Three weeks, 21 days, 3-4 regular season games, 1 conference tournament. Those are the things that stand between us and Selection Sunday. Scheduled for March 14th, 2021, the selection committee is expecting to have their brackets selected, and the 68 teams for this years March Madness will be notified of their bracket seeding and opponents. However, this season is looking to be a little different. With teams like Kentucky, Duke, UNC, and Michigan State, who have made every NCAA tourney since 1998, are looking to be on the outside of the 68 teams vying for a national championship this season. This year's tournament is looking to provide a bit of duplicity, a welcomed relief after last season having ended prematurely. So who's in and who's on the outside looking in? Well I don't know about every conference, but I will tell you what I predict to happen for the Major Conference's and which of their teams make it and who will just miss out. Here are my predictions:
Virginia (Auto Qualifier)- Currently 1 game back of FSU, but with a much more favorable final 3 games, look for Virginia to get it together and take back the ACC regular season title from FSU.
Florida State- Currently leading the ACC, but a rough last 3 makes me skeptical the #16 team can keep it up, look for them to likely win the conference tournament however as the second place finisher in the regular season tends to be the team to beat in the ACC tournament ironically.
Virginia Tech- With 4 games remaining, plus two potential makeups with FSU, this team has the most upside growth, however look for them to keep on with the status quo. They'll make the tourney comfortably, however it's looking like it'll be around the 8 seed.
Louisville and UNC- two former national champions that mostly thanks to some great play down the stretch will see them sneak in. Again look for both to be between an 8 and 10 seed.
OUT: (Unless Clemson or 'Cuse make a run and win the ACC tourney)
Duke, Clemson, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, NC State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Miami (FL), Boston College.
It's funny how many people forget the A-10 is considered a major conference by the NCAA, don't let that fool you though, there's usually a few A-10 teams that can do some damage in the Tourney, unfortunately this season there may only be a few to make it.
VCU- Current leaders in the clubhouse, should easily make the tourney. Look for them to be a 10 or 11 seed though.
Davidson- Currently second in the conference, this Davidson squad is a bit different from the one Steph Curry made noise with back in the day, thanks to a huge winning streak, currently 5 straight as of the writing of this, Davidson has positioned themselves to sneak into a 12 or 13 seed in the tourney.
Umass, St. Bonaventure, Richmond, Dayton, Saint Louis, George, Mason, Duquesne, Rhode Island, GW, La Slle, Fordham, Saint Joseph's
American Athletic Conference
Wichita State- Currently leading the conference, and would get the Auto-qualifier bid if it were to win the regular season title. Currently ahead 1 game with 3 remaining.
Houston- A likely 3-4 seed, look for them to actually end up a better seed than their conference winner. Houston has had an incredible season, and currently sits at #6 in the Top 25. hard to imagine the selection committee taking away all of that even if they weren't to win their regular season conference title.
Memphis, SMU, Cincinnati, Tulsa, UCF, USF, Tulane, Temple, East Carolina
Baylor- Still undefeated, Baylor looks to claim a number 1 seed for themselves, will end up with the regular season conference title.
Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State will all also make it, with OK State being one of the last 4 in depending on their performance during the Big 12 tournament.
TCU, Kansas State, Iowa State
Villanova- No real surprise here, look for Nova to take the AQ bid for the conference as regular season champs. This team is not to be trifled with in the tourney, even though they'll likely be a 2 or 3 seed, some still underestimate this team.
Creighton, Seton Hall, Uconn, St. Johns will all also make it into the tourney, however St. John's could be replaced with Xavier if Xavier has an excellent run in Madison Square Gardens and St. John's falters.
Xavier, Providence, Georgetown, Marquette, Butler, DePaul
The conference that's looking to be historic, has a chance to be the 14th occasion of having 2 number 1 seeds, but that's not good enough for this conference, they're also looking to be the 3rd occasion of having 3 number 1 seeds if Baylor or Gonzaga lose this late in the season.
Michigan, Ohio State- These two have all but assured themselves places as number 1 seeds in this years tourney. It's been one heck of a season from both teams, and look for them to show why they are the number 1 seeds.
Illinois- Vying to be a number 1 seed as well, however will likely be the first 2 seed as they're currently in 5th in most polls. A fantastic season as this is the first time the Fighting Illini have found themselves in the tourney since 2013.
Iowa- After a disappointing December and early January, the Hawkeyes have climbed back in to contention for a 2 or 3 seed. This would be the best seed since 2006, in their last four appearances they haven't been ranked better than 7th.
Wisconsin, Purdue, Rutgers, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota will all also make it, if Minnesota doesn't get dumped out of the Big Ten tourney in the first round, if that happens expect Minnesota to be one of the last ones out.
Michigan State, Penn State, Northwestern, Nebraska
Boise State- Currently leading the conference after a sweep of Utah State, a statement conference sweep that will have assuredly put the Broncos as the lead dog in the Mountain West, and should see them as the top MWC team in the tourney.
San Diego State, Colorado State, Utah State all should make the tournament, with the Aggies needing a good Mountain West tournament result, and no slip-ups in their remaining schedule.
Nevada, UNLV, Fresno State, Wyoming, San Jose State, Air Force, New Mexico.
USC- Current conference leader, should hold on given their remaining schedule, will receive the AQ bid and likely a 4 seed to boot.
Colorado, Oregon, UCLA will make it in comfortably as well with UCLA being the lowest seed around a 9 seed. Unless a team like Arizona or Washington State can win the Pac 12 tourney, they'll likely see themselves watching from the NIT.
Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, Arizona State, Washington, Cal
Alabama- A runaway on top of the SEC standings, they have truly been in a class of their own in SEC play. They will assure themselves of a tourney bid and a 2 seed with a regular season SEC title.
Arkansas, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Mizzou, Ole Miss, Georgia will all make the tournament with Georgia doing just enough in the SEC tourney to get an at large bid.
Kentucky, Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt.