Predicting the Number of NCAA Tournament Teams From Each Conference

By Sam Mattfolk

Predicting the Number of NCAA Tournament Teams From Each Conference

Rick Pitino
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, Bracketologists try to predict the upcoming NCAA Tournament field way too early. Here’s a look at where each conference stands as the season tips off. How many teams will make March Madness from your favorite conference?

One Bid Leagues (21)

One Bid Leagues (21)
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

One Bid Leagues (21)

One Bid Leagues (21)
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, SWAC, Southern, Southland, Summit League, Sun Belt and WAC are all likely one-bid leagues.

Missouri Valley (2)

Gregg Marshall
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri Valley (2)

Gregg Marshall
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Wichita State likely won’t go undefeated this year in conference play and may be more vulnerable for a fall in the conference tournament, allowing a second team into the field. Northern Iowa may be the most likely team to warrant an at-large bid or topple the Shockers in the MVC Tournament.

West Coast (2)

Mark Few
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

West Coast (2)

Mark Few
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Few has another NCAA Tournament lock at Gonzaga this season, led by senior G Kevin Pangos. Saint Mary’s and BYU should fight for a second at-large bid for the league. Both schools have a received bids recently and return enough talent to make the WCC a two-bid league once again.

Mountain West (3)

Steve Fisher
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Mountain West (3)

Steve Fisher
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Fisher’s strong San Diego State program is expected to win the Mountain West. The conference’s next tier has a few NCAA Tournament caliber teams in New Mexico, Boise State and UNLV. The non-conference schedule will be crucial to these programs, boosting Mountain West perception come selection time.

SEC (3)

John Calipari
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

SEC (3)

John Calipari
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky and Florida will be elite teams with National Championship dreams, but the rest of the conference is still unproven. There has been a small talent influx around the league and Arkansas and LSU will compete for a chance at the Big Dance.

American (4)

Kevin Ollie
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

American (4)

Kevin Ollie
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Many people may not know after conference realignment that last year’s National Champion played in the American Athletic Conference. UConn rode Shabazz Napier to the title and should be very strong again under the coaching of Kevin Ollie and playmaking of G Ryan Boatwright. SMU and Memphis also have talented teams and should be near-locks for the tournament. Cincinnati, Tulsa and Temple may be bubble teams.

Atlantic 10 (4)

Shaka Smart
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Atlantic 10 (4)

Shaka Smart
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Led by head coach Shaka Smart, VCU is the runaway favorite in the conference this year. Seniors Treveon Graham and Briante Weber are amongst the best players in the conferences, and VCU’s up-tempo style will exhaust opponents. Elsewhere, Dayton hopes to build off a historic Elite Eight run, and George Washington, UMass, Rhode Island and Richmond all could be in the mix for a dance appearance.

Big East (4)

Jay Wright
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Big East (4)

Jay Wright
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova is the preseason favorite after an excellent 2013-14 campaign, giving the Big East its best chance for a deep tournament run. Georgetown and Xavier have strong chances at reaching the tournament. St. John’s and Providence both have enough to be in consideration through February, and Butler is one of the bigger Wild Cards nationally.

Pac 12 (4)

Sean Miller
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Pac 12 (4)

Sean Miller
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

With a couple talented freshmen joining an already excellent core, Arizona is primed for a deep tournament run. Colorado and UCLA are also in good position to make the NCAA Tournament, yet the rest of the conference consists of fringe bubble teams. Oregon, Utah, Stanford and Cal all have a chance at a tournament bid.

Big 12 (6)

Bill Self
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Big 12 (6)

Bill Self
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas, Texas and Iowa State are probably locks for the a tournament bid with Kansas being once again the prohibitive favorite to win the conference after 10 straight shared or outright championships. Kansas State and Oklahoma are also well positioned to make the tournament, while Baylor, Oklahoma State and West Virginia should be bubble teams.

ACC (7)

Coach K
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

ACC (7)

Coach K
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia and Syracuse are near-locks. Florida State, Pitt, Notre Dame and NC State all have a chance at making the tournament, but could also end up in the NIT. The ACC should be more contentious at the top as well as a little deeper than last year, which could help its middle class in bubble debates.

Big Ten (8)

Bo Ryan
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten (8)

Bo Ryan
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Another conference with an obvious favorite in Wisconsin will have one of the most exciting fights for tournament position in the upper-middle section of the conference. The Big Ten will be in contention for having the most teams in the country in the field with Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State as near locks and several teams that have a chance to make some noise in conference play.

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