The NCAA season has reached it first round of the postseason. With the regular season now in the books, we are in the heart of the conference tournaments. As of today, Thursday, March 9th, all but one conference tournament will be underway. Several tickets have already have been punched, with more to come each and every day in the coming week.
One of the tournaments that will be tipping off for the first time on Thursday will be the WAC Conference Tournament. Here at INSC we have you covered, with predictions down below. This tourney will conclude on Saturday, March 11th.
You can check out the seedings and a link to the bracket below.
(1) CSU Bakersfield
(2) New Mexico State
(4) Utah Valley
(6) UT Rio Grande Valley
(7) Chicago State
Talk about a small tournament. With only seven teams, we start in the quarterfinals, and that round only consists of three games. This means the number one seed, CSU Bakersfield, gets the only bye and can start in the semifinals. So let’s get into it.
To open things up, we have Utah Valley squaring off with Seattle. The winner will get to face CSU Bakersfield. Both teams are pretty bad. I’ll just come out and say it. But of the two, Seattle is worse. So even though there is not much about Utah Valley that excites me, I feel like I need to go with them by default. So I am going with Utah Valley, 81-73.
Proceeding down the bracket, we reach Nex Mexico State and Chicago State. This one may be the most lopsided game of this tournament. Chicago State is bad. Really bad. New Mexico State however, actually does a number of things well. The only number I need here is their nearly seven created possessions a game. So I am picking NM State, 87-65.
Their next opponent will either be UMKC or UT Rio Grande Valley. This one is a pretty close one. But even though the overall numbers are fairly close, UMKC has a small edge in almost every key metric. So it seems like this one is an easy pick. I am going with UMKC 81-80.
This sets us up into the semifinals. The one seed CSUB will get their first game against Utah Valley. Now if you read what I put about Utah Valley above, you already know I am not really a fan. They simply are not very good. CSU Bakersfield is not tremendous, but they are hands down the better team of the two. They should be able to take this one, although it will not be a full on demolition. Give me CSUB 76-70.
To close out the semis, we have New Mexico State and UMKC. Of all the teams in this conference, New Mexico State is the most impressive statistically. They get a team that is subpar in this one, so I am seeing another easy win for the guys from New Mexico. So I am taking Next Mexico State 86-72.
So in this short field, the top two teams come out on top. The title game has CSU Bakersfield going up against New Mexico State. Here is my final pitch for New Mexico State. They create nearly seven possessions a game. They shoot above average inside the three point line. They play solid defense, especially beyond the three-point line. And they shoot over 70 percent from the line. So give me New Mexico State 74-68.
So what do you think? Who will emerge with a NCAA Tournament bid? Will it be an upset, or will the top seed claim their auto bid? Tell us in the comments!