By The Rex Factor
So, college basketball’s here again…
College basketball season kicks off on Friday night and unlike the NFL, it doesn’t come in with a whimper but rather with the intensity of an armed robber into an isolated civilian mansion. The NFL kicks off its season with one Thursday night home opener for the previous season’s Super Bowl champion – the college hoops season has 69 games on the international rotation betting board on Friday!
That means that over half of the 259 teams that are lined (of the 351 schools that participate in Division I basketball) will be in action as the season opens up!
Trying to figure out who will be playing at the end, winning season awards, emerging as top NBA prospects in March and generally knowing anything more than the Average Joe can be incredibly difficult at this point, especially if you haven’t at least skimmed the all-encompassing 400-page Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook.
In fact, there’s so much to discuss that I won’t even bother to get into it all, though I will go through every conference and list my projected champion, sleeper and how many schools from each league that I’ve projected to get into the 68-team NCAA Tournament in March, when the madness truly begins.
American: Champ – Cincinnati. Sleeper – Tulsa. NCAA Tournament teams: 4
ACC: Champ – Virginia. Sleeper – Florida State. NCAA Tournament teams: 7
Atlantic 10: Champ – Dayton. Sleeper – George Washington. NCAA Tournament teams: 4
Big East: Champ – Villanova. Sleeper – Providence. NCAA Tournament teams: 5
Big Sky: Champ – Montana. Sleeper – Sacramento State. This is a one-bid league.
Big 10: Champ – Maryland. Sleeper – Purdue. NCAA Tournament teams: 7
Big West: Champ – UC-Irvine. Sleeper – Hawaii. This is a one-bid league.
Big 12: Champ – Kansas. Sleeper – West Virginia. NCAA Tournament teams: 5
CAA: Champ – Hofstra. Sleeper – Delaware. This is a one-bid league.
Conference USA: Champ – UAB. Sleeper – Western Kentucky. NCAA Tournament teams: 2
Horizon: Champ – Valparaiso. Sleeper – Oakland. This is a one-bid league.
Ivy League: Champ – Princeton. Sleeper – Yale. This is a one-bid league.
Metro Atlantic: Champ – Iona. Sleeper – Siena. This is a one-bid league.
Mid-American: Champ – Central Michigan. Sleeper – Buffalo. This is a one-bid league.
Missouri Valley: Champ – Wichita State. Sleeper – Evansville. This is a one-bid league.
Mountain West: Champ – San Diego State. Sleeper – UNLV. NCAA Tournament teams: 2
Ohio Valley: Champ – Belmont. Sleeper – Jacksonville State. This is a one-bid league.
Pac-12: Champ – California. Sleeper – Colorado. NCAA Tournament teams: 5
SEC: Champ – Kentucky. Sleeper – Vanderbilt. NCAA Tournament teams: 4
Southern: Champ – Wofford. Sleeper – Western Carolina. This is a one-bid league.
Summit: Champ – South Dakota State. Sleeper – IPFW. This is a one-bid league.
Sun Belt: Champ – Louisiana-Lafayette. Sleeper – UALR. This is a one-bid league.
West Coast: Champ – Gonzaga. Sleeper – Portland U. NCAA Tournament teams: 2
And now, the non-board (teams you usually can’t bet on during the regular season) conferences. These are all 1-bid leagues to the NCAA Tournament.
America East: Champ – Stony Brook. Albany and Vermont are the others that could challenge for the bid.
Atlantic Sun: Champ – North Florida. NJIT and Florida Gulf Coast are the others that could challenge for the bid.
Big South: Champ – High Point. Coastal Carolina and Winthrop are the others that could challenge for the bid.
MEAC: Champ – Hampton. Norfolk State, North Carolina A&T, Maryland-Eastern Shore and N.C. Central could challenge for the bid.
Northeast: Champ – Mount St. Mary’s. Robert Morris and Bryant are the others that could challenge for the bid.
Patriot: Champ – Bucknell. Lehigh, Boston U, Army and American U could challenge for the bid.
SWAC: Champ – Texas Southern. Southern and Alabama State are the others that could challenge for the bid.
Southland: Champ – Stephen F. Austin. Northwestern State, Texas A&M Corpus Christi and Sam Houston State could challenge for the bid.
WAC: Champ – New Mexico State. Cal-State Bakersfield, UMKC and Utah Valley State could challenge for the bid.
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The Rex Factor has been handicapping NCAA basketball since he was in high school, and won an 85-person adult office pool as a sixth-grader. He’s never done as well in the 25 years since.