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20-20 thinking

Getting to 20 wins is no longer the magic bullet to grabbing a postseason berth that it once was. Not with teams' regular-season schedules bloated by new NCAA rules allowing as many as 30 or 31 games rather than the 27 of previous seasons.

Check this out:  83 Division I teams entered Saturday with at least 20 wins. Eighty-three! And there's 28 more schools with either 18 or 19 wins (including Niagara). And there's still more than a week to Selection Sunday! Forget about the NCAAs. There's going to be plenty of schools, some with big names, who won't even get a sniff of the NIT this season.

You're also going to see some huge victory totals, especially among mid-majors, sentenced to the NIT. Winthrop is 27-4 but it's probably a shade outside of at-large range if it loses today's Southern Conference championship game to run-and-gun VMI. MAAC favorite Marist could lose in the conference final and have no NCAA shot even though it would have 25 wins. Appalachian State is 25-7 -- with wins over Virginia, Vanderbilt and VCU -- but its bubble burst with Friday's Southern Conference loss to the College of Charleston. Davidson is 28-4 but better win today's SoCon final against Bobby Cremins' first Charleston team.

Can't wait to hear all the complaining next week when the big boys crank up their tournaments. The ACC and Big East might have nine 20-win teams.  The Big 12 and Big Ten might end up with seven apiece. That's 32 teams among just those four leagues and they're not all getting into the NCAAs.

---Mike Harrington

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