Regular season basketball is winding down and some conferences will wrap up their regular season play this weekend. In six leagues, the higher-seeded team is allowed to host tournament games. These leagues are the Atlantic Sun, American East, Big Sky, Horizon League, Northeast League, and the Patriot League. The following post details which teams may have the the opportunity to play their way to the NCAA Tourney on their homecourt.
Albany is very much in the driver's seat at this point, and with a win tonight at UMBC (4-23) they clinch the #1 seed and homecourt advantage in the conference tournament. If they are upset by UMBC, the Vermont Catamounts are the only other team that has a mathematical shot at getting the top seed. Vermont can get the #1 seed with a win tonight vs New Hampshire, a Albany loss at UMBC, and then beating Albany on Saturday. There's more, though: Vermont would need Stony Brook to finish #3 in the final American East standings to get the #1 seed due to the American East tiebreaker rules. If New Hampshire is the #3 seed, then Albany gets the top spot, again due to American East tiebreaker rules. Bottom line is that Albany should clinch the top seed and homecourt advantage tonight, but if they lose, it does get a little interesting.
Florida Gulf Coast hosts North Florida tonight in what will very likely decide the ASUN's 1 seed and who will have homecourt advantage for their conference tournament. FGCU clinches the 1 seed with a win, North Florida is 1 game back of them but would have the tiebreaker over FGCU if one is needed. North Florida could force a tie with a win tonight at FGCU, then would need to beat last-place Stetson at home this weekend. Again, this scenario would create a 2-way tie between FGCU/UNF and the nod would go to UNF due to tiebreaker rules in the Atlantic Sun.
Valpo clinches the top seed with a win at Detroit tonight, but a loss puts Cleveland State (and Oakland and UW-Green Bay, but a little less likely) firmly in the discussion to take the #1 seed. A loss tonight puts Valpo at 12-3 in conference play setting up a massive game at Cleveland State on Friday night. In the event that both teams end up at 12-4 (which will happen if Valpo loses their next 2), crazy tiebreaker rules come into play. In the event of a tie, if Green Bay finishes in 3rd, Cleveland State gets the 1 seed (This is because Valpo is 1-1 vs UWGB, while Cleveland State is 2-0). If Oakland finishes 3rd, both teams would still be tied because both split the season series with Oakland. In this scenario, the next tiebreaker would be how CSU/Valpo fared against the 4 seed, who would be UWGB in this scenario. So, Cleveland State would again get the nod. Things get very weird if there is a 3 way tie, and won't get into that in this post. Valpo can take care of business tonight, but if they don't, it could get wild.
St. Francis (NY) has already clinched the 1 seed and homecourt advantage
Bucknell has a 2 game lead over Colgate with 2 games to play, but the Bison play both games on the road, so Colgate still has a mathematical chance. If Bucknell finishes 0-2, and Colgates finishes 2-0, then Colgate gets the 1 seed and homecourt advantage because they own the head-to-head tie over Bucknell.
Note: I didn't get to the Big Sky because they don't finish up conference play until next weekend, plus 4 teams have a legit shot at getting the #1 seed.