Wednesday, December 30, 2009

First Time Dancers

Three schools that have never been to the NCAA Tournament are looking to crash the party this year - Northwestern, Army and William & Mary.

For the first time since 1969, Northwestern is ranked - entering the AP Poll at #25. They have victories over Stanford, Notre Dame, Iowa State and North Carolina State. Their only losses are to Butler and tonight in overtime at Illinois in the Big Ten opener.

Despite firing their basketball coach prior to the season, Army is 9-3. Despite losses to Buffalo, VMI and SMU, they appear to be the top team in the Patriot League. The Patriot League will only be a one-bid league, but the league champion will get home-court advantage in the conference tournament. That could be the difference between Army staying home or dancing for the first time in school history.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the three is William & Mary. They opened up the season with losses to UConn and Harvard, but since have won 9 straight including wins over Richmond, Wake Forest, VCU and Maryland. They currently are ranked #7 in the RPI. They are building a resume for an at-large bid and a high seed.

Joe Lunardi takes a look at each of these three teams' chances at a bid in March.

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