There seems to be a larger than usual pool of teams across the college basketball landscape from the non-power conferences that could make their own case for an at-large bid. These are some of the conferences that have teams that could pop other teams bubbles if they don't win their conference tournament. Part 1 and Part 3.
Today has the Sun Belt, Atlantic Sun and Patriot League getting their conference tournaments started. Not as much attention will be paid to the Atlantic Sun and the Patriot League, but South Alabama in the Sun Belt will be watched closely.
Hope wins: Virginia Commonwealth (43d RPI, 8-2 in last 10, beat Maryland and Houston).
Watch out for: George Mason. 3-1 against the RPI top-50 including beating VCU. They are bracketed opposite VCU and would meet in the CAA Tournament Championship game.
Hope wins: Memphis (#2 AP Poll, #3 Coaches Poll, 2nd RPI).
Watch out for: UAB. The Blazers are 51st in RPI. They lost 8 games this season, with 5 of them coming in OT or by 5 or less points including a 1 point loss to Memphis. UAB has the talent, with several players who transferred to UAB from power conference schools.
Hope wins: Drake (#20 AP Poll, #21 Coaches Poll, 15th RPI) or Illinois St. (36th RPI, 7-3 last 10 games, 4-4 vs. RPI top-50).
Watch out for: Southern Illinois or Creighton. SIU is 48th in RPI and 7-3 in their last 10 games and 12th ranked strength of schedule. Creighton is 50th in RPI and has beaten St. Joe's and DePaul.
Hope wins: Stephen F. Austin (57th RPI, 8-2 in the last 10 games, beat Oklahoma and San Diego).
Watch out for: Lamar. First in the Southland Conference, but an RPI of 133.