On the Sixth Day of Conference tourneys, the Buffet gave to me…
A wealth of auto bidding
Top Seeded Carnage
Scanning the scene
Killer Top Seeds
An extra day of conference tourneys…
Welcome back Readership, we have got ourselves a couple of tourneys tipping, a big night of auto bidding, and a WCC final with Waiting Line… implications. We take you to the MEAC & MAC and then will Scan the Scene, before tomorrow morning’s post-weekend/post-WCC final Buffetology (along with the daily requisite previews)
MEAC 2013 Men’s Basketball Tournament
March 11-16, Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia.
Two teams come in on 5 game streaks. Unfortunately, that is 10 games shy of the hottest team in the conference. North Carolina Central tried it, having won 16 of 17. And Morgan has won 8 of 9. But its Norfolk St, they of the thrilling upset of Missouri a year ago, who had for an encore an undefeated MEAC season, and they still only won the conference by a game.
Norfolk State – It sure didn’t start out looking like an encore. A 2-5 start to the season, perhaps still in Missouri hangover. Then after getting to 6-5, another 5 game losing streak, reminded us all that the MEAC is still the MEAC. Then, the conference season started in earnest and Norfolk stopped losing. But the thing is, it wasn’t all that dominant. Their average victory was 7.5 points, and you subtract a couple of big blowouts, and suddenly Norfolk is scraping their way to an undefeated season by less than 6 points per win. And more than that, Norfolk and #2 seed NC Central never faced each other in the regular season. Bizarre, right? It’s a different cast of characters with a familiar faces in an new role. Pendarvis Williams has assumed the Kyle O’Quinn leadership role, raising his ppg average to 14.1, Rob Johnson is still the quintessential glue guy, but it’s Delaware transfer Malcolm Harris that plays the Chris McEachin side kick role.
We might actually see a bit more in NC Central – more proven places to get points – Jeremy Ingram (15.9), junior college transfer Stanton Kidd (14.5 pts and 7 rebs per game) and Ray Willis (12 and 4)… much like any MEAC team, there’s not really much in non-conference, except perhaps a 9 point loss to Marquette. But, what we like about this team is their ability to change styles, and win, if they don’t get the opportunity to dictate tempo. For example, they followed up a 51-43 win at Florida A&M with an 81-75 win over Bethune Cookman. Chameleons in bad conference can usually spell good things. Really got to piss NC A&T off that they aren’t the best North Carolina team in the MEAC anymore.
Who Should Win: Upset? Not really, but the Buffet is actually hoping for chalk here, so the final can feature the conference’s 16-0 team play the 15-1, who would be meeting for the very first time.
If not them, who? Well, it’s the MEAC, so we should be looking for the below .500 regular season team, right? Well, we won’t go that far, but how about a 14-14 team on a 5 game winning streak? Your fighting Todd Bozemans of Morgan State. They played both NC Central and Norfolk tight, and with Justin Black and Dewayne Jackson, they are never out of things.
Best Non-Conference win: North Carolina A&T over Eastern Kentucky 78-67
2013 MEAC Player of the Year: Pendarvis Williams, Norfolk St
2013 MEAC Defensive Player of the Year: Austin Witter, North Carolina A&T
2013 MEAC Freshman of the Year: Deron Powers, Hampton Baby Hampton
2013 MEAC Coach of the Year: Anthony Evans, Norfolk St
2012-13 MEAC First Team:
Jeremy Ingram, N.C. Central
Pendarvis Williams, Norfolk
DeWayne Jackson, Morgan St
Stanton Kidd, N.C. Central
Adrien Coleman, Bethune-Cookman
MEAC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:
Andre Armstrong, Coppin State, 70/193, 30 games, 2.3/gm, 36%
MEAC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate: Emanuel Chapman, North Carolina Central, 2.2 A/TO
MAC-TION PACKED EXCITEMENT AT THE Q
2013 FIRST ENERGY MID AMERICAN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
March 11, 13-16 at the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
The Buffet was all ready to describe the MAC tourney as a party for two, between a pair of strong teams who, even if they didn’t have the direct resume for an at-large, were certainly at large caliber, last year’s tournament darlings, Ohio Bobcats, living life after John Groce swimmingly and Akron, a 24-6 season, nice non-conference work versus Middle Tennessee St (more on them later), North Dakota St, a great showing on a neutral court versus Oklahoma St. But then Akron starting point guard decided to invite everyone to the party, as he looked to distribute a lot more than assists, getting busted for felony marijuana possession with intent to distribute. There is still lots of talent on this Zips team, with Zeke Marshall, Demetrius Treadwell and Nick Harney leading the way, but a lot of weight is suddenly falling on the shoulders of 5’11 freshman guard Carmelo Betancourt, who is likely going to see a major bump in his 10 minutes per game. He should some playmaking promise in his first extended play following the Abreu arrest/suspension, playing 27 minutes and handing 4 assists against only 1 turnover. If he picks up from that, this may not be the Akron team that the Buffet would’ve argued should get the “Iona” slot in the first four, but it is a team that can win the MAC.
The other favorite to win the MAC, and probably now the odds-on – Ohio. This is just as well, since anything that gets DJ Cooper on our TV screens more is only to our benefit. Every major contributor from 2011 is back, which is surprising that they weren’t able to parlay the Michigan upset and the near #1 seed toppling of UNC into a stronger regular season, but luckily for them, Alex Abreu saw a tremendous value proposition and hole in the marijuana distribution market, which clears the path a little. And Ohio lost but twice in conference, and both were to an Akron squad who had Abreu.
If not them who? Kent State was 5-7 in conference, and the thought of them being a sleeper pick (considering losses this MAC year included games versus Toledo, Bowling Green, and Northern Illinois (note: this one is BAD). But, starting with a 3 point loss versus Ohio, this team turned things around and come in carrying a 5 game winning streak. Also in 4 games vs. Akron & Ohio, they were only 1-3, but lost by a total of 8 points in those 3 games. The Fightin’ Antonio Gates feature a pair of good MAC scorers in Chris Evans & Randal Holt. Holt, of course, is your resident MadBomber candidate, launching 207 this season in 31 games, at a 39% clip.
Buffalo finished 7-9 in conference, suffering losses to teams like them in the middle to bottom tier of the 2013 MAC standings – Miami OH, Bowling Green, E.Michigan – but, we did happen to notice they blew out Akron (with Abreu), lost to them by just 4 in Akron, and at home, felt to Ohio by just 3. They also beat MAAC reg season champ Niagara, The Fightin’ Turner Battles are led by Javon McCrea, a kid who can flat score the ball inside – shooting 56%.
Best Non-Conference win: Akron over Middle Tennessee State 82-77.
(MAC individual awards have not been announced yet)
2013 MAC Player of the Year:
2013 MAC Defensive Player of the Year:
2013 MAC Freshman of the Year:
2013 MAC Coach of the Year:
2012-13 MAC First Team:
Zeke Marshall, C, Akron
Javon McCrea, F, Buffalo
Chris Evans, F, Kent State
Rian Pearson, G, Toledo
D.J. Cooper, G, Ohio
MAC 2013 Jack Leasure Madbomber Award Candidate:
Randal Holt, Kent State, 80/207, 31 games, 2.6/gm, 39%
MAC Gregory Douglas Ott Award Candidate:
Tony Watson, Buffalo 2.4 A/TO
Also, curious note, Missouri actually competes in the MAC for wrestling.
SCANNING THE SCENE…
The scene, the place everyone wants to be … but are truly part of the scene, are dressing like you don’t care about the scene, but secretly are obsessed with, are you trying to so hard to be part of the scene, but it just isn’t working out, or are you so far removed from the scene, that thinking about it is impossible to conceptualize. We’ll let you decide. For now, let’s check out the Conference Tournament scenes:
America East: Things got shaken up yesterday, as home standing Albany took out the top seed Stony Brook, 61-59. Opposite them in next Saturday’s early AM final is the #2 seed and perennial America East stalwart, Vermont.
Big South: Liberty Flames, 2013 Big South Conference Tournament champs. The upstart Flames, with John Caleb Sanders putting together a string of top notch performances, became just the 2nd team in NCAA history to make the tournament with 20 losses. Trivia for the Readership (prize being a Buffet t-shirt, whenever it is first printed: who was the other? Answer in comments, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @inthebuffet)
Colonial: after surviving a furious upset attempt, Northeastern, the top seed, faces James Madison, after a mild upset of Buffett CAA tourney favorite Delaware, tonight at 7pm EST in the CAA tournament final
MAAC: Momo lives on! Iona knocked off top set Niagara, and the bottom side of the bracket rife with upsets saw #6 Manhattan survive to tonight’s 9pm EST final in Springfield.
MVC: Creighton Blue Jays, 2013 Arch Madness Champions The favorites dominated, and gave us a thriller. Both should be safely in, although Wichita St is probably best considered a Waiting Line… team.
NEC: Number 1 and number 2 are gone, but the league’s hottest, #5 Mount Saint Mary’s steps on the hardwood against probably the most talented, #3 seed LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday night at 7pm ET at the WRAC (Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center) on LIU’s campus.
OVC: Belmont Bruins, 2013 OVC Tournament Champions. #1 vs. #2 gave us exactly what we hoped, and overtime thriller, we just didn’t want to see Isaiah Canaan dribble it off his foot and Murray right out of an automatic bid.
Patriot: Once CJ McCollum was declared out for the tourney, this because a virtual Bucknell (#1) vs. Lafayette (#2) tournament final lock, and that’s what we’ve got, Wednesday at 7pm ET.
Southern: One of the few number ones to avoid disaster yesterday, Davidson squares off with College of Charleston (#3) tonight, after they pulled a mini upset of #2 seeded Elon, at 7pm ET in Asheville, NC.
Summit: Oakland was upset, with makes this a three team race (most likely, qualifiers, always) – The Leathernecks are the first to test the Taylor Braun re-infused NDSU team (27 points, 7 rebounds against UMKC) and SDSU gets IPFW, who defeated the #4 seed Golden Grizzlies for the third time this season (and in back to back games for both). NDSU/IPFW is at 7pm ET and NDSU/W.Illinois is at 930pm ET.
Sun Belt: Losing Isaiah Canaan hurt the Buffet, but given it was likely him or losing both Kerron and Ian Clark, we had to make the tradeoff, but losing the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee St would be devastating. They left it up to committee chance, forgetting how to shoot free throws (12-21 for the game), and letting us have to hear about the genius of the Pitino family tree for at least one more night. Florida International is the 4 seed, and they’ll get the other product of the upset express that has gone on in Hot Springs, Western Kentucky, looking for their 4th tournament appearance in the last 6 yrs. That final tips at 7pm ET tonight.
West Coast: #1 v #2, the perennial battle of WCC Goliaths, Gonzaga v Saint Mary’s College tonight at 9pm ET. St Mary’s sure decided to make it interesting, and imperil their at-large chances, needing OT to outlast San Diego, 69-66. Gonzaga meanwhile had an easier time with their semi, finishing off a 66-48 win BUT we cannot ignore the week/weekend enjoyed by Loyola Marymount, who did give a bit of a challenge to Gonzaga before ultimately either being overwhelmed by the Zags goodness or just remembering that they aren’t good, even if Anthony Ireland and Ashley Hamiton are. The Lions finished the WCC season 1-15 in conference play. Yes ONE and 15. However, they were a team possessed in the tournament, beating Portland in the first round 65-54, then taking out 5 seeded USF 61-60, before capping their upset run with a 60-58 win over Santa Clara. Thus, TRIPLING their number of wins in 16 games in just 3. That’s a Buffet special.
The newest Buffetology will be held off until tonight, as the WCC final will have serious Waiting Line… implications, depending on how St Mary’s does, until then… hope you had your fill, but please, keep coming back for more.