With the NCAA Tournament Selection Show set for 6 p.m. today, the Greater Niagara Newspapers sports staff decided to make its picks for who will make the “Big Dance” and who will be heading to the NIT.



Seton Hall

CONFERENCE: Big East

RECORD: 18-11 overall, 9-8 Big East

RPI: 57

Strength Of Schedule: 42

THE SCOOP: Seton Hall finished 9-7 in the nation’s best conference including wins over NCAA Tournament teams West Virginia, Syracuse, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. They also have a strong non-conference win at North Carolina State.

THE FATE: Making the NCAAs comes down to who you beat and the Pirates have enough quality wins to sneak in to the Big Dance.



Missouri State

CONFERENCE: Missouri Valley

RECORD: 20-8, 12-7 MVC

RPI: 19

SOS: 37

THE SCOOP: Missouri State has one of the strongest RPIs of the bubble teams although the Bears non-conference schedule is weak. They are also hurt by a loss in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

THE FATE: We feel like the strong computer numbers will be enough to send the Bears to the Big Dance.



Utah State

CONFERENCE: Western Athletic

RECORD: 21-7, 12-5 WAC

RPI: 55

SOS: 133

THE SCOOP: The Aggies got a big win over Louisiana Tech to strengthen their case, but unless they defeat in Saturday’s conference tournament final their low computer numbers might not be enough to get them in.

THE FATE: Baring an upset of NCAA-bound Nevada, Utah State will be headed to the NIT.



Maryland

CONFERENCE: Atlantic Coast

RECORD: 18-11, 9-8 ACC

RPI: 44

SOS: 11

THE SCOOP: Getting blown out in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament to Boston College hurts the Terps chances. The Terps have a strong strength of schedule, but they’ve haven’t pulled off any upsets — Maryland is 0-6 against teams with an RPI in the Top 25.

THE FATE: In a weak year for the ACC Maryland hasn’t done enough to make the NCAAs. The Terps are bound for the NIT.



Creighton

CONFERENCE: Missouri Valley

RECORD: 19-9, 12-7 MVC

RPI: 40

SOS: 55

THE SCOOP: A quarterfinal tournament loss to Bradley hurts the Blue Jays chances, but a history of NCAA Tournament appearances and a the return of Josh Dotzler may help their cause.

THE FATE: We think Creighton’s reputation will be enough to get them into the Big Dance.



Michigan

CONFERENCE: Big Ten

RECORD: 18-10, 8-9 Big Ten

RPI: 46

SOS: 39

THE SCOOP: Michigan lost to Minnesota in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament and has also lost seven of its past nine. The Wolverines have a strong non-conference record although none of those wins came against NCAA Tournament teams.

THE FATE: Michigan has gone cold at the wrong time which will relegate them to the NIT.



Bradley

CONFERENCE: Missouri Valley

RECORD: 20-10, 13-8 MVC

RPI: 34

SOS: 50

THE SCOOP: The Braves advanced all the way to the MVC Tournament final where they were defeated by Southern Illinois. Bradley has an 8-6 record against teams in the RPI Top 50.

THE FATE: That strong record against quality coupled with a nice tournament run should get the Braves in to the NCAAs.



Hofstra

CONFERENCE: Colonial Athletic Association

RECORD: 24-6, 16-5 CAA

RPI: 30

SOS: 135

THE SCOOP: The Pride fell to UNC-Wilmington in the CAA finals, but also beat co-champ George Mason twice in 10 days. Still, Hofstra has a terrible strength of schedule and no non-conference wins of note.

THE FATE: That weak resume against non-conference opponent will keep Hostra out. The Pride will have to prepare for the NIT.



Northern Iowa

CONFERENCE: Missouri Valley

RECORD: 21-9, 12-8 MVC

RPI: 25

SOS: 36

THE SCOOP: Fell to Southern Illinois for the second time in a week in the MVC semifinals, but have good computer numbers. The Panthers also have two huge non-conference wins over Iowa and LSU.

THE FATE: Those victories coupled with the strong RPI should send Northern Iowa to the Big Dance.



Florida State

CONFERENCE: Atlantic Coast

RECORD: 19-9, 9-8 ACC

RPI: 60

SOS: 105

THE SCOOP: Florida State lost in the opening round of the ACC Tournament to conference cellar-dweller Wake Forest yet the Seminoles do own a win over Duke. Florida State’s strongest non-conference win is over an average Nebraska team.

THE FATE: The loss to Wake Forest will keep the Seminoles out of the NCAAs. They’re headed to the NIT.



Editor’s note: These picks are based on the fact that Nevada wins the WAC Tournament final, San Diego State wins the Mountain West final and South Carolina loses in the SEC Tournament final. The WAC and Mountain West finals were played late Saturday and the SEC final is today.

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