A week to bust the bracket
The A-10, Mountain West could boost bids for non-BCS conferences
Every week, with the arrival of Joe Lunardi's new Bracketology, he also pens Behind the Bracket, which goes deeper into the issues within his popular seed-projecting feature.
Four weeks from now, chances are you will be holding the perfect item in sports: a new, none-of-my-teams-has-lost-yet NCAA tournament bracket. For me, the biggest question in anticipation of Selection Sunday is just how big a dent will be made in the recent hegemony of the BCS conferences.
We all know the trend: Last season, just four of 34 at-large tournament bids went to teams outside the ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC. And it might have been three of 34 had Cleveland State not upset Butler in the Horizon League tournament.
Today's discussion is not about the worthiness of majors over mid-majors. That's a dead horse, at least until after the season, so let's tackle a topic in which some legitimate analysis can inform the debate: With the success of the Atlantic 10, Mountain West and others in 2009-10, just how many non-BCS schools can we realistically expect to be among the "34 best" in the next NCAA tournament field?
To see Joe Lunardi's breakdown of which teams from non-BCS conferences have the best odds of making the NCAA tournament, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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Insider's Bracket Bundle
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Joe Lunardi: Behind the Bracket
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Lunardi's Tournament Odds/Rundown
Bracketology tells you only how the bracket looks on that day. Lunardi's odds tell you how it's likely to look come Selection Sunday.
See which bubble teams are bound to get bounced and which are likely to crack the field of 65.
Inside the Bracket
Hard-core analysis of squads set to endure the Madness of March.
See how the teams stack up in each region of Bracketology.