Dancing In the Madness
Two more teams got their tickets to the Big Dance punched last night as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and the Cleveland State Vikings both won their respective conference tournaments, securing the automatic bid. In the process of winning the Horizon League tournament, the Vikings damaged the tournament hopes of 17th-ranked Butler — one of the perennial mid-major darlings. Because Butler did not secure the automatic bid, they have to rely on the an at-large bid. However, considering the apathetic resumes of most bubble teams, Butler could very will make the big tournament.
To Cleveland State, however, go the well-deserved spoils. Thanks to last night’s win, they will be dancing for the first time in 23 years. As to be expected, the CSU athletic department is awfully ecstatic about their big win. Why else would someone make a lead graphic measure 7200px × 5400px (the original size of the image)?
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are also going to the dance — again — after winning the Sun Belt tournament. We all remember the kind of excitement the Toppers brought with them last March:
Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, there are no Ty Rogerses or Courtney Lees on this season’s roster. Nevertheless, WKU has a shifty point guard by the name of Orlando Mendez-Valdez and two solid players in Stephon Pettigrew and A.J. Slaughter. Their higher seeded opponent in the upcoming Big Dance will sleep on the Toppers at their own risk.
Currently, the following teams have punched their automatic bid tickets to the NCAA Tournament:
Chattanooga (Southern Conference)
Cornell (Ivy League)
East Tennessee State (Atlantic Sun)
Gonzaga (West Coast)
Morehead State (Ohio Valley)
Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)
Radford (Big South)
You can add Western Kentucky and Cleveland State to that pile as well.