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Big Dance, the winners and losers
by Paul Kennedy, November 17th, 2009 8:15AM

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[MEN'S DRAW] Monday's announcement of the 48 teams that will take part in the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Tournament had its share of surprises, signaling a shift in power on the West Coast and marking the end of an era for one traditional power. For a look at this year's winners and losers ...

Winners

ACC. The ACC led all conferences with seven teams selected to the 48-team field.  Four of the seven ACC teams receiving a bid earned a top 16 seed: No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Wake Forest, No. 5 North Carolina and No. 15 N.C. State. Only Virginia Tech and Clemson didn't get bids.

NEWBIES. Conference champions UNC Wilmington (CAA), Sacramento State (MPSF) and Wofford (Southern) and at-large entrant St. Mary's are playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

WCC. St, Mary's was one of three WCC teams to earn at-large berths along with Portland and Loyola Marymount. San Diego won the conference title. Only a year ago, the WCC had only one tournament team -- San Francisco. The four postseason teams give the WCC West Coast bragging rights. None of the other West Coast conferences -- Pac-10, Big West and MPSF -- is sending more than two teams to the NCAA Tournament.

Losers

CREIGHTON. For first time since 1991, the Bluejays will not be participating in the NCAA Tournament.  Creighton's streak of 17 straight NCAA Tournament appearances was the fourth longest active streak in the nation. It posted a 7-4-5 record this season, losing just two of its final 11 matches. The biggest win on a slim regular-season schedule -- only 15 games -- was a 1-0 victory over UCLA. Two other Missouri Valley teams, Missouri State (12-4-2) and Drake (13-6-2), made the NCAA Tournament.

SAN DIEGO STATE. The Aztecs went 3-3-4 in games against tournament teams -- including wins over UC Santa Barbara, Stanford and Princeton -- but didn't get in. They were the highest rated team (No. 22) in the Nov. 10 RPI Index not to earn a tournament bid.

WILLIAM & MARY. After San Diego State, the Tribe was the highest rated team in the Nov. 10 RPI to not get it. William & Mary's loss to Northeastern in the CAA Tournament hurt, allowing 11 teams below it in the last RPI Index to earn bids. Only UNC Wilmington got in from the CAA.



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