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Bracketology/Bowls Expert

Tough day for conference tournament top seeds

One of the things bubble teams keep an eye on this time of year is potential upsets in conference tournaments stealing at-large bids from the bottom of the bracket.

Well, several nonmajor conference top seeds got beat Sunday, however the only one that might scare bubble teams is Middle Tennessee State. The Blue Radiers lost to Florida International in the Sun Belt semifinals. They have a relatively gaudy RPI (top 30), but their only top 100 RPI win is Ole Miss (UCF vacillates back and forth across that line). Nobody has ever received an at-large bid with fewer than three top 100 wins, and even that hasn't been enough since 2003. Many in the media are campaigning for MTSU to get a spot, but the committee will have to lower its standards, as they have the last two years in different ways for USC (2011) and Iona (2012).

Other top seeds to get beat over the weekend included Niagara, Mercer, Charleston Southern, Robert Morris and Stony Brook, which lost a road game at Albany, the tournament host.

Liberty was the team to beat Charleston Southern to win the Big South. At 11-20, they have the lowest winning percentage of any tournament team ever, and could break Hampton's mark as the team with the lowest RPI in the field in the last 20 years. Hampton had an RPI of 284 in 2006. As of today, the Flames are at 287.

Creighton won the MVC title over Wichita State. The Jays moved up a seed and WSU is still in the bracket. Illinois dropped a seed because of Creighton's move up. All other seed changes in the bracket are due to movements made to resolve bracketing issues.

Five more bids go out Monday night. The headliner is the WCC final between Gonzaga and Saint Mary's. SMC may not have to win, but they need to look like a tournament team. The Zags probably have to win to have a chance at a one-seed.

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