We suffered a few losses on the tournament champion route. To this point, we are oh-fer in champions picked. We kept up a high percentage by only dropping 3 controllable games. Overall, we sit at 60-28. The slate today opens itself up for some success, here’s what it looks like.
#1 Hofstra vs. #5 Delaware
The last game of the regular season for these two teams came against each other. Hofstra won in convincing fashion. Hofstra went 2-0 against Delaware this season. The average margin of victory was 33 points. I’ll take Hofstra with ease in this one.
#2 Northeastern vs. #3 College of Charleston
This season series was split. Charleston has won 3 in a row. Northeastern has won 5 in a row. Charleston has been there done that in this conference. These teams are about as evenly matched as you can get. Charleston has the more consistent pedigree and I think that’s what separates them from the other teams in the conference.
Horizon League Semifinal
#1 Wright State vs. #4 UW- Green Bay
Wright State has won 8 of 9. The only loss during that stretch to end the season came against UWGB. It was a nail bitter that ended in a 3-point win for Green Bay. Despite that loss, Wright State is more complete. They’ll edge out a win and head to the championship game and get a shot at the auto bid.
#2 Northern Kentucky vs. #3 Oakland
Even though Northern Kentucky is the 2 seed in the conference, they’re the best team in this conference. They play great defense and rebound extremely well. Oakland has won 5 in a row and is hot. I don’t believe that Oakland can get hot enough to beat Oakland… Again that is because they did win 1 of the 2 meetings this season.
MAC 1st Round
#5 Central Michigan vs. #12 Western Michigan
Central Michigan won 21 games this season. That makes 3 of 5 years with 20+ wins. Before that, the last 20 win season was the 2002-03 team. Western Michigan cut their number of wins in half this season with 8 from 17. Chippewas advance.
#6 Eastern Michigan vs. #11 Ball State
If I’m being totally honest, this is the one game in this conference I’m going all gut feeling with the upset of a higher seed. Both teams have an identical overall record. Ball State lost both matchups this season, including an overtime thriller. They’ll find a way to win.
#7 Northern Illinois vs. #10 Ohio
Northern Illinois won both matchups against Ohio this season. They also were able to score more points on average than they gave up. They also shoot 3% better as a team, than Ohio does. Northern Illinois has won 3 of the last 4 and will make it 4 of 5 over Ohio.
#8 Akron vs. #9 Miami (OH)
In this conference tournament, the higher seeds are the home teams. Akron was 13-3 at home this season. Miami was 4-9 this season on the road. Akron will play strong defensively and get a well fought victory.
MEAC 1st Round
#6 Savannah State vs. #11 Delaware State
Savannah State won twice as many games as Delaware State did this season. The only meeting between these teams went to Savannah State by 3. Delaware State has lost 3 in a row to end the season. Savannah State ended on a win and will win a second game in a row.
Summit League Semifinal
#2 Omaha vs. #3 IPFW
In a wild quarterfinal round, these teams were projected to win and did. The Mavericks of Omaha won both meetings against IPFW this season. IPFW scores a little more, but gives up a little more defensively. They do everything just a little bit better, but Omaha will prevail in a tightly contested match.
#8 Western Illinois vs. #4 North Dakota State
Western Illinois beat an NCAA tournament team in South Dakota State. Beating SDSU means that SDSU probably won’t get an at-large bid. They’re the first 8 seed to beat the 1 seed in the conference tournament. Western Illinois is the team of destiny now.
West Coast Semifinal
#1 Gonzaga vs. #8 Pepperdine
#2 St. Mary’s vs. #7 San Diego
San Diego has been on a tear through the conference tournament so far. They’ve won 3 straight games and need to make it 4 in order to try and upset Gonzaga and get an automatic bid. St. Mary’s beat San Diego handily twice this season. I bet they make it 3 times and head to the championship game.
#1 Iona vs. #6 Monmouth
The team best known for their “Bench Mob” from a couple years ago, Monmouth, has reached the championship game. They’ve beaten the 2, 3, and 11 seeds. They’ve won 3 straight now and are on a roll. They look to book themselves to the NCAA tournament, a tournament they haven’t played in since 2006. Iona, on the other hand, needs a win in order to head to the tournament for a 4th straight season. They’ve won 9 in a row. They’ll make it 10 and head back to the tournament for the 4th time in as many years.
Southern Conference Championship
#1 Wofford vs. #2 UNC-Greensboro
This game will be a close one. Opposite of what the last few games have been for Wofford. They’ve destroyed the competition. The last game against UNC-Greensboro, Wofford won by 30. Both teams are at 28 wins and when Wofford wins 29, they’ll solidify a seed that I bet is as high as 7. The Terriers will sweep not only regular season play, but the conference tournament.
If Wofford wins, I’ll have a per-scription to pick up. We don’t say that word around these parts. That word that I almost said will crush all dreams when uttered. I’m very confident that after incorrectly picking the first 4 auto bids, I’ll pick up a couple wins today.