CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK NOTEBOOK
-205 Teams Remain. That includes Wichita State, BYU, Iona and George Mason, who were eliminated from their conference tournaments, but still on the board, and Penn, who can still mathematically win the Ivy League. Technically, Middle Tennessee and Utah Valley are still on the real committee’s board, but they have been removed from this countdown since they are no longer on the board of the mock committee.
-Some heartbreak where the most deserving teams in a conference who hadn’t done quite enough for an at-large lost in their conference tournaments. Middle Tennessee had a great season, but ended it with a horrible Sun Belt Tournament game against Arkansas State. Middle missed their last five freethrows in their 64-61 loss. An at-large bid is not very likely given their complete lack of quality wins.
-Iona’s chances for an at-large are slightly better, but still not very good. They went down in the semis of the MAAC to Fairfield, after a first place finish during the regular season.
-It’s been all chalk in the Colonial, as the top two teams have advanced to hte championship game. Drexel will face VCU tonight. Both teams are on the bubble, but neither is a lock. The winner goes automatically, but the loser will get a serious look. Drexel won the league outright, but VCU appears to have the slightly better profile. We shall see.
-Exciting games in the America East semis and Summit Quarters. All games were close, and fortunately all the top seeds are still alive. Stony Brook will host Vermont on Saturday for the America East Championship, with the winner likely headed to the opening round. Oral Roberts and South Dakota State, the two best teams in the Summit, will play in the semis tonight.
-The Sun Belt is the opposite of chalk. The top two seeds are out, and one would think Denver, who had a great start to the season, but faded down the stretch, would have a clear shot at winning it. The semis are tonight.
-The SoCon championship is also tonight. Davidson is the best team, and hasn’t been challenged in their first two conference tourney games. If they can get past Western Carolina, they could be a dangerous first round matchup for whoever they face in the NCAAs.
-Gonzaga faces Saint Mary’s in the WCC Championship game. Bragging rights and seeding are all that’s at stake. Both teams are safely inside the bubble.