We entered last weekend with 350 of the 363 NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball programs still in the running to win the national championship but the possibility that we would shrink that number to 349 on Saturday and no further eliminations likely until this weekend. While we did get to 349 on Saturday, we also unfortunately (I say unfortunate due to the circumstances) got to 348 on Sunday. Then a bit to my surprise, 347 late Thursday night.
Saturday, February 11
Last week I identified Columbia as a team on the brink of being eliminated. The Lions aren’t getting an at large bid at 6-19 so they needed to win the Ivy tournament. Since the Ivy League tournament only takes the top 4 teams in the conference, Columbia needed a win last weekend and some help elsewhere to stay within 4 games of fourth place. In a must win situation, the Lions promptly lost to Yale by 31 and were eliminated bringing our count down to 349.
Teams eliminated Saturday, February 11:
- Columbia Lions
Sunday, February 12
Over the weekend we also received news that New Mexico State was suspending basketball operations indefinitely. Then on Sunday it was quietly announced that that Aggies were cancelling the remainder of their season as the New Mexico State administration tried to sweep the news under the rug of the Super Bowl coverage. None of this has anything to do with the Aggies having a player get in a shootout this season or the coaching staff hiding that gun from the police. It instead stems from hazing allegations that are quite serious. First year head coach Greg Heiar has now been fired, and a program that had won the conference four of the last five years (the 2020-21 COVID season being the exception) is in complete disarray.
As a result of the coaching malpractice and lack of any leadership qualities in their head coach, New Mexico State has opted of both the WAC and NCAA tournament. There will now be no other WAC conference eliminations until the WAC tournament starts on March 7 in Paradise, Nevada.
Teams eliminated Sunday, February 12:
- New Mexico State Aggies
Thursday, February 16
Meanwhile Austin Peay (Let’s go P!), decided to end their NCAA tournament hopes early and became the first Atlantic Sun conference team to be eliminated when they lost to Jacksonville last night. The 56-60 loss drops Austin Peay to just 2-13 in Atlantic Sun play this season with 3 games to play. Since the bottom four of the ASun don’t make the conference tournament and 5th from the bottom Queens is now at a healthy 6-9 record, Austin Peay is eliminated from Atlantic Sun contention. Once 8-9, the Governors have lost 11 straight and at 8-20 won’t be getting an at-large bid.
Teams eliminated Thursday, February 16:
- Austin Peay Governors
That brings the numbers to...
Number of Teams Eligible for Auto Bids - 347 (95.59%)
Number of Teams Eliminated - 16 (4.41%)
Number of Teams Eliminated since Last Week - 3 (0.83%)
Teams Under Consideration for At Large Bids Only - 0
The week ahead
America East Conference Race
Albany is at a real risk of being eliminated from America East tournament contention soon. In last place of a conference that only takes eight of their nine teams to their conference tournament, Albany currently sits two games behind NJIT as well as Maine. That makes this Saturday’s game against Maine just about a must win as Albany has only three games remaining to make up ground on either Maine or NJIT. With a loss to Maine, Albany would need NJIT to lose out and to win all their remaining games. Of course if Albany can get the road victory tomorrow, this competition for the last spot in the America East field could go down to the wire. One of Maine, NJIT, and Albany will not be playing in the postseason; the other six America East teams have clinched their spots in the AE tournament.
Atlantic Sun Conference Race
Austin Peay became the first of four teams to be eliminated from the Atlantic Sun competition prior to the conference tournament. It was a busy Thursday night though for the entirety of the back of the Atlantic Sun standings. Jacksonville moved into a tie with Queens (and Florida Gulf Coast) but still sit below the cut line on tiebreakers. Jacksonville State and Central Arkansas are two games back with three to play. Atlantic Sun regular season play ends next Friday, but its a tossup whether anyone is still playing for something next Friday.
Ivy League Race
It’s a rare double game weekend for the Ivy League this weekend and with only four games to play going into tonight, Harvard needs to sweep the weekend to stay in the running as they are currently three games back of fourth. All other non-Columbia Ivy teams should still be in the running going into next weekend as the middle of the standings are 6-4 or 5-5 and the tied teams play each other.
Everybody’s favorite college football conference, the cut throat MAC only allows 8 of their 12 programs to participate in the postseason. Everyone still has five games left, but Western Michigan, Miami (OH), Eastern Michigan are all at risk of permanently falling below the cutline before next weekend. Luckily for them, currently 8th and 9th place teams Central Michigan and Bowling Green have games against teams in front of them in the conference standings so they likely have an opportunity to make up ground with some wins.
Four SWAC teams will be prevented from playing in the postseason, but with five games remaining we only have two programs that could get eliminated in the next week and if it happens it will be on Monday. Both Mississippi Valley State and Florida A&M sit two games behind the cut line but that gap has the potential to grow to four by the end of the day Monday. The SWAC plays on Saturdays and Mondays.
Ohio Valley Conference
Little Rock (yes, that Little Rock), should really avoid losing to Eastern Illinois tomorrow. The two are battling for the last spot in the OVC tournament field (along with Lindenwood) and Eastern Illinois already won the first matchup. Giving EIU the tiebreaker would not be wise for Little Rock and would eliminate the Trojans as it would put them two games behind EIU with two to play and unable to win a head to head (or three way) tiebreaker scenario.
The Southland Conference will not see any eliminations until next Thursday at the earliest. The Southland continues conference play until the same time that the power conferences stop. That makes an elimination this early unlikely since last place New Orleans sits just 1 game behind 4 teams and only two Southland teams will be eliminated prior to their tournament.
The next team to be eliminated will be
This poll is closed
Before next Friday, the count will stand at
This poll is closed
345 or more
336 or fewer