thought in the preseason, but arguably the best team in the MAAC at this moment. However, the Broncs are a game down to Fairfield and Iona heading into Monday’s action.
Brigham Young 4228 Nevada Las Vegas 3166 San Diego St. 2479 New Mexico 124 Colorado St. 4
No games yet in the MWC, but you could pick any one of the top three teams and I wouldn’t quibble.
Ball St. 3776 Kent St. 1806 Buffalo 1553 Ohio 1243 Akron 1022 Western Michigan 338 Miami OH 213 Central Michigan 31 Northern Illinois 8 Bowling Green 7 Eastern Michigan 2
The conference that sent its nine-seed to the NCAA tournament last season also brings us the most wide-open race in 2011. I predict when log5 season comes around, seeding will not be very important this year, either.