The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 8, 2008

A PiRate Look At The NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 8, 2008

 

A PiRate Look at the NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments

March 8, 2008, 4th Update

Conference Tournament Results through Friday, March 07, 2008

America East

1st Three Rounds At Binghamton, NY.  Championship Game At Higher Seed

Opening Round

#8 Stony Brook 73  vs. #9 Maine 65  ot

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

#1 Md. Balt. Co. (21-8)  vs. Stony Brook (7-22)

#4 Vermont (15-14)  vs. #5 Binghamton (14-15)

#2 Hartford (16-15)  vs. #7 New Hampshire (9-19)

#3 Albany (15-14)  vs. #6 Boston U. (13-16)

Sunday, March 9

Semifinals

UMBC-Stony Brook vs. Vermont-Binghamton

Hartford-New Hampshire vs. Albany-Boston

Saturday, March 15

Championship Game @ Higher Seed

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

UMBC will have a tough time getting by host Binghamton in a possible semifinal match.  The Bearcats beat the top seed at home in the regular season and almost swept them when they played in Catonsville.  I look for the winner of that game to cut down the nets on the 15th.

Atlantic Sun

Quarterfinals

#4 East Tennessee 81 #5 Lipscomb 74

#6 Gardner-Webb 82  #3 Stetson 63

#2 Jacksonville 65  #7 Mercer 57

#1 Belmont 75  #8 Campbell 66

Semifinals

Jacksonville 89 Gardner-Webb 80

Belmont 69 East Tennessee 65

Saturday, March 8

Championship

Jacksonville (18-12) vs. Belmont (24-8)

Belmont has not played up to their capabilities in the first two rounds and wouldn’t be in the championship game if not for a technical foul on an East Tennessee player with less than 15 seconds remaining in the semifinal game.  Jacksonville was impressive in their semifinal match with Gardner-Webb.  Unless the Bruins turn it around in less than 24 hours, Jacksonville will cut down the nets tonight.

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

Big Sky

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

#5 Montana (14-15) at #4 Idaho State (11-18)

#6 Montana State (15-14) at #3 Weber State (15-13)

Tuesday, March 11 @ Portland, OR

Semifinals

#1 Portland State (21-9)  vs. Lower Remaining Seed

#2 Northern Arizona (20-10) vs. Higher Remaining Seed

Wednesday, March 12 @ Portland, OR

Championship Game

If Portland State has the same intensity they had in February, they are going to waltz through this tournament.  The Vikings won their last 12 conference games, including slaughters at Montana State 96-68 and at Montana 108-56 as the regular season ended.

PSU won all their conference home games this year, but in half of them, they had to pull out squeakers.  The one team that has the best shot at the Vikings is #3-seed and defending tournament champion Weber State.  The Wildcats lost by three at PSU, and the game stayed tight the entire 40 minutes.  Weber State can win by taking advantage of its quickness.

As for #2-seed Northern Arizona, the Lumberjacks match up well with Weber State but not with Portland State.  NAU dominated on the boards and forced a lot of turnovers on WSU in their two games with the Wildcats.  Against PSU, the Lumberjacks’ defense forced turnovers, but gave up too many easy shots and couldn’t hold their own on the boards.

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

Big South

Opening Round

#1 UNC-Asheville 87  #8 Charleston Southern 63

#4 Liberty 103  #5 VMI 88

#2 Winthrop 76  #7 Radford 45

#3 High Point 59  #6 Coastal Carolina 56

Semifinals

UNC-Asheville 75  Liberty 57

Winthrop 61  High Point 53

Saturday, March 8 @ Asheville, NC

Championship Game

UNC-Asheville (23-8)  vs. Winthrop (21-11)

The top two seeds advanced to the finals.  UNCA defeated Winthrop twice this year, so Winthrop will be poised to get revenge in the one that really matters.  Winthrop led the Bulldogs for most of the first half when they played at the Justice Center in Asheville earlier this year, but UNCA went on a huge run to win by 15.  UNCA was hot from behind the arc, and it opened up the inside.

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

Colonial Athletic Association

All Games Played At Richmond, VA (Virginia Commonwealth host team)

#9 Towson State 81  #8 Towson State 66

#5 William & Mary 58 #12 Georgia State 57

#6 Delaware 60  #11 Drexel 51

#7 Northeastern 73 #10 James Madison 59

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

Virginia Commonwealth (23-6)  vs. Towson State (13-17)

Old Dominion (17-14)  vs. William & Mary (15-15)

UNC-Wilmington (19-12)  vs. Delaware (14-16)

George Mason (20-10)  vs. Northeastern (14-16)

Sunday, March 9

Semifinals

VCU-Towson  vs. ODU-Wm. & Mary

UNCW-Delaware vs. GMU-Northeastern

Monday, March 10

Championship Game

This should be a well-played, interesting tournament.  Virginia Commonwealth hosts the tournament and is the top-seed, but Old Dominion was playing the best ball down the stretch.  UNC-Wilmington and George Mason give this league four really good teams, all of which can win an opening round NCAA Tournament game.

At-Large Teams:      0 or 1

Bubble:                      Virginia Commonwealth

Horizon League

All Games Played At Indianapolis (Butler host team)

Opening Round

#3 Wright State 60  #10 Detroit 37

#6 Valparaiso 75  #7 UW-Green Bay 67

#4 Illinois-Chicago 70  #9 Youngstown State 59

#8 Loyola (Chi.) 57  #5 UW-Milwaukee 51

Quarterfinals

Valparaiso 72  Wright State 67

Illinois-Chicago 60 Loyola (Chi.) 49

Saturday, March 8

Semifinals

Cleveland State (20-11)  vs. Valparaiso (21-12)

Butler (27-3)  vs. Illinois-Chicago (18-14)

Tuesday, March 11

Championship

Butler lost at home to Drake, but I doubt the Bulldogs will lose at home to any Horizon League opponent.  Cleveland State is playing well right now, and the Vikings gave Butler a good game in Indianapolis three weeks ago, having the game tied with less than 13 minutes to go before losing by five.  Valparaiso is flying under the radar, but Homer Drew knows how to get a team to the Dance.

At-Large Teams:      1 (Butler)

Bubble:                      None

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

All Games Played At Albany, NY (Siena host team)

Opening Round

#8 Manhattan 73  vs. #9 St. Peter’s 59

#10 Canisius 64  #7 Iona 59

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

#1 Siena (19-10)  vs. Manhattan (12-18)

#4 Loyola (Md.) (18-13)  vs. #5 Fairfield (14-15)

#2 Rider (21-9)  vs. Canisius (6-24)

#3 Niagara (19-9)  vs. #6 Marist (17-13)

Sunday, March 9

Semifinals

Siena-Manhattan  vs. Loyola-Fairfield

Rider-Canisius  vs. Niagara-Marist

Monday, March 10

Championship Game

The top four seeds are basically even in talent.  Siena has home court advantage, but the Saints had a better road record than home record in conference play.  Niagara enters the tournament as the hottest team, winning five of their final six games.  However, the one loss came by 16 points at Siena.

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

Missouri Valley @ St. Louis (Arch Madness)

Opening Round

#8 Indiana State 71  #9 Wichita State 67

#7 Missouri State 69 #10 Evansville 46

Quarterfinals

#1 Drake 68  Indiana State 46

#4 Creighton 74  #5 Bradley 70

#2 Illinois State 63  Missouri State 58

#6 Northern Iowa 54  #3 Southern Illinois 49

Saturday, March 8

Semifinals

Drake (26-4) vs. Creighton (21-9)

Illinois State (23-8)  vs. Northern Iowa (18-13)

Sunday, March 9

Championship

At-Large Teams:      1 (Drake)

Bubble:                      Illinois State

Southern Illinois is gone, but Creighton is still around.  It is my belief that the Blue Jays will defeat the top-seed today and then win the tournament championship tomorrow.  Illinois State may earn an at-large bid with an impressive win over Northern Iowa today.  An ISU-Creighton final would be a great game.

Northeast

Quarterfinal

#1 Robert Morris 64  #8 Monmouth 50

#4 Mt. St. Mary’s 80  #5 Quinnipiac 70

#2 Wagner 71  #7 Long Island 62

#3 Sacred Heart 84  #6 Central Connecticut State 71

Sunday, March 9

Semifinals

Mt. St. Mary’s (16-14) at Robert Morris (26-6)

Sacred Heart (17-13) at Wagner (23-7)

Wednesday, March 12 @ Higher Seed

Championship

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

Robert Morris hasn’t lost since January 13; the Colonials have won 14 straight games by an average score of 76-64.  #2-seed Wagner went 5-0 in overtime games and won several others in regulation by one to five points.  The Seahawks should not panic late in close games, and that could be a major plus in a close tournament game.  Sacred Heart cannot be overlooked.  They looked tough in dismissing CCSU in the quarterfinals.

Ohio Valley Conference

Quarterfinals @ Higher Seed

#1 Austin Peay 76  #8 Eastern Kentucky 51

#4 UT-Martin 101  #5 Samford 94  3ot

#2 Murray State 77  #7 Tennessee Tech 74

#6 Tennessee State 68  #3 Morehead State 61

Semifinals @ Nashville

Austin Peay 78  UT-Martin 77

Tennessee State 83 Murray State 75

Saturday, March 8

Championship

Austin Peay 23-10 vs. Tennessee State 16-15

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

As predicted, Tennessee State has upset two teams to make it to the finals.  The Tigers and the Governors should be worth watching tonight in the Championship game.  Austin Peay fell at TSU February 18th, and that’s the Govs only loss in their last 11 games.  APSU’s Drake Reed hit the second of two free throws with two seconds left to edge UT-Martin in last night’s semifinal game.

Tennessee State forced APSU into numerous turnovers, most via steals of the ball.  They parlayed many of those steals into points.  If the same thing happens tonight, the home town Tigers will be cutting down the nets in Nashville tonight.

Patriot League

Quarterfinals

#1 American 62  #8 Holy Cross 60

#5 Army 64  #4 Lehigh 61 ot

#7 Bucknell 87  #2 Navy 86 3ot

#3 Colgate 76  #6 Lafayette 74

Sunday, March 9

Semifinals

Army (14-15) at American (19-11)

Bucknell (12-18) at Colgate (17-13)

Friday, March 14

Championship

At Higher Seed

At-Large Teams:      0

Bubble:                      None

The first round scores in this tournament revealed just how balanced this league is.  American and Colgate are no locks for winning at home over their opponents, but you have to favor them playing for the title next Friday evening. 

Southern Conference

All Games Played At Charleston, SC (College of Charleston host team)

Opening Round

#8 Wofford 58  #9 Western Carolina 49

#7 Elon 52  #10 Furman 37

#6 Charleston 66  #11 Citadel 48

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

#1 Davidson (23-6)  vs. Wofford (16-15)

#4 Appalachian State (18-12)  vs. #5 UNC-Greensboro (18-11)

#2 Chattanooga (18-12)  vs. Elon (12-18)

#3 Georgia Southern (20-11)  vs. Charleston (15-16)

Sunday, March 9

Semifinals

Davidson-Wofford  vs. Appy State-UNCG

Chatt-Elon  vs. Ga. Sou.-Charleston

Monday, March 10

Championship Game

At-Large Teams:      0 or 1

Bubble:                      Davidson

How can any SoCon team beat Davidson?  Who can do it?  Only Davidson can do it to themselves.  The Wildcats made a mockery of the league for the second year in a row, going 20-0.  In their final regular season game and playing on the home court of the next best team in the league in a game that only had pride on the line, DU blew away Georgia Southern by 20 points.  Against the top four contenders (Ga. Sou., Chatt., Appy State, and UNCG), Davidson won by an average score of 81-66.  Any team beating the Wildcats will have pulled off an upset similar to the Miracle on Ice in 1980.

Summit League @ Tulsa (Oral Roberts host team)

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

#1 Oral Roberts (21-8)  vs. #8 Centenary (10-20)

#2 IUPUI (24-6) vs. #7 Missouri-Kansas City (11-20)

Sunday, March 9

Quarterfinals

#4 Southern Utah (11-18)  vs. #5 IPFW (12-17)

#3 Oakland (16-13)  vs. #6 Western Illinois (12-17)

Monday, March 10

Semifinals

ORU-Centenary vs. S. Utah-IPFW

IUPUI-UMKC vs. Oakland-W. Ill.

Tuesday, March 11

Championship

At-Large Teams:      0 or 1

Bubble:                      Oral Roberts

Oral Roberts was 18-5 and in good shape for an at-large bid until they finished the regular season 3-3 and lost in the Bracket Buster to Creighton on a late three-pointer. #2-seed IUPUI went 11-1 down the stretch, and the Jaguars won several of those games by large margins (an average of 14.5 points per game).  I think the Jags will beat ORU in the title game.

Sunbelt Conference

1st Round

#8 New Orleans 65  #9 Denver 60

#4 Middle Tennessee 74  #13 Louisiana Monroe 69

#12 Troy 70  #5 Louisiana Lafayette 60

#6 North Texas 85  #11 Arkansas State 63

#7 Florida Atlantic 91  #10 Florida International 64

Sunday, March 9 @ Mobile, AL

Quarterfinals

New Orleans (19-12) vs. South Alabama (25-5)

Middle Tennessee (15-14) vs. Troy (12-18)

North Texas (20-10) vs. Western Kentucky (24-6)

Florida Atlantic (15-17) vs. Arkansas Little Rock (19-10)

Monday, March 10 @ Mobile, AL

Semifinals

UNO/USA vs. MTSU/Troy

N. Tex./WKU vs. FAU/UALR

Tuesday, March 11 @ Mobile, AL

Championship

At-Large Teams:      1 (South Alabama)

Bubble:                      Western Kentucky

This is one tournament the bubble teams will be watching closely.  As many as three teams could possibly emerge from this fete with tickets to the Dance, although I expect the league will be lucky to land a second participant.  South Alabama needs only to beat New Orleans Sunday to solidify their at-large hopes.  Western Kentucky might need to win the championship, but the Hilltoppers definitely must make it to the final game to have any chance whatsoever.  North Texas will be a tough quarterfinal match for WKU.

 West Coast Conference

All Games Played At San Diego (San Diego host team)

Opening Round

#5 San Francisco 79  # 8 Loyola Marymount 60

#6 Pepperdine 50  #7 Portland 48  ot

Saturday, March 8

Quarterfinals

#4 Santa Clara (14-15)  vs. San Francisco (10-20)

#3 San Diego (18-13)  vs. Pepperdine (11-20)

Sunday, March 9

#1 Gonzaga 24-6  vs. Santa Clara-San Francisco

#2 St. Mary’s 25-5  vs. San Diego-Pepperdine

Monday, March 10

Championship Game

At-Large Teams:      2 (Gonzaga & St. Mary’s)

Bubble:                      None

The bubble teams across the nation will be rooting hard for either Gonzaga or St. Mary’s to win the tournament.  If San Diego can get hot at home and beat both of the behemoths, the WCC will send three teams to the Dance, and another bubble will pop.  The opening day of this tournament couldn’t field four weaker teams.  The quartet combined for 86 losses.  All four will be gone after the second round.  The host Toreros have an easy road to the semifinals, where they should be fresh for St. Mary’s.  It should be a great game that extends the winner and allows Gonzaga to sweep the regular season and tournament yet again.

Already Clinched Automatic Berth in NCAA Tournament (1)

1. Cornell-Ivy League Champion

Have fun watching all the exciting games.  I hope it isn’t 13 degrees below zero where you are this morning.

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