The Pi-Rate Ratings

March 12, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Saturday, March 12, 2022

Saturday’s Conference Tournaments
America East Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher Seed at Home
VermontMaryland Baltimore Co.14.3
American Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Atlantic 10 Conference–Semifinals
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
DavidsonSaint Louis0.2
Atlantic Coast Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
DukeVirginia Tech5.6
Big 12 Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
KansasTexas Tech1.1
Big East Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Big Sky Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Montana St.Northern Colorado3.4
Big Ten Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
PurdueMichigan St.5.4
Big West Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Henderson, NV
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Long Beach St.Cal St. Fullerton-0.5
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
UABLouisiana Tech4.8
Ivy League–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Atlantic City, NJ
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Saint Peter’sMonmouth1.8
Mid-American Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Kent St.Akron0.4
Mideastern Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Norfolk St.Coppin St.8.1
Mountain West Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Boise St.San Diego St.-1.4
Pac-12 Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeastern Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
ArkansasTexas A&M5.3
Southland Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeast LouisianaTexas A&M-CC-1.6
Southwestern Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas SouthernAlcorn St.4.5
Western Athletic Conference–CHAMPIONSHIP
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
New Mexico St.Abilene Christian3.1

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

Hunkered Down In The Hull

The PiRates have had their tea and bickies and swabbed the deck. It’s time to head down to the hull and hunker down with typical PiRate ship tools. We have no torpedos and no swords. Our weapons are power ratings, strengths of schedule, quad ratings, and strengths of record. We will be carefully perusing the field to see which team to pillage and which team to let pass into the Dancing waters.

The Florida Gators have been scuttled and sunk to the bottom where they have met the sandy silt known as NIT. Texas A&M just might pass through if the Aggies can fire more shots at the SS Razorback today then they take on.

With a late Winter storm plunging most of the Eastern half of the nation back into January-like weather, this is a good day to stay indoors and watch teams qualify for the Big Dance. We will be looking at a lot of Bubble teams as well as teams that can greatly alter our Bracketology.

Our final Bracketology prediction will be published here tomorrow afternoon. Depending on the games to be played after 1 PM EDT (yes, remember it will be D and not S tomorrow), we may have to have two different brackets prepared and waiting to use one over the other depending on the outcome of the final games. Fortunately, almost all the Cinderella teams that could only get into the Field of 68 by qualifying automatically lost yesterday. Colorado, Penn State, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, and Central Florida helped teams like Wake Forest, BYU, and Xavier feel a little better when they bowed out of their tournaments. Indiana probably worked their way into the field by topping Michigan and Illinois, so the Hoosiers can win or lose today and tomorrow and not change the teams getting bids.

There are still some potential bid-stealers where the top seed could lose and still get an at-large bid, but if the top seed wins, the conference in question will not receive the extra bid. In the Atlantic 10, Davidson is now a lock to make the field without winning their tournament. If Saint Louis wins today, or if today’s Richmond-Dayton winner beats Davidson tomorrow, the A-10 will get one extra team in the field, and one bubble will burst. In the American Athletic, should Tulane upset Houston today and then beat the winner of today’s SMU-Memphis game, the AAC will receive an extra bid, and another bubble will burst. If Tulane is put out of the tournament today, then the only game that will affect the 68 teams tomorrow would be the A-10 Championship Game. That game should end between 2:45 and 3:00 PM EDT, so our final projections should publish soon after the conclusion of that game and possibly earlier if this game is a blowout.

March 11, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday’s Conference Tournament Games
American Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
MemphisCentral Florida7.1
Atlantic 10 Conference–Quarterfinals
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
St. BonaventureSaint Louis-1.9
Atlantic Coast Conference–Semfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
DukeMiami (Fla.)9.0
North CarolinaVirginia Tech0.9
Big 12 Conference Semifinals
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas TechOklahoma6.2
Big East Conference–Semifinals
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Big Sky Conference–Semifinals
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Montana St.Weber St.1.0
Northern ColoradoPortland St.2.4
Big Ten Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
WisconsinMichigan St.0.2
PurduePenn St.9.4
Big West Conference–Semifinals
Henderson, NV
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Long Beach St.UCSB-2.8
HawaiiCal St. Fullerton0.4
Conference USA–Semifinals
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
North TexasLouisiana Tech3.4
Middle TennesseeUAB-6.6
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Atlantic City, NJ
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
St. Peter’sQuinnipiac6.4
Mid-American Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Kent St.Ohio-1.5
Mideastern Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Norfolk St.Morgan St.6.9
UNC CentralCoppin St.1.9
Mountain West Conference–Semifinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Boise St.Wyoming2.2
Colorado St.San Diego St.-1.4
Pac-12 Conference–Semifinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Southeastern Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
AuburnTexas A&M9.2
TennesseeMississippi St.6.8
Southland Conference–Semifinals
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Nicholls St.Texas A&M–CC3.8
Southeast LouisianaNew Orleans-1.6
Southwestern Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Alcorn St.Alabama A&M4.6
Texas SouthernGrambling6.9
Western Athletic Conference–Semifinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
New Mexico St.Grand Canyon0.5
SeattleAbilene Christian-0.9

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

March 10, 2022

PiRate Ratings College Basketball–Thursday, March 10, 2022

Thursday’s Conference Tournaments
American Athletic Conference–1st Round
Fort Worth, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
CincinnatiEast Carolina6.1
Wichita St.Tulsa5.9
Central FloridaSouth Florida10.1
Atlantic 10 Conference–2nd Round
Washington, D.C.
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
FordhamGeorge Mason-4.6
Saint LouisLa Salle12.0
George WashingtonMassachusetts-2.3
RichmondRhode Island3.9
Atlantic Coast Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Miami (Fla.)Boston College6.5
Notre DameVirginia Tech-1.6
North CarolinaVirginia4.2
Big 12 Conference–Quarterfinals
Kansas City
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
KansasWest Virginia9.1
Texas TechIowa St.7.1
Big East Conference–Quarterfinals
New York
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
VillanovaSt. John’s7.1
ConnecticutSeton Hall2.2
Big Sky Conference–Quarterfinals
Boise, ID
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Montana St.Sacramento St.9.9
Weber St.Montana3.3
Southern UtahPortland St.5.7
Northern ColoradoEastern Washington0.8
Big Ten Conference–2nd Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Michigan St.Maryland3.1
Ohio St.Penn St.5.0
Big West Conference–Quarterfinals
Henderson, NV
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Long Beach St.Cal St. Bakersfield5.2
UC-IrvineUC Santa Barbara0.9
HawaiiUC Riverside0.6
Cal St. FullertonUC Davis2.0
Conference USA–Quarterfinals
Frisco, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
North TexasRice10.4
Western KentuckyLouisiana Tech-1.2
Middle TennesseeUTEP3.6
UABFlorida Atlantic7.3
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals Continue
Atlantic City, NJ
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Mid-American Conference–Quarterfinals
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
ToledoCentral Michigan18.1
Kent St.Miami (O)6.3
OhioBall St.8.9
Mideastern Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals Continue
Norfolk, VA
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Morgan St.South Carolina St.2.5
UNC CentralMaryland Eastern Shore2.0
Mountain West Conference–Quarterfinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Boise St.Nevada6.9
Colorado St.Utah St.0.9
San DIego St.Fresno St.4.9
Pac-12 Conference–Quarterfinals
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
UCLAWashington St.7.8
Southeastern Conference–2nd Round
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas A&MFlorida-1.4
South CarolinaMississippi St.-3.7
Southland Conference–Quarterfinals
Katy, TX
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Texas A&M–CCHouston Baptist6.4
New OrleansMcNeese3.5
Southwestern Athletic Conference–Quarterfinals Continue
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Florida A&MAlabama A&M1.9
Western Athletic Conference–2nd Round
Las Vegas
Higher SeedLower SeedSpread
Grand CanyonSam Houston4.0
Stephen F. AustinAbilene Christian1.0

Dance Tickets Punched
1Murray St.Ohio Valley27-2
2LongwoodBig South26-6
3Loyola (Chi.)Missouri Valley25-7
5Georgia St.Sun Belt18-10
6Jacksonville St.Atlantic Sun21-10
8DelawareColonial Athletic22-12
9Wright St.Horizon21-13
10South Dakota St.Summit30-4
11GonzagaWest Coast26-3

March 6, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Saturday, March 6, 2021

St. BonaventureSaint Louis0.3
Notre DameFlorida St.-6.7
North CarolinaDuke3.1
Wichita St.South Florida10.0
West VirginiaOklahoma St.4.3
Kansas St.Iowa St.1.4
St. John’sSeton Hall0.9
Montana St.Sacramento St.3.8
Weber St.Northern Colorado10.0
Portland St.Southern Utah-2.8
Ohio St.Illinois-1.7
UC DavisHawaii0.3
Cal St. NorthridgeUC-Riverside-10.2
Long Beach St.UC-Irvine-9.8
UC San DiegoCal St. Fullerton3.2
UCSBCal Poly22.6
Western KentuckyOld Dominion8.3
North TexasUAB6.4
William & MaryUNC-Wilmington-2.9
Delaware St.Morgan St.-11.3
Loyola (Chi.)Indiana St.10.8
DrakeMissouri St.3.9
Fresno St.Utah St.-10.5
BryantSacred Heart9.7
WagnerMount St. Mary’s3.4
BelmontMorehead St.4.8
UtahArizona St.2.8
NavyLoyola (MD)7.1
ColgateBoston U14.3
KentuckySouth Carolina6.4
AuburnMississippi St.2.8
ArkansasTexas A&M16.1
Ole MissVanderbilt5.8
Prairie ViewAlcorn St.9.9
Jackson St.Alabama St.12.6
Texas SouthernSouthern4.9
GramblingAlabama A&M5.7
UNCGThe Citadel9.7
ChattanoogaEast Tennessee St.-1.7
Northwestern St.Central Arkansas2.9
Abilene ChristianIncarnate Word19.5
McNeese St.Lamar-0.2
Houston BaptistTexas A&M-CC4.2
Sam Houston St.Stephen F. Austin1.6
New OrleansSoutheast Louisiana6.2
South Dakota St.Omaha16.2
South DakotaWestern Illinois10.3
LouisianaSouth Alabama2.6
Georgia St.Arkansas St.8.5
Coastal CarolinaTroy10.3
Texas St.Appalachian St.5.8
UT Rio Grande ValleyTarleton St.5.3
Dixie St.New Mexico St.-10.4
Grand CanyonUtah Valley8.3
California BaptistSeattle2.3
Saint Mary’sLoyola Marymount0.1
PepperdineSanta Clara3.2

Conference Tournament Update

Today’s Conference Tournament Games

America East Semifinals

6 U Mass-Lowell at 1 Maryland-Baltimore Co.

4 Hartford at 2 Vermont

Atlantic 10 Semifinals (Richmond)

1 St. Bonaventure vs. 4 Saint Louis

2 VCU vs. 3 Davidson

Colonial Athletic 1st Round (@ James Madison)

8 Elon vs. 9 Towson

7 William & Mary vs. 10 UNC-Wilmington

Missouri Valley Semifinals at Saint Louis

1 Loyola (Chi.) vs. 4 Indiana St.

2 Drake vs. 3 Missouri St.

Northeast Semifinals

4 Mount St. Mary’s at 1 Wagner

3 Sacred Heart at 2 Bryant

Ohio Valley Championship Game at Evansville

1 Belmont vs. 2 Morehead St. — 8 PM EST on ESPN2

Southern Quarterfinals at Asheville

1 UNC-Greensboro vs. 8 The Citadel

4 Chattanooga vs. 5 East Tennessee St.

2 Wofford vs. 7 Mercer

3 Furman vs. 6 VMI

Summit Quarterfinals 1st 2 Games at Sioux Falls

1 South Dakota St. vs. 8 Omaha

2 South Dakota vs. 7 Western Illinois

Sun Belt Quarterfinals at Pensacola

1E Georgia St. vs. 4W Arkansas St.

2W Louisiana vs. 3E South Alabama

1W Texas St. vs. 4E Appalachian St.

2E Coastal Carolina vs. 6E Troy

West Coast Quarterfinals at Las Vegas

4 Saint Mary’s vs. 5 Loyola Marymount

3 Pepperdine vs. 7 Santa Clara

Automatic Qualifiers

Liberty — Atlantic Sun 22-5

March 4, 2021

PiRate Ratings College Basketball Spreads

Thursday, March 4, 2021

MassachusettsSaint Joseph’s4.7
DaytonRhode Island0.8
George MasonGeorge Washington6.6
East CarolinaCentral Florida-1.7
LibertyKennesaw St.19.1
North FloridaNorth Alabama2.0
LipscombFlorida Gulf Coast3.9
BaylorOklahoma St.11.0
West VirginiaTCU14.2
Texas TechIowa St.15.8
Weber St.Northern Colorado10.6
Portland St.Southern Utah-2.0
MichiganMichigan St.13.7
Florida AtlanticMiddle Tennessee7.1
QuinnipiacSaint Peter’s-2.7
North Carolina CentralFlorida A&M-0.4
BradleySouthern Illinois4.2
Northern IowaIllinois St.2.5
Utah St.Wyoming14.7
Jacksonville St.Murray St.-0.1
Eastern KentuckyAustin Peay3.3
ColoradoArizona St.11.0
Prairie View A&MSouthern5.7
Texas SouthernAlcorn St.9.8
GramblingAlabama St.8.4
Jackson St.Alabama A&M7.9
San FranciscoSan Diego7.4
Santa ClaraPortland12.5

Conference Tournament Update

America East

Semifinals, Saturday, March 6 at higher seed home court

#1 UMBC vs. #6 U Mass-Lowell

#2 Vermont vs. #4 Hartford

Atlantic Sun

Quarterfinal Round Tonight (All Games in Jacksonville)

#1 Liberty vs. #8 Kennesaw St.

#4 North Florida vs. #5 North Alabama

#2 Bellarmine vs. #7 Stetson

#3 Lipscomb vs. #6 Florida Gulf Coast

Atlantic 10

2nd Round Tonight (All Games in Richmond)

#8 Richmond vs. #9 Duquesne

#5 Massachusetts vs. #13 Saint Joseph’s

#7 Dayton vs. #10 Rhode Island

#6 George Mason vs. #11 George Washington

Big South

Semifinals Tonight at Higher Seed Home Floor

#1 Winthrop vs. #5 Longwood

#2 Radford vs. #3 Campbell

Colonial Athletic

First Round, Saturday, March 6 at Harrisonburg, VA

#8 Elon vs. #9 Towson

#7 William & Mary vs. #10 UNC-Wilmington

Horizon League

Semifinals, Monday, March 8 at Indianapolis

#1 Cleveland St. vs. #8 Milwaukee

#3 Oakland vs. #4 Northern Kentucky

Missouri Valley

1st Round, Tonight at Saint Louis

#8 Bradley vs. #9 Southern Illinois

#7 Northern Iowa vs. #10 Illinois St.


Semifinals, Saturday, March 6, at higher seeds home court

#1 Wagner vs. #4 Mount St. Mary’s

#2 Bryant vs. #3 Sacred Heart

Ohio Valley

Quarterfinals continue, Tonight at Evansville, IN

#4 Jacksonville St. vs. #5 Murray St.

#3 Eastern Kentucky vs. #6 Austin Peay

Patriot League

Quarterfinals, Saturday, March 6 at Higher Seed Home Courts

#1 Navy vs. #9 Loyola (MD)

#4 Army vs. #5 American

#2 Colgate vs. #7 Boston U

#3 Lafayette vs. #6 Bucknell


1st Round, Friday, March 5, at Asheville, NC

#8 The Citadel vs. #9 Western Carolina

#7 Mercer vs. #9 Samford

Summit League

1st Round, Saturday March 6 and Sunday March 7 at Sioux Falls, SD

#1 South Dakota St. vs. #8 Omaha

#4 Oral Roberts vs. #5 North Dakota

#2 South Dakota vs. #7 Western Illinois

#3 North Dakota St. vs. #6 Kansas City

Sun Belt Conference

1st Round, Friday, March 5, at Pensacola, FL

#4W Arkansas St. vs. #5E Georgia Southern

#3E South Alabama vs. #6W Louisiana-Monroe

#4E Appalachian St. vs. #5W Little Rock

#3W UT-Arlington vs. #6E Troy

West Coast

1st Round, Tonight at Las Vegas

#8 San Francisco vs. #9 San Diego

#7 Santa Clara vs. #10 Portland

March 7, 2018

PiRate Ratings Conference Tournament Update–March 7, 2018

Today’s PiRate Ratings For Conference Tournament Games

Home Team Visitor  
or Higher Seed Lower Seed Spread
LaSalle Massachusetts 4.1
George Washington Fordham 6.1
Florida St. Louisville 0.7
North Carolina St. Boston College 3.4
Virginia Tech Notre Dame -0.3
North Carolina Syracuse 7.9
Oklahoma St. Oklahoma -0.5
Texas Iowa St. 5.6
Georgetown St. John’s -3.1
Marquette DePaul 5.2
Florida Int’l. Southern Miss. 0.2
North Texas Louisiana Tech -1.9
UAB Florida Atlantic 9.0
Hampton Florida A&M 9.4
Bethune-Cookman Morgan St. 1.8
UNLV Air Force 9.4
Utah St. Colorado St. 5.7
Wyoming San Jose St. 12.6
Colorado Arizona St. -7.8
Stanford California 10.8
Washington Oregon St. -0.7
Oregon Washington St. 9.7
Bucknell Colgate 9.3
Georgia Vanderbilt 1.9
South Carolina Ole Miss 2.8
New Orleans Texas A&M-CC 2.9
Lamar Central Arkansas 0.8
Coastal Carolina Texas St. 1.2
Appalachian St. Little Rock 3.9
UL-Monroe Arkansas St. 2.4
Troy South Alabama 3.9

Games in RED are Championship Games for Automatic NCAA Tournament Bids.

Last Night’s Conference Tournament Championship Games

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
Charleston 83 Northeastern 76 ot
Horizon League Tournament
Wright St. 74 Cleveland St. 57
Northeast Conference Tournament
Long Island 71 Wagner 61
Summit League Tournament
South Dakota St. 97 South Dakota 87
West Coast Conference Tournament
Gonzaga 74 BYU 54

Teams With Automatic Bids to the Dance

Team Bid Conf. W-L
Charleston AUTO CAA 26-7
Gonzaga AUTO WCC 30-4
Iona AUTO MAAC 20-13
Lipscomb AUTO A-SUN 23-9
Long Island AUTO NEC 18-16
Loyola (Chi.) AUTO MVC 28-5
Michigan AUTO BTen 28-7
Murray St. AUTO OVC 26-5
Radford AUTO B-South 22-12
South Dakota St. AUTO Summit 28-6
UNC-Greensboro AUTO SoCon 27-7
Wright St. AUTO Horizon 25-9

Conference Championship Games Scheduled For Wednesday

Patriot League Tournament
Championship–March 7
Time Home Visitors TV
7:30 PM #1 Bucknell #2 Colgate CBSSN


Conference Tournaments Beginning Today

Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament
Washington, DC
First 4 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #12 LaSalle #13 Massachusetts  
8:30 PM #11 George Washington #14 Fordham  
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 VCU #9 Dayton NBCSN
2:30 PM #5 George Mason LaSalle or UMass NBCSN
6:00 PM #7 Richmond #10 Duquesne NBCSN
8:30 PM #6 St. Louis GWU or Fordham NBCSN
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Rhode Island VCU or Dayton NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 St. Joseph’s GMU/LaSalle/UMass NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 St. Bonaventure Richmond or Duquesne NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 Davidson Stl/GWU/Fordham NBCSN
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM URI/VCU/Dayton StJo/GMU/LaSalle/UMass CBSSN
3:30 PM StBon/Rich/Duq Dav/Stl/GWU/Fordham CBSSN
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

Rhode Island is a lock to get into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team if the Rams do not win the conference tournament.  St. Bonaventure is most likely in as well, but the Bonnies could sure use a quarterfinal win to make it secure.  Davidson is a potential bid stealer.  The Wildcats are the hottest team in the league and sport the league’s top defense.  Davidson knocked off Rhode Island in the regular season finale.

A player to watch in this tournament is Justin Wilson of VCU.  Wilson has the talent and ability to carry his team to the semifinals, where the right matchup could produce a dark horse for the league title.

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Kansas City
All Times CST
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 Oklahoma St. #9 Oklahoma ESPNU
8:00 PM #7 Texas #10 Iowa St. ESPNU
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #4 Kansas St. #5 TCU ESPN2
1:30 PM #1 Kansas Okla. St. or Oklahoma ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 Texas Tech Texas or Iowa St. ESPNU
8:00 PM #3 West Virginia #6 Baylor ESPNU
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Kan/Okl St/Okla Kan St. or TCU ESPN2
8:00 PM TTU/Tex/Iowa St. WVU or Baylor ESPN2
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPN

Kansas is aiming to secure a number one seed in the Big Dance, but the Jayhawks have been a bit inconsistent this year.  West Virginia swooned in the middle of the season, but the Mountaineers began to put it all together late in the season.  Kansas State, TCU, and Texas Tech had their moments during the season, but none of the three looked like a champion as March came marching in.  Oklahoma has taken on water to the point where a first-round loss to rival Oklahoma St. could sink the Sooners.  Texas and Baylor might need one tournament win to earn tournament lock status, while Iowa St. is really the only team that must win the automatic bid to get into the field of 68.  This should be one of the most exciting Big 12 Tournaments ever.

Big East Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #8 Georgetown #9 St. John’s FS1
9:30 PM #7 Marquette #10 DePaul FS1
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Xavier G’Town or St. John’s FS1
2:30 PM #4 Creighton #5 Providence FS1
7:00 PM #2 Villanova Marq. or DePaul FS1
9:30 PM #3 Seton Hall #6 Butler FS1
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Xavier/GTown/St. Johns Creighton or Providence FS1
9:00 PM Villa/Marq/DePaul S. Hall or Butler FS1
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM     Fox

Except for Georgetown and DePaul, any of the other eight teams in this league could win the conference tournament.  Villanova finished behind Xavier in the standings, but the Wildcats own the Musketeers.  St. John’s finished in a last place tie, but the Red Hawks beat Duke, Villanova, and Marquette in consecutive games.  So, it would not be all that shocking if SJU found the magic in MSG and make a run.

Conference USA Tournament
Frisco, TX
Top 12 Teams Qualify
All Times CST
Note: This facility splits into two separate courts until the semifinals
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 Florida Int’l. #9 Southern Miss. TBA
6:30 PM #5 UTSA #12 UTEP TBA
8:30 PM #7 North Texas #10 Louisiana Tech TBA
9:00 PM #6 UAB #11 Florida Atlantic TBA
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Middle Tennessee FIU or Southern Miss Stadium
6:30 PM #4 Marshall UTSA or UTEP Stadium
8:30 PM #2 Old Dominion N Tex or La Tech Stadium
9:00 PM #3 Western Kentucky UAB or FAU Stadium
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

This should be an interesting tournament just for the logistics.  If you have ever attended a giant AAU tournament, you most likely have seen multiple courts set up with a curtain dividing the action.  This tournament is going to face something similar.  The event will take place where the Dallas Cowboys practice.  There’s nothing new about staging the Final Four in a domed stadium meant for football.  However, there will be two courts facing parallel to each other with a thick black curtain separating the games.  There will be no worries about the basketball rolling from one court to the other interrupting a game, because the courts will be set in opposite end zones.  However, there is no guarantee that the sounds from one court might be heard on the other court, especially referee whistles and scoreboard horns.

The tournament itself should be quite interesting.  Middle Tennessee romped over the rest of the league with the exception of Marshall.  Marshall’s style of play is totally different than all the other teams in the league and all but a few teams nationally.  The Thundering Herd are one of the most exciting teams to watch in all levels of basketball.

Even though they are highly ranked, Middle Tennessee is far from a lock to make the NCAA Tournament if they do not win the automatic bid.  The Blue Raiders are 49th in the RPI, 48th in predictive metrics, 3-3 in Quadrant 1 games, and 2-1 in Quadrant 2 games.  They are certainly on the Bubble.

Western Kentucky and Old Dominion are fairly evenly matched with enough talent to win the tournament and represent the league well in an opening round NCAA Tournament game.  UAB is the  only dark horse with the horses to pull off a couple of upset wins, but anything other than the top four seeds advancing to the semifinals would be shocking.


Mountain West Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:00 AM #8 UNLV #9 Air Force Stadium
1:30 PM #7 Utah St. #10 Colorado St. Stadium
4:00 PM #6 Wyoming #11 San Jose St. Stadium
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Nevada UNLV or Air Force CBSSN
2:30 PM #4 Fresno St. #5 San Diego St. CBSSN
6:00 PM #2 Boise St. Utah St. or Color. St. CBSSN
8:30 PM #3 New Mexico Wyoming or San Jose CBSSN
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

If your favorite power conference team is in need of a new coach, then your school’s administration should keep a watch on this conference.  This is a league that features a lot of excellent coaches that could move on to big time schools and win big, much like the MAC in football.

At the top of this list are Nevada’s Eric Musselman, Boise State’s Leon Rice, Wyoming’s Allen Edwards, Fresno State’s Rodney Terry, and New Mexico’s Paul Weir.

Nevada has an NCAA bid locked up, but unless another team wins the MWC Tournament, this will be a one-bid league.  Boise State was on the Bubble at one time, but the Broncos’ resume, which includes a road win at Oregon  and home win over Loyola (Chi.) still might be a bit too thin.

San Diego State is like the snake in the grass that the mice cannot see.  The Aztecs can usually play great defense, but their offense is a bit too inconsistent.  This year, that is not the case, as their offense is rather strong, but their defense has not been up to recent standards.  However, SDSU enters this tournament riding a six-game winning streak with evidence that their defense is starting to come around.  Of all the dark horses in all the conferences, we believe the Aztecs are the most dangerous.


Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Colorado #9 Arizona St. Pac12
2:30 PM #5 Stanford #12 California Pac12
6:00 PM #7 Washington #10 Oregon St. Pac12
8:30 PM #6 Oregon #11 Washington St. Pac12
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Arizona Colorado or Ariz. St. Pac12
2:30 PM #4 UCLA Stanford or Cal Pac12
6:00 PM #2 USC Wash or Oregon St. Pac12
8:30 PM #3 Utah Oregon or Wash St. FS1
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Ariz/Color/Ariz St UCLA/Stanford/Cal Pac12
8:30 PM USC/Wash/OreSt Utah/Oreg/WSU FS1
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     FS1

Will the on-court action be as exciting as the off-court action in this league?  Arizona had to withstand a lot of negative press and speculation about Coach Sean Miller and star player DeAndre Ayton.

Then, there is the case of the hottest team in November and early December becoming an also-ran in conference play, yet remaining on the Bubble.  In other years prior to the current set-up where last 10 or 12 games meant a lot, this metric is not considered by the Selection Committee.  Thus, Arizona State, 8-10 in the Pac-12 and tied for eighth, is still very much in consideration for an at-large bid, while Utah and Stanford, both 11-7 in the league are not seriously being considered.  Stanford swept ASU, clearly showing the world that they are a superior team, while Utah split with the Sun Devils.  It just goes to show that this current system, while being easy to understand, is seriously flawed.

Imagine if the San Diego Padres won series over the Cubs, Nationals, and Astros early in the season and led the NL West through the end of May and then swooned to a 83-79 finish, while the Dodgers go 92-70 but end up with losing records to the Cubs and Nats and lose their interleague series with Cleveland.  Would it be right for the Padres to go to the playoffs based on those April and May wins, while the Dodgers stay home, even if the Dodgers owned the Padres in head-to-head games?  This would be a joke!  But, in college basketball, it is hailed as the new genius way to determine who belongs in the Dance.

It is our opinion that conference standings mean something, in fact a lot more than most of the other factors used to pick at-large teams.  The third place team in a league is obviously better than the eighth place team in the same league.


Southeastern Conference Tournament
St. Louis
First 4 Rounds CST, Championship Game CDT
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #12 Georgia #13 Vanderbilt SECTV
8:30 PM #11 South Carolina #14 Ole Miss SECTV
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Texas A&M #9 Alabama SECTV
2:30 PM #5 Missouri Georgia or Vandy SECTV
6:00 PM #7 Mississippi St. #10 LSU SECTV
8:30 PM #6 Arkansas S. Carolina or Ole Miss SECTV
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Auburn A&M or Alabama ESPN
2:30 PM #4 Kentucky Mizzou/UGa/Vandy ESPN
6:00 PM #2 Tennessee Miss St. or LSU SECTV
8:30 PM #3 Florida Ark/USC/Ole Miss SECTV
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM Aub/A&M/Alabama UK/MO/GA/VU ESPN
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM     ESPN

Co-champion Auburn is a wounder Tiger.  Without their one legitimate star inside presence, Anfernee McLemore, we do not see the Tigers making it to the Championship Game, and they could fall short of the Semifinals.

Co-champion Tennessee really only goes seven deep, which is okay in the NCAA Tournament, but having to win three games in three days will be tough.

Florida and Kentucky can always be counted to put it all together starting the second week of March.  The Gators and Wildcats have enough vulnerabilities this year that either team winning the tournament would be a mild surprise.

It is the next six teams in this league that should make this an exciting tournament.  Alabama is like the 33rd car in Indy Qualifying, always worried that another car might run an exceptional qualifying run and bump them from the field.  The Crimson Tide absolutely must win Thursday over Texas A&M to have any chance to make the field.  A win over Auburn on Friday would do the trick.

Who do we like in this tournament?  It all hinges on one player who has been in action for all of two minutes all season.  Will Michael Porter, Jr. return to action for Missouri?  If so, will he be able to play considerable minutes?  If so, then Missouri becomes our favorite to run the table and win the Arch Madness encore.  The Tigers are already strong enough to compete for the championship, so if Porter can come close to looking like he did when Missouri played Kansas in that pre-season charity game, the Tigers might capitalize on the return and cut down the nets in their home state.

Texas A&M is a team to watch.  The Aggies will have to fight off a feisty Alabama team playing for its tournament life.  An A&M win on Thursday would set up a quarterfinal game with an Auburn team that A&M handled in Auburn.


Southland Conference Tournament
Katy, TX
Top 8 Teams Qualify
All Times CST
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #5 New Orleans #8 Texas A&M-CC ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 Lamar #7 Central Arkansas ESPN3
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #4 Sam Houston St. UNO or TAMCC ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 Stephen F. Austin Lamar or Cent. Ark. ESPN3
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #1 SE Louisiana SHSU/UNO/TAMCC ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 Nicholls St. SFA/Lamar/Cent. Ark. ESPN3
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

How many times have you watched a classic horse race where an all-time favorite horse like American Pharoah or Secretariat is in third place entering the top of the stretch?  The champion may be down 4 or 5 lengths, and the horses leading him may have decent past performances that show they close well.  Still, all eyes are on the all-time great, because you just know the heroic equine is going to run a 11.4 final furlong and pass the two horses in front.

The Southland Conference has its Secretariat or Citation.  Stephen F. Austin enters the tournament as the number three seed, but the fans of top-seed Southeast Louisiana and second-seed Nicholls State will tell you that they fear the Lumberjacks.  SFA played the two co-champs in back-to-back games more than two months ago.  Since then, the Lumberjacks have improved by about 7-10 points.  SFA is the real favorite to win the tournament for the fourth time in five years.


Sun Belt Conference Tournament
New Orleans
First 3 Rounds CST, Championship Game CDT
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #8 Coastal Carolina #9 Texas St. ESPN3
2:00 PM #5 Appalachian St. #12 Little Rock ESPN3
5:00 PM #7 UL-Monroe #10 Arkansas St. ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 Troy #11 South Alabama ESPN3
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #1 UL-Lafayette CCU or Tex St. ESPN3
2:00 PM #4 UT-Arlington Appy St. or Little Rock ESPN3
5:00 PM #2 Georgia St. ULM or Arky St. ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 Georgia Southern Troy or USA ESPN3
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM ULL/CCU/Tex St UTA/Appy/Little Rock ESPN3
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

Louisiana Lafayette (We know they now call themselves just Louisiana, but until it is the household name we will still add “Lafayette”) is the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament and be a formidable first-round opponent, but it is not a foregone conclusion that the Ragin’ Cajuns will slaughter three opponents and earn the one bid that will go to the league.

ULL has an incredible offense and can light up the scoreboard, but occasional defensive lapses have led to giving up too many points.  Georgia State hung 106 points on them two weeks ago.  Panthers’ coach Ron Hunter knows how to prepare his teams for tournament play, and Georgia State should be considered a co-favorite.

Texas-Arlington is a team to watch in this tourney.  The Mavericks usually win the hustle stats, and those extra opportunities mean even more in March.


Conference Tournaments Continuing Today

All times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Second Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 Florida St. #9 Louisville ESPN
2:00 PM #5 North Carolina St. #12 Boston College ESPN
7:00 PM #7 Virginia Tech #10 Notre Dame ESPN2
9:00 PM #6 North Carolina #11 Syracuse ESPN2
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 Virginia Fla. St. or Louis. ESPN
2:00 PM #4 Clemson NCSt/BC ESPN
7:00 PM #2 Duke VaT/N.Dame ESPN
9:00 PM #3 Miami (Fla.) North Carolina or Syracuse ESPN
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM UVa/FSU/Louis. Clem/NCSt/BC TBA
9:00 PM Duke/VaT/ND Mia.UNC/Syr TBA
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN


Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 Hampton #9 Florida A&M ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 Bethune-Cookman #7 Morgan St. ESPN3
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 Savannah St. #6 UNC-Central ESPN3
8:00 PM #4 North Carolina A&T #5 Norfolk St. ESPN3
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM Hampton/FAMU NCAT/Norfolk St ESPN3
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2



























March 13, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 13 Update

Selection Sunday Is Here

Over the weekend, we here at the PiRate Ratings have been perusing all the statistical information relevant to our popular PiRate Bracket-picking criteria.  What began as a simple back-testing exercise six years ago has evolved into a lengthy formula that has proven to be rather accurate at isolating the real contenders from the pretenders.


We have determined which factors are important and which are irrelevant when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.  Last year, with about 1,150 readers coming to our site to read the pre-tournament prediction, we shocked a lot of Blue Mist fanatics by predicting that their beloved Wildcats would fail to reach the Final Four.  We said the same thing about Kansas.  It was a foregone conclusion that the Wildcats and Jayhawks were on a collision course to play in one of those games of the century.


We crunched the numbers and predicted Coach K and Duke to win the title.  The choice was not popular.  We were told, sometimes not in the King’s English, how stupid our formula must be to take a not-so-great Duke team (when compared to the really good Duke teams in the past), and how our formula was full of baloney.  We had to laugh when one reader lambasted us using the same words he had used the year before when we tabbed North Carolina as a bigger favorite to win it all than Ronald Reagan was in the 1984 election.


For the record, we predicted Kansas and Memphis to make it to the finals in 2008, and we forecasted Florida and UCLA to meet for the championship in 2006.  We also told you to watch out for tiny George Mason that year as they had a criteria score that made them a contender to advance to the Elite Eight.


We made a handful of West Virginia fans happy when we called for the Mountaineers to win four games and crash the Final Four party.  We forecasted the Regional Final win over Kentucky before the play-in game tipped off.  On the bright side, for some fans from the Bluegrass, we correctly predicted Murray State to upset Vanderbilt in the first round.


This formula has its drawbacks as well as its benefits.  It is strictly a mechanical formula much like a stock screener.  It does not consider a lot of the intangibles, such as emotion, motivation, and intestinal fortitude.  Of course, it removes all the biases and looks only for the pertinent statistics that propelled past teams into the Final Four.


For instance, we missed on Butler last year.  We called for UTEP to upset the Bulldogs in the first round in what we thought was the best overall matchup of the first two days.  We missed on other first and second round games as well.  We explicitly state that this formula is geared toward finding the teams that can advance to the Elite Eight and Final Four and finding the team that best emulates past champions.


Remember this:  the 1927 New York Yankees, the best baseball team ever (better than the 1939 Yankees in our opinion), lost 44 games during the season.  28.6% of the time, an inferior team defeated the Bronx Bombers.  There are 32 games in the first round, so a record of 23-9 should be considered as dominating as the 1927 Yankees.


Let’s say that the top predictors can successfully pick 80% of the tournament games correctly when filling out their brackets.  Apply common mathematics to the 64 advancing teams after the First Four Round is played in Dayton, and that leaves you with 25.6 correct picks in the first round.  That means that 6.4 of the teams you picked are gone, so you cannot win any more games involving those exited teams.


In the second round, if you are fortunate to pick 80% correctly once again, 10.24 of the Sweet 16 will be teams you picked to make it to the second week of the tournament.  The other 5.76 teams still around are teams you did not pick, so they cannot help you in your brackets.  Remember, this amount is about the high end of the threshold for the best prognosticators.


Applying our 80% success rate in the next two rounds, 4.1 of our teams will make the Elite Eight, and 1.64 of our teams will make the Final Four.  You see just how difficult it can be to fill out your brackets.  It really gives you a headache when the junior executive’s sweet little secretary wins the office pool because she chose her teams based on the number of syllables in their name.  Pure luck sometimes wins over hard work.  That’s life.

We can tell you one thing about this year’s probable NCAA Tournament field.  It is not the most dominating field.  We have yet to finish collecting all the data we need to put numbers to the criteria, but we can tell you that we expect more first round and second round games to be decided in the final minutes than most years.  It makes for a great tournament to watch, but it makes for five headaches for the five of us to live up to our past successes.


Tonight, we will begin our NCAA Tournament coverage with a full explanation of our system.  Beginning Monday, we will start to analyze each of the four regionals and tell you which teams have the best chance of advancing to Houston’s Reliant Stadium.


Let’s take a look at some unfinished business.  There are four conference tournament championships on tap for today.  One of them can cause a chain reaction and force the bottom team on the bubble into the NIT.


Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

#1 North Carolina (26-6)  vs. #2 Duke (29-4)


It’s always great when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox meet in the American League Playoffs.  Well, it is great if you are not a fan of the other teams.  The Big Two from Tobacco Road meet for a third time this season in the rubber game.  It is the 30th time for both in the ACC Championship Game.


North Carolina blew a large lead at Cameron Indoor Stadium in February, but the Tar Heels breezed to a win at the Dean Dome last week to wrap up the regular season championship.  Carolina has not lost since that game at Duke, and the Tar Heels are on a 14-1 streak since mid-January.  It has not been easy for Coach Roy Williams and his team, as they have had to come back from double digit deficits in the second half of both of their tournament games.


Duke weathered a mighty scare when Nolan Smith went down with a toe injury in the quarterfinal game against Maryland, but Smith showed no signs that it affected him when he returned Saturday to score 27 points in an easy win over Virginia Tech.


This is definitely the game of the day as you prepare for the big announcements this evening.  Flip a coin.  This is a 50-50 affair.  We’ll go with the Tar Heels because they looked better overall down the stretch than the Blue Devils, but we have no real reason to pick one rival over the other.  It will come down to which team has a better shooting eye today and has the most rest.


Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

#3 Richmond (26-7)  vs. #9 Dayton (22-12)

1:00 PM EDT  CBS

Fans of Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Southern Cal, Alabama, and other bubble teams will be rooting like crazy for the Spiders today.  If Dayton upsets Richmond, the last team in the tournament will be exiled to the NIT.


Richmond has won six games in a row and 10 of 11.  The Spiders have outscored their opponents by 12 points per game in their current streak, and their Princeton-style offense has really jelled down the stretch.  Their defense has been as potent as their offense.  In the last four games, opponents have connected on just 35.3% of their shots.


Dayton connected on just 34.4% of their shots in a nine-point home loss to Richmond in the regular season.  The Flyers were in the middle of a 6-9 slide when they played Richmond in late January.


The Flyers came out flying in the A-10 Tournament.  In the first two rounds, Dayton couldn’t miss from outside.  Three-point barrages in both games gave the Flyers early double-digit leads.  Yesterday, the shots did not fall, but the Flyers held on with defense.


We do not expect Dayton to jump out to a big lead today.  In fact, we believe they will commit just enough errors for Richmond to exploit with their patient offense and help one bubble team stay alive.


Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

#1 Ohio State (31-2)  vs. #6 Penn State (19-13)

3:30 PM EDT  CBS

If this were only football, we would call this the game of the day.  Then, again, we would probably break out into a discussion about Joe Paterno and his squeaky clean history against Jim Tressel and his e-mail history.


On paper, this game looks like a mismatch, but in reality, Ohio State has not dominated this weekend, while Penn State has.


The Buckeyes are playing for the first overall seed.  A loss today would give that honor to Kansas.  Penn State appears to be in the Big Dance, but there is still a tiny pinhole of doubt.  A loss would leave the Nittany Lions at 19-14.


Ohio State struggled all day against Northwestern’s slowdown.  Penn State can slow this game down and play much better defense than the Wildcats.  We believe the big underdog has a legitimate chance to win the title.


Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

#1E  Florida (26-6)  vs. #2E  Kentucky (24-8)
1:00 PM EDT  ABC

Florida does not need much help to win this game and move up as high as a number two seed.  Kentucky’s lack of depth forced Coach John Calipari to stick with his starters long after he needed to do so yesterday, and two Wildcat starters exited the game with ankle injuries in the final minutes.


The worse of the two injuries belong to star Doron Lamb, and Lamb may or may not be available to play today.  Florida’s offense forces defenders to cover a lot of territory, and Lamb will not be able to play defense the way it is needed to stop the Gators’ offense.


We look for the Gators to put this game away in the first five minutes of the second half.


Check back just before the brackets are announced tonight.  We will have our bracket-picking primer online around 5:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

March 12, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 12 Update

Bucknell Joins The Dance Party

The Bucknell Bison earned the Patriot League’s automatic bid Friday with a 72-54 victory over Lafayette.  Versatile big man Mike Muscala led the Bison with 18 points while sharpshooter Bryson Johnson added 15.


Bucknell improved to 25-8 on the season.  They project to be a 12 or 13-seed.


12 More Bids To Go Out Saturday


This is the busiest day of the tournament schedule.  13 conferences will crown their champion, and four other conferences will conduct semifinal rounds.  All told, every single one of the 21 games scheduled will be televised nationally.  Do you have enough televisions and a good high-speed computer?


Here is a conference-by-conference look at all the action.


All Game Times EST


Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

Quarterfinal Round

#1 North Carolina  61  #9 Miami  59

#4 Clemson  70  #5 Boston College  47

#2 Duke  87  #7 Maryland  71

#6 Virginia Tech  52  #3 Florida State  51 


Semifinal Round

#1 North Carolina (25-6)  vs. #4 Clemson (21-10)  1:30 PM  ESPN 

#2 Duke (28-4)  vs. #6 Virginia Tech (21-11)  3:45 PM  ESPN


All four teams are safely in the NCAA Tournament.  The Hokies secured a spot in the Dance with the nail-biting win over the Seminoles.


America East Conference

Championship Round

#5 Stony Brook (15-16)  at #2 Boston U (20-13)  12 Noon  ESPN2


Boston U won both regular season meetings.  The Terriers won 67-62 at home and 62-49 on the road.  They win with their defense, as they only shoot 40.6% from the field.


Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Dayton  68  #1 Xavier  67

#12 St. Joseph’s  93  #4 Duquesne  90  ot

#2 Temple  96  #10 LaSalle  76

#3 Richmond  55  #6 Rhode Island 45


Semifinal Round

#9 Dayton (21-12)  vs. #12 St. Joseph’s (11-21)  1 PM  CBS College

#2 Temple (25-6)  vs. #3 Richmond (24-7)  3:30 PM  CBS College


The Bubble teams will have to sweat it out all the way until Sunday.  At least one long shot will advance to the Championship Game.  Neither St. Joe’s nor Dayton is getting an at-large bid, and one of the two will be playing for an automatic bid Sunday.  Both Temple and Richmond are in the Dance.


Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

Semifinal Round

#1 Kansas  90  #5 Colorado  83

#2 Texas  70  #3 Texas A&M  58


Championship Game

#1 Kansas (31-2)  vs. #2 Texas (27-6)  6 PM  ESPN


The Jayhawks are still playing for the overall number one seed, while Texas is probably locked in on a number two seed.  However, with Notre Dame losing, a Longhorn win could put them in the conversation, especially if Duke does not win the ACC Tournament.


Big East Conference—New York City

Semifinal Round

#9 Connecticut  76  #4 Syracuse  71  ot

#3 Louisville 83  #2 Notre Dame  77  ot 


Championship Game

#3 Louisville (25-8)  vs. #9 Connecticut (25-9)  9 PM  ESPN


Connecticut becomes the first team ever to play five games in five days in modern college basketball history.  Will they have anything left in the tank next week when it really counts?  Louisville’s win more than likely killed any chance for the Irish getting a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.


Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Ohio State  67  #8 Northwestern  61 ot

#4 Michigan  60  #5 Illinois  55

#7 Michigan State  74  #2 Purdue  56

#6 Penn State  36  #3 Wisconsin 33


Semifinal Round

#1 Ohio State (30-2)  vs. #4 Michigan (20-12)  1:40 PM  CBS

#6 Penn State (18-13)  vs. #7 Michigan State (19-13)  4 PM  CBS


Michigan State has now earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.  Penn State might move from the Bubble to in the tournament with a win over the Spartans.


Big West Conference—Anaheim

Semifinal Round

#1 Long Beach State  74  #7 UC-Riverside  63

#5 UC-Santa Barbara 83  #3 Cal State Northridge 63


Championship Game

#1 Long Beach State (22-10)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (17-13)  8 PM  ESPN2


Long Beach State won both meetings against the Gauchos in the regular season, and neither game was close.  The 49ers are not going to become another Butler or even repeat the exploits of Northern Iowa last year, but they could scare a favored team in the first round.  If UCSB wins, then they will make a quick exit in the first round.


Conference USA—El Paso, TX

Semifinal Round

#4 Memphis  76  #8 East Carolina  56

#3 U T E P  66  #2 Tulsa  54


Championship Game

#3 UTEP (25-8)  vs. #4 Memphis (24-9)  11:30 AM  CBS


The host Miners blew Memphis off the floor 74-47 in their only regular season meeting.  That game took place on this court.


Ivy League Playoff

Harvard (23-5)  vs. Princeton (24-6)  at Yale University  4 PM 


If Princeton wins a close game, there is an outside chance that the Ivy League could get two bids.


Mid-American Conference—Cleveland

Semifinal Round

#6 Akron  79  #2 Western Michigan  68

#1 Kent State 79  #4 Ball State 68


Championship Game

#1 Kent State (23-10)  vs. #6 Akron (22-12)  6 PM  ESPN2


The winner goes dancing, while the loser can only hope for a trip to Madison Square Garden in late March.


M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Semifinal Round

#4 Morgan State  61  #1 Bethune-Cookman  48

#2 Hampton  85  #6 Norfolk State  61


Championship Game

#2 Hampton (23-8)  vs. #4 Morgan State (17-13)  2 PM  ESPN2


Morgan State goes for a four-peat.  The Bears beat Hampton in the regular season 78-72.


Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

Semifinal Round

#1 B Y U  87  #5 New Mexico  76

#2 San Diego State  74  #3 UNLV 72


Championship Game

#1 B Y U  (30-3)  vs. #2 San Diego State (31-2)  7 PM  Versus


Is the third time the charm for San Diego State?  The Aztecs’ two losses were to the Cougars.  If they can hold Jimmer Fredette under 35 points, we have a feeling that SDSU will cut down the nets. 


Both teams are legitimate threats to make it to the Sweet 16 and possibly a round or two farther.


Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

Semifinal Round

#1 Arizona  67  #4 Southern Cal  62

#3 Washington 69  #7 Oregon 51


Championship Game

#1 Arizona (27-6)  vs. #3 Washington (22-10)  6 PM  CBS


This should be an exciting game, even though it will not greatly affect the NCAA Tournament seedings.


The two teams split the season series, but the Huskies came close to sweeping.  UW won by 17 at home and fell by a single point in Tucson.  We think this is a tossup game.


Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

Quarterfinal Round

1W  Alabama 65  4E Georgia 59  ot

2E  Kentucky  75  3W  Ole Miss 66

1E  Florida  85  5E  Tennessee  74

3E  Vanderbilt  87  2W  Mississippi State  81


Semifinal Round

1W  Alabama (21-10)  vs. 2E  Kentucky (23-8)  1 PM  ABC

1E  Florida (25-6)  vs.  3E  Vanderbilt (23-9)  3:30 PM  ABC


Alabama played themselves into position to get one of the final at-large bids.  The Crimson Tide fans need to route against a Dayton or St. Joseph’s tournament championship in the Atlantic 10, because there is still little room for error for ‘Bama.


Kentucky looks unstoppable at times and then looks like a team that doesn’t belong in the tournament at others.  That’s what you get with a bunch of underclassmen and with no depth.


We believe this game will be close for most of the day, but the Wildcats will enjoy one nice spurt in both halves to hold off the Tide by six to 12 points.


Florida is playing about as well as either of their two National Champion teams.  It is hard to stop a team with five guys capable of scoring 20 points.  The Gators’ have few weaknesses.


Vanderbilt is a lot like Florida, but not as talented.  The Commodores have excellent outside shooters, but they cannot create their own shot like Florida’s outside shooters.  They have a couple of excellent inside scorers, but they can disappear against Florida’s inside players.  We look for the Gators to dominate this one from the beginning and win by double digits.


Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Championship Game

#1 McNeese State (21-10)  vs. #7 UT-San Antonio (18-13)  4 PM  ESPN2


S W A C—Garland, TX

Semifinal Round

#4 Alabama State  73  #1 Texas Southern  66

#6 Grambling  81  #2 Jackson State  75  ot


Championship Game

#4 Alabama State (16-17)  vs. #6 Grambling (12-20)  8:30 PM  ESPNU


The winner of this game can definitely plan on heading to Dayton for a First Four game.


W A C—Las Vegas

Semifinal Round

#1 Utah State  58  #8 San Jose State  54

#2 Boise State 81  #3 New Mexico State  63


Championship Game

#1 Utah State (29-3)  vs. #2 Boise State (20-11) 10 PM  ESPN2


Utah State is definitely in the Dance, so if the Broncos can pull off the big upset, another bubble will burst somewhere else.


Note: St. Mary’s defeated Weber State Friday night 77-54 in a non-conference game that was scheduled only two months ago.  The Gaels appear to be safe as an at-large team.

March 11, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 11 Update

Patriot League Championship—4:45 PM EST On ESPN2

#6 Lafayette (13-18)  at #1 Bucknell (24-8)


Lafayette makes an appearance in the conference championship game for the second consecutive year.  The Leopards fell to rival Lehigh last season and were tabbed the best team in the league in the preseason.  They took a step backward and tumbled to sixth in the league.


Bucknell closed 2010 with an 8-2 finish and returned all five starters and most of their key reserves.  The Bison continued to play top-notch ball and ran away with the Patriot League title.  Bucknell is on fire, having won nine games in a row by an average of 72-60 and 22 of their last 24 games.


The Bison swept the series against their Keystone State rival, winning 75-56 in Lewisburg and 74-69 in overtime at Easton.  Tonight’s game is on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, so Bucknell will enjoy the home court advantage.


In the earlier game in Lewisburg, Bucknell began the second half of a close game by going on a 20-3 run to put the game out of reach.  The Bison held Lafayette to 37% shooting and controlled the boards by 14.  In the game at Lafayette, Bucknell led 61-50 with four and a half minutes to go, but the Bison did not score another point in regulation.  Lafayette scored 11 consecutive points to force overtime and then briefly took a 64-61 lead at the start of the extra period.  The Leopards shot under 40% again and were outrebounded once again.


Bucknell goes just seven-deep, and all seven contribute to the offense.  Muscular big man Mike Muscala leads the way with 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  The 6-11 Muscala has recorded six double-doubles in the last 15 games.  Bryson Johnson is an excellent long-range shooter, and he shoots 47% from three-point range.  As a team, Bucknell shoots 40.6% from behind the arc.


Lafayette led the entire game at Holy Cross in the conference tournament quarterfinal.  The Leopards placed five players in double figure scoring, and they stole the ball nine times to knock off the Crusaders.  In the semifinal round at number two seed American, the Leopards trailed by two points in the final seconds when Jim Mower buried a three-pointer as the clock expired to seal a double overtime victory.


If the Leopards are to pull off the big upset and advance to a First Four game in Dayton next week, big man Jared Mintz will have to neutralize Muscala.  Mintz gives away two inches in height, but he has the power to hold his own inside.  Mintz leads the Leopards with a 15.8 point scoring average and 5.8 rebound average.  Mower averages 12.4 points per game.


Thursday’s Results And Friday’s Games With NCAA Tournament Repercussions

All Times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

1st Round

#9 Miami  69  #8 Virginia  62

#5 Boston College  81  #12 Wake Forest  67

#7 Maryland  75  #10 North Carolina State  67

#6 Virginia Tech  59  #11 Georgia Tech  43


Quarterfinal Round

#9 Miami (19-13)  vs. #1 North Carolina (24-6)  12 Noon  ESPN2

#5 Boston College (20-11)  vs. #4 Clemson (20-10)  Approx. 2:15 PM  ESPN2

#7 Maryland (19-13)  vs. #2 Duke (27-4)  7 PM  ESPN2

#6 Virginia Tech (20-10)  vs. #3 Florida State (21-9)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN2


North Carolina, Duke, Florida State, Clemson, and Boston College are in.  Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Miami are on the bubble.  Miami and Maryland must win today, or they are NIT-bound.  Virginia Tech is in a near must-win situation.  They are on the middle of the bubble.


Atlantic 10 Conference—Atlantic City, NJ

No Games Played Thursday

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Dayton (20-12)  vs. #1 Xavier (24-6)  12 Noon  CBS College

#12 St. Joseph’s (10-21)  vs. #4 Duquesne (18-11)  2:30 PM  CBS College

#10 LaSalle (15-17)  vs. #2 Temple (24-6)  6:30 PM  CBS College

#6 Rhode Island (19-12)  vs. #3 Richmond (24-7)  9 PM  CBS College


Xavier, Temple, and Richmond are in.  Duquesne must win the tournament to get in, so the bubble teams will be pulling for Dayton or Xavier to stop them in the semifinals.  Keep an eye on Rhode Island.  The Rams are capable of upsetting Richmond and Temple to get to the finals.


Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Kansas  53  #9 Oklahoma State  52

#5 Colorado  87  #4 Kansas State  75

#2 Texas  74  #10 Oklahoma  54

#3 Texas A&M  86  #6 Missouri  71


Semifinal Round

#1 Kansas (30-2)  vs. #5 Colorado (21-12)  7 PM

#2 Texas (26-6)  vs. #3 Texas A&M (24-7)  9:30 PM


Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas State, and Colorado are in.  The Buffalos secured their bid yesterday, so the rest of this tournament is all about the seedings.


Big East Conference—New York City

Quarterfinal Round

#9 Connecticut  76  #1 Pittsburgh  74

#4 Syracuse  79  #5 St. John’s  73

#2 Notre Dame  89  #7 Cincinnati  51

#3 Louisville  81  #11 Marquette  56


Semifinal Round

#9 Connecticut (24-9)  vs. #4 Syracuse (26-6)  7 PM  ESPN

#2 Notre Dame (26-5)  vs. #3 Louisville (24-8)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN


11, yes 11, teams will receive invitations Sunday evening.  This is the strongest league not just this year, but maybe since the Big East placed three teams in the Final Four in 1985.  This should be a great finish to the tournament, and Notre Dame has a chance to move to a number one seed if the Irish win it.  Any one of these four could still be playing in late March.


Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

1st Round

#8 Northwestern  75  #9 Minnesota  65

#7 Michigan State  66  #10 Iowa  61

#6 Penn State  61  #11 Indiana  55


Quarterfinal Round

#1 Ohio State (29-2)  vs. #8 Northwestern (18-12) 12 Noon  ESPN

#4 Michigan (19-12)  vs. #5 Illinois (19-12)  Approx 2:20  ESPN

#2 Purdue (25-6)  vs. #7 Michigan State (18-13)  6:30 PM  Big Ten Network

#3 Wisconsin (23-7)  vs. #6 Penn State (17-13)  Approx. 8:45  Big Ten Network


Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois are in.  Michigan State can definitely punch a ticket with an upset over Purdue today, and they are still on the highest part of the bubble if they lose.  Northwestern and Penn State must win the tournament to get in, although the Nittany Lions could get in the discussion with a loss in the finals.  We would not be all that surprised if the Wildcats play Ohio State a close game, at least for 30 to 32 minutes.


Big West Conference—Anaheim

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Long Beach State 79  #8 UC-Irvine  72

#5 UC-Santa Barbara  79  #4 Pacific  67

#7 UC-Riverside  70  #2 Cal Poly  66  ot

#3 Cal State Northridge  75  #6 Cal State Fullerton  54


Semifinal Round

#1 Long Beach State (21-10)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (16-13)  9:30 PM  ESPNU

#3 Cal State Northridge (14-17)  vs. #7 UC-Riverside (12-18)  12 Midnight  ESPNU


The champion is the only team that will advance.  Long Beach State has a minimal at best chance of winning a first round game if they are the champion.


Conference USA—El Paso, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#8 East Carolina  75  #1 U A B  70  ot

#4 Memphis  66  #5 Southern Miss.  63

#3 U T E P  77  #6 Marshall  65

#2 Tulsa  81  #7 Rice  72


Semifinal Round

#2 Tulsa (19-12)  vs. #3 U T E P  (24-8)  3 PM 

#4 Memphis (23-9)  vs. #8 East Carolina (18-14)  5:30 PM


At this point, no team is guaranteed a spot in the Big Dance.  UAB played their way to the bottom half of the bubble with a loss to ECU.  Memphis and UTEP could possibly get into the conversation if they both advance to the championship game.  For now, we are projecting just the champion to make it into the tournament.  The host Miners enjoy a large home court advantage and should top Tulsa in a thriller today.


Mid-American Conference—Cleveland

Quarterfinal Round

#2 Western Michigan 67  #7 Bowling Green  56

#6 Akron  82  #3 Miami (O)  75  2ot

#1 Kent State  73  #8 Buffalo  62

#4 Ball State  76  #5 Ohio U  73  ot


Semifinal Round

#2 Western Michigan (20-11)  vs. #6 Akron (21-12)  7 PM

#1 Kent State (22-10)  vs. #4 Ball State (19-12)  9:30 PM


The MAC has been down in recent years, but the eventual champion of this tournament could be a formidable opponent as a number 13 or 14 seed for a better team in the first round. 


M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Morgan State  77  #5 North Carolina A&T  59

#6 Norfolk State  55  #3 Coppin State 53


Semifinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman (21-11)  vs. #4 Morgan State (16-13)  6 PM

#2 Hampton (22-8) vs. #6 Norfolk State (12-19)  Approx. 8:15 PM


These teams are playing for a probable spot in the First Four.  The first semifinal will be a thriller; the top-seeded Wildcats face the three-time defending champion Bears.


Hampton has been a surprise team, and they should have an easier contest and be more rested for the championship.


Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

Quarterfinal Round

#1 B Y U  64  #9 T C U  58

#5 New Mexico  67  #4 Colorado State 61

#2 San Diego State  64  #7 Utah  50

#3 U N L V  69  #6 Air Force 53


Semifinal Round

#1 B Y U (29-3)  vs. #5 New Mexico (21-11)  9 PM  CBS College

#2 San Diego State (30-2)  vs. #3 U N L V  (24-7)  11:30 PM  CBS College


BYU, San Diego State, and UNLV are in.  Colorado State played themselves into the NIT with the loss yesterday to New Mexico.  As for the Lobos, with a third win over BYU today, they could get into the conversation, but they probably need to earn the automatic bid to go dancing.


Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Arizona 78  #9 Oregon State  69

#4 Southern Cal  70  #5 California  56

#7 Oregon  76  #2 U C L A  59

#3 Washington 89  #6 Washington State 87


Semifinal Round

#1 Arizona (26-6)  vs. #4 Southern Cal (19-13)  9 PM  Fox Sports

#3 Washington (21-10)  vs. #7 Oregon (16-16)  11:30 PM  Fox Sports


Arizona, UCLA, and Washington are in.  Oregon must win this tournament to get in.  As for Southern Cal, the Trojans might work their way into one of the final bubble spots with an upset over the top-seeded Wildcats tonight.  Last night’s battle of the Evergreen State was one of the most exciting of the tournament season with the Huskies coming from behind to knock off arch-rival Washington State by two.


Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

1st Round

#4E  Georgia  69  #5W  Auburn  51

#3W  Ole Miss  66  #6E  South Carolina  55

#5E  Tennessee  74  #4W  Arkansas  68

#3E  Vanderbilt  62  #6W  L S U  50


Quarterfinal Round

#1W  Alabama (21-10)  vs. #4E Georgia (20-10)  1 PM

#2E  Kentucky (22-8)  vs. #3W Ole Miss (20-12)  3:30 PM

#1E  Florida (24-6)  vs. #5E  Tennessee (19-13)  7:30 PM

#2W Mississippi State (17-13)  vs. #3E  Vanderbilt (22-9)  10 PM


Florida, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt are definitely in.  Tennessee is probably in and would only be out if a lot of surprise winners win the remaining conference tournaments.  The Vols would safely secure a spot with a win over the Gators. 


The big game in all of college basketball today is the Georgia-Alabama game.  Call this an extra play-in game.  The winner survives to the Dance, while the loser will be hosting an NIT game next week.


Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Semifinal Round

#1 McNeese State  91  #4 Texas State  83

#7 UT-San Antonio  79  #3 Sam Houston State 70


Championship Game on Saturday


S W A C—Garland, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#4 Alabama State  81  #5 Alabama A&M 61

#6 Grambling  65  #3 Mississippi Valley  62


Semifinal Round

#2 Jackson State (17-14)  vs. #6 Grambling (11-20)  3:30 PM

#1 Texas Southern (19-11)  vs. #4 Alabama State (15-17)  9 PM


The Champion will probably be forced to play in the First Four.  Jackson State is on a mission after losing in the first round last year as the number one seed.


W A C—Las Vegas

Quarterfinal Round

#8 San Jose State  74  #4 Idaho 68

#3 New Mexico State  66  #6 Nevada  60


Semifinal Round

#1 Utah State (28-3)  vs. #8 San Jose State (17-14)  9 PM

#2 Boise State (19-11)  vs. #3 New Mexico State (16-16)  11:30 PM  ESPN2


Utah State is in and should be the higher seed in their first round game.  If the Aggies are upset, then one more bubble will burst.  The one WAC team that beat USU (Idaho) was knocked out of the conference tournament yesterday.

March 10, 2011

NCAA Basketball Conference Tournaments–March 10 Update

Two Newest Dance Participants


Northeast Conference Championship

Long Island  85  Robert Morris  82 ot


In what may have been the most exciting championship game of the season, the home-standing Blackbirds and visiting Colonials exchanged leads all night.  Two missed three-point shots in the final seconds, one at the buzzer, was all that prevented this game from going to double overtime.


LIU opened with a cold shooting hand, and RMU took the lead.  Once the Blackbirds started hitting their shots, this became a game of runs.  LIU had the hot hand in the second half, but RMU kept getting enough offensive rebounds to keep the Colonials in the game.


Jamal Olasewere had a game-high 31 points to go with 11 rebounds; he scored seven points in the overtime.  Team leader Julian Boyd was held to just seven points, but the Blackbirds had excellent showings off the bench.  Jason Brickman tossed in 15 points and dished out eight big assists, while Kenny Onyechi added 13 points.


Russell Johnson and Velton Jones teamed up for 42 points for the losers.


LIU will be a formidable opponent for their favored foe in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Their style of play could cause severe matchup problems for a bigger, slower team, especially if that team is not the strongest ball-handling team.  If they were to be bracketed against BYU in the first round, it would be the thriller of the first round. 


Big Sky Conference Championship

Northern Colorado  65  Montana  60


This game was anticlimactic following the NEC Championship.  Montana kept the pace slow, and the Grizzlies shot out to a 7-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes.  UNC made a run to take its first lead at 17-16 on a three-point shot by Tate Unruh.


The lead switched hands several times the remainder of the half with the buzzer sending the teams to the locker tied at 31-31.


Montana maintained a small lead for most of the second half, until star guard Devon Beitzel took over.  His three-pointer at the 4:56 mark gave the Bears the lead for good.  Beitzel continued shooting and then forced Montana to foul him, and the Bears hung on to win.


Beitzel did not score until late in the first half, but the Big Sky Conference’s leading scorer finished with 27 points.


Montana center Brian Qvale hit a layup with 16 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 62-60, but following two made Beitzel free throws, Art Steward committed a turnover to seal the game. 


Steward led the Grizzlies with 16 points, while Qvale added 11.


Northern Colorado will be one of those teams that will be glad just to be there at the NCAA Tournament.  The Bears should make a quick exit in game one, unless they are chosen as one of the First Four #16 seeds.


13 Automatic Qualifiers To Date

Team Conference Record
Arkansas-Little Rock Sunbelt 19-16
Belmont Atlantic South 30-4
Butler Horizon 23-9
Gonzaga West Coast 24-9
Indiana State Missouri Valley 20-13
Long Island Northeast 27-4
Morehead State Ohio Valley 24-9
Northern Colorado Big Sky 21-10
Oakland Summit 25-9
Old Dominion Colonial 27-6
St. Peter’s Metro Atlantic 20-13
UNC-Asheville Big South 19-13
Wofford Southern 21-12


No Championship Games Are Scheduled For Thursday


Wednesday’s Results/Thursday’s Schedule

All Times EST

Atlantic Coast Conference—Greensboro, NC

1st Round

#8 Virginia (16-14)  vs. #9 Miami (Fla) (18-13)  12 Noon

#5 Boston College (19-11)  vs. #12 Wake Forest (8-23)  Approx. 2:15 PM

#7 Maryland (18-13)  vs. #10 North Carolina State (15-15)  7 PM  ESPN2

#6 Virginia Tech (19-10)  vs. #11 Georgia Tech (13-17)  Approx. 9:15 PM


Big 12 Conference—Kansas City

1st Round

#9 Oklahoma State  53  #8 Nebraska  52

#5 Colorado  77  #12 Iowa State  75

#10 Oklahoma  84  #7 Baylor  67

#6 Missouri  88  #11 Texas Tech  84


Quarterfinal Round

#9 Oklahoma State (19-12)  vs. #1 Kansas (29-2)  12:30 PM on ESPN2

#5 Colorado (20-12)  vs. #4 Kansas State (22-9)  3PM

#10 Oklahoma (14-17) vs. #2 Texas (25-6)  7 PM

#6 Missouri (23-9) vs. #3 Texas A&M (23-7)  9:30 PM


Big East Conference—New York City

2nd Round

#9 Connecticut  79  #8 Georgetown 62

#5 St. John’s  65  #13 Rutgers 63

#7 Cincinnati  87  #15 South Florida 61

#11 Marquette  67  #6 West Virginia  61


Quarterfinal Round

#9 Connecticut (23-9)  vs. #1 Pittsburgh (27-4)  12 Noon  ESPN

#5 St. John’s (21-10)  vs. #4 Syracuse (25-6)  Approx. 2:15 PM  ESPN

#7 Cincinnati (25-7)  vs. #2 Notre Dame (25-5)  7 PM  ESPN

#11 Marquette (20-13)  vs. #3 Louisville (23-8)  Approx. 9:15 PM  ESPN


Big Ten Conference—Indianapolis

1st Round

#8 Northwestern (17-12)  vs. #9 Minnesota (17-13)  2:30 PM  ESPN2

#7 Michigan State (17-13)  vs. #10 Iowa (11-19)  4:50 PM  ESPN2

#6 Penn State (16-13)  vs. #11 Indiana (12-19)  7:30 PM  Big Ten Network


Big West Conference—Anaheim

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Long Beach State (20-10)  vs. #8 UC-Irvine (13-18)  3 PM

#4 Pacific (16-14)  vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara (15-13)  5:20 PM

#2 Cal Poly (15-14)  vs. #7 UC-Riverside (11-18)  9 PM

#3 Cal State Northridge (13-17)  vs. #6 Cal State Fullerton (11-19)  11:20 PM


Conference USA—El Paso, TX

1st Round

#8 East Carolina  78  #9 Central Florida  60

#5 Southern Miss.  63  #12 Tulane  47

#6 Marshall  97  #11 Houston  87

#10 Rice  58  #7 S M U  57


Quarterfinal Round

#8 East Carolina (17-14)  vs. #1 U A B  (22-7)  1PM  CBSC

#5 Southern Miss (22-9)  vs. #4 Memphis (22-9)  3:30 PM  CBSC

#6 Marshall (22-10)  vs. #3 U T E P  (23-8)  7:30 PM  CBSC

#10 Rice (14-17)  vs. #2 Tulsa (18-12)  10 PM  CBSC


M A C—Cleveland

Quarterfinal Round

#7 Bowling Green (14-18)  vs. #2 Western Michigan (19-11)  12 Noon

#6 Akron (20-12)  vs. #3 Miami (O) (16-15)  2:30 PM

#8 Buffalo (18-12)  vs. #1 Kent State (21-10)  7 PM

#5 Ohio U (18-14)  vs. #4 Ball State (18-12)  9:30 PM


M E A C—Winston-Salem, NC

Note: The MEAC has a unique scheduling format which rewards its top three seeds.  Thus, yesterday, there were both first round and quarterfinal round games scheduled.  The quarterfinal round concludes today.


1st Round

#6 Norfolk State  68  #11 Howard 53


Quarterfinal Round

#1 Bethune-Cookman  66  #9 South Carolina State 50

#2 Hampton  77  #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore  55


Quarterfinal Round Continues

#4 Morgan State (15-13)  vs. #5 North Carolina A&T (15-16)  8 PM

#3 Coppin State (16-13)  vs. #6 Norfolk State (11-19)  7 PM


Mountain West Conference—Las Vegas

1st Round

#9 T C U  70  #8 Wyoming  61


Quarterfinal Round

#9 T C U (11-21)  vs. #1 Brigham Young (28-3)  3 PM

#5 New Mexico (20-11)  vs. #4 Colorado State (19-11)  5:30 PM

#7 Utah (13-17)  vs. #2 San Diego State (29-2)  9 PM

#6 Air Force (15-14)  vs. #3 U N L V  (23-7)  11:30 PM


Pac-10 Conference—Los Angeles

1st Round

#9 Oregon State 69  #8 Stanford 67

#7 Oregon 76  #10 Arizona State 69


Quarterfinal Round

#4 Southern Cal (18-13)  vs. #5 California (17-13)  3 PM  Fox Sports

#1 Arizona (25-6)  vs. #9 Oregon State (11-19)  5:30 PM  Fox Sports

#2 U C L A  (22-9)  vs. #7 Oregon (15-16)  9 PM  Fox Sports

#3 Washington (20-10)  vs. #6 Washington State (19-11)  11:30 PM  Fox Sports


Southeastern Conference—Atlanta

1st Round

#4E  Georgia (20-10)  vs. #5W  Auburn (11-19)  1 PM

#3W  Ole Miss (19-12)  vs. #6E  South Carolina (14-15)  3:30 PM

#4W  Arkansas (18-12)  vs. #5E  Tennessee (18-13)  7:30 PM

#3W  Vanderbilt (21-9)  vs. #6E L S U  (11-20)  10 PM


Southland Conference—Katy, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#1 McNeese State 61  #8 Nicholls State 54

#4 Texas State 72  #5 Southeastern Louisiana 68

#7 Texas-San Antonio 97  #2 Northwestern State (LA) 96

#3 Sam Houston State 61  #6 Stephen F. Austin 45


Semifinal Round

#3 Sam Houston State (18-12)  vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio (17-13)  7 PM

#1 McNeese State (20-10)  vs. #4 Texas State (16-15)  9:30 PM


S W A C–Garland, TX

Quarterfinal Round

#1 Texas Southern 50  #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45

#2 Jackson State 50  #7 Prairie View 38


Quarterfinal Round Continues

#3 Mississippi Valley (13-18)  vs. #6 Grambling (10-20)  12:30 PM

#4 Alabama State (14-17)  vs. #5 Alabama A&M (13-14) 9 PM


W A C—Las Vegas

1st Round

#8 San Jose State 75  #5 Hawaii 74

#6 Nevada 90  #7 Fresno State 80


2nd Round

#4 Idaho (18-12)  vs. #8 San Jose State (16-14)  3 PM  ESPNU

#3 New Mexico State (15-16)  vs. #6 Nevada (13-18)  5:30 PM  ESPNU

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