Counting it down: Title field cut to 189

It was a light night on the chopping block. Only seven teams were definitively trimmed from the list of national title contenders Monday, reducing the field to 189 and setting the stage for bigger cuts to come.

The toughest cuts came in the Colonial and MAAC finals, where Virginia Commonwealth and Iona both staged frantic rallies that came up short in ferociously contested games. VCU can harbor an outside hope at an NCAA at-large bid, but it says here that the Rams are an NIT team. On the other hand, our Bracketologist Joe Lunardi still has Saint Mary’s in the field as an at-large. And who are we to question Joey Brackets?

So without further ado, the newest members of the dearly departed:

CAA: VCU, beaten by Old Dominion. The league brass probably would have preferred the opposite result, since it might have led to three NCAA bids.

MAAC: Iona, beaten by St. Peter’s.

Southern: College of Charleston, beaten by Wofford.

Summit: IUPUI, beaten by Oral Roberts. South Dakota State, beaten by Oakland and its own refusal to guard anyone in a 110-90 track meet.

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky, beaten by North Texas. Middle Tennessee, beaten by Arkansas-Little Rock.