Editor note: This continues a series of conference tournament previews for the worst conferences in college basketball. Every day we will preview the conference tournaments for the non “Power” conferences that will begin on that day. Today we have the SWAC, Conference USA, MEAC, and Big Sky. With apologies to the former USSR, here is the AMSTS CCCP (Crappy Conference Championship Preview)
Rough Geographic Area: Deep South and Texas
School you’ve probably heard of: Grambling. The Tigers are probably more famous as one of the best known of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the US. But Grambling’s other claim to fame is that they had a zero win season (0-28!) in 2012-13. They only lost one game by single digits. Woof.
School you may not have heard of: Mississippi Valley State. The Delta Devils play in Itta Bena, MS, a town of 2,049. The school itself is just outside of “city” boundaries, and thus makes the 3,400 student school larger than the town to which it “belongs.”
Favorite: Texas Southern 15-12 (14-1), #217 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings. They’re the #1 seed and still considered a dark horse. 14-1 in conference, 1-11 out of conference! How is this even possible!?!?
Dark Horse: Southern 18-11 (10-6), #234 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings. That’s right: the second best team in the SWAC is the 234th best team in college basketball. And you’re seriously thinking about watching it?
Game that might be closer than it should be: All these teams are brutally bad. They might be close, they might be blowouts. I honestly have no idea how to predict this since none of the teams have been consistent (except consistently bad). If you’re watching this and did not graduate from a SWAC school, you are probably in need of serious support from friends or family.
Likely seed with Massey Conference Ratings: 16 play-in guaranteed, ranked 31st of 32 conferences by the Massey Ratings Compiler. These guys aren’t even the worst conference!
How to watch the games: The Championship is on ESPNU, in case you can’t find anything else to do on Saturday.
Conference: Conference USA
Rough Geographic Area: From Virginia to Florida and over to Texas in a nice triangle that excludes the Carolinas.
School you’ve probably heard of: UTEP. They had a long, prestigious NCAA Basketball history, with a national championship in 1966, and a perennial NCAA Tournament team from 1984-1990. Since 2000, only three first round exits.
School you may not have heard of: UTSA. The Roadrunners may be familiar to those who started their NCAA Basketball 2006 coaching careers there, but for the rest of us, there’s little UTSA has to offer besides four early exits from the NCAA Tournament
Favorite: Alabama-Birmingham 24-5 (14-2), #78 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings
Dark Horse: Old Dominion 17-12 (10-6), #141 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings
Game that might be closer than it should be: With a bizarre 13 team bracket, your only option for the first day is to watch UTSA try to make it close. It seems unlikely that will happen.
Likely seed with Massey Conference Ratings: 14 with UAB, otherwise 15 or 16, ranked 21st of 32 conferences by the Massey Ratings Compiler.
How to watch the games: American Sports Network, Championship on FS1.
Rough Geographic Area: From Virginia to Florida.
School you’ve probably heard of: Hampton. Apologies in advance to Cyclones fans, but Hampton is most famous for their 15 vs 2 upset of Iowa State in 2001.
School you may not have heard of: Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Hawks have never made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Favorite: Hampton 17-9 (12-2), #220 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings.
Dark Horse: South Carolina St 16-13 (11-4), #249 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings. Considering they’re the only other team in the MEAC with a winning record (and that’s with +7 wins in the conference)…
Game that might be closer than it should be: This is another case of “Turn the television off.” The MEAC is the worst team in Division 1 this season. Save yourself the shame of a Monday evening Delaware State
Likely seed with Massey Conference Ratings: 16 play-in, guaranteed, ranked 32nd of 32 conferences by the Massey Ratings Compiler.
How to watch the games: Championship game is on ESPN 2.
Conference: Big Sky
Rough Geographic Area: Everything west of the Rockies, plus North Dakota.
School you’ve probably heard of: Weber State. Though not much to say in the recent years, they were frequent NCAA tournament participants from 1968-197088, and have gotten into the Round of 32 as recently as 1999.
School you may not have heard of: Montana State. The Bobcats have made three NCAA Tournaments since 1951, never having won a game.
Favorite: Weber State 22-7 (14-2), #128 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings.
Dark Horse: Eastern Washington 16-12 (10-6), #205 in the AMSTS Computer Rankings.
Game that might be closer than it should be: Montana, Idaho, and Eastern Washington are the only potential challengers to Weber State’s conference championship hopes, so keep an eye on them as they progress.
Likely seed with Massey Conference Ratings: 16 play-in, unless another bad conference sends their #2 or below seed, ranked 28th of 32 conferences by the Massey Ratings Compiler.
How to watch the games: Championship game is on ESPNU.