Click below for past conference tournament predictions:
There are three more conference tournaments starting up on Wednesday with the Big Ten, Northeast, and Ohio Valley, so let's get to it.
Big Ten Tournament
This is rare territory for the Big Ten as their conference title game is usually on the afternoon of selection Sunday - but in an effort to play in Madison Square Garden, the league opted to shrink its league schedule and play a week earlier. This tournament often creates some cinderellas and I think Michigan and Penn State are dangerous teams. I have each making it to the semifinal round, but couldn't pull the trigger on either making it to the championship. Of the two, Michigan has the best shot to shock the world. When the dust settles, however, I think it will be Purdue left standing as the tournament champ.
It is not without some hesitation that I'm going with Wagner to win the NEC this year. While it's true Wagner is undefeated at home, and as long as they win they will continue playing in their home gym, the road to the title will not come easy. There first round matchup is even one to watch as Central Connecticut enters playing very good ball. Both St. Francis (NY) and LIU Brooklyn also pose some threats in the semifinal round. The bottom half of the bracket is a little more clear cut. I like St. Francis (PA) to get to the championship match against Wagner, and I actually thing that will be the easiest game for Wagner to get the 'W.'
Ohio Valley Tournament
If I'm wrong with my Ohio Valley champion - it's because Jacksonville State ran the table. The Gamecocks are a good squad entering this tournament - and I nearly picked them over Murray State in the semifinal round. I'm sticking with the Racers in that one simply because Murray State has been on a good roll entering the tournament and I think they will just squeak by JSU in that one. It's because of that discomfort, however, that I'm rolling with Belmont to take home the top prize. Belmont gets by Austin Peay easily in the semifinal round, and Belmont has already knocked off Murray State in the regular season. It's Belmont's to win, but keep an eye on Jacksonville State.
Up Next: Four more tournaments start on Thursday (MAAC, Missouri Valley, Southern, West Coast) - a full preview of each will be up tomorrow (2/28). Enjoy all the games!