Conference Tourney Games, & Other Highlighted NCAA Games for Sat, 3/3
|by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
|March 3, 2007
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
-3. COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON VS 1. DAVIDSON. This game is being played in Charleston, which gives CofC an advantage, but Davidson should have a rather large arsenal of fans at this game as well. CofC upset Appalachian State in the semifinals in an exciting overtime game, whereas Davidson blasted by their opponents and won in -convincing fashion. Davidson is an amazing 27-4 on the year, but none of their wins came againt the RPI top 100 so they aren’t likely to get an at-large bid if they were to lose this game. However, if they win today, whoever faces them in the first round better be on upset alert. Davidson is a very solid and dangerous team.
MISSOURI VALLEY SEMIFINALS
-4. BRADLEY VS 1. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. Southern Illinois is a lock for the NCAA Tournament and is merely playing for seeding. Winning this tourney should get them a #3, and they could end up with a seed that good even if they don’t end up winning it. Bradley is on the outside of the bubble, but they don’t have anything all that bad on their resume and a win today would give them a big time quality win on a neutral floor, and that could be enough to get them into the discussion. At the very least, it gives them a chance to play for the automatic bid in the championship game.
-3. MISSOURI STATE VS 2. CREIGHTON. Both of these teams have strong NCAA Tournament resumes as it is, but there is still some weaknesses. The winner of this game would pretty much be a lock. The loser is still going to get a serious look and has a very good chance of getting in, but I’d say that whoever wins this game is locked in. Creighton won both meetings during the regular season, but they won both by four points or less, so this could end up being another war. Creighton blew past Indiana State in the quarterfinals whereas Missouri State struggled to get past Wichita State. However, they’ve played Creighton very tough twice and are very capable of pulling off the win.
It’s going to be a great day in the Valley!!!
BIG SOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP
6. VMI VS 1. WINTHROP. Winthrop might be okay for a bid if they lose this game, but it won't look like a good loss and they'll definitely be sweating. If they win, they should be seeded no worse than #11, and will likely be seeded better than that. Winthrop is not just an NCAA Tournament caliber team, they're a second round caliber team despite what their resume says. VMI has been on a run during this tournament and upset High Point in the semifinals the other night, but a win here isn't as likely. It would be a huge upset if it were to happen.
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
-2. BELMONT AT 1. EAST TENNESSEE STATE (***Win and In!!!***). East Tennessee State has been absolutely dominating lately, but they did struggle more than I expected them to in their first tournament games. Belmont actually defeated ETSU earlier this year, so they are very capable of pulling the upset and winning the conference championship. The winner will advance to the NCAAs, but isn’t likely to be seeded all that much better than a #15. Nevertheless, being a part of the tournament in any way is special and it will give them their chance to take the floor against a big time opponent.
OHIO VALLEY CHAMPIONSHIP
-2. EASTERN KENTUCKY VS 1. AUSTIN PEAY. After struggling in their quarterfinal game, Austin Peay looked a lot better against Samford today, but still got a battle and didn’t really wrap it up until the final couple of minutes. Eastern Kentucky struggled as well against Tennessee Tech, but held on to win in the end. The winner of this game could very well end up being a #16 seed, but just getting to the NCAAs is important to both teams, and this one should be a huge battle.
COLONIAL ATHLETIC QUARTERFINALS
-9. GEORGIA STATE AT 1. VCU. VCU won the regular season, but still isn’t entirely safe for a bid unless they can win this tournament. A loss to a low caliber team such as Georgia State would pretty much end their chances. That isn’t all that likely to happen, though. Georgia State won their first game on a last second bomb, but it will take an even bigger effort to pull off the huge upset today.
-5. NORTHEASTERN VS 4. DREXEL. Drexel has some really big wins this year and can get themselves into the discussion for an at-large bid, but it is far from locked up. They definitely need to win today because a loss will most likely eliminate them from the conversation. If they can win this, and pull off a win against VCU on their floor, that will most likley be enough to get them in. Northeastern will have to win the tournament in order to get a bid.
-6. GEORGE MASON VS 3. HOFSTRA. Hofstra can’t get to the dance without winning the tournament, but they are a very dangerous team that has a chance of doing just that. They have some bad losses on the year, but have also proven they can play with anyone in the league.
-7. TOWSON VS 2. OLD DOMINION. If Old Dominion avoids a loss in this game today they’re most likely all right for a bid to the dance. Their profile is pretty impressive. I believe two bids locks it up for them. They’ve also got a rather impressive winning streak and aren’t going to be an easy team to beat.
HORIZON LEAGUE SEMINFINALS
-4. WISCONSIN GREEN BAY AT 1. WRIGHT STATE. Neither of these teams can get in without the automatic bid, so this is a hugely important game. Wright State is red hot right now, and recently defeated Butler at home, so it wouldn’t be unthinkable for them to win today and then pull off the upset in the final.
-3. LOYOLA, IL VS 2. BUTLER. The last time these two met Loyola pulled off a surprising upset at Butler, which wound up costing Butler the right to host the conference tournament. Butler is a lock for the NCAAs, but their seed has taken a hit due to some of their recent losses. They need to win this tournamnet in order to keep it from dropping any more.
AMERICA EAST QUARTERFINALS
-8. Hartford vs 1. Vermont
-5. UMBC vs 4. Maine
-7. New Hampshire vs 2. Albany
-6. Binghamton @ 3. Boston University
Vermont is the favorite to win this tournament, and shouldn’t have too much trouble getting out of the quarterfinals. They’ve beaten Hartford and UMBC every time they’ve faced them, but were upset by Maine earlier this year. If they can advance to the title game they’ll host it on their home court.
WEST COAST QUARTERFINALS
-5. San Diego vs 4. San Francisco (winner gets Gonzaga)
-7. Portland vs 3. Saint Mary’s (winner gets Santa Clara)
Both San Diego and Portland won their opening round games rather handily. Portland is hosting and should have the advantage of the fans, especially if they can advance to the semifinals. Chances are we’ll be seeing Gonzaga and Santa Clara in the finals, though.
MID CONTINENT QUARTERFINALS
-8. Centenary @ 1. Oral Roberts
-7. Western Illinois vs 2. Oakland
The second half of the quarterfinals will be played tomorrow. Oral Roberts has pretty much dominated this league and shouldn’t have too much trouble advancing to the quarters, where they’ll face either Southern Utah or IUPUI.
METRO ATLANTIC QUARTERFINALS
-8. Canisius vs 1. Marist
-5. Manhattan vs 4. Siena
-7. Rider vs 2. Niagara
-6. Fairfield vs 3. Loyola, MD
Marist is the favorite, but Siena is one of the hottest teams right now. The two are also arch rivals, so it would be a very exciting semifinal if they ended up facing each other. Marist could get a #15 seed if they ended up winning this, but everyone else is most likely looking at a #16 seed.
BIG SKY QUARTERFINALS
-6. Idaho State @ 3. Montana
-5. Montana State @ 4. Portland State
The best remaining seed that wins today will face Northern Arizona, and the worst remaining seed will face Weber State. Whoever wins this league is looking at a #16 seed, and could even be headed to the play-in game, especially if it’s any of the teams that are playing today.
-TEXAS AT KANSAS (Big Twelve). Texas won an absolute thriller the other night against rival Texas A&M, and has really improved their resume. They’re really looking impressive right now, and trail Kansas by just one game in the conference standings. A win today forces a potential three way tie between Texas, Texas A&M and Kansas. It will also go a long way toward improving their seed, and put them in great shape as far as the conference tournament goes. Kansas, on the other hand, also has a very good seed locked up. They got a scare the other night from Oklahoma, but survived to clinch at least a share of first place in the Big Twelve. It has been a great year in the Big Twelve, and this could be yet another great game. A strong win for Texas could, and probably would, put them in the pod system.
-USC AT WASHINGTON STATE (Pac Ten). It was a classic the first time these two met with Wazzu winning on a last second shot. No one knew it at the time, but both of these teams are strong Tournament teams, and are just playing for seeding. It would be another good road win for USC, and it would be another nice quality win for Wazzu. Both teams are looking to rebound from losses and pick up some momentum heading into the Pac Ten Tournament. A win for USC puts them in a tie for second place with Wazzu.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES
-OKLAHOMA STATE AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve). Oklahoma State is still looking for their first true road win. In order to get into the discussion, they must win this game, as well as a few in the Big Twelve Tournament next week. They have not been playing well at all lately, and will really need to improve if they want to give themselves a chance.
-UTAH AT BYU (Mountain West). BYU is 9-1 in their last ten, and 17-3 in their last 20, so their NCAA Tournament bid is pretty much locked up. A loss to a low caliber team like Utah would hurt their seed, though, and it would also hurt their egos a little bit given how big of a rivalry this is. In addition to holding on to a solid seed, this would clinch the out right first place title for the Cougars and give them the #1 seed headed in to the MWC Tournament next week.
-SOUTH FLORIDA AT DE PAUL (Big East). De Paul is way outside looking in, but if they can win this game and go on a run in the Big East Tournament they can still get an at-large. They probably need to make it to the semifinals in order to get any serious consideration, though, and that might not even be enough.
-CONNECTICUT AT GEORGETOWN (Big East). Georgetown had a long winning streak snapped when they were upset by Syracuse earlier this week. They can wrap up the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament with a win today, as well as solidify a good seed in the NCAA Tournament. They should be able to be placed in Buffalo, NY for the first/second round. Connecticut probably needs to win the Big East Tournament in order to make the dance.
-TENNESSEE AT GEORGIA (SEC). Tennessee has not won many road games, but they’ve been on fire since Chris Lofton rejoined the team, and can add another road win to their resume today. They’ve win six of their last seven, and can finish 10-6 in SEC play with a win in this game. Georgia hasn’t completely fallen apart, but if they want to make the NCAAs they need to string together some wins to show they can win without Mike Mercer. This would be thieir third loss in four games if they can’t pull it off.
-PENN STATE AT INDIANA (Big Ten). Indiana has a pretty strong resume, and are simply playing for seeding at this point. They don’t want to have a poor loss to a team like Penn State on their resume. They’re coming off a road win against Northwestern, which is something they really needed. A win today will get the Hoosiers to 10-6 in Big Ten play and clinch a bye to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
-ILLINOIS AT IOWA (Big Ten). Illinois really needs a win in this game. They’ve been playing much better lately, but are still closer to the bubble than they’d like to be. Adding a decent road win to their resume, and finishing the regular season 7-1 would really be big for them. Iowa is coming off a loss to Penn State and most likely needs to win the Big Ten Tournament in order to get a bid. For what it’s worth, they are the defending Big Ten Champions.
-TEXAS TECH AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve). Texas Tech has been inconsistent this year, but are still in good shape for a bid. They just can’t have a collapse, which is something they’ve been prone to do. They have won four of their last five, and a win today gets them to 9-7 in conference. If they can pull off this win and win at least one in the Big Twelve Tournament they should be pretty safe. Iowa State can be very dangerous at home, but they are also inconsistent. Unfortunately for them, they are consistently poor more often than they are consistently good.
-OKLAHOMA AT KANSAS STATE (Big Twelve). Kansas State still has quite a bit of work to do, but they could get some strong consideration if they can advance to the semifinals or finals of the Big Twelve Tournament and win their game today. Oklahoma will most likely have to win the Big Twelve Tourney to get a bid.
-XAVIER AT LA SALLE (Atlantic Ten). Xavier appears to be solid, but that could come crashing down at any moment, especially if they lose this game. A win clinches the #1 seed in the conference tournament. A loss most likely takes their chances for an at-large away.
-PITTSBURGH AT MARQUETTE (Big East). Marquette has lost four of their last five games, and although their still safe as far as making the NCAA Tournament, their seed has taken a hit and they’ll need to string together some big wins in order to get back into the pod system. Pitt has also suffered a few losses recently, but is still safe for either a #2 or #3 seed and can win a share of the regular season title with a win today. The stronger they finish, the better their S Curve ranking will be.
-NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT MARYLAND (ACC). Maryland is one of the hottest and most dangerous teams in the country right now. They’ve won six in a row, and have beaten Duke twice and North Carolina during that stretch, and appear to be in contention for the pod system, not to mention a dangerous team in the ACC Tournament. A win today will put them at 10-6 in the ACC, but they still aren’t likely to bye into the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, they’re a very dangerous team who is now playing to improve their NCAA Tourney seed.
-FLORIDA STATE AT MIAMI, FL (ACC). Florida State ended a five game losing streak in their most recent win against NC State, but they still have quite a bit of work to do. Winning today is pretty much a must, and they’ll need to win against some decent teams in the ACC Tournament as well in order to get any serious consideration.
-OHIO STATE AT MICHIGAN (Big Ten). Ohio State has already clinched the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament and are jockeying for position for a #1 seed. A win today over bitter rival Michigan would keep them in strong contention. They’re going to get a strong seed no matter what happens the rest of the year, though. Michigan still has quite a bit of work to do, but winning against a high caliber team like Ohio State would be a huge step forward. A win also gets Michigan to 9-7, which means they could sneak into the dance with a few wins in the Big Ten Tournament.
-AUBURN AT MISSISSIPPI (SEC). Mississippi has quite a bit of work to do. They need to win today and pick up some big wins in the SEC Tournament in order to get any serious consideration.
-NEW MEXICO STATE AT NEVADA (WAC). New Mexico State won the first meeting between these two, but most likely won’t get into the NCAAs without winning the conference tournament. Nevada is pretty much locked in, but their seed most likely took a hit after their most recent loss to Utah State. A win today sustains the current value of their NCAA Tourney resume and gives them some momentum heading into the WAC Tournament.
-OREGON STATE AT OREGON (Pac Ten). Oregon’s NCAA ticket is pretty much locked, but they can still really improve their potential seed with a strong showing in the Pac Ten Tournament. In saying that, a loss today would be a bad loss on their resume and could hurt their potential seed. This is a pivotal game for Oregon against their bitter rival.
-BROWN AT PENN (Ivy League). Penn has already clinched an automatic bid to the NCAAs and is just playing for seeding.
-NORTHWESTERN AT PURDUE (Big Ten). Purdue is right on the bubble and winning today is pretty much a must. A loss at home to a low caliber team like Northwestern could kill them. In addition to winning today, they need to win some games in the Big Ten Tourney in order to feel safe.
-NOTRE DAME AT RUTGERS (Big East). Notre Dame is n the tournament, but may not have earned all that good of a seed yet. That could really improve their seed with a strong showing in the Big East Tournament. In saying that, a loss today could really hurt their seed, and an early exit in the conference tourney could have them sweating pretty hard on Selection Sunday.
-TCU AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West). SDSU is on the outside of the bubble and probably needs to win the Mountain West Tourney in order to get in, but if they can win this game and advance to the championship game they may get some consideration. They really stubbed their toes when they lost to Utah in their last game.
-MEMPHIS AT SMU (Conference USA). Memphis can wrap up a perfect season in CUSA with a win today, and should assure themselves a very good seed in the NCAA Tournament. They had a close call at UTEP the other night, but other than that they’ve breezed through the league for the most part.
-ARIZONA AT STANFORD (Pac Ten). Both of these teams are headed to the NCAA Tournament, but both could really use a big win to improve their resume and seed. A win for Arizona would make them 6-2 in their last eight, and give them their third straight road win. It would also put them at 11-7 in the conference and give them at least a tie for fourth place. The same can be said for Stanford, who currently has the same conference record. They had lost four of six before defeating last placed Arizona State the other night. Another win in this game would really help them out.
-MISSOURI AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve). TAMU shouldn’t have too much trouble with this one. A win gives them a shot at the #1 seed in the conference tournament depending on what happens between Texas and Kansas. They’re looking at a very good seed in the NCAA Tournament as well regardless of what happens the rest of the season.
-COLORADO STATE AT UNLV (Mountain West). UNLV is pretty much a lock for the NCAAs and is looking at a very good seed, especially if they can finish strong. This would be a rather bad loss, so they just need to take care of business and take that momentum into the conference tournament, which they’re hosting.
-ARKANSAS AT VANDERBILT (SEC). Arkansas has absolutely gone into the tank recently, and the only way they’ll make the NCAAs is if they win this game and rack up some big wins in the conference tournament. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, has a bid locked up and is now playing for seeding. A win for them and a strong showing in the SEC Tourney could get them a high seed. They still have an outside shot at making the pod system if they can win some big games on a neutral floor during the tournament.
-SYRACUSE AT VILLANOVA (Big East). Villanova looks pretty safe to me, but they don’t have the best conference record. They have won six of their last eight, though, and a win here would build upon that and give them quite a bit of momentum going into the conference tourney. Syracuse was a bubble team, but their win against Georgetown the other night really boosted their profile. Another quality road win in a game like this would probably lock up a bid for them.
-VIRGINIA AT WAKE FOREST (ACC). Virginia won a big game against rival Virginia Tech the other night, and can take home first place in the ACC with a win in this game, which will assure them a solid seed in the NCAA Tournament. A win or two in the conference tourney will undoubtedly land them in the pod system. Wake Forest is on the other side of things, seeing as how they’re tied for last place in the league for the second year in a row.
-UCLA AT WASHINGTON (Pac Ten). UCLA has already won first place in the league, and just got a huge road win against a very good Washington State team. A win tonight could be enough to lock up a #1 seed regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. Washington has played well at times and won a big game last night against USC, but will need to win the Pac Ten Tournament to get in.
-CINCINNATI AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big East). West Virginia is right on the bubble and can’t afford a bad loss to Cincinnati at home. They need to take care of business in this one and pick up some good wins in the Big East Tournament.
-MICHIGAN STATE AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten). Wisconsin has lost two straight, one of which was at Michigan State and the other was against Ohio State. They could still end up as a #1 seed if they win today and win the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan State is going to really struggle on the road in this one. They’ve struggled on the road all year, and Wisconsin is one of the hardest places in the country to play. If they were to pull this off it would boost their resume through the roof. If not, they still appear to be safe for a bid, although they have lost quite a few road games that one would expect them to win.
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