Updated: May 10, 2022
My first round review on Jerome XXI will be coming shortly. It's not great!!
But for now, behold. Round 2.
As usual, here are my short-form reviews on why each team has a path to their conference tournament championships.
Only one team beat #18 Houston twice this year, and that team will get the auto-bid from the American Athletic Conference.
Because Coach K really isn't going to want soul-crushing revenge against his Research Triangle foes? Likely story.
The Flyers have some bad losses, but some incredible wins. They also are the most likely candidate to dethrone Davidson.
BIG EAST: Providence
Let's see how gritty the Friars can get, and let's hope the fact that they're not in desperation mode like previous years sets them back.
BIG SKY: Montana State
The 16-4 Bobcats have only 2 losses in 2022. One of those losses was waved off on a controversial buzzer-beater that the refs said didn't go in time. Redemption tour is on for the Bobcats.
BIG TEN: Purdue
Arguably the deepest conference this year, you have to admire Purdue's style of basketball. Jaden Ivey will be the go-to-guy if the Boilermakers are planning to stand atop what is arguably a 7-or-8-bid league.
BIG 12: Baylor
See above and swap it out with "Baylor" and Adam Flagler, James Akinjo, and LJ Cryer. Baylor is taking no prisoners this year, and with a recent win against #5 Kansas, they're in a unique position to be in the driver's seat through this tournament.
BIG WEST: Hawaii
Eran Ganot is overdue; he went from Coach of the Year and an upset win over Cal in round 1 to a few years of average play. Now, the Rainbow Warriors are back at the table with the #3 seed. Can take they take care of Long Beach and Cal State Fullerton?
C-USA: North Texas
The Mean Green cruise. They won all but 2 games against C-USA opponents. They should be back in the tourney.
Aside from being a huge stan of both James Jones and Azar Swain, I like Yale's chances. They have a legitimate shot to knock off the #1 challenger in Princeton - they've already beat the Tigers once this year.
Pitino!! And Tyson Jolley, and Elijah Joiner, and more. It's theirs to lose.
The Rockets haven't been to the Big Dance since 1979...and they beat Iowa in the first round. Their streak of 7 NIT appearances in 22 years will end this year, and Toledo will come out on top.
MEAC: Norfolk State
Don't even think this is close. The MEAC has a pretty sizable gap between the Spartans and the field. Let's see if Morgan State or NCCU - the two programs that delivered their losses this year - can prevent Norfolk State from getting back to the NCAA tournament.
MOUNTAIN WEST: Colorado State
This is a conference that is jam-packed on the top half. The Rams have beat the top contenders at least once (Boise, Fresno, SDSU), but are 0-2 against UNLV. Colorado State is in a good spot.
PAC 12: UCLA
If you're still doubting Mick Cronin after what they did last year...shame on you. And yes, they can beat Arizona again.
I'm incredibly bullish on Oscar Tshiebwe winning the National Player of the Year. The next step is to beat Auburn.
The Colonels have scored 80+ in their last 7 games. The ride continues.
SWAC: Texas Southern
Texas Southern got valuable experience beating Mount in the first round last year, only to be rinsed up by Michigan in the first round. They're poised and have been there before. Good stuff coming from the Tigers.
WAC: Seattle U
The Redhawks’ 22 wins are the most they’ve ever had as a D1 program since 1964. Even though they’re 0-2 against New Mexico State, this is written in the stars for Seattle.