The Towson men’s basketball team is the early favorite to represent the Colonial Athletic Association in the NCAA tournament, according to ESPN’s Bracketology update Thursday.
Joe Lunardi has the Tigers (10-1), rated No. 28 in the Ratings Percentage Index, as a No. 12 seed in the South region, matching up against No. 5 seed Florida State in Boise, Idaho. The Tigers have made the NCAA tournament only twice before, in 1990 and 1991, as a No. 16 seed in both appearances.
Towson wraps up nonconference play with games Wednesday at Oakland (No. 180 RPI) and Dec. 22 at Pittsburgh (No. 130 RPI). The Tigers’ conference schedule begins Dec. 30 at the College of Charleston, the CAA preseason favorite but not currently a projected NCAA tournament team. Since 2008, the CAA has been a one-bid league every year but 2011, when Virginia Commonwealth (now in the Atlantic 10 Conference), George Mason (also now in the Atlantic 10) and Old Dominion made the 68-team field.
Maryland also made Lunardi’s projected field, as a No. 11 seed, but with a more tenuous grasp on its bid. The Terps are the third-to-last team in, ahead of Butler, which they beat at home, and Boise State. The Bulldogs (No. 38 RPI) are the only top-50 win on Maryland’s résumé — they’re also the only top-150 win — and Lunardi has the teams meeting again in a “First Four” game in Dayton, Ohio, with the winner advancing to face No. 6 seed Arkansas in Pittsburgh.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten Conference, it’s not looking like a banner year. Michigan State is an obvious No. 1 seed, but the only other league brethren to make the field are Purdue (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 8) and Michigan (No. 9).