The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 28, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–February 28, 2018

Conference Tournament Results From Last Night

Big South Conference Tournament
First Round–February 27
Longwood   68 High Point   55
Charleston Southern   68 Presbyterian   51

Big South Bracket Update

Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #2 Radford #10 Longwood ESPN3
3:30 PM #3 Winthrop #6 Gardner-Webb ESPN3
7:00 PM #1 UNC-Asheville #8 Charleston Southern ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 Campbell #5 Liberty ESPN3
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Radford or Longwood Winthrop/G-Webb ESPN3
8:30 PM UNCA/Chas. Southern Campbell or Liberty ESPN3
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN


Patriot League Tournament
First Round–February 27
Lafayette   93 American   86
Loyola (MD)   82 Army   79

Patriot League Bracket Update

Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Bucknell #8 Loyola (MD) Stadium
7:00 PM #4 Lehigh #5 Boston U Stadium
7:00 PM #2 Colgate #7 Lafayette Stadium
7:00 PM #3 Navy #6 Holy Cross Stadium
Semifinals–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
12/2 Bucknell or Loyola Lehigh or Boston U CBSSN
12/2 Colgate or Lafayette Navy or Holy Cross CBSSN
Championship–March 7
Time Home Visitors TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

Conference Tournaments in Action Today

Big Ten Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #12 Iowa #13 Illinois Big Ten
7:45 PM #11 Minnesota #14 Rutgers Big Ten
Second Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Maryland #9 Wisconsin Big Ten
2:15 PM #5 Michigan Iowa or Illinois Big Ten
6:30 PM #7 Penn St. #10 Northwestern Big Ten
8:45 PM #6 Indiana Minn. or Rutgers Big Ten
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Michigan St. Mary or Wisc Big Ten
2:15 PM #4 Nebraska Mich/Iowa/Ill Big Ten
6:30 PM #2 Ohio St. PSU or N’Western Big Ten
8:45 PM #3 Purdue Ind/Minn/Rutg Big Ten
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM MSU/Mary/Wisc Neb/Mich/Iowa/Ill CBS
4:30 PM OSU/Purd/NW Purd/Ind/Minn/Rutg CBS
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS

The Big Ten Tournament was moved up a week so that it could be held at Madison Square Garden in New York.  The Big East has dibs on next week.  You won’t find one Big Ten coach happy with this decision, and Commissioner Jim Delany has stated that the Big Ten will not squeeze its schedule again to hold its tournament a week earlier than normal.

Two of the four coaches participating tonight have been reported to be on hot seats with their schools, but we tend to believe they will both be back next year despite poor seasons this year.  Minnesota’s Richard Pitino has had to deal with a suspension of his top player and injuries to multiple contributing players, so that the Gophers have not been able to practice 5 on 5 during conference tournament action. UM lost nine games in a row before winning on senior night over Iowa, and the Gophers enter tournament play below .500 at 15-16 after being ranked as high as 12th in the AP poll in November.

Speaking of Iowa, some media outlets report that Hawkeye coach Fran McCaffery is on the hot seat and could lose his job once Iowa has been eliminated from this tournament.  McCaffery received a lucrative extension last year, and we do not think the university would ante up such a large buyout.

As for this tournament, two teams are desperate to win multiple games to get into the NCAA Tournament.  Nebraska (13-5/22-9) is not even on the list of first 6 teams out.  The Cornhuskers must get to the Semifinals of this tournament just to get into the conversation, and they probably need to make it to the Championship Game to have any chance to make the field.

Penn State (9-9/19-12) has no chance other than to win the tournament.  In some years, a .500 record in the Big Ten would have been enough to get a team in the field, but with the new quadrant system in place and the fact that conference won-loss records no longer factor into the selection process, the Nittany Lions have no chance other than to win the automatic bid.

Michigan State has won 12 games in a row and looks like the clear favorite, but the top seed has not been all that successful in this tournament.  With the schedule bunched together, the four teams with double byes (MSU, Ohio St., Purdue, and Nebraska) have huge advantages.  A Nebraska-Michigan State semifinal game would be can’t miss for sure, with the Spartans vying for a #1 seed, and the Cornhuskers faced with a must-win to get in dilemma.  Michigan is the defending tournament champions.  The Wolverines won from back in the pack last year.

Northeast Conference Tournament
All Games at Higher Seed
Top 8 Teams Qualify and Tournament Re-seeds after Quarterfinals
All Times EST
Quarterfinals–February 28
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM #1 Wagner #8 Central Connecticut NEC *
7:00 PM #2 Mount St. Mary’s #7 Robert Morris NEC *
7:00 PM #3 St. Francis (PA) #6 Fairleigh-Dickinson NEC *
7:00 PM #4 Long Island #5 St. Francis (Bkn) NEC *
* NEC Front Row at
Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
2:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM Higher Seed Lower Seed ESPN2

This tournament is a toss-up with seven teams capable of winning it all.  The fact that the higher seeds host the games, and the tournament re-seeds after the quarterfinals really helps the top two seeds, but the next five teams are strong enough to win on the road.

Third-seeded St. Francis (Pa.) enters the tournament riding a five-game winning streak, but the Red Flash were wiped off the floor by top-seed Wagner twice this year.  Fourth-seed Long Island and Sixth-seed Fairleigh Dickinson match up quite well with Wagner and both beat the Seahawks on their home floors, while losing close games at Wagner.


Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Evansville, IN
Top 8 Teams Qualify, Southeast Missouri ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #5 Tennessee Tech #8 SIU-Edwardsville OVC
9:00 PM #6 Tennessee St. #7 Eastern Illinois OVC
OVC Network at
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 Jacksonville St. Tenn Tech or SIU-E OVC
9:00 PM #3 Austin Peay TSU or EIU OVC
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 Murray St. JSU/TTU/SIU-E ESPNU
9:30 PM #2 Belmont APSU/TSU/EIU ESPNU
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The OVC Tournament moves away from Nashville this year to Evansville, and with it goes Belmont’s home town advantage (the tournament was played downtown at the old Municpal Auditorium and not on Belmont’s campus).

The move up the road 125 miles should help top-seed Murray State, and in this league the top two seeds receive staggering advantages, getting byes to the semifinal round.

We’d be surprised if Belmont and Murray didn’t meet in the championship, but Austin Peay and Jacksonville State will have a lot to say about that.  We do not see any of the other four teams having much chance to make it all the way to the championship.  The OVC will be the first team to place a team into the field of 68.








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