It’s conference tournament time. So like I’ve done the last few years I will be making picks for every conference title game. I’ll put these in separate blogs opposed to any preview or full on blog just so it’s easier to find. After going 27-20-1 in the regular season on the blog, let’s have a week.
Reags Recommendations (Conference Championship Record: 8-6)
Grand Canyon +4
Abilene Christian -5
No. 2 Western Kentucky vs No. 1 Old Dominion (Frisco, TX) – 8:30pm CBSSportsNetwork
Western Kentucky -1/124
Previous Matchups: ODU 69-66 (at WKU), ODU 67-63 (at ODU)
It makes almost no sense for ODU to be here. Yes, they are the No. 1 seed, but they’ve had to escape in the last two games. It’s typical ODU though. They defend the paint so well. That’s a Jeff Jones staple. They sit in the paint, protect the rim and force you to hit threes. They’ll have to deal with Charles Bassey today. It’s going to be a slower game, both teams working through a couple of guys.
Pick: Western Kentucky -1
No. 4 New Orleans vs No. 2 Abilene Christian (Katy, TX) – 9:30pm E*PN2
Abilene Christian -5/133.5
Previous Matchups: Abilene Christian 68-58 (at ACU)
So a pretty cool story here with ACU. They are in just the 2nd year of postseason eligibility after moving up to D1. Here they are with a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. We’ve seen guys like NKU and Grand Canyon make the jump pretty easily to Division I and ACU is trying to join that group. It’s also kind of crazy to see ACU here considering they’ve kicked Jalone Friday off the team and lost BJ Maxwell.
Pick: ACU -5
No. 3 Grand Canyon vs No. 1 New Mexico State (Las Vegas) – 10pm E*PNU
New Mexico State -4/136.5
Previous Matchups: NMSU 77-75 (at NMSU), NMSU 67-65 (at GCU)
All I know is I wish this game was at GCU for this:
While the GCU story and crowd is awesome. New Mexico State just dominates the WAC. They went 15-1 in the conference, winning it for the 4th time in the last 5 seasons. They are a top-60 KenPom team. Part of the reason why? They play the most bench minutes out of anyone in the country. That goes a long way in this sort of setting. The fact that NMSU can rotate guys in and out and keep them fresh. That’s a bit undervalued in a tournament setting.
Pick: Grand Canyon +4
No. 6 Oregon vs No. 1 Washington (Las Vegas) – 10:30pm, E*PN
Previous Matchups: Washington 61-56 (at Oregon), Oregon 55-47 (at Washington)
We saw these two teams play to end the regular season with Oregon just putting on a defensive clinic. I’ll say this though. I don’t know how much Washington necessarily cared at the end of the year. They had the No. 1 seed locked up for the Pac-12. They weren’t necessarily playing for anything. It can be tough to get up for games, even on Senior Night when things are locked up. Now, that’s nothing to take away from Oregon. They finished the season incredibly hot – almost like the team most thought they’d be to start the year. Washington is going to run that 2-3 zone that Hopkins brought with him from Syracuse. Look for Oregon to flash Louis King in the middle from the wing to give it a different look. King is a good build for someone to flash and attack from that mid range.
Pick: Washignton +1.5