Last year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Iona Gaels occasionally took the conference lead away from the Marist Red Foxes. Charlie Creme and others were forced by their own bracketology rules to deny Marist the MAAC's bid, despite the fact that Marist had made the tournament for eight straight years. I chose not to, carving out the Marist Exception to my own rules. I was vindicated when Marist made it nine years in a row in the NCAA tournament while others scrambled to show Marist as a late tourney addition.
But last year Marist was essentially equal to Iona during the regular season (and superior in the post season). This year, the difference in quality between the real first place team in the MAAC (Quinnipiac) and Marist is much more vast. Quinnipiac has only lost three times this season, they are currently undefeated in the MAAC, and they've beaten Marist twice.
Marist started the season 1-5, but they got better, and they are now in second place in the MAAC. But that second place is four games behind Quinnipiac, after this weekend's loss to Niagara.
Quinnipiac will clinch the top seed in the MAAC tournament if they beat the Peahens of Saint Peter's on Thursday.
Conferences with multiple bids:
Big Ten: 7
PAC 12: 5
Big 12: 5
Atlantic 10: 2