Saturday, March 5, 2005

Conference Tournament Watch - 3/5/2005

(All Times Central, RPI of #1 seeds and bubble teams in parentheses)

America East

Top Seed Vermont(24) Takes on 9th Seed Maryland-Baltimore County today. Can't find it on TV around here, though, which is a shame because I'd actually like to see Taylor Coppenrath play.

Atlantic Sun

It's #1 seed Gardner-Webb(156) vs. #2 seed Central Florida(100) in the Championship (1:00 PM ESPN2) Winner gets a #16 seed.

Big Sky

Today's Games: #3 seed Montana hosts #6 seed Eastern Washington, while #5 Weber State travels to Sacramento to face #4 Sac. State.
The lowest seed remaining takes on the #1 Seeded Portland State Vikings(163) Tuesday.

Big South

Championship: #1 Winthrop(81) takes on #7 Charleston Southern. (11:00 AM ESPN2)
Lot of upsets in this tournament. Winthrop better be careful, because they don't have the profile to make the dance if they lose this.

Colonial

Old Dominion(35) opens it's tournament play against William & Mary (11:00 AM ESPNU). ODU can't afford to rest on it's strong RPI, they will probably need to at least get to the finals and hope for the opponent with the strongest RPI.

Horizon

Wisconsin-Milwaukee(62) takes on Loyola of Illinois today. Dickie V's old school, Detroit, takes on Wisconsin-Green Bay. Winners meet tomorrow for the championship.

Just to show you how fluid the RPI is from day-to-day, UWM's RPI when we started tracking was 58.

Metro Atlantic

Top seed Niagra(103) has a bye to tomorrow's semifinals where they face the winner of Iona and St. Peter's.

Mid Continent

#1 Oral Roberts(92) takes on Southern Utah. No word on whether or not the televangelist for whom the university is named after has invoked God to deliver the tournament to his team.

Missouri Valley

Here's where it gets tricky. Top seed Southern Illinois(12) is a lock by most projections. Wichita State(40) is the #2 seed, but the second-best RPI is #4 seed Northern Iowa(33). Although if Wichita State plays Northern Iowa instead of Southern Illinois, they probably won'y get the RPI boost they need. Stuck in the middle of all this is #3 seed Creighton(66), who will probably need to win this tournament in the final to insure they get in. Of course the Bluejays could still get in if they play SIU and not Northern Iowa in the final. But if Creighton advances to the final, it will knock out Wichita State from at-large consideration.

Got all that? No? Need an Asprin?

Suffice to say, all the confusion will make for interesting and competitive basketball over the next 3 days.

Today's Schedule:

  • #1 SIU at #9 Indiana State (Larry Bird's alma mater)
  • #4 Northern Iowa at #5 Southwest Missouri State
  • #2 Wichita State at #7 Drake
  • #3 Creighton at #6 Illinois State

Northeast

Monmouth(167) takes on Wagner in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Ohio Valley

#2 Eastern Kentucky(117), takes on #5 Austin Peay today for the championship (3:00 PM .
The Governors surprised top seed Tennessee Tech(126), but teams on the bubble shouldn't lose any sleep over it.

Patriot League

Holy Cross (37) faces Lehigh tomorrow. Surprisingly, Holy Cross does not show up in bubble team discussions despite it's RPI, which means they need to win the whole thing to get in.

Trivia:
Holy Cross won the 1947 NCAA Championship. They beat Oklahoma 58-47 in the finals that year.

Southern Conference

Upset Alert: Davidson(53) loses to UNC Greensboro 73-68! Now the other bubble teams need to worry.

UNCG will face Chattanooga in today's SoCon championship game (7:00 P.M. ESPN2) Winner probably gets a #16 or #15 seed based on their profiles. Chattanooga did pull an upset years ago as a #15, though...

Sun Belt

This is probably also going to be a little tricky. Denver U., better known for their NCAA champion hockey team than their basketball team, has the best record in the conference and the overall #1 seed, but their RPI is 101. In fact 4 teams, Arkansas-Little Rock (41), Louisana-Lafayette (47), Western Kentucky (61), and Middle Tennessee St. (97), have better RPI numbers. However, this group will probably need to beat the Pioneers at some point to ensure they get to the tournament. Tough task for a group that is collectively 1-5 against DU.

I think I prefer trying to figure out the Missouri Valley.

Anyway, Both division champions are in action today. Denver takes on Arkansas State (8:00 P.M. ESPNU), and UALR will face Florida International (5:30 P.M. ESPNU).

West Coast Conference

Pepperdine, coached by former Phoenix Suns head coach Paul Westphal, plays San Diego today with the winner being fresh meat for top seed Gonzaga (10).
Hosts Santa Clara, Steve Nash's alma mater and famous giant killer of Arizona, take on San Fransisco, alma mater of Bill Russell and winners of the
1955 and 1956 NCAA titles (ESPNU, 10:00 PM). The winner faces St. Mary's of California(31).

Tomorrow: CTW
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