Ahhh, a new day with a CRAP LOAD of new tournaments starting today and tomorrow. We had 4 conference championships that were controllable, we went 2-2 in those games. Gonzaga getting held to 47 points kept us from 3-1. After an 11-7 night, we sit at 83-38 overall. Here’s the slate of some of the major conferences starting up and 33 total games!
ACC 2nd Round
#5 Virginia Tech vs. #12 Miami (FL)
Virginia Tech decided to end the season with a big win over their foe by 14. They’ve been a real surprise this season. They only allow 62 points a night while they score 74. They shoot the ball at a higher clip and will win again.
#6 Syracuse vs. #14 Pittsburgh
It’s march, Jim Boeheim is a dynamo in March. He has a really good team that I believe is undervalued. They’ve played a lot of really good teams really closely. They’ll move to the next round here too.
#7 Louisville vs. #15 Notre Dame
Before coming up with an upset of Georgia Tech, Notre dame dropped their last 7. They controlled the lead most of the game and was able to solidify a win. Louisville’s great defense will hold Notre Dame in their tracks.
#8 NC State vs.#9 Clemson
The ACC has 15 teams in their conference. That helps the overall depth of the conference, but when you have the 8th best team in your conference win 21 games, that’s another level. Clemson plays a stifling defense, but NC State’s offense will shine and Clemson’s efficient, but average offense won’t have enough fire power to get the job done.
Atlantic 10 1st Round
#11 Richmond vs. #14 Fordham
Richmond dropped their last 4 conference games to end the season. I don’t know if that’s as bad as dropping 5 of 6 like Fordham did. As far as the matchup is concerned, Richmond is just the better team and they do everything just a little better. Including shoot 7% better from the floor. Spiders climb the spout and get the win.
#12 George Washington vs. #13 UMass
In their last 10, George Washington has won 1 single time. UMass has won more than once in their last 10. The sole win for George Washington was at home against UMass. In this game, it’ll be UMass’ ability to score better than George Washington that gets them a win.
Big East 1st Round
#7 St. John’s vs. #10 DePaul
St. John’s is an incredibly talented team. For a while, they looked to be a dark horse and threat to make a run in the NCAA tournament. However, some lackluster conference play has them sitting with a 7 seed in the conference, despite having 20 overall wins. That includes beating 1 seed Marquette twice and Villanova once. DePaul did beat St. John’s 10 days ago. I think this St. John’s team led by alumni coach Chris Mullin, wins this game which would make 1,900 in the programs history. They have a chip on their shoulder.
#8 Providence vs. #9 Butler
It was 4 short days ago, but Providence beat Butler. Ironically, 4 is the same number of losses Butler has lost in their last 5 games. On the other hand, Providence has won 3 of 5. Of those 3 wins, 2 have come against Providence. The Friars will make it 4 of 6 and beat Butler again.
Big Sky 1st Round
#6 Montana State vs. #11 Idaho
Idaho won 5 games all season. Montana State won 14, almost 3 times as many. They also win 11 games compared to the 2 conference games Idaho won. Montana State moves on.
#7 Southern Utah vs. #10 Idaho State
Southern Utah saw the end of the regular season as a disappointment. They dropped 3 straight games after sitting pretty towards the top of the conference. These teams split the season series, but Southern Utah’s ability to rebound and play defense will propel them to victory.
#8 Northern Arizona vs. #9 Sacramento State
Northern Arizona saw 3 wins in their last 10 games this season. Sacramento State was able to go .500 over their own last 10 games. The season series was split, so this is a classic 8-9 toss up. My final decision is Sacramento State in a close one.
Big 10 1st Round
#11 Illinois vs. #14 Northwestern
Oddly enough, Northwestern has a pretty talented team, but really struggled at the end of the season. Well actually… It’s more of a bad entire February. They lost 10 in a row before bringing down an 18 point victory on Ohio State. Overall, they lost 11 of 12. Illinois was an interesting team this year. Bad in the non-conference, then won 5 of 6 in January. I think Illinois is able to shoot well and out pace Northwestern to move onto the next round.
#12 Rutgers vs. #13 Nebraska
Nebraska started out this season 11-2 in non-conference play and looked like they were adding to the total depth of the conference. A couple tough stretches in conference play led to overall disappointment. Rutgers essentially traded off wins and losses this season. Win a couple, lose a couple, back and forth. They did beat Nebraska earlier this season, in the only meeting between the teams. However, Nebraska will squeak out a close victory.
Big 12 1st Round
#7 Oklahoma vs. #10 West Virginia
Flip the overall records and they are the same. Oklahoma at 19-12, West Virginia at 12-19. At the end of January and into early February, Oklahoma saw a tough stretch of 5 losses, including one to WVU. They’ve won 4 of the last 6 games now including 1 against WVU. Oklahoma has shot 3% better as a team for the season and that will probably be the difference. Sooners move on.
#8 TCU vs. #9 Oklahoma State
Same situation record wise as the game above. Despite
Oklahoma State finishing the season with 2 straight wins, TCU is the much better team overall. They will win this game and I’m not too worried.
CUSA 1st Round
#5 UAB vs. #12 Middle Tennessee State
MTSU had a down year after a great run of success. They might outrebound UAB here, but UAB is the better team in just about every aspect. Expect to see them roll in this game to avenge BOTH losses to MTSU during the regular season.
#6 Marshall vs. #11 Rice
Looking at the numbers this season, you’d think Marshall wouldn’t have as good of a record at 18-13 that they have. They were outscored 82-80 on the average night. They plowed through their last 5 games in conference play and will make it 6 straight wins with a win in the opening round.
#7 Florida International vs. #10 North Texas
There have been some odd numbers and stats that we’ve seen in the 9 days of conference tournament play so far, but possibly none as interesting as the season North Texas has had. They started 8-0. and worked through the beginning of conference play and through January to an overall record of 20-4. Since then, they dropped their last 7 games this season and ended up at 8-10 in conference and the 3rd worst record within said conference. Despite FIU beating North Texas twice in that 7 game stretch, I think North Texas comes off the slide and takes this conference tournament by storm.
#8 Louisiana Tech vs. #9 Florida Atlantic
Louisiana Tech’s final game of the season was a win over Florida Atlantic. So conversely, Florida Atlantic’s season ended on a loss. Actually, two straight losses, the one to Louisiana Tech and a second to Marshall. Unfortunately, Florida Atlantic will lose a third in a row and get bounced by Louisiana Tech.
#1 Norfolk State vs. #9 South Carolina State
Norfolk State won 2 and a half times as many games overall this season. Before Norfolk State’s loss on the final day of the season, they won 6 in a row. They went 14-2 in conference this season. They’ll win and head to the semifinals.
#2 North Carolina- A&T vs. #7 Coppin State
NC A&T has won 4 in a row. They score about 1 more point a game than they’ve given up. Coppin State shoots under 40% as a team. NC A&T moves on.
Mountain West 1st Round
#6 Air Force vs. #11 San Jose State
San Jose State won 1 conference game all season. They almost had 2 in with a 2 point overtime loss to… Air Force. Although, I don’t think that matters. Air Force will win.
#7 New Mexico vs. #10 Wyoming
It seems like it’s been a theme for some of these first round games to be rematches of the last game of the regular season. We have another here. Wyoming was able to pull off an 88-81 win at home to finish the season. Wyoming’s win was it’s second in a row. New Mexico is truly the better team and will flex that muscle like they did in a 30 point routing of Wyoming in middle of January.
#8 Boise State vs. #9 Colorado State
Boise State ended their tough regular season on a win, but that stopped a streak of 6 straight losses. Colorado State has lost 3 straight, but before that won 3 straight. Of those 3 wins, 1 came as a 16 point topple of Boise State. The teams split the series this season with Boise State’s win was only by 2 points. I think Colorado State will be able to do enough in this one to move onto the next round.
Pac-12 1st Round
#5 Colorado vs. #12 California
Colorado shoots well, rebounds better, and has won 3 straight. Colorado takes the win.
#6 Oregon vs. #11 Washington State
Oregon beat Washington state a week ago. They also beat them in late January, they’ll do it again today.
#7 UCLA vs. #10 Stanford
Both teams ended the season on back to back losses. The teams split the season series with the most recent match going to Stanford. UCLA is a great rebounding team, but Stanford’s defense will be the difference in this game.
#8 USC vs. #9 Arizona
USC’s season saw them drop 7 of their last 9 games. However, the only meeting this season went in USC’s favor by 23 points. That was also in late January. USC has the ability to shoot the lights out and their team shooting percentage of 46% is what will win this game.
SEC 1st Round
#11 Texas A&M vs. #14 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has lost 19 in a row. No, not 10. Not 9. NINETEEN. Not a single conference win. A&M wins.
#12 Missouri vs. #13 Georgia
Missouri seems to have ended the season on a small run by winning 2 of the last 3. One of those games was a 25 point DRUBBING of Georgia, 64-39. I don’t imagine that Tom Crean can scheme against having lesser talent. Missouri moves to the next round.
Southland 1st Round
#5 Lamar vs. #8 Houston Baptist
Lamar traded wins and losses back and forth all season. Until the middle of February. That’s when they just decided to riddle off 8 straight victories. With those wins, they matched their win totals from the past 2 seasons. During this deadly tear, they beat Houston Baptist by 35… 110-75. Lamar moves on.
#6 Texas A&M- Corpus Christi vs. #7 Central Arkansas
Both teams ended on a nice little run. Central Arkansas won 3 of their last 4 games. AMCC has been able to rattle off 3 straight. The only meeting of the season ended in an AMCC victory. That was just after the New Year and the first conference game of the season. This game will come down to the wire, but the Islanders from Corpus Christi will be the ultimate victors.
Patriot League Championship
#1 Colgate vs. #2 Bucknell
Bucknell has now won 3 in a row including the first 2 rounds of the tournament. Colgate has now won 10 games in a row. These teams split the season series, but I have to trust my gut. This Colgate team shoots and outlandish almost 48% from the floor with a suffocating defense. In an extremely close game, I’m picking the team I had pegged to win this tournament, Colgate.
Hopefully this day filled with 33 games makes me look good!