The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 8, 2010

March Madness Update For Monday, March 8, 2010

Here are the schedules for the remaining mid-major conference tournaments.  Coming tomorrow, we will break down the Big Six conference tournaments.

Atlantic 10 Conference

Site: 1st round at higher seed home court, all others at Atlantic City

Dates: March 9, 12-14

First Round

G1 #9 Duquesne (16-14) at #8 St. Bonaventure (14-15)

G2 #12 St. Joseph’s (11-19) at #5 Rhode Island (21-8)

G3 #10 George Washington (16-13) at #7 Dayton (19-11)

G4 #11 Massachusetts (11-19) at #6 Charlotte (19-11)

Quarterfinals

G5 #1 Temple (26-5) vs. Game 1 Winner

G6 #4 St. Louis (20-10) vs. Game 2 Winner

G7 #2 Xavier (23-7) vs. Game 3 Winner

G8 #3 Richmond (24-7) vs. Game 4 Winner

Semifinals

Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner

Temple is one of two hot teams, winning their last seven to conclude the regular season.  The Owls hold teams to 56.8 points per game.  At the other end of the spectrum, Xavier has won seven straight, and the Musketeers are averaging 80 points per game.  A championship game involving these two teams would be one of the best in the entire week.

Richmond has out-of-conference wins over Mississippi State, Missouri, and Florida.  The Spiders will be in the Big Dance regardless of their outcome in this tournament, but they have the horses to beat Xavier and Temple on consecutive days.

Among the dark horses, keep an eye on U Mass.  The Minutemen have been close in a lot of games this year, and they upset Rhode Island down the stretch.

Big West Conference

Site: Anaheim

Dates: March 10-13

Opening Round

#5 Cal State Fullerton (15-14) vs. #8 Cal State Northridge (11-20)

#6 Cal Poly (11-18) vs. #7 UC-Irvine (14-17)

Quarterfinals

Higher Opening Round Winning Seed vs. #4 UC-Davis (13-17)

Lower Opening Round Winning Seed vs. #3 Long Beach St. (15-15)

Semifinals

Higher Quarterfinal Round Winning Seed vs. #2 Pacific (20-10)

Lower Quarterfinal Round Winning Seed vs. #1 UCSB (18-9)

The Big West is really down this season.  Even top-seeded UCSB is likely to be no better than a #15 seed in the Big Dance.  Pacific is the only team entering the tournament with a hot-hand, but any of the top five seeds could win this one.  Long Beach State played a tough schedule, losing on the road to Notre Dame, Texas, Kentucky, and Duke and at home to West Virginia and Clemson.  The 49ers beat UCLA and Utah State, and they scared Kentucky in that game at Rupp Arena.

Conference USA

Site: Tulsa

Dates: March 10-13

Opening Round

G1 #8 SMU (18-12) vs. #9 Central Florida (14-16)

G2 #5 Tulsa (21-10) vs. #12 Rice (8-22)

G3 #7 Houston (15-15) vs. #10 East Carolina (10-20)

G4 #6 Southern Miss. (18-12) vs. #11 Tulane (8-21)

Quarterfinals

G5 #1 UTEP (24-5) vs. Game 1 Winner

G6 #4 Marshall (23-8) vs. Game 2 Winner

G7 #2 Memphis (23-8) vs. Game 3 Winner

G8 #3 UAB (23-7) vs. Game 4 Winner

Semifinals

Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner

Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner

UTEP looks more like Memphis has looked the last few years, and it’s no surprise that the Miners are coached by a John Calipari protégé Tony Barbee.  UTEP enters the CUSA tourney on a 14-game winning streak and should waltz on through to a nice seed in the Big Dance.

Memphis probably needs to win their quarterfinal game to stay on the bubble, and needs to make it to the Championship Game to guarantee themselves a ticket to the Field of 65.

UAB was the hot team earlier in the year, but the Blazers appear to be NIT-bound.  Tulsa is the host team, but the Golden Hurricane have been a major disappointment this year.

Houston is very inconsistent.  When they are playing at their peak, they can beat anybody else in the league, including UTEP.  The Cougars dominated the Miners in their first game, and blew a 14-point lead at UTEP.  However, they also lost to 21-loss Tulane to end the season at 5-8 in their final 13 games.

MEAC

Site: Winston-Salem, NC

Dates: March 9-13

Opening Round

G1 #8 Howard (7-24) vs. #9 North Carolina A&T (10-21)

G2 #7 Bethune-Cookman (16-15) vs. #10 Florida A&M (9-21)

G3 #6 Md. Eastern Shore (10-20) vs. #11 Coppin State (8-21)

Quarterfinals

G4 #1 Morgan State (24-9) vs. Game 1 Winner

G5 #4 Norfolk St. (11-18) vs. #5 Hampton (13-17)

G6 #2 Delaware St. (16-11) vs. Game 2 Winner

G7 #3 South Carolina St. (16-13) vs. Game 3 Winner

Semifinals

Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner

Game 6 Winner vs. Game 7 Winner

If any team other than Morgan State wins the tournament and automatic bid, it will be Play-in time in the MEAC.  South Carolina State is the one team that played Morgan State evenly, penning the one loss on the Bears and taking the other game to the wire.

Mountain West Conference

Site: Las Vegas

Dates: March 10-13

Opening Round

G1 #8 Wyoming (10-20) vs. #9 Air Force (9-20)

Quarterfinals

G2 #1 New Mexico (28-3) vs. Game 1 Winner

G3 #4 San Diego St. (22-8) vs. #5 Colorado St. (16-14)

G4 #2 BYU (28-4) vs. #7 TCU (13-18)

G5 #3 UNLV (23-7) vs. #6 Utah (14-16)

Semifinals

Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner

Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner

The top four seeds offer interesting contrasting styles of play.  Top-seed New Mexico is coached by former Indiana star Steve Alford.  His team plays a lot like Bobby Knights former teams.  The guards can post up in the paint and rebound like Quinn Buckner and Bobby Wilkerson used to do for the Hoosiers.

BYU is a team of long-range bombers.  The Cougars can score points quickly and run teams out of the gym in a short amount of time.  Jimmer Fredette is a multi-tooled player.  He can outshoot anybody in the nation, can rebound much better than his 6-2 size would indicate, he can dish the ball, and he plays great defense.  Joe Paterno recruited him to play football at Penn State.

UNLV is a plodding, power team playing the way Coach Lon Kruger likes.  They are a lot like a thoroughbred race horse who comes from off the pace with one big run.  The Runnin’ Rebels usually have one good run in most games.  With a Kruger-coached team, you get tough man-to-man defense and patient offense.

San Diego State is the most physical team in the league.  The Aztecs, coached by former Michigan head man Steve Fisher, play a lot like the national championship team Fisher inherited in 1989.  They are the one team that really dominated New Mexico during the regular season, and we tend to believe they will oust the Lobos in a semifinal match.

Southland Conference

Site: Katy, TX

Dates: March 10-11, 13

Quarterfinals

G1 #1 Sam Houston (22-7) vs. #8 Nicholls State (11-18)

G2 #4 SE Louisiana (18-11) vs. #5 Texas State (15-15)

G3 #2 Stephen F. Austin (21-8) vs. #7 UT-Arlington (16-13)

G4 #3 Texas A&M CC (16-14) vs. #6 UT-San Antonio (19-10)

Semifinals

G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner

G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner

Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin have begun to become the big two of this league, and a championship game between the two would be worth watching.  Sam Houston likes to run and gun, while SFA is a defense and patient team.  When they squared off in January, Sam Houston won, but the game was played at SFA. 

Watch out for the number three through seven seeds.  These five teams are all capable of upsetting somebody in this tournament.

SWAC

Site: Shreveport, LA

Dates: March 10-13

Quarterfinals

G1 #2 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (14-15) vs. #7 Miss. Valley (9-22) (3/10)

G2 #1 Jackson State (19-11) vs. #8 Grambling (6-20) (3/10)

G3 #4 Prairie View (16-13) vs. #5 Texas Southern (15-15) (3/11)

G4 #3 Alabama State (15-14) vs. #6 Alabama A&M (11-15) (3/11)

Semifinals (3/12)

Game 1 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner

Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner

There is only one team in the SWAC capable of playing someone close in the first round of the Big Dance.  Jackson State started the season 0-10, and then proceeded to go 19-1 for the most unbelievable turnaround in NCAA Division 1 basketball history!  The Tigers only had a +7 point differential in league play, and even at 17-1, they were not dominating.

Texas Southern is just the five-seed, but they are the one team Jackson State doesn’t want to play in the conference tournament.  The Tigers held JSU to 44 points on 31% shooting in beating them and then in the rematch lost in overtime.  DeAndre Hall, Junior Treasure, and Travele Jones make up the finest trio in the league.

WAC

Site: Reno, NV

Dates: March 11-13

Quarterfinals

G1 #1 Utah State (25-6) vs. #8 Boise State (15-16)

G2 #4 Louisiana Tech (22-9) vs. #5 Fresno State (15-17)

G3 #2 Nevada (19-11) vs. #7 Idaho (15-15)

G4 #3 New Mexico State (19-11) vs. #6 San Jose St. (14-16)

Semifinals

Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner

Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner

This has the makings of a very interesting tournament.  Utah State is on the lower end of the bubble, and the Aggies could drop to the NIT with a quarterfinal loss.

If the top four seeds win their first game, it will be possibly the best final two rounds of any tournament.

Nevada is the host team, and the Wolf Pack went 14-1 at home this year.  That one loss was to Utah State.  Chances are better than average those two will play again Saturday.

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