16 Giant Killer candidates who still have work to do

Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander has directed his team into tournament contention. Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports

It's Giant Killer heartbreak season.

All season long we've tracked these under-the-radar teams, trying to identify the right underdogs to pick in our bracket. And then in the blink of a conference tournament eye, the dream can be crushed in a single 40-minute span before Selection Sunday has even begun.

A year ago, our model fawned over Vermont, and then I jinxed the Catamounts as they entered their conference tournament final against UMBC. No, it wasn't UMBC's biggest surprise victory last March, but we did give Vermont a 92 percent chance to win the game. And then it lost like this.

Today we're looking at 2019 first-round Giant Killer candidates who still have work to do to get into the tournament. We're considering any team with between a 35 and 90 percent chance to earn a berth and are ranking them based on their average chance of defeating their first-round opponents (see accompanying note). In other words, if you're rooting for first-round chaos, this is your conference tournament priority list. All projections are entering Monday's games.