Bracketology: Who teams should root for in conference tournaments

The decision of what teams earn the two at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament could be greatly influenced by conference tournament matches not involving those teams or even their conference.

Of the all the pieces of criteria used by the NCAA Tournament selection committee the one with greatest fluidity is record against teams already qualified for the NCAA Tournament or under consideration for an at-large bid.


With this piece of criteria, teams can benefit or be hurt based who earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament or are on the at-large bid bubble. Off the Block in its latest bracketology has 12 teams under consideration, but the amount of teams and what teams are under consideration can change dramatically based on conference tournament results.

Check out who each team with a possibility of earning an at-large bid should cheering for during the conference tournaments.

[Editor’s note: Teams projected to qualify or be under consideration are Loyola, BYU, Long Beach State, Pepperdine, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, UC Irvine, Lewis, Ball State, IPFW, Penn State and Erskine. The amount of teams under consideration will continue to change as it gets closer to Selection Sunday on April 27.]

BYU
Who to root for:
Ball State, IPFW, Grand Canyon, UC Irvine, Loyola
Who to root against: Lewis
Quick breakdown: With a non-conference loss to Lewis, BYU benefits if Lewis loses early in the MIVA Tournament and is removed from the teams under consideration category. In addition, BYU with a 2-0 record versus UC Irvine benefits if the Anteaters win in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals and remain in contention for an at-large bid.

Pepperdine
Who to root for:
UCLA, Loyola
Who to root against: Lewis
Quick breakdown: If UCLA can make a deep-run in the MPSF Tournament, it could move back into consideration for an at-large bid. The Waves would benefit from this because they finished the regular season 2-0 versus the Bruins.

Stanford
Who to root for:
Lewis, Grand Canyon, Loyola
Who to root against: UCLA
Quick breakdown: Stanford benefits the most from Lewis or Grand Canyon winning the MIVA Tournament because of its non-conference wins against both MIVA teams. If UCLA moves back into consideration for an at-large bid it hurts Stanford after going 1-2 against the Bruins in the regular season.

UC Santa Barbara
Who to root for:
Long Beach State, Loyola
Who to root against: UC Irvine
Quick breakdown: UC Santa Barbara benefits the most from Long Beach State upsetting Pepperdine in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. That win would likely keep the 49ers in the teams under consideration and the Gauchos won both their head-to-head matches in the regular season. In contrast, after going 0-2 against UC Irvine in the regular season it needs the Anteaters to lose their conference tournament quarterfinals match, which would likely remove UC Irvine from at-large consideration.

UCLA
Who to root for:
Penn State, Ohio State, UC Irvine, Loyola
Who to root against: N/A
Quick breakdown: UCLA non-conference wins against Penn State and Ohio State would benefit the Bruins if either of those teams win their conference tournament. In addition, UCLA needs UC Irvine to win its MPSF Tournament quarterfinals match and to remain contention for an at-large bid because the Bruins went 2-0 against the Anteaters in the regular season.


UC Irvine
Who to root for:
Lewis, Ball State, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola
Who to root against: UCLA
Quick breakdown: The most important MPSF Tournament quarterfinals match for UC Irvine besides its own is the UC Santa Barbara and UCLA match-up. UC Irvine benefits if UCLA is removed from at-large consideration because of its two losses against the Bruins, while Anteaters went 2-0 against the Gauchos during the regular season. In addition, UC Irvine because of its non-conference wins would benefit if Ball State or Lewis wins the MIVA Tournament.

Long Beach State
Who to root for:
Penn State, Ohio State, Harvard, Loyola
Who to root against: Princeton, IPFW
Quick breakdown: Long Beach State because of its non-conference victories benefits if Penn State, Ohio State or Harvard win their conference tournament. However, if these teams lose in the conference tournament they will likely won’t be in consideration for an at-large bid, which would hurt Long Beach State.

USC
Who to root for:
Loyola
Who to root against: N/A
Quick breakdown: USC right now is projected to be out of consideration for an at-large bid and will need to win the conference tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Loyola
Who to root for:
UC Irvine, BYU, Penn State, Harvard
Who to root against: USC
Quick breakdown: Loyola is a lock for the No. 1 overall seed, but its record against teams under consideration benefits with UC Irvine or BYU winning MPSF Tournament.

Lewis
Who to root for:
USC, Harvard, Mount Olive, Erskine, Ball State
Who to root against: BYU, Penn State
Quick breakdown: Lewis has the head-to-head victory against BYU and the Cougars should remain among the teams in contention for an at-large bid even if they lose in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. With the tightness of the at-large bid race, Lewis benefits the most if BYU loses to USC in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. In addition, Lewis needs Ball State to win its MIVA Tournament quarterfinals match and remain in consideration for the at-large bid because the Flyers went 2-0 against the Cardinals in the regulars season.

Ball State
Who to root for:
Mount Olive, IPFW, Grand Canyon
Who to root against: Erskine, UC Irvine, Lewis
Quick breakdown: Ball State because of its non-conference victory against Mount Olive would benefit if the Trojans win the Conference Carolinas Tournament. In addition, Ball State needs IPFW to win its MIVA Tournament quarterfinals match in order for the Mastodons to remain in contention for an at-large bid. The Cardinals went 2-0 against the Mastodons in the regular season.

Penn State
Who to root for:
Mount Olive, Erskine, Lewis, Ball State, IPFW, Ohio State
Who to root against: UCLA, Long Beach State
Quick breakdown: Penn State with its non-conference results benefits if UCLA or Long Beach State loses in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals and are no longer under consideration for an at-large bid. In addition, Penn State can improve its NCAA Tournament seeding if any team but Loyola wins the MIVA Tournament.