Like upsets? Root for these bid stealers.
Here at GK Central, we have a couple of obvious biases when it comes to the conference tournaments. First, we like to see the best potential Giant Killers win, which isn't always the best "team" in a mid-major league. That will become obvious when we release the official GK ratings -- and tell you which teams to root for during the next week or so.
We're also not very objective when it comes to bids. Obviously, we'd like to see as many potential Giant Killers as possible, because it makes for more NCAA tourney games with upset implications. And for that to happen, help is required from bid-stealers -- those mid-majors who wouldn't sniff the NCAAs without a conference tourney title and whose entrance bursts the bubble of some middle-of-the-pack BCS team. Obviously, the bid-stealer is only helpful when the top team in the conference is assured of an at-large berth. So with that being said, after our examination of the CAA earlier this week, let's take a look at a few other conferences that could alter the GK landscape.
Atlantic 10 Conference
Over at Bubble Watch, Eamonn Brennan has the Temple Owls as a lock. But we don't really care about the Owls, because we classify them as a Giant. Same with the Xavier Musketeers, who are firmly on the bubble. So our attention goes to the Saint Louis Billikens, Saint Joseph's Hawks and Dayton Flyers. Based on early GK exit polls (in other words, stats we know that matter without a full GK rating), the Billikens look like a strong potential GK. Very strong. So we'd want them to win the conference tournament, right? Maybe not. See, we're greedy, and we're willing to bet that the Billikens will find their way into the Dance no matter what happens. So from a GK perspective, the best possible outcome is a St. Joe's-Dayton final. A cursory glance at both teams' stats doesn't exactly set our spirits soaring, but Dayton looks like it might have a slight edge as a GK.
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