Mid Major Teams With Quality Opportunites in Multi-Team Events
When the locations of “Maui” “The Bahamas” or “Cancun” are referenced in the context of college basketball, you know it is about to be a fun time of year to be fan. These Muti-Team Events (MTEs) unwrap looming question marks surrounding teams such as coaching changes, transfers, and personnel rotations. For some teams, these tournaments lend an opportunity to earn quality wins that may come in handy as March comes around. Mid Major squads enter these events hungry to shock a power conference school or two, continue momentum from the previous season, or in some cases win the tournament. In this article we will look at Mid Major teams who have a great opportunity to improve their at-large hopes or seeding when it comes to setting the field for the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
Vermont (America East)
The Catamounts enter the Myrtle Beach Invitational with a matchup against the Charleston Cougars. Realistically speaking, the America East most likely will not be a multi-bid league. But if Vermont takes home the America East and has an auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament, a victory against Charleston and a potential victory against the winner of Saint Louis and Wyoming would go a long way in improving their seeding.
SMU (American Athletic)
The American has really good teams like FAU and Memphis contending for the conference championship and the auto-bid that ensues, but SMU is a team that has potential of building a solid body of work to earn an at-large. The Mustangs are top 100 in KenPom and are facing West Virginia in the Fort Myers tip off event. If SMU can earn a solid neutral site victory, their resume will improve regardless of their performance in the championship game.
Saint Louis (Atlantic 10)
Saint Louis is another team competing in a Myrtle Beach Invitational filled with quality teams. If the Bilikens get past Wyoming in the first round, they will have a meeting with either Charleston or Wyoming. A couple wins for Saint Louis could not only improve their seeding but also enhance the chances for a multi-bid A10.
Weber State (Big Sky)
Weber State already has a really good win to their name, a road victory against Saint Mary’s. The Big Sky favorites are competing in the Atlantic Slam and have a chance to improve their resume. This event is not a tournament but rather has concrete matchups. Weber State faces Gardner Webb, Yale, and Colgate. Unless Weber State runs the table, the Big Sky will not get an at-large team in the field of 68. Weber State will want a few victories in this event to help improve their seed if they win the Big Sky.
UC Irvine (Big West)
UC Irvine plays in the Ball Dawgs Classic which is another event that has established matchups. The Anteaters will face off against Pepperdine, Toledo, and Rice. This team has the highest KenPom ranking of all Big West teams, so an at-large is not off the table but most likely these wins will only help their seeding if they win the conference.
If the Tigers defeat Houston and win the Charleston Classic the CAA could get two teams in the NCAA Tournament. This scenario is unlikely, but the opportunity is there for Towson.
Liberty (Conference USA) & Furman (SoCon)
Liberty and Furman will compete in the first round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. I predict the winner of this game has a great chance of winning the event.
Yale (Ivy League)
The Bulldogs have a great opportunity in the Atlantic Slam. Yale will play Weber State and Colgate, both solid teams, along with Gardner-Webb. These games could influence Yale’s seeding positively if they can win these three games.
Akron enters the Cayman Islands Classic with a 3-0 record and a matchup with FIU. If the Zips can get past the Panthers, either Marshall or Utah State will await them. Typically MAC teams earn a 12-13 seed in March, but if Akron continues building a strong non-conference resume they could perhaps receive at at-large bid.
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)
Northern Iowa is the only true mid major in a stacked Battle 4 Atlantic tournament. Just a win in their opening round matchup against North Carolina would be a shining victory.
Loyola Marymount (WCC)
Just like previously mentioned Akron, Loyola Marymount will compete in the Cayman Island Classic. They play Stephen F Austin and then the winner of Oakland and Drake. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s typically run the show in the WCC, but Loyola Marymount could finish top 3 in the league.
Grand Canyon (WAC)
The Antelopes are in the Arizona Tip-Off and will play San Francisco in the opening round, and then either Depaul or South Carolina in the finals if they win. Sure, these opponents are not the strongest, but any neutral site victories will help come March.