Championship Week Notebook, Wednesday, March 7th


175 Teams remain. It breaks down as follows –

-ACC – all 12
-America East – Stony Brook v Vermont
-Atlantic Ten – 8
-Atlantic Sun – Belmont (champ)
-Big Twelve – All 10 (sounds funny)
-Big Ten – All 12 (sounds funny)
-Big East – 12
-Big Sky – Montana v Weber State
-Big South – UNC Asheville (champ)
-Big West – 8
-Colonial – 3 – VCU (champ), Drexel and George Mason (under consideration)
-Conference USA – all 12
-Horizon – Detroit (champ)
-Ivy – Harvard (champ)
-MAAC – 2 – Loyola MD (champ), Iona (under consideration)
-MAC – 8
-MEAC – 8
-Missouri Valley – 2 – Creighton (champ), Wichita State (at-large)
-Mountain West – all 8
-Northeast – 2 – LIU Brooklyn v Robert Morris
-Ohio Valley – Murray State (champ)
-Pac Twelve – all 12
-Patriot – 2 – Bucknell v Lehigh
-SEC – all 12
-SoCon – Davidson (champ)
-Southland – 8
-Summit – 2 – South Dakota State (champ), Oral Roberts (under consideration)
-Sun Belt – Western Kentucky (champ)
-SWAC – 10
-WAC – 8
-West Coast – 3 – Saint Mary’s (champ), Gonzaga (at-large), BYU (under consideration)

When it gets down to about 100 or so, I’ll begin including all remaining teams on my S curve, but there really isn’t any point until then.

-I was kidding yesterday when I said that Tuesday’s games had a lot to live up to after Monday’s games, but it was pretty close.

-There have been teams that were less accomplished than this year’s Western Kentucky team that made the NCAA Tournament. Every now and then there was a midlevel or low level SWAC or MEAC team that won the conference tournament, and a few years ago Oakland finished 7th and won what was then the Mid-Continent tournament. There haven’t been many, though. Nevertheless, whether they’re the most deserving team or not, they are the Sun Belt Champions. It’s up to each individual conference to decide how to determine their champion. the Sun Belt has a tournamnet on a neutral floor, and WKU won it. They’re dancing all the way to Dayton, where they will likely be joined by the MEAC, SWAC and America East champions.

The game itself was exciting. WKU played really hard, as did North Texas, and despite some boneheaded plays and fouls in the final minute, the Toppers held on to win.

-Western Illinois played smothering defense all throughout the Summit League tournament, and almost won it. It took some come-from-behind and overtime heroics by South Dakota State, who finished in second place and beat Western Illinois twice during the regular season. It is the first ever NCAA Tournament for the Jackrabbits.

-Had Detroit played the way they did yesterday all season long, the Horizon League championship game would have been on their floor. For that matter, they not have even needed the automatic bid. I mean…in that second half….WOW!!! What a performance. Valpo had a good year, but really had no answer. This will sound insulting, but I really don’t mean for it to. Valpo didn’t play badly. They just weren’t good enough.

-Two very exciting semifinals in the Big Sky as it looked like both Weber State and Montana were about to go down. Both trailed for a good portion of the game, but came back to get control and win in the end. The two will face each other tonight for the Big Sky Championship tonight with the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.

-The Patriot League Champion will also punch their ticket tonight as Bucknell hosts Lehigh. Both teams won on each other’s home court during the regular season, and both games were close, so hopefully we’ll get another exciting game in the winner-take-all rubber match.

-I’m not neglecting the Big East to make any sort of political statement. It’s just as exciting as the other games were, I saw about five minutes of the Big East Tournament yesterday. The second round is today, and multiple teams under consideration are playing.

-CUSA gets underway today, but none of the opening round teams are under consideration. It should be a good tournament once it gets down to the quarterfinals, though.

-Dayton and Saint Joseph’s one their Atlantic Ten opening round games yesterday without too much trouble. The A10 is down to the quarters now, and should be very exciting from here on out. Dayton will face Xavier in a rivarly match-up that looks to feature two teams that are on the bubble, but on the wrong side of it. Saint Joseph’s is on the bubble as well, and can’t afford a loss in the quarters.

-It seems like I’m forgetting something. What could I be forgetting??…..Oh yeah. The Pac Twelve opening round is tonight. In all seriousness, I think this will be an exciting tournament given the parity and rivalry of the league. The teams have weak profiles, but it should provide us with some excitement. The weaker profiles mean more is on the line in the conference tournament.

-The Southland, SWAC and MEAC quarterfinals also get underway today.

Last and, well, maybe it is least… The Big Twelve opening round is today. We’re all thinking it. We want to see Kansas and Mizzou in the championship with bragging rights for all eternity on the line. A championship game such as that will garner ever slightly more interest than the opening round games today.

Enjoy the games!!!

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