Every team dreams of going to the Big Dance, the NCAA Tournament, March Madness. Only one likely will from the SoCon (I suppose there is some world out there where for some reason the committee decides to take Wofford even if they lose in the SoCon Tournament, though that seems very unlikely).
This time of year, every team can dream. Every team can hope. It's the beauty of college basketball and the conference tournaments. Everyone is just between nine and twelve wins from the national title.
So, it is with this in mind, that we take our annual look at where each team would be seeded if they managed to win the SoCon Tournament in Asheville this weekend. If your team raises the trophy on Monday evening shortly after 9:00, you will start asking, "What seed do you think we get?" This is your answer. Or your best guess, given that we don't know ANY winners of any other conference or how other teams around will finish up yet. But this is the best guess, in alphabetical order.
When looking at the Mocs RPI and where it would fit into the overall picture, it seems pretty safe to predict that the Mocs would get no lower than a 15 seed, and possibly as high as a 13 seed. A Mocs championship would put them at 23-9 against D1 teams, and give them at least one win versus a Top 100 team and possibly a second (depending on if they play Wofford again). Their RPI would likely be in the Top 90 at least, maybe as high as into the 70s. That could be enough to squeak into a 13 seed if everything broke right and should be good enough for a 14 seed. A 15 seed is possible, but unlikely.
If the Bucs manage to win the SoCon Tournament, they would be 17-13 against D1 schools. Their RPI wouldn't be a total disaster (probably in the 120s), and they have beaten North Carolina Central, who is unbeaten in their conference and in the Top 100. They could also have beaten Chattanooga and Wofford to get their, which could be two more Top 100 wins. It seems that the Bucs would likely avoid Dayton, but would not be able to avoid the number 16 seed. It is hard to imagine them getting a 15 seed. However, they should be able to avoid Dayton.
The Paladins would be 10-21 against D1 competition if they raise the trophy on Monday night. While it would be a tremendous run by the tenth seed in the SoCon Tournament, it would not do anything except for put them in Dayton. Regardless, Stephen Croone is a great player and may present a challenge in the First Four to whoever they play. Still, it seems very unlikely they would win, and no number one seed would be shaking in their boots seeing the Paladins.
The Bears leave you scratching your head. After all, this is the same team that beat Duke in the tournament last year. Yes, they lost almost everyone, but the coach is the same, and many of the players were around the program a year ago. However, they would just be 18-14 against D1 competition if they won the SoCon Tournament. They have only beaten one Top 100 at this point and that's Chattanooga. If they beat the Mocs again, the Mocs may not be a Top 100 win anymore. To get any, they would have to beat Wofford in the championship game. No number one seed wants to see their name pop up with Mercer opposite them on Selection Sunday. Yet, if Mercer wins the SoCon Tournament, that is likely what they would find. Would the Bears be in Dayton? Maybe, but I doubt it. More than likely, this team would be a 16 seed. There is an outside chance the committee gives them a 15, or puts them in Dayton, but odds are they avoid Dayton and get a 16.
The Bulldogs would be 16-18 against D1 competition if they won the SoCon Tournament and almost certainly would find themselves in Dayton. Still, their style of play could cause a huge problem for an opponent in the First Four, and would not be a pleasant foe for a number one seed, though they probably are not quite ready yet for that challenge.
The Bulldogs would be 12-18 against D1 competition and it is hard to imagine that they would be participating in anything except for in Dayton. The Bulldogs RPI would probably be in the Top 280 at that point, but there is no way that they find their way any higher. It is also very unlikely that the Bulldogs would be competitive against a one seed. It also seems unlikely that they would win in Dayton, but hey- to finally get to their first NCAA Tournament would make up for any other problems.
The Spartans would be 11-21 against D1 competition if they find their way to the NCAA Tournament. That being said, UNCG has talent. Still, this club would definitely find itself playing in Dayton, with a chance of winning there. The Spartans are playing well enough to wind up winning in the First Four, but highly unlikely to provide any real threat to a one seed.
The Keydets would be 12-18 against D1 teams if they managed to win the SoCon Tournament. This is a team that number one seeds would not really want to play because of their style of play, but VMI has struggled for much of the year. Still, a hot shooting VMI would be dangerous. However, they would almost certainly be in a play-in game.
The Catamounts would be 15-16 against D1 teams if they wind up winning the SoCon Tournament. If everything broke right, they could get out of Dayton, but it would take some serious upsets in other conference tournaments. It seems very likely that a Western Carolina SoCon champ would be playing in Dayton, and a team that could win there with their shooters playing well. After all, this team played Alabama very close earlier this year.
The Terriers could wind up with their RPI in the Top 40 if they win the SoCon Tournament. If they beat Chattanooga in the championship game, that could be a fifth Top 100 win. That kind of resume looks like an 11 seed possibly. It would seem a 12 seed would be lowest they could get, but I suppose that the committee may not value wins over Sam Houston State, Chattanooga, Iona and North Carolina State as truly quality Top 100 wins. So they could go as low as giving them a 13 seed. I suspect that the Terriers will get an 11 or 12, with a slightly better chance of a 12 than an 11.