Pulse: Which tournament will these teams make?

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Question

1. Who will make which tournament?

Can Torrell Martin lead Winthrop to the Big Dance?Several college basketball teams are on the bubble as to which tournament they'll attend.

Should strength of competition matter? What happens to a team who wins big against easy teams but falls against tougher ones? What about the other way around? Which teams will make the Big Dance, and which will have to settle for the NIT?

SportsNation thought Mississippit State was the most likely NIT-bound, and that Villanova would most likely make the NCAA tournament.

Alabama (19-9, 6-8 SEC; RPI: 45; SOS: 54)
68% NIT
32% NCAA

Appalachian State (21-6, 15-3 SoCon; RPI: 57; SOS: 152)
65% NIT
35% NCAA

Bradley (19-11, 10-8 MVC; RPI: 46; SOS: 26)
67% NIT
33% NCAA

Clemson (19-9, 5-9 ACC; RPI: 43; SOS: 45)
77% NIT
23% NCAA

Davidson (24-4, 17-1 SoCon; RPI: 63; SOS: 226)
51% NIT
49% NCAA

DePaul (16-12, 8-7 Big East; RPI: 54; SOS: 19)
77% NIT
23% NCAA

Drexel (21-7, 13-5 CAA; RPI: 42; SOS: 94)
51% NIT
49% NCAA

Florida State (18-11, 6-9 ACC; RPI: 49; SOS: 15)
75% NIT
25% NCAA

Georgia (16-10, 8-6 SEC; RPI: 53; SOS: 24)
76% NIT
24% NCAA

Georgia Tech (18-10, 6-8 ACC; RPI: 52; SOS: 47)
64% NIT
36% NCAA

Gonzaga (21-10, 11-3 WCC; RPI: 69; SOS: 89)
56% NCAA
44% NIT

Hofstra (21-8, 14-4 CAA; RPI: 67; SOS: 161)
73% NIT
27% NCAA

Illinois (21-9, 9-6 Big Ten; RPI: 31; SOS: 25)
80% NCAA
20% NIT

Kansas State (20-10, 9-6 Big 12; RPI: 59; SOS: 90)
57% NIT
43% NCAA

Massachusetts (21-7, 11-3 A-10; RPI: 58; SOS: 139)
63% NIT
37% NCAA

Michigan (20-10, 8-7 Big Ten; RPI: 50; SOS: 52)
61% NIT
39% NCAA

Mississippi State (16-11, 7-7 SEC; RPI: 65; SOS: 40)
92% NIT

Missouri State (20-9, 12-6 MVC; RPI: 36; SOS: 41)
61% NCAA
39% NIT

Oklahoma State (19-9, 6-8 Big 12; RPI: 41; SOS: 29)
59% NIT
41% NCAA

Old Dominion (23-7, 15-3 CAA; RPI: 34; SOS: 74)
63% NCAA
37% NIT

Providence (17-10, 7-7 Big East; RPI: 71; SOS: 36)
81% NIT
19% NCAA

Purdue (18-10, 7-7 Big Ten; RPI: 40; SOS: 31)
66% NIT
34% NCAA

San Diego State (18-8, 9-5 MWC; RPI: 55; SOS: 70)
82% NIT
18% NCAA

Texas Tech (18-11, 7-7 Big 12; RPI: 47; SOS: 13)
70% NCAA
30% NIT

Villanova (18-9, 7-7 Big East; RPI: 21; SOS: 6)
81% NCAA
19% NIT

VCU (24-6, 16-2 CAA; RPI: 60; SOS: 144)
55% NIT
45% NCAA

West Virginia (19-8, 8-7 Big East; RPI: 56; SOS: 112)
51% NIT
49% NCAA

Winthrop (22-4, 14-0 Big South; RPI: 68; SOS: 257)
69% NCAA
31% NIT

Xavier (21-7, 11-3 A-10; RPI: 35; SOS: 82)
68% NCAA
32% NIT

Thursday's Big Question

1. What do you expect from NFL free agency?

LaVar Arrington is one of the most high-profile free agents on the market.Teams will have their pick of the litter once the NFL's free agency season begins.

Need a linebacker? You're in luck, as several veteran names are more than available. A quarterback? A revitalized Jeff Garcia is waiting to answer your phone call. Shore up your offensive line? Again, you've got quality veterans ready and waiting to round out your squad.

SportsNation thought Adalius Thomas would be the prize catch for any team.

Who is the best defensive player available as an unrestricted free agent?
43% Adalius Thomas, LB
28% Nate Clements, CB
7% Donnie Edwards, LB
6% Cato June, LB
6% LaVar Arrington, LB
5% Patrick Kerney, DE
3% London Fletcher, LB
1% Ken Hamlin, S
1% Junior Seau, LB

Who is the best offensive player available as an unrestricted free agent?
21% Donte' Stallworth, WR
16% Eric Steinbach, OG
14% Jeff Garcia, QB
13% Dominic Rhodes, RB
11% Ahman Green, RB
9% Leonard Davis, OT
7% Kris Dielman, OG
6% Daniel Graham, TE
2% Jon Stinchcomb, OT
2% Shaun O'Hara, C

Is restricted free agent Matt Schaub worth first- and third-round picks as compensation to sign him?
81% No
19% Yes

What will happen to Schaub this offseason?
58% He'll remain in Atlanta
25% He'll be traded
17% He'll sign elsewhere as a restricted free agent

Is restricted free agent Michael Turner worth first- and third-round picks as compensation to sign him?
82% No
18% Yes

Which team would be the best fit for Jeff Garcia?
25% Tampa Bay Buccaneers
22% Chicago Bears
20% Minnesota Vikings
15% Oakland Raiders
13% Denver Broncos
5% Other

Will Garcia enter the 2007 season as the No. 1 QB on a team's depth chart?
53% Yes
47% No

Can Dominic Rhodes handle a full-time starting job if he leaves Indianapolis?
60% No
40% Yes

Which player were you most surprised to see given the franchise tag?
44% Josh Brown, K, Seahawks
20% Cory Redding, DT, Lions
12% Asante Samuel, CB, Patriots
11% Justin Smith, DE, Bengals
5% Charles Grant, DE, Saints
4% Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts
4% Lance Briggs, LB, Bears

Does the current system of free agency in the NFL make it too difficult for star players to move?
64% No
36% Yes

From KC Joyner's Thursday chat:

KC! Who is the first FA signing when the clock strikes midnight?
Oklahoma City, OK

I would be quite surprised if Clements isn't pulling out an ink pen at 12:01 AM. Either Clements or Thomas. If it's Thomas, I'd bet it would be with SF.
KC Joyner

Wednesday's Big Question

1. What was the biggest trade at the NHL trade deadline?

Ryan Smyth could be an impact player down the stretch.The NHL saw a flurry of activity at the trade deadline.

Oliers star Ryan Smyth was the biggest surprise, going to the Islanders for a draft pick and prospects. Bill Guerin went from the Blues to the Sharks for a draft pick, Ville Nieminen, and Jay Barriball. It's the typical story of midseason trades; some teams look to here and now while others look to the future.

SportsNation thought that Guerin will probably have the biggest impact in the playoffs.

Which trade-deadline deal surprised you the most?

58% Ryan Smyth traded to Islanders
14% Todd Bertuzzi traded to Red Wings
10% Martin Biron traded to Flyers
8% Bill Guerin traded to Sharks
5% Mattias Norstrom traded to Stars
5% Gary Roberts traded to Penguins

Which team was the big winner at the trade deadline?
25% San Jose Sharks
24% New York Islanders
16% Pittsburgh Penguins
12% Detroit Red Wings
11% Buffalo Sabres
8% Other
3% Dallas Stars

Which player acquired will have the greatest impact in the playoffs?
34% Bill Guerin
27% Ryan Smyth
13% Todd Bertuzzi
13% Gary Roberts
9% Keith Tkachuk

5% Mattias Norstrom

Which team should have made a big move, but didn't?
41% Anaheim Ducks
22% New York Rangers
20% Montreal Canadiens
17% Toronto Maple Leafs

From Barry Melrose's Tuesday chat:
Today's trade deadline trades, which team came out on top?
Clint Labson
Palo Alto, CA

I like what the Islanders did, getting Ryan Smyth. You got Zednik yesterday and Ryan today. I've got to think that the Islanders will get in the playoffs. People don't know what Smyth getting traded is like for Edmonton. It's like the Yankees trading Jeter.
Barry Melrose

Are the Sharks now Cup favorites in the West with the additions of Guerin and Rivet?

Roseville, CA

They helped themselves, but don't forget a couple of weeks ago, Nashville added Forsberg. Detroit added Bertuzzi. San Jose got better but the others did as well.
Barry Melrose

What do you think about the Biron/Conklin deals for Buffalo? Doesn't it seem like they traded a very good backup for an average (at best) one just to upgrade a 5th rounder to a 2nd? Weird.
Aurora, CO

I also think they moved Biron to get some cap room. Ty Conklin has played in the playoffs. They got a backup with some experience. I think they would have loved to keep Biron.
Barry Melrose

Tuesday's Big Question

1. Should the Veterans Committee have elected somebody?

Joe Torre has a better chance of getting in as a manager than as a player.For the third straight year, baseball's Veterans Committee didn't elect anyone to the Hall of Fame.

Potential front-runner Ron Santo fell five votes short of induction, receiving the highest vote total from the Players ballot with 57. Pitcher Jim Kaat was second with 52 votes. Umpire Doug Harvey fell nine votes short from the Composite ballot, receiving 52 votes. Other luminaries, such as Joe Torre, Minnie Minoso, and Maury Wills, also were denied induction.

SportsNation thought that the Veterans Committe was too strict in keeping out Santo and others.

Should Ron Santo be elected to the Hall of Fame?
75% Yes
25% No

Should Tony Oliva be elected to the Hall of Fame?
75% No
25% Yes

Should Jim Kaat be elected to the Hall of Fame?
63% No
37% Yes

Should Maury Wills be elected to the Hall of Fame?
73% No
27% Yes

Should Don Newcombe be elected to the Hall of Fame?
79% No
21% Yes

Should Gil Hodges be elected to the Hall of Fame?
52% Yes
48% No

What do you think of the Veterans Committee's voting standards?
69% Too strict
28% Just right
3% Too loose

Should the Veterans Committee have elected someone this year?
87% Yes
13% No

Monday's Big Question

1. How will Asian players affect baseball?

Hideki Matsui and other Asian players have made a huge impact on baseball.Major league baseball is becoming a truly worldwide organization.

Players from a hemisphere other than the Western one have made great strides towards greater acceptance in Major League Baseball. Following on the success of players like Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, and Hideki Matsui, teams now covet players from Japanese and other Asian leagues, seeing them as highly talented and fundamentally sound.

SportsNation believes Asian players will become more and more commonplace in the majors. Read more about the impact Asian players are having on professional baseball in our Inside Asia series.

Will major league teams look to Asia as the next Latin America?
78% Yes
22% No

How comparable are the Japanese leagues to major league baseball?
74% Somewhere between minor and major league baseball
14% Just as good as major league baseball
12% Equivalent to minor leagues

What is the biggest hurdle Asian players face when coming to America?
31% Adjusting to a new culture
25% Increased talent level
22% Changed style of play
22% Language barrier

What will happen to Asian professional leagues if their best players begin to migrate to America?
74% They'll adjust and thrive
26% They'll collapse

Is the posting system for Japanese players fair?
66% No
34% Yes

Will a player from the Asian leagues besides Ichiro ever win an MVP award?
83% Yes
17% No

Will a pitcher from the Asian leagues ever win a Cy Young Award?
89% Yes
11% No

Will a player from the Asian leagues ever be elected to the Hall of Fame?
93% Yes
7% No

Will an MLB team ever hire an Asian manager?
55% No
45% Yes

Should players from Asian leagues be considered MLB rookies?
51% Yes
49% No

If you were going to start a team, which player would you choose to build around?
49% Ichiro Suzuki
24% Daisuke Matsuzaka
19% Chien-Ming Wang
4% Hideki Matsui
1% Hong-Chih Kuo
1% Tadahito Iguchi
1% Kenji Johjima

Would you like to see a true World Series?

74% Yes
26% No

From Kenji Johjima's Monday chat:

Was the transition from Japanese ball to the MLB any harder or easier than you expected?

I can't say what's hard or easy, because we all know that it's not easy. One thing that I want all the fans to know that the game of baseball is always the same, the rules are all the same. When the game starts, it's all the same, it's the game of baseball. As a catcher, you have to talk to the pitcher to know more about the pitcher and know what he likes to do. From that standpoint, I had to learn a lot of English. I felt that went well last year.

Kenji Johjima

What is pre-season training camp like in Japan compaired to MLB?
Boston, MA

First thing, I think it's similar. Practices start the same, but they end at 9 p.m. in Japan. We stay at the same hotel and have a lot of meetings back at the hotel. The practices are a lot longer. I like the major league style right now. I like how they do it over here.
Kenji Johjima

Hey Mr. Johjima, Do you tend to call for different pitches here in America, than you did in Japan? For example, do you call for more fastballs here?
San Diego, CA

I had to make a few adjustments here. In the MLB, we make sure the pitchers pitch what they want to pitch. Back in Japan, a lot of catchers have the authority to call the games. That's kind of different. I had to make some adjustments there.
Kenji Johjima

How much different did it feel to walk into the clubhouse at Spring Training this year compared to 2006 as a first-year player?
Spokane, WA

Compared to last year, I feel a lot more relaxed and comfortable. Last year I proved a little bit of myself. What makes the difference is that I can practice what I want to practice more this year. There is not much teasing or hazing that I had last year, because I'm not a rookie any more.
Kenji Johjima

Kenji, how do you like Seattle, and does its large Japanese population make an easier place to transition to U.S. baseball? Good luck and see you Opening Day!
Seattle, WA

I think Seattle is one of the best cities for Japanese. We have a big community back in Seattle for Japanese. We have a lot of markets. There's nothing to complain about Seattle. The fans are great too. The reason I chose Seattle was to give my best on the field was because of my family support. We loved Seattle. There's nothing to complain about. Period.
Kenji Johjima