Mason fans packed the Richmond Coliseum to support the Patriots both Saturday and Sunday. Photo by: Peter Flint

Well, the win streak is over. We aren’t going to be winning the CAA championship. But we are still an NCAA tournament team nonetheless. The NCAA tournament Selection Show is this coming Sunday and the George Mason Patriots will be dancing this March.

Our first loss since Jan. 8 will not hurt us. As of March 4, we are slated to be a No. 7 seed and facing a No. 10 seed Illinois team. The CAA is likely to get two teams: George Mason and Old Dominion. The rest of the field of 68 is up for debate.

According to ESPN analyst and bracketologist Joe Lunardi, the Big East will receive eleven tournament bids, which would be a new record previously set by the Big East with eight teams.

With eight teams in the AP Top 25, the Big East is the strongest conference in all of college basketball.

Pittsburgh is shooting for a No. 1 seed, while Notre Dame, Syracuse, Connecticut, Louisville, Georgetown and St. John’s are fighting for top 5 seeds.

Villanova, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Marquette will look to strengthen their at-large chances in the Big East tournament this week but have strong resumes regardless.

The Big Ten has a strong chance to get six teams into the Dance, including the No. 1 overall seed favorite, Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been dominant all year, on the back of freshman phenom Jared Sullinger.

They had their first loss in February to the Wisconsin Badgers and have a potent lineup that can battle with the likes of Duke, Kansas and Pittsburgh.

Wisconsin and Purdue are looking to get a top 5 seeds. Michigan, Michigan State and Illinois are also in, according to Lunardi, but can prove themselves in the Big Ten championship.

Michigan State, under head coach Mike Izzo, has been to four Final Fours in the 00’s and is always dangerous in March. Look for them to make another title run this year.
Joe Lunardi also has the Atlantic Coast Conference receiving six bids in a down year for the conference.

Duke and UNC are definitely in with strong records. The past two NCAA champions have been strong this year with senior leadership on the Blue Devils in forward Kyle Singler and guard Nolan Smith, who is a Player of the Year candidate.

Florida State, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Clemson still have work to do. Teams with unimpressive records against in-conference opponents, in a down year for the ACC don’t look good for the Selection Committee.

Florida State and Virginia Tech had signature wins against Duke, both at home, that will help their RPI and could solidify their spots as tournament teams. The loss of senior forward Chris Singleton has been a major blow for the Seminoles and will play into how much success they have in March.

The Southeastern Conference is looking to get five teams this year with strong teams in Florida and Kentucky leading the pack. Vanderbilt has had an impressive season, being in the top 25 for a good portion of the year. Tennessee is also up there in the SEC and should be dancing as well.

The Big 12 has a solid stock of teams that should be in. Kansas fields a team that can dominate on both sides of the ball.

With junior twins, Marcus and Markieff Morris and freshman standout Josh Selby, the Jayhawks have the tools to make a run at yet another NCAA  title.

Texas has had a surprising year with big wins against Kansas, Missouri and Texas A&M. Freshman Tristan Thompson has been a key contributor to the Longhorns’ success and looks to make an impact in March.

Kansas State had a rocky start to the season but have picked the intensity up with wins against Kansas and Texas in the latter part of the regular season.

Senior Jacob Pullen is averaging 19.6 points per game and was the key ingredient to the Wildcats’ Elite Eight run last season.

Less than a week away from the best sporting event in the nation to begin. Let’s go!