The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 2, 2020

PiRate Ratings Basketball Conference Tournament Update: March 2, 2020

Championship Fortnight is 24 hours away!  Can you believe it is Meteorological Spring already?  Some of you reading this may be saying that it has been Spring where you live for most of Winter, and if you are like us on the PiRate Ship in Nashville, we wonder if we need to get those instructions for building an ark.  The Captain’s back yard has a new little lake that has developed and basically stayed there since November.  It figures to increase in size this week as severe thunderstorms return.

With the weather being so wet, it just makes it easier to stay indoors and watch basketball until one can close his or her eyes and still see the ball bouncing up and down.

Starting Tuesday night, four conferences begin tournament play.  Three more conferences start on Wednesday, two more begin on Thursday, and one begins on Friday.  Four conferences wait until Saturday to begin.

Let’s take a look at the pairings for the tournaments that start between Tuesday and Friday (Saturday’s tournament information will be published Friday.

Every day there is conference tournament action, there will be a publication here with updated results and schedules.

 

TOURNAMENTS STARTING TUESDAY, MARCH 3

Atlantic Sun Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 Liberty (27-4)

8 NJIT (9-20)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Stetson (15-16)

5 North Alabama (13-16)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

3 Lipscomb (14-15)

6 Florida Gulf Coast (10-21)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

2 North Florida (20-11)

7 Jacksonville (14-17)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 5

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Liberty/NJIT

Stetson/North Alabama

TBA

ESPN+

N Florida/Jacksonville

Lipscomb/FGCU

TBA

ESPN+

 

 

 

Championship

March 8

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

3:00 PM

ESPN

 

Liberty can move up to as high as a #11 seed if they win this tournament, but the Flames are most likely NIT-bound if they lose in this tournament.

North Florida split with Liberty during the regular season, while Lipscomb enters this tournament as the hottest team.

 

Big South Tournament

1st Round

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

7 USC Upstate (12-19)

10 High Point (9-22)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

6 UNC-Asheville (14-15)

11 Campbell (15-15)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

8 Charleston Sou. (13-17)

9 Presbyterian (10-21)

7:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

at #1 Seed Radford

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2 Winthrop (21-10)

USC-U/High Point

12:00 PM

ESPN3

3 Gardner-Webb (15-15)

UNCA/Campbell

2:00 PM

ESPN3

1 Radford (20-10)

Chas Sou./Presbyterian

6:00 PM

ESPN3

4 Longwood (14-17)

5 Hampton (13-18)

8:00 PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 6

at #1 Seed Radford

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2/7/10 Seed

3/6/11 Seed

6:00 PM

ESPN+

1/8/9 Seed

4/5 Seed

8:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Championship

March 8

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1:00 PM

ESPN

Radford and Winthrop split their two regular season games with both teams winning on the other team’s home floor.  It would be a major surprise if these two teams failed to meet up in the Championship Game.

Number three seed Gardner-Webb and number four seed Longwood ended the season on four-game winning streaks, and in GWU’s winning streak was a road upset of Radford.

 

 

Horizon League Tournament

1st Round

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

4 Illinois Chicago (14-17)

9 IUPUI (7-24)

8:00 PM

ESPN+

5 Youngstown (17-14)

8 Milwaukee (12-18)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

6 Oakland (13-18)

7 Cleveland St. (11-20)

7:00 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

3 Green Bay (16-15)

Lowest Remaining

8:00 PM

ESPN+

Highest Remaining

Second Lowest Remaining

7:00 or 8:00 PM 

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 9

Indianapolis

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Wright St. (25-6)

Lowest Remaining

7:00 PM

ESPNU

2 Northern Kentucky (21-9)

Highest Remaining

9:30 PM

ESPN2

 

 

 

CHAMPIONSHIP

March 10

Indianapolis

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

7:00 PM

ESPN/ESPN2

 

Wright State and Northern Kentucky have been alternating as regular season and conference tournament champion for three years.  The last team other than these two to win the Horizon League Tournament was Green Bay in 2016.  The Phoenix are the number three seed in this year’s tournament, but the top two appear to be far more talented than the rest of the league, and a WSU-NKU championship game would be a good one for the league.

If one of the top two teams wins this tournament, they could move up to a 14-seed if there are some mid-major upsets, but they are most likely looking at a 15-seed.

 

 

Patriot League Tournament

1st Round

March 3

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

7 Bucknell (12-19)

10 Holy Cross (3-28)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

8 Lehigh (10-20)

9 Loyola (MD) (15-16)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

2 American (16-13)

Bucknell/Holy Cross

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

3 Boston U (18-13)

6 Navy (14-15)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

4 Army (15-14)

5 Lafayette (18-11)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

1 Colgate (23-8)

Lehigh/Loyola (MD)

7:00 PM

Pat League Network

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 8

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

American/Bucknell/HCU

Boston/Navy

12 or 2 PM

CBSSN

Colgate/Lehigh/Loyola

Army/Lafayette

12 or 2 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Championship

March 11

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Higher Seed

Lower Seed

7:30 PM

CBSSN

 

This figures to be a wide-open affair.  Colgate will get to host every game they play in the Patriot League Tournament, but the Raiders are not overpowering.  Having to play a possible quarterfinal game with fourth-seeded Lafayette will be quite interesting as the Leopards swept the Raiders in two close games.

There is one caveat to the above statements: Colgate was a little weaker in 2019 than they were this year, and the Raiders romped to the Patriot League Championship with three double-digit wins in the tournament.  They followed that up by taking number one Tennessee to the last few minutes in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

 

 

TOURNAMENTS STARTING WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4

 

Mountain West Tournament

1st Round

March 4

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Fresno St. (11-18)

9 Air Force (11-19)

3:00 PM

Mountain West Net.

7 New Mexico (18-13)

10 San Jose St. (7-23)

5:30 PM

Mountain West Net.

6 Colorado St. (20-11)

11 Wyoming (7-23)

8:00 PM

Mountain West Net.

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 San Diego St. (28-1)

Fresno St./Air Force

2:30 PM

CBSSN

4 UNLV (17-14)

5 Boise St. (19-11)

5:00 PM

CBSSN

2 Utah St. (23-8)

New Mexico/San Jose St.

9:00 PM

CBSSN

3 Nevada (19-11)

Colorado St./Wyoming

11:30 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 6

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

SDST/Fresno/Air Force

UNLV/Boise St.

9:00 PM

CBSSN

Utah St./N. Mexico/S J St.

Nevada/Col St/Wyoming

11:30 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Championship

March 7

Las Vegas (Thomas & Mack Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5:30 PM

CBS

 

San Diego St. most likely secured a one-seed by finishing 17-1 in the league and 28-1 overall in the regular season.  Utah St. is squarely on the Bubble, and the Aggies need to get to the Championship Game to lock up an at-large bid.

Nevada, UNLV, Boise State, and Colorado State have enough talent to make a run in this tournament, but the Aztecs look like a near lock to cut the nets.

 

 

Northeast Tournament

Quarterfinals

March 4

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

1 Robert Morris (17-14)

8 St. Francis (NY) (13-17)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

2 St. Francis (PA) (20-9)

7 Bryant (15-16)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

3 Sacred Heart (19-12)

6 Mount St. Mary’s (11-20)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

4 Long Island (14-17)

5 Fairleigh-Dickinson (11-18)

7:00 PM

http://necfrontrow.com/

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 7

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Highest Remaining Seed

Lowest Remaining Seed

12 or 2 PM

ESPN3

2nd Highest Remaining Seed

3rd Highest Remaining Seed

12 or 2PM

ESPN3

 

 

 

Championship

March 10

at Higher Seed’s Home Court

Home

Visitor

Time (ET)

TV

Higher Remaining Seed

Lower Remaining Seed

7:00 PM

ESPN2 or ESPN3

 

This is one of the most wide open tournaments of the season.  Unfortunately, the best team in this league is not eligible for the NCAA Tournament (or NIT) and will not play in this conference tournament.  First-year Division 1 member Merrimack became the first team ever to move from Division 2 to Division 1 and win their conference in the first season.  The Warrior will be allowed to play in the CIT Tournament.

So, which team is the second best team in the NEC?  St. Francis of Pennsylvania finished tied for second place with Robert Morris, with RMU winning the tiebreaker.  Number three seed Sacred Heart and number five seed Fairleigh-Dickinson finished the season on three-game winning streaks.  FDU beat Robert Morris twice, but they didn’t show up against SF (PA) or Long Island.

No matter which team wins this tournament, they will be a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament, and barring some big upsets in other mid-major conferences, the NEC Champion will probably be faced in a play-in game in Dayton. 

 

 

Ohio Valley Tournament

1st Round

March 4

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5 Tennessee St. (17-14)

8 Morehead St. (13-18)

7:30 PM

ESPN+

6 Eastern Illinois (16-14)

7 Jacksonville St. (13-18)

9:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 5

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Eastern Kentucky (15-16)

Tenn St./Morehead St.

7:30 PM

ESPN+

3 Austin Peay (20-11)

E. Illinois/Jacksonville St.

9:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 6

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Belmont (24-7)

EKU/Tenn St./Morehead St.

8:00 PM

ESPNU

2 Murray St. (22-8)

APSU/E. Ill./Jax St.

10:00 PM

ESPNU

 

 

 

Championship

March 7

Evansville, IN (Ford Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8:00 PM

ESPN2

 

The OVC has become something of a little ACC.  Murray State plays the role of North Carolina.  Belmont is the league’s Duke, and Austin Peay is the league’s Virginia.  Murray is the long-time dominant team in this league, while Belmont is the more recent dominant team.  Austin Peay found a great coach a few years ago and plays excellent defense and smart offense.

So, which one of these three teams will win the conference tournament?  Most likely, it will be either Belmont or Murray State, because the OVC’s tournament format gives the top two seeds byes to the semifinals.

Belmont must be considered the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, as the Bruins have won 10 games in a row by an average score of 79-67.

A potential second night match between Eastern Illinois and Austin Peay might be the best game of the tournament.  The Panthers have the best inside game in the league, and if the Governors don’t hit from the outside, EIU could be the surprise team in the semifinals.  EIU beat Murray State and Austin Peay down the stretch to give Belmont the OVC Championship.

 

 

TOURNAMENTS STARTING THURSDAY, MARCH 5

 

Missouri Valley Tournament (Arch Madness)

1st Round

March 5

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Drake (18-13)

9 Illinois St. (10-20)

7:00 PM

MVC TV Network

7 Valparaiso (16-15)

10 Evansville (9-22)

9:30 PM

MVC TV Network

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 6

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Northern Iowa (25-5)

Drake/Illinois St.

1:00 PM

MVC TV Network

4 Bradley (20-11)

5 Southern Illinois (16-15)

3:30 PM

MVC TV Network

2 Loyola (Chi.) (21-10)

Valpo/Evansville

7:00 PM

MVC TV Network

3 Indiana St. (18-11)

6 Missouri St. (15-16)

9:30 PM

MVC TV Network

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 7

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

UNI/Drake/Ill St.

Bradley/Southern Illinois

3:30 PM

CBSSN

Loyola/Valpo/Evansville

Indiana St./Missouri St.

6:00 PM

CBSSN

 

 

 

Championship

March 8

St. Louis (Enterprise Center)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

2:10 PM

CBS

 

Arch Madness has ended with Cinderella cutting down the nets quite often in the last several years.  Bradley won the Tournament last year after going 9-9 in regular season conference play.

Northern Iowa has played a tough enough schedule so that three more wins in St. Louis could boost the Panthers up to as high as a number 10 seed.  Yet, at the same time UNI is not an overwhelming favorite to win the tournament, and if another team can pull off the upset, The Missouri Valley could get two teams into the Dance at the expense of a Bubble team.

Keep an eye on Indiana State.  The Sycamores won eight of their final 11 games, including wins over the top two seeds.  ISU played a tough out-of-conference schedule, including games against Dayton, Louisville, and Wright State.  They narrowly lost to Dayton and beat Wright State, so this team has the firepower to win three games in three days.

Missouri State is the mystery team in this league.  The Bears can dominate inside and control the glass at both ends, but they disappear for long stretches at a time.  They were blown away twice by Northern Iowa, but in a tournament scenario on a neutral floor, don’t count them out until they are.

 

 

West Coast Tournament

1st Round

March 5

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

8 Loyola Marymount (10-20)

9 San Diego (9-22)

9:00 PM

BYUtv

7 Santa Clara (19-12)

10 Portland (9-22)

11:30 PM

BYUtv

 

 

 

2nd Round

March 6

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

5 San Francisco (20-11)

Loyola Marymount/San Diego

9:00 PM

BYUtv

6 Pepperdine (15-15)

Santa Clara/Portland

11:30 PM

BYUtv

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 7

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

4 Pacific (23-9)

USF/LMU/San Diego

10:00 PM

ESPN2

3 Saint Mary’s (24-7)

Pepperdine/Santa Clara/Portland

12:30 AM

ESPN2

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 9

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

1 Gonzaga (29-2)

Pac/USF/LMU/USD

9:00 PM

ESPN

2 BYU (24-7)

SMC.Pepp/SCU/Portland

11:30 PM

ESPN2

 

 

 

Championship

March 10

Las Vegas (Orleans Arena)

Team

Team

Time (ET)

TV

9:00 PM

ESPN

Gonzaga could lose this tournament and still be the number one seed in the West or at worst the East.  The news in this year’s WCC get-together will be whether or not three league teams can receive bids to the Dance.

BYU is squarely in the Field, but Saint Mary’s is vulnerable.  The Gaels need to definitely win their first tournament game, and they might need to knock off BYU to be guaranteed a spot in the field.  

Fourth-seeded Pacific and fifth-seeded San Francisco must be considered dark horses to contend for the Conference Tournament Championship.  They are likely going to meet in the quarterfinal round with the winner advancing to meet Gonzaga.  The Bulldogs handled both with relative ease during the season, but USF was a pest in their two games.

 

 

TOURNAMENT STARTING FRIDAY, MARCH 6

 

Southern Tournament

1st Round

March 6

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

8 Samford (10-22)

9 VMI (8-23)

5:00 PM

ESPN+

7 Wofford (16-15)

10 The Citadel (6-23)

7:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Quarterfinals

March 7

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

1 East Tennessee St. (27-4)

Samford/VMI

12:00 PM

ESPN+

4 Mercer (17-14)

5 Western Carolina (18-11)

2:30 PM

ESPN+

2 Furman (25-6)

Wofford/The Citadel

6:00 PM

ESPN+

3 UNC Greensboro (23-8)

6 Chattanooga (19-12)

8:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Semifinals

March 8

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

ETSU/Samford/VMI

Mercer/Western Carolina

4:00 PM

ESPN+

Furman/Wofford/Citadel

UNCG/Chattanooga

6:30 PM

ESPN+

 

 

 

Championship

March 9

Asheville, NC (Harrah’s Cherokee Center)

Team

Team

Time ET

TV

7:00 PM

ESPN

 

Of the early tournament starting this week, The SoCon may be the deepest.  Six teams are talented enough to win this tournament.  There are two shelves here.  East Tennessee State, Furman, and UNC Greensboro are the upper crust, while Mercer, Western Carolina, and Chattanooga are the second tier of the top six.

If East Tennessee wins the tournament championship, the Buccaneers could move up to a single-digit seed.  ETSU enters this tournament riding a nine-game winning streak, and the Bucs have wins against LSU and Little Rock out of conference.

Western Carolina just lost by a point at East Tennessee after being up double digits in the first half.  The Catamounts might be a tough out in a potential semifinal game against ETSU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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