Championship Week Notebook: Monday, March 11th

199 TEAMS REMAIN!!! The breakdown is below

Follow Chad’s Viewing Guide for all of tonight’s action…

Also, check out our Bracket Racket Podcast linked here on Galen’s Crimson Cast site…

-ACC – 12 (Miami, FL (at-large), Duke (at-large), North Carolina (at-large), NC State (at-large), Virginia (under consideration), Maryland (under consideration), Florida State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech)

-AMERICA EAST – 2 (Albany, Vermont,)

-ATLANTIC TEN – 12 (Saint Louis (at-large), VCU (at-large), La Salle (under consideration), Temple (under consideration), UMass (under consideration), Xavier (under consideration), Charlotte (under consideration), Saint Joseph’s, Richmond, Dayton, George Washington)

-ATLANTIC SUN – 1 (FGCU – champion)

-BIG TWELVE – 10 (Kansas (at-large), Kansas State (at-large), Oklahoma State (at-large), Oklahoma (at-large), Iowa State (under consideration), Baylor (under consideration), Texas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, West Virginia)

-BIG EAST – 14 (Louisville (at-large), Georgetown (at-large), Marquette (at-large), Pittsburgh (at-large), Notre Dame (at-large), Syracuse (at-large), Villanova (under consideration), Cincinnati (under consideration), Saint John’s (under consideration), Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida, DePaul)

-BIG SKY – 7 (Montana, Weber State, North Dakota, Montana State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah, Northern Arizona)

-BIG SOUTH – 1 (Liberty (champion)

-BIG TEN – 12 (Indiana (at-large), Michigan (at-large), Michigan State (at-large), Ohio State (at-large), Wisconsin (at-large), Illinois (at-large), Minnesota (at-large), Iowa (under consideration), Purdue, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State)

-BIG WEST – 8 (Long Beach, Cal Poly, Pacific, UC Irvine, Hawaii, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Fullerton)

-COLONIAL – 2 (Northeastern, James Madison)

-CONFERENCE USA – 11 (Memphis (at-large), Southern Miss (under consideration), UTEP, East Carolina, Tulsa, Houston, UAB, Tulane, Marshall, SMU, Rice)

-HORIZON LEAGUE – 2 (Wright State, Valparaiso)

-IVY – 1 (Harvard (champion))

-MAC – 11 (Akron (under consideration), Ohio, Western Michigan, Kent State, Ball State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Miami OH)

-METRO ATLANTIC – 2 (Iona, Manhattan)

-MEAC – 13 (Norfolk State, North Carolina Central, Hampton, Savannah State, Morgan State, Delaware State, North Carolina A&T, Bethune Cookman, Coppin State, Florida A&M, Howard, South Carolina State, Maryland Eastern Shore)

-MISSOURI VALLEY – 2 (Creighton (champion), Wichita State (at-large)

-MOUNTAIN WEST – 9 (New Mexico (at-large), Colorado State (at-large), UNLV (at-large), San Diego State (at-large), Boise State (at-large), Air Force (under consideration), Fresno State, Wyoming, Nevada)

-NORTHEAST – 2 (LIU Brooklyn, Mount Saint Mary’s)

-OHIO VALLEY – 1 (Belmont (champion)

-PAC TWELVE – 12 (UCLA (at-large), California (at-large), Arizona (at-large), Oregon (under consideration), Colorado (under consideration), Arizona State (under consideration),Washington, USC, Stanford, Utah, Washington State, Oregon State)

-PATRIOT LEAGUE – 2 (Bucknell, Lafayette)

-SEC – 14 (Florida (at-large), Missouri (under consideration), Kentucky (under consideration), Ole Miss (under consideration), Alabama (under consideration), Tennessee (under consideration), Arkansas (under consideration), Georgia, LSU, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Auburn)

-SOUTHERN CONFERENCE – 2 (Davidson, College of Charleston)

-SOUTHLAND – 8 (Stephen F Austin (under consideration), Northwestern State, Oral Roberts, Southeast Louisiana, Nicholls State, Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas, McNeese State)

-SUMMIT LEAGUE – 4 (South Dakota State (under consideration), Western Illinois, North Dakota State, IPFW)

-SUN BELT – 3 (Middle Tennessee (under consideration), Florida International, Western Kentucky)

-SWAC – 7 (Southern, Jackson State, Alcorn State, Prarie View A&M, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Grambling)

-WAC – 10 (Louisiana Tech (under consideration) Denver (under consideration), New Mexico State, Utah State, Texas Arlington, Idaho, Texas State, San Jose State, TX San Antonio, Seattle)

-WEST COAST – 2 (Gonzaga (at-large), Saint Mary’s (under consideration)


-Middle Tennessee and Wichita State have become the first teams to be knocked out of their tournaments, but not knocked off the list. I believe Wichita has an at-large bid locked up, whereas Middle Tennessee will get strong consideration.

Middle Tennessee won their conference by five games, and is clearly the best and most deserving team for them conference. The problem is that the Sun Belt, like all conferences, has a tournament to determine the champion. MTSU lacks big wins, but has a solid RPI and SOS, and for the most part avoided bad losses. I hope they get in.

-The Horizon League seasn was exciting, and the tournament has been incredibly exciting. It leads the nation in buzzer beaters, and that included both semifinal games. Wright State vs Detroit was close the whole way with Wright State leading late in the game. They seemed to have a chance to open it up some, but came up empty on several key possessions. Not the last possession, though. With the game tied they hit a last second shot over the backboard to knock out Detroit. Green Bay lost their two season games to Valparaiso, so it was surprising to see them in the lead for most of the game in the other semifinal. They appeared to have it won, which would have meant Wright State would have hosted the game, but Valpo hit a last second three point shot to win. Those two will face off tomorrow night at Valpo.

-Many people, including myself, felt that Belmont was safe whether they beat Murray State in the Ohio Valley championship game or not, but after trailing for much of the game they pulled off the win in overtime, so there is no doubt about it now. Something unfortunate did happen to Murray State at the end of regulation. After Belmont tied the score with less than ten seconds to go, Murray State looked to push the ball up the court, which is what they like to do in that situation. The problem was that the clock didn’t start. This resulted in what seemed like a five minute timeout in order to get it adjusted. It’s unfortunate that the game was managed as poorly as it was by the officials. I’m not making excuses for Murray, but I am saying that the officials need to have their acts together, and at the end of that game they did not.

-Liberty lost twenty games this year and was one of the three worst teams in the Big South. They won four straight in the conference tournament and are now the Big South champions. It is entirely up to a conference to collectively decide how they want to determine their champion. They can have a team bye into the semifinals, or they can play it on the home court of the first place finisher, or for that matter they don’t need to have a tournament at all. Having said that, I don’t like the idea of a perennial one-bid league not doing anything to reward the first place team. In the past the Big South was always at campus sites. This year it was at a predetermined site, so Charleston Southern and High Point received no advantage. It opens the door for a way less deserving team to win the conference tournament. As it turns out, all finishing in the bottom three meant was that Liberty never got to wear white. They are one of the worst teams to ever make the field, and will definitely be bound for Dayton.

Having said all that, Liberty didn’t just win. They won decisively over what had been a pretty good Charleston Southern team.

-We had two exciting semifinal games in the Colonial. George Mason jumped out to a 31-7 lead against Northeastern, but blew it. Northeastern came all the way back to win and advance to the final. This is the second straight year that George Mason has blown a 24 point lead in the conference semifinals. Northeastern will face James Madison, who knocked off Delaware in what was an equally exciting game.

-Harvard won and Princeton lost, so Harvard is the outright champion of the Ivy League. There will not be a playoff this year.

-As referenced earlier, for the second year in a row we’ve got two teams that barley finished above .500 in the championship game of the Sun Belt. Florida International upset Middle Tennessee yesterday, and Western Kentucky pulled off the upset against Arkansas State. If WKU wins, it will be the second year in a row they didn’t bye into the quarters and won four games in four days to win the conference tournament. The groundwork has been laid for their triumphant return to Dayton for the First four.

-Davidson had all kinds of unexpected trouble against Appalachian State, and even trailed by 15 in the second half, but came back to win. They absolutely dominated that conference, and are a potential dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament, but they didn’t do enough to earn an at-large bid, so they’ll have to knock off College of Charleston tonight to even have that chance.

-Despite finishing fifth, many felt Iona was still the best team in the Metro Atlantic, and that has held to form so far. They’ll face rival Manhattan tonight in the championship game. Two rivals in an all or nothing championship game. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Well, I suppose it would be better if the game was in New York and not Massachusetts, but it’s still pretty good.

-Second to last, but definitely far from least, what had been the feel good story of Championship Week ended when LMU lost to Gonzaga in the WCC semifinals. By all accounts this should have been a blowout, and it turned out to be one, but LMU actually led for the entire first half. It would have been the upset of all upsets. LMU winning the conference tournament would have been the story of the year. It would have perhaps even been bigger than the team that won the national championship. Gonzaga will face Saint Mary’s tonight. Saint Mary’s is on the bubble, but isn’t safe at all. A win puts them in for sure. As for Gonzaga, I believe a win wraps up a #1 seed. A loss will land them no lower than the #2 line.

-The opening round of the MAC and MEAC conference is tonight as well.

-Enjoy the games!!!


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