The Pi-Rate Ratings

February 15, 2018

2018 NCAA Division 1 Conference Tournament Schedule

Here is a look at the 32 Division 1 conferences’ tournament schedules.  A few league still have “to be announced starting times.”

America East Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
Tournament Re-seeded after quarterfinals
Top 8 Teams
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 ESPN3
TBA #4 #5 ESPN3
TBA #2 #7 ESPN3
TBA #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
TBA 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA Higher Lower ESPN2

Vermont (11-0/21-5) has won 14 games in a row and should be the overwhelming favorite to return to the NCAA Tournament.  The Catamounts are one of the better shooting teams from behind the arc, and they are sneaking good on the boards.  They will not be an easy out for a favored power conference team in the first round.

American Athletic Conference Tournament
Orlando, FL
First 3 Rounds EST/Championship EDT
       
First Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM # 8 #9 ESPNU
2:30 PM #5 #12 ESPNU
6:00 PM #7 #10 ESPNU
8:30 PM #6 #11 ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPNU
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBS
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBS
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

Cincinnati (12-0/23-2) faces three tough regular season  games on their schedule before the AAC Tournament begins.  The Bearcats play at Houston (9-3/19-5) tonight in a game you can see on CBSSN at 7 PM Eastern.  UC looks like a national championship contender.  The Bearcats are number one in the nation in field goal percentage defense and in scoring margin.  The team is one of the quickest teams we have seen in many years, and they plug defensive holes fast enough to give up many decent shots.  Coach Mick Cronin’s forces are better offensively this year, because they just may be the best passing team in college basketball.  The ball moves much quicker through the air than by the dribble, and combining fast player movement with crisp passing makes it hard to contain.  The only question is whether the Bearcats have played a tough enough schedule.  Road games at Houston and Wichita State will give us the answer.

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 #13  
8:30 PM #11 #14  
       
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 NBCSN
2:30 PM #5 12 or 13 NBCSN
6:00 PM #7 #10 NBCSN
8:30 PM #6 11 or 14 NBCSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 NBCSN
2:30 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 NBCSN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 NBCSN
8:30 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 NBCSN
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 CBSSN
3:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

Rhode Island (13-0/21-3) has secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament with or without the automatic bid.  Should somebody upset the Rams in the A-10 Tournament, there will be an extra A-10 team dancing, which means one bubble will pop.  URI has a 16-game winning streak, and Danny Hurley will become a hot commodity in the coaching wars in late March and April.

Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament
Brooklyn
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #12 #13 ESPN2
2:00 PM #10 #15 ESPN2
7:00 PM #11 #14 ESPNU
       
Second Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN
2:00 PM #5 12 or 13 ESPN
7:00 PM #7 10 or 15 ESPN2
9:00 PM #6 11 or 14 ESPN2
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN
2:00 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
7:00 PM #2 7, 10, or 15 ESPN
9:00 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 ESPN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 TBA
9:00 PM 2, 7, 10, or 15 3, 6, 11, or 14 TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:30 PM     ESPN

Virginia (13-1/24-2) lost at home to rival Virginia Tech (7-6/18-8), placing the Hokies many places higher on the Bubble.  This tournament should be up for grabs, because there are many quality teams.  One will get hot and play its best basketball of the season, and that team will earn the automatic bid.  Keep an eye on North Carolina State (7-6/17-9).  First year coach Kevin Keatts proved to be one of the best tournament coaches when he was at UNCW, and his players have played well above their talent levels for him.  Just a tad more improvement, and the Wolf Pack could be dangerous in the Barclay’s Center.

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 26
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 Florida Gulf Coast #8 ESPN3
TBA #4 #5 ESPN3
TBA #2 #7 ESPN3
TBA #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA 1 or 8 4 or 5 ESPN3
TBA 2 or 7 3 or 6 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA     ESPN

Florida Gulf Coast (11-0/20-8) has already secured the top seed and will host every game it plays in the A-Sun Tournament.  This Eagles team is not as strong as the great dunking 2013 team that advanced to the Sweet 16, but it will be a major upset if FGCU loses.

Big 12 Conference Tournament
Kansas City
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 ESPNU
8:00 PM #7 #10 ESPNU
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #4 #5 ESPN2
1:30 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPNU
8:00 PM #3 #6 ESPNU
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN2
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPN

This will be one interesting and exciting tournament.  Except for Iowa State, any of the other nine teams has the ability to win this tournament.  It will be important to finish in the top six to avoid having to play an extra game to win the thing, but even the 7 through 9 seeds will have chances to win four games in four days.  Baylor (6-7/16-10) has won four straight games to move from the cellar to a fifth place tie.  The Bears are the hot team, and their wins at Oklahoma State and Texas plus a home win over Kansas proves that they are good enough to keep winning.  Saturday’s game against front-runner Texas Tech (10-3/22-4) should be one of the best of the weekend.

Big East Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #8 #9 FS1
9:30 PM #7 #10 FS1
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 FS1
2:30 PM #4 #5 FS1
7:00 PM #2 7 or 10 FS1
9:30 PM #3 #6 FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM 1, 8,or 9 4 or 5 FS1
9:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 FS1
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM     Fox

Villanova (10-3/23-3) dropped from the top of the polls and then dropped from the top of the conference.  Xavier (12-2/24-3) is the hot team, but the Musketeers have eeked out a lot of their wins this year.  Teams that pick up many close wins seldom advance to the Final Four, but it is not impossible.  Xavier pinned one of the losses on Cincinnati, and it is slightly possible that the Final Four could have two teams from the Queen City.

After losing 11 games in a row, St. John’s (3-11/14-13) has won four in a row, including two over top five teams (Duke and Villanova).  Seldom does the last place team look capable of winning a power conference tournament, but there is precedence.  Virginia won the ACC after finishing last in the standings one season in the 1970’s.

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Reno, NV
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 Pluto tv
2:30 PM #5 #12 Pluto tv
5:30 PM #7 #10 Pluto tv
8:00 PM #6 #11 Pluto tv
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Pluto tv
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Pluto tv
5:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Pluto tv
8:00 PM #3 6 or 11 Pluto tv
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 Pluto tv
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 Pluto tv
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM     ESPNU

Three teams have put it together in the month of February, and one of the three should win the tournament.  Montana (13-0/20-5) has won 13 games in a row; Weber St. (10-2/17-7) has won 7 in a row; and Idaho (9-3/17-7) has won 4 in a row.  Montana plays at Idaho on Saturday.

Big South Conference Tournament
1st Round & Championship Game at Higher Seeds
Quarterfinals and Semfinals at #1 Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
7:00 PM #7 #10 BSN
7:00 PM #8 #9 BSN
BSN TV at http://bigsouthsports.com    
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
3:30 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Home Visitors TV
6:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN3
8:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
1:00 PM     ESPN

UNC-Asheville (11-3/18-9) was the preseason pick to win the Big South, but the Bulldogs underachieved through early January.  Since then, UNCA has passed four teams to move to the top of the standings, riding a 7-game winning streak.  Keep an eye on eighth place Charleston Southern (6-8/11-14).  The Buccaneers have won four of five games, and they could easily be 9-9 by the time the tournament starts.  Many of CSU’s losses have been close, including road losses against the top part of the league.  The Bucs are peaking at the right time.

Big Ten Conference Tournament
New York City
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #12 #13 Big Ten
7:45 PM #11 #14 Big Ten
       
Second Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 Big Ten
2:15 PM #5 12 or 13 Big Ten
6:30 PM #7 #10 Big Ten
8:45 PM #6 11 or 14 Big Ten
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Big Ten
2:15 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 Big Ten
6:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Big Ten
8:45 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 Big Ten
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 CBS
4:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 CBS
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:30 PM     CBS

The Big Ten season is ending early this year so the league can stage its conference tournament at Madison Square Garden.  MSG also hosts the Big East Tournament.

The top three teams (Ohio St. 13-1/22-5), Michigan St. (13-2/25-3), and Purdue (12-2/23-4) have separated themselves from the rest of the field and are all safely in the Dance.  Michigan (10-5/21-7) is close to a lock.  There are three or four other teams that will begin the tournament needing multiple wins to have a chance to get into the field.  Nebraska (11-4/20-8) is a victim of the new way of picking at-large teams.  In past years, the Cornhuskers would be a near lock with an 11-4 record in the Big Ten.  With the new quadrant system being used, Nebraska does not have a Quadrant 1 win and not enough Quadrant 2 wins.  The Huskers have three winnable conference games and could be 14-4 in the league and still back on the Bubble, so NU will need to do some damage in the Big Apple.

Big West Conference Tournament
Anaheim, CA
Top 8 Teams Qualify & Tournament Re-seeds for Semifinals
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #2 #7 FSWest
2:30 PM #3 #6 FSWest
6:00 PM #1 #8 FSWest
8:30 PM #4 #5 FSWest
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining TBA
9:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

UC-Santa Barbara (8-2/19-5), UC-Irvine (8-3/13-14), UC-Davis (7-4/16-9), Cal State Fullerton (7-4/14-9), and Long Beach St. (7-4/13-14) have stayed bunched together all season, and no team has a great edge over any other.  With the game at the Honda Center in Anaheim, there are basically three home teams in UCI, CSF, and LBSU.  This one is up for grabs.

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
North Charleston, SC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 CAA TV
8:30 PM #7 #10 CAA TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Comcast
2:30 PM #4 #5 Comcast
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 Comcast
8:30 PM #3 #6 Comcast
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     CBSSN

In the late 1990’s John Kresse took College of Charleston to multiple NCAA Tournaments.  The Cougars (11-3/20-6) have not been to the Big Dance since, but this looks like the most promising year this century for C of C.  The Cougars are strong in the backcourt and have a beefy forward in Jarrell Brantley.

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 #9 TBA
6:30 PM #5 #12 TBA
8:30 PM #7 #10 TBA
9:00 PM #6 #11 TBA
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Stadium
6:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Stadium
8:30 PM #2 7 or 10 Stadium
9:00 PM #3 6 or 11 Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBSSN
3:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:30 PM     CBSSN

Middle Tennessee (12-1/20-5) will be the favorite, but the Blue Raiders will not waltz to an easy three-peat in CUSA.  The tournament has been moved to the North Dallas suburbs, where it will be played on the Cowboys’ practice facility.  The football field will be split into two courts so that two games can be played at a time (women’s tournament will also be there simultaneously).

The next three best teams, Western Kentucky (10-2/18-7), Old Dominion (10-2/19-5), and Marshall (8-4/17-8) have very little chance of sniffing an at-large bid.  WKU may have a slight chance, but realistically the Hilltoppers need to win out in the regular season and make it to the finals before their at-large hopes would be legitimate.

It’s the tier below these top four that should concern Middle Tennessee the most.  North Texas (7-5/14-11) is virtually a home team in the conference tournament.  UTSA (7-5/14-11) has improved by 10 points since December.  UAB (7-6/16-10) has not yet played up to its talent level, which means the Blazers could peak at tournament time.

Horizon League Tournament
Detroit (Motor City Madness)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:30 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
8:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
5:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
8:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
       
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
7:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPNU
9:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPNU
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

Northern Kentucky (12-2/19-7) and Wright St. (11-3/19-8) have flip-flopped between first and second place all year.  Northern Kentucky is the defending conference champions, and the Norse were the overwhelming favorite to repeat this year.

There are a couple more teams to consider in this tournament.  UIC (10-4/15-12) has quietly moved into third following a 7-game winning streak, and the top two teams still must visit UIC Pavilion.  Oakland (8-6/16-11) has a powerful, up-tempo offense, which is not all that consistent.  When consistent, the Golden Grizzlies have the ability to beat any league opponent.  Oakland won by 13 at NKU.

Ivy League Tournament
Philadelphia (Ivy Madness)
Top 4 Teams Qualify
Semifinals EST Championship Game EDT
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:30 PM #1 #4 ESPNU
3:00 PM #2 #3 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

Penn (7-1/17-7) and Harvard (7-1/12-11) have secured half of the spots in the field of four that will square off at the Palestra.  The Quakers will have the home court advantage.

The other two spots are still very much up for grabs with five teams competing and six conference games remaining.  This is a down year for the Ivy, and the winner of the tournament will most likely face a #1 seed in the first round if not forced to go to Dayton for the First Four.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Albany, NY
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM # 8 #9 ESPN3
7:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
9:00 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
9:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
9:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
9:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     TBA

This is a league in transition, as its previous top teams have settled back in the pack.  The current top three in the standings are the three teams playing their best ball in February, and we would tend to believe that one of the trio will win the automatic bid.  Those three teams are: Rider (12-2/19-7), Canisius (12-2/18-9), and Niagara (10-4/17-10).  For Rider and Canisius, it was the mid 1990’s when they were in the NCAA Tournament, while Niagara went in 2007.

Mid-American Conference Tournament
Cleveland (First Round at Higher Seeds)
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #8 #9 TBA
TBA #5 #12 TBA
TBA #7 #10 TBA
TBA #6 #11 TBA
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN3
6:30 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
9:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 CBSSN
9:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 See *
* This game will be available at cbssports.com
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

Buffalo (11-2/19-7) looked like the clear-cut favorite until the last week or so, and now the Bulls have stiff competition from Toledo (11-2/19-7).  However, historically, the MAC Tournament has seen an abnormally large number of surprises.  We don’t expect it to be any different this year.  Central Michigan (5-8/16-10) has disappointed this year, as their talent level is better than their results so far.  The Chippewas are a very longshot to win the tournament, but it would not surprise us if CMU looks much stronger in Cleveland–if they get there.

Mideastern Athletic Conference Tournament
Norfolk, VA
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 #13 ESPN3
9:00 PM #5 #12 ESPN3
       
First Round–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
6:30 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
9:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
8:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
8:00 PM 4 or 13 5 or 12 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 ESPN3
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

The winner of this conference may be forced to go to the First Four round in Dayton, but there is one team from this league that no other 16-seed wants to see in Dayton.  Savannah State (10-1/13-13) is the most up-tempo team in Division 1.  Watching the Tigers play is the closest thing to watching UNLV play in the 1970’s (not like Loyola Marymount under Paul Westhead.)  Former Georgetown great Horace Broadnax has had a total change in coaching paradigm in the last two years.  He used to coach like his mentor John Thompson, emphasizing defense and patient offense.  Now, Broadnax’s Tigers play like a Mike D’Antoni-coached team.  There is little need for a shot-clock in SSU games.  The Tigers average better than 84 possessions per game.  They take more than 73 field goal attempts per game.  They force more than 18 turnovers per game and average close to 10 steals per game, and they score 86.5 points per game.  If it weren’t for an inability to rebound, we would have SSU on our list of low majors with a legitimate chance to upset a power team in the Round of 64.  If they get to the NCAA Tournament and advance past the First Four, they will be forced to play somebody like Virginia, Villanova, or Cincinnati, and they don’t have the muscle to pull off the biggest upset in the history of the Dance.  However, if they get there, you will want to watch them play.

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
St. Louis (Arch Madness)
All Times CST
       
First Round–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 MVC TV
8:30 PM #7 #10 MVC TV
       
Quarterfinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 MVC TV
2:30 PM #4 #5 MVC TV
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 MVC TV
8:30 PM #3 #6 MVC TV
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
5:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     CBS

With Wichita State now in the AAC, it figured that the Valley race would be wide open.  While it still may be so, it sure looks like Loyola (Chi.) (12-3/22-5) is doing its best to return to glory.  The Ramblers won it all in 1963, and they have only been back to the NCAA Tournament one time since legendary coach George Ireland retired in the late 1960’s.  Southern Illinois (10-5/18-10) was a national joke a few years ago when Coach Barry Hinson went on one of the most famous rants in coaching history, and ESPN featured it for two days.  Hinson has never taken a team to the NCAA Tournament in 17 years as a head coach.

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:00 AM # 8 #9 Stadium
1:30 PM #7 #10 Stadium
4:00 PM #6 #11 Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 CBSSN
2:30 PM #4 #5 CBSSN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 CBSSN
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 CBSSN
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 CBSSN
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     CBS

In our opinion, Eric Musselman should be the National Coach of the Year.  His Nevada Wolfpack (11-2/22-5) has 10 transfers on the roster.  Musselman inherited a 22-game loser in Reno when he arrived three years ago and immediately turned the program around, going 24-14 and winning the CBI Tournament.  He won both the regular season and conference tournament last year, but Nevada quickly got behind by double digits against Iowa State in the first round and went home after one game.

This year, Nevada has the tools to do some damage in the tournament.  They are most likely going back as an at-large team if they do not win the automatic bid.

Boise State (10-4/20-6) is worthy of making the tournament even if the Broncos cannot top Nevada for the conference tournament title.  Former Mark Few assistant Leon Rice has built the BSU program up to where it is now on par with the football program.  Rice could be in line for a pay raise and a relocation to a power conference school.

Northeast Conference Tournament
All Games at Higher Seed
Top 8 Teams Qualify and Tournament Re-seeds after Quarterfinals
All Times EST
       
Quarterfinals–February 28
Time Home Team Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 NEC *
TBA #2 #7 NEC *
TBA #3 #6 NEC *
TBA #4 #5 NEC *
* NEC Front Row at http://necfrontrow.com/
       
Semifinals–March 3
Time Home Team Visitors TV
12:00 PM Highest Remaining Lowest Remaining ESPN3
2:00 PM 2nd Highest 3rd Highest ESPN3
       
Championship–March 6
Time Home Team Visitors TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The NEC is a candidate for placing its automatic qualifier in a First Four game.  No league team this year has enough force to do any damage in the NCAA Tournament.  First place Wagner (11-3/18-7) is not much of a favorite to win the NEC Tournament.  The Seahawks’ three conference losses came to teams in the lower half of the standings.

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
Evansville, IN
Top 8 Teams Qualify, Southeast Missouri ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
First Round–February 28
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #5 #8 OVC
8:30 PM #6 #7 OVC
OVC Network at http://www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com/watch
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:30 PM #4 5 or 8 OVC
8:30 PM #3 6 or 7 OVC
       
Semifinals–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM #1 4, 5, or 8 ESPNU
9:00 PM #2 3, 6, or 7 ESPNU
       
Championship–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPN2

The Ohio Valley Conference Tournament is set up so that the top two seeds have large advantages over the rest of the field.  The top two start in the semifinals and only have to win twice to earn the automatic bid.

It also severely handicaps the rest of the field when the top two are considerably better than the rest of the field.  Murray State (12-2/20-5) and Belmont (12-2/20-7) have dominated the league for years, and both are capable of knocking off a favored opponent in the opening round.

The tournament has moved away from Nashville to Evansville, Indiana, so Belmont will not have a home town advantage.  Murray, Kentucky, is an easy drive from Evansville, but then so is Nashville.  It should make for a grand finale if the Racers and Bruins meet for all the marbles.

Pacific 12 Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 7
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM # 8 #9 Pac12
2:30 PM #5 #12 Pac12
6:00 PM #7 #10 Pac12
8:30 PM #6 #11 Pac12
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 Pac12
2:30 PM #4 5 or 12 Pac12
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 Pac12
8:30 PM #3 6 or 11 FS1
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 Pac12
8:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 FS1
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     FS1

The Pac-12 may not be the best conference in the West this year.  The best four teams, maybe five teams, out West are not from the Pac-12.  Arizona (10-3/20-6) may not be as strong as Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Nevada, Boise State, and maybe New Mexico State.  So, it figures that the league will send a minimum number of teams to the Big Dance, maybe just two or three.

Arizona State (7-6/19-6) was once a lock for the NCAA Tournament, and the Sun Devils will most likely make it into the field because of the new criteria, where the way a team ends the season is not considered at all.  Wins over Kansas, Kansas State, and Xavier should be enough to get Bobby Hurley’s team into the field, where you can bet they will be placed in position to play Rhode Island in the first or second game, and the Committee will claim it was purely coincidental.

The Arizona rivals face off in Tempe tonight, and it should be one worth watching.  Tune in to ESPN at 9:00 PM Eastern.

USC, Oregon, and Washington still have work to do to make it into the field, while Utah, Colorado, and Stanford are probably looking at only an automatic bid as a means of Dancing.

Patriot League Tournament
All Games Played at Higher Seed
All Times EST
       
First Round–February 27
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #7 #10 Stadium
TBA #8 #9 Stadium
       
Quarterfinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 Bucknell 8 or 9 Stadium
TBA #4 #5 Stadium
TBA #2 7 or 10 Stadium
TBA #3 #6 Stadium
       
Semifinals–March 1
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA 1 or 8 4 or 5 CBSSN
TBA 2 or 7 3 or 6 CBSSN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA     CBSSN

Bucknell (13-2/19-9) secured the top seed this past weekend, so the Bison will host any game they play in the Pat Tourney.  One of their two league defeats came at home, so it is possible that they could be upset, but not very likely.

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 #13 SECTV
8:30 PM #11 #14 SECTV
       
Second Round–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #8 #9 SECTV
2:30 PM #5 12 or 13 SECTV
6:00 PM #7 #10 SECTV
8:30 PM #6 11 or 14 SECTV
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN
2:30 PM #4 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 SECTV
8:30 PM #3 6, 11, or 14 SECTV
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, 12, or 13 ESPN
2:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, 11, or 14 ESPN
       
Championship–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM     ESPN

There will be a double dose of Arch Madness this year, as the SEC moves its tournament to St. Louis.  It happens to coincide with the return to power of Missouri (8-5/18-8), and the Tigers’ fans may rival those from the Bluegrass.  Coach Cuonzo Martin was born just across the river, and he will have a loyal following as Mizzou has to be considered a co-favorite to win the conference tournament.  Now, if Michael Porter can suit up and play any amount of meaningful minutes, Missouri will become the odds-on favorite to win the tournament.

Auburn (11-2/23-3) will win the regular season title, while Tennessee (9-4/19-6) will most likely finish second, but the PiRates do not believe either team’s style of play and talent can win three games in three days.  If Missouri doesn’t win the tournament, it could be Alabama (8-5/17-9), a team with tough defense and enough offense to win three times in three days.

Of course, there are Florida (8-5/17-9) and Kentucky (6-7/17-9).  Who would ever count out either team with the incredible talent on both rosters?  It would not be a surprise if one or both peaked at the right time.

Southern Conference Tournament
Asheville, NC
All Times EST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #8 #9 ESPN3
7:30 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
12:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
6:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
8:30 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
4:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN3
6:30 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
9:00 PM     ESPN2

This looks like a two-team race.  East Tennessee (13-1/22-5) was cruising along with the nation’s best winning streak at 16, before they crashed and burned at UNC-Greensboro (11-2/20-6).  If anybody else wins the automatic bid, it is going to be a quick one and done.  Both ETSU and UNCG have the talent to win an opening round game.  ETSU has the strong front court, while UNCG has a fantastic press defense.

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 #8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 #7 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #4 5 or 8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 6 or 7 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
5:00 PM #1 4, 5, or 8 ESPN3
7:30 PM #2 3, 6, or 7 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

This is no longer Stephen F. Austin (10-3/21-5) and the 7 Dwarfs.  The Lumberjacks may very well win the conference tournament again this year, but they won’t just show up and receive the trophy.

Nicholls State (11-2/17-9) and Southeast Louisiana (11-3/17-10) rank ahead of SFA at the moment, and Sam Houston State (10-4/16-11) and New Orleans (10-4/13-12) are bunched up in a tight race.  None of the contenders have exceptionally strong resumes, so this league could be staring at a 16-seed in the tourney.

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
First Round at Higher Seed, Semifinal and Final Round in Houston
Grambling and Alabama A&M are ineligible due to low APR Scores
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 6
Time Home Visitors TV
TBA #1 #8 TBA
TBA #4 #5 TBA
TBA #2 #7 TBA
TBA #3 #6 TBA
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
2:30 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 TBA
8:30 PM 2 or 7 3 or 6 TBA
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
3:00 PM     ESPN2

It hurts that the best team, Grambling (10-3/14-12) in the league is ineligible to play in the NCAA Tournament.  The other nine teams have losing records, so the winner of this conference tournament will almost assuredly be playing in Dayton in the First Four round.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (9-4/9-18) went 0-14 outside of the SWAC, yet the Lions could be the favorite to win the tournament.  Southern (8-5/12-14) and Alabama St. (6-6/6-18) are actually the two hottest teams at the moment.

Summit League Tournament
Sioux Falls, MS
All Times CST
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #1 #8 MidcoSN
8:30 PM #2 #7 MidcoSN
       
Quarterfinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #4 #5 MidcoSN
8:30 PM #3 #6 MidcoSN
       
Semifinals–March 5
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 MidcoSN
8:30 PM 2 or 7 3 or 6 MidcoSN
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
8:00 PM     ESPN2

The top two teams will send a lot of fans to Sioux Falls to make their games feel like home games.  South Dakota State (10-1/22-6) and South Dakota (10-2/23-6) have to be considered prohibitive co-favorites, but we will keep a careful eye on Fort Wayne (6-6/17-12).  The Mastodons are like the Boston Red Sox during the Ted Williams days.  You know they are going to score, score, score with a powerful offense, but you never know if they are going to give up too many to the opponent.  If you saw the second half of Fort Wayne’s two-point loss at SDSU, you know that when this team puts it all together, they can beat any team in the Summit.  Indiana coach Archie Miller will tell you how talented these guys are.  The question is, will they ever put it all together for three consecutive days?

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 #9 ESPN3
2:00 PM #5 #12 ESPN3
5:00 PM #7 #10 ESPN3
7:30 PM #6 #11 ESPN3
       
Quarterfinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM #1 8 or 9 ESPN3
2:00 PM #4 5 or 12 ESPN3
5:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN3
7:30 PM #3 6 or 11 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
11:30 AM 1, 8, or 9 4, 5, or 12 ESPN3
2:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3, 6, or 11 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 11
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM     ESPN2

A month ago, this tournament looked like a mere formality where the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (11-1/21-4) would party in New Orleans.  As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friends.”  From almost out of nowhere, Georgia State (10-3/19-7).  A recent 10-game winning streak, which included a 14-point trouncing of ULL, brought GSU to within a game of first place.

West Coast Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
First Round–March 2
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM #8 #9 The W
8:00 PM #7 #10 The W
The W at: http://www.wccsports.com/ot/upcoming-events.html
       
Quarterfinals–March 3
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
1:00 PM #3 #6 The W
3:00 PM #4 #5 The W
7:00 PM #1 8 or 9 ESPN2
9:00 PM #2 7 or 10 ESPN2
       
Semifinals–March 4
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 1, 8, or 9 4 or 5 ESPN
8:00 PM 2, 7, or 10 3 or 6 ESPN2
       
Championship–March 6
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM     ESPN

We know about the top two teams, as they are always in contention for an NCAA bid every year.  Gonzaga (13-1/23-4) is no longer a mid-major team.  Once you make it to within a couple minutes of a national championship, you deserve the ranks to join teams from the past like UNLV, Marquette, Jacksonville, and UTEP that came to national prominence from out of nowhere.

Saint Mary’s (13-1/24-3) is not that far behind Gonzaga.  With Jock Londale in the post, they may have the top center in the nation.  SMU should get into the Dance as an at-large if they do not win the automatic bid.

Now, the question is can a third team earn a bubble-busting spot by beating both of the league powers?  BYU (9-5/20-7) certainly has the talent to get hot and run the table at Orleans Arena.  The Cougars can be tough to match up with, especially when they get their running game going.

Western Athletic Conference Tournament
Las Vegas
All Times PST
       
Quarterfinals–March 8
Time Home Visitors TV
12:00 PM #3 #6 ESPN3
2:30 PM #2 #7 ESPN3
6:00 PM #1 #8 ESPN3
8:30 PM #4 #5 ESPN3
       
Semifinals–March 9
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
6:00 PM 3 or 6 2 or 7 ESPN3
8:30 PM 1 or 8 4 or 5 ESPN3
       
Championship–March 10
Time Higher Seed Lower Seed TV
7:00 PM     ESPNU

This is a league with one really good team and three or four average teams that have the capability to sneak into the tournament title.  It would be ashamed for this league if New Mexico State (9-0/22-3) were to be upset in the tournament and end up as a 1-seed in the NIT.  The Aggies may have their best team in Las Cruces since Lou Henson took the 1970 team to the Final Four.  Coach Chris Jans has been rebuilding his reputation, and after a stint as Gregg Marshall’s assistant at Wichita State, he has made a strong comeback in his first year at NMSU.  He may be able to set up a long dynasty in the WAC.

Before you think that the Aggies will go through the motions and win the league title, there are four other decent teams that can beat them.  Seattle (6-3/17-9) and Utah Valley (6-3/17-8) are tied for second, but we believe that Grand Canyon (6-4/17-9) may be the team that best has the tools to upset NMSU.  The Antelopes are coached by former NBA tough man, Dan Majerle, and his teams are an extension of his hustle.

 

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