This is part of a series of posts going up on December 26. Let's look back at everyone's performance in the non-conference schedule and take inventory on where everyone is at.
VCU (9-3) is the likely class of the league, still. Right now, they've played the 2nd toughest schedule in the country, and got UNI, @Cincy, and N-Oregon during it. They missed N-Nova and Virginia (forgivable) and @Illinois St (oops). They'll be fine.
The first challenger will likely be George Washington (9-3). Their SoS might be an issue down the stretch, and a loss @Penn St hurts, but beating Wichita St on a neutral cures a lot of ills. N-Colorado might be the only other win of value so far, though. Dayton (9-2) might be the other contender. The losses are good, but the lack of impact wins leaves them a lot of work to do.
The league surprise might be Davidson (8-1). Sure, their signature win right now is just Charlotte, but still, they're winning the games they're supposed to. We'll need to learn more about them before wondering if they're really a bubble team or not.
Rhode Island (6-3) has a relatively poor schedule, their win over Nebraska has melted away, and the loss to N-Georgia Tech stings. They're still in play, but probably a tier behind the top 3. URI probably belongs in a tier with LaSalle (7-5), Richmond (7-4), and UMass (6-6). None of them just have enough meat on the resume (read: quality wins) to challenge for an at-large bid. They're all probably battling on the NIT bubble this year,
Back in the pack, St Bonaventure (7-3), St Joseph's (6-4), and St Louis (7-4) have general SoS issues holding them back. George Mason (4-6) actually has played a more brutal schedule, so keep an eye out for them. And expect Duquesne (3-5) and Fordham (2-6) in the cellar. It would take something special for any of these teams to contend.