I’m using my ratings and Bill James’ log5 formula to estimate the chances of each participating team advancing to a particular round of its conference tournament.
Southwestern Athletic Conference
Location: Houston (Toyota Center)
Dates: March 11-15
Chance of bid thief: Are you kidding?
Current kPOY: Aaric Murray, Texas Southern
Qtrs Semis Final Champ 1 Southern 100 86.9 69.6 50.1 2 Texas Southern 100 68.9 46.2 21.3 3 Alabama St. 100 55.2 22.2 7.4 5 Alabama A&M 100 52.0 13.8 5.6 7 Jackson St. 79.9 28.6 15.2 5.1 4 Ark-Pine Bluff 100 48.0 12.1 4.7 6 Alcorn St. 100 44.8 15.9 4.6 8 Prairie View 53.8 6.6 2.4 0.6 9 Miss. Val. St 46.2 6.5 2.1 0.5 10 Grambling St. 20.1 2.5 0.5 0.04
Let me just say that in principle I love what the SWAC is doing here. For those that missed it, the SWAC made the groundbreaking move to allow its teams that are ineligible for the NCAA tournament to participate in this tournament. Should one of those teams win it, which is quite possible since Southern is an ineligible team, the highest-seeded team that went the farthest among eligible teams will get the automatic bid. Fourth-seeded Arkansas-Pine Bluff is the other ineligible with a legitimate shot to win here. (The others are Mississippi Valley State and Grambling State)
While I like the outside-the-box thinking, because the one and four-seeds are ineligible this ends up being massively unfair to the eligible teams on that side of the bracket. In all likelihood Alabama A&M will have to beat Southern to get to the title game, then beat another team to get the automatic bid. On the other hand, second-seeded Texas Southern will likely need to only win two games for the bid since a championship meeting with Southern would be irrelevant in that regard. I’d imagine this makes Texas Southern a huge favorite to get the bid. In fact, the three, six and seven-seeds also have a big advantage here. They know they will not need to beat the conference’s best team to get to the NCAA tournament.