Upsets in conference play already stirring pot
Two men’s conference championships wrapped up play this weekend and both events certainly turned a few heads.
The Towson Tigers won the Colonial for the first time in program history, and were granted the league’s automatic qualifying bid. It’s possbile that in doing so, the Tigers spoiled the postseason chances of Virginia Commonwealth and UNC-Wilmington.
The Colonial was a ‘tweener’ league - a league that was very much on the bubble of getting a team in on an at-large selection. VCU and UNCW were the favorites, and with a victory, would have earned the AQ. A win probably would have put both teams inside the number needed to be an at-large team, causing the magic number to remain unmoved. However, with VCU finishing third and UNCW placing seventh, both could be out. And that would reduce the magic number by one.
As for the Tigers, No. 142 in Golfweek’s rankings, they will be on their way to one of the six regionals which will be announced May 10.
In the other conference that concluded play this weekend, the SEC, Georgia claimed its second conference title in a row. This win does not change anything when it comes to at-large bids and bubble talk because the winner of the SEC was certain to be a top team, but how about those ’Dawgs!
Georgia made very little noise last fall and was almost completely left out of all national talk. After all, they ended the fall ranked 20th and there was not a lot of buzz surrounding this squad. Boy, has that changed.
The Bulldogs now have won two tournaments in a row – including the Morris Williams Intercollegiate prior to the SEC – and have both confidence and momentum heading into the postseason. With two players ranked inside the top 6 in Russell Henley (No. 1) and Harris English (No. 6), this team could be a very dangerous match play team if they were to find the top 8 after 54 holes of stroke-play qualifying at the national championship.
Chris Haack’s name also might be one to add to the mix for Coach of the Year.
So where does the magic number stand now? With no more upsets, it will fall at 70, but I will stick with my original prediction of 69 ... for now.