The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 1, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 2 Update

Three more conference tournaments begin on Wednesday.  The Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, and Patriot Leagues bring to five the number of tournaments going on.


All Times EST

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament

Tournament Site: Macon, GA

Wednesday, March 2: Quarterfinals

G 1: #1 Belmont (27-4) vs. #8 Kennesaw State (8-22)

G 2: #2 East Tennessee (21-10) vs. #7 Campbell (12-18)


Thursday, March 3: Quarterfinals

G 3: #4 Lipscomb (17-12) vs. #5 Mercer (14-17)

G 4: #3 Jacksonville (19-10) vs. #6 North Florida (13-18)


Friday, March 4: Semifinals

G 5: G 1 Winner vs. G 3 Winner

G 6: G 2 Winner vs. G 4 Winner


Saturday, March 5: Championship

G 5 Winner vs. G 6 Winner at 6:00 PM on ESPN2


Hot Team: Belmont went 19-1 in league play.  The Bruins are riding a nine-game winning streak entering the tournament.


Not Hot: Kennesaw State, Belmont’s opening round opponent, has lost five in a row, the last of which was a 47-point loss at home to the Bruins.


Team Nobody Wants To Play:  Nobody wants to play Belmont, but besides the overwhelming favorite, Mercer is the home team.  The Bears were 7-3 at home in conference play, losing to Belmont, East Tennessee, and North Florida.


Belmont as Favorite:  It will be a major upset if anybody beats the Bruins.  If they win the tournament, the Bruins will be making their fourth NCAA appearance in the last six years.  If they were to lose in the final round, there is a very remote chance they could earn an at-large bid.


Our Pick: We would be crazy to go against perhaps the biggest favorite in conference tournament play this season.  Belmont could be a #12 seed at 30-4.


Ohio Valley Conference

Tournament Site: Nashville

Wednesday, March 2: First Round

G 1: #5 Tennessee State (14-15) vs. #8 UT-Martin (11-20)

G 2: #6 Eastern Kentucky (15-15) vs. #7 Southeast Missouri (9-21)


Thursday, March 3: Quarterfinal Round

G 3: G 1 Winner vs. #4 Tennessee Tech (18-11)

G 4: G 2 Winner vs. #3 Austin Peay (19-12)


Friday, March 4: Semifinal Round

G 5: G 3 Winner vs. #1 Murray State (23-7)

G 6: G 4 Winner vs. #2 Morehead State (22-9)


Saturday, March 5: Championship

G 5 Winner vs. G 6 Winner at 8 PM on ESPN2


Hot Team: Murray State won three in a row to grab the top seed in the tournament, but Tennessee Tech won their final five and nine of their final 11.  Tennessee State also won their last three.


Not Hot: Eastern Kentucky never recovered from the overtime loss at home to arch-rival Morehead State.  The Colonels dropped their final four games.


Team Nobody Wants To Play: Although it is not on their campus, Tennessee State won 11 of 13 games at home this season.  Municipal Auditorium is two miles from their campus.


Murray State as Favorite: The Racers have won more OVC tournaments than any team, so it comes as no surprise for Murray to be the favorite.  However, Morehead State is just as deserving here.  The OVC awards the top two seeds trips to the semifinals.  A Murray-Morehead Championship game would be the best this league has to offer.  The two teams split the season series, winning on their home floors.


Our Pick: We believe the Eagles will edge the Racers in the rubber match.  With the nation’s leading rebounder in Kenneth Faried, Morehead State may get enough inside points when it counts the most.


Patriot League

All Games Played At Higher Seed’s Home Floor


Wednesday, March 2: Quarterfinals

G 1: #8 Army (11-18) at #1 Bucknell (22-8)

G 2: #5 Navy (11-19) at #4 Lehigh (15-14)

G 3: #7 Colgate (7-22) at #2 American (21-8)

G 4: #6 Lafayette (11-18) at #3 Holy Cross (8-20)


Sunday, March 6: Semifinal Round

G 5: G1 Winner vs. G 2 Winner at higher seed’s home floor

G 6: G 3 Winner vs. G 4 Winner at higher seed’s home floor


Friday, March 11: Championship Game

G 5 Winner vs. G 6 Winner at higher seed’s home floor at 4:45 PM on ESPN2


Hot Team: The top two teams are on a tear.  Bucknell won their final seven games by more than 11 points per game.  American won their final five games and 14 of their final 17.  Two of those three losses were to Bucknell.


Not Hot: Army lost their final seven games and will lose their eighth in a row at Bucknell.


Team Nobody Wants To Play: Lafayette underachieved all season, and the Leopards have enough talent to upset a higher seed.


Bucknell as Favorite: The Bison lost by 20 at last place Army, so don’t etch their name into the trophy just yet.  They will beat Army in the rubber match, and a semifinal game against Navy or Lehigh should be another easy win.  However, Lafayette or American could give them trouble in a championship game. 


Our Pick: We will go with the top seed playing three games at home.  Bucknell is not as good as they were when they upset Kansas and Arkansas in back-to-back seasons, but the Bison are still the class of the Patriot League.


Now, let’s check what happened Tuesday in the Big South Conference and Horizon League.


Big South Conference


Quarterfinal Round

#7 High Point 66  #2 Liberty 60

#3 UNC-Asheville 72  #6 Charleston Southern 63

#1 Coastal Carolina 83  #8 Gardner-Webb 72

#4 V M I 78  #5 Winthrop 73


Thursday, March 3: Semifinal Round

#7 High Point (13-18) at #3 UNC-Asheville (18-13)

#4 V M I (19-12) at #1 Coastal Carolina (28-4)


Horizon League


First Round

#3 Cleveland State 73  #10 Illinois-Chicago 61

#6 Wright State 60  #7 Green Bay 50

#4 Valparaiso 80 #9 Youngstown State 71

#5 Detroit 90  #8 Loyola (Chi) 69


Friday, March 4: Quarterfinal Round

#3 Cleveland State (26-7) vs. #6 Wright State (20-13)

#4 Valparaiso (23-10) vs. #5 Detroit (18-15)


Saturday, March 5: Semifinal Round

Cleveland State-Wright State Winner vs. #2 Butler (21-9)

Valparaiso-Detroit Winner vs. #1 Milwaukee (18-12)

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