Belmont, a team that's made the NCAAs four of the past six seasons, is a team with a 93.5 percent chance to win Saturday's A-Sun title game against Florida Gulf Coast, according to KenPom.com.
So we're sayin' there's a chance, FGCU!
How'd they both get here? These small-guy/small-fry conference tournaments can go so fast when you're not catching every game, so here goes. Top-seeded Belmont took out Jacksonville (76-62) and East Tennessee State (69-61) earlier in the week. No. 6 Florida Gulf Coast upset No. 3 USC Upstate 71-61, then won dramatically over Mercer Friday night, 62-58. The title game tips at 7 ET on ESPN2.
The Bruins of Belmont are the team that deserves to get the bid -- even if FGCU getting in would provide the first true shock to college basketball this March. Belmont's played a tough out-out-conference schedule and is becoming a team that strikes a bit of fear into any big-conference opponent. The Bruins haven't lost a game since Jan. 21, and in the two games these teams played during the regular season, Belmont won by an average score of 91-58. Belmont has the 10th-most efficient offense in the country; FGCU is ranked No. 247 inadjusted defense.
The odds are stacked against first-year coach Andy Enfield's Eagles. Either we'll get a tight, exciting game -- or Belmont will blow out Gulf Coast again, setting up plenty of hype for the team's second-round NCAA game.
-- Matt Norlander