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Previewing Monday's Conference Tournament Games

Emmett Naar, Jock Landale

Going to be doing this daily since we’re now in March and it’s just a cleaner look. We’ll take a look at conference tournament games going on each day and put conference championship games in their own blog. This will have updated brackets, what’s going on, etc.  I’ll be talking about the games all day @barstoolreags, so join me there and let’s get right into it.

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
Semifinals
CAA

So close to holding serve, but since it’s a mid-major tournament it’s impossible for that to happen. We had the comeback win for UNC-Wilmington over Hofstra to advance to the semifinals. However, the game I was most impressed by was Williams and Mary over Towson. Towson actually had better odds to win this thing than William & Mary so for them to go out and win by 14 is rather impressive. That sets up a game against Charleston, who is still the favorite to win this. Charleston had decent expectations before the season started as many thought they’d be one of the best mid majors in the country. However, there were some injuries early in the year that caused them to struggle, but they are still in the right spot to make the NCAA Tournament. Charleston lost to W&M in overtime in the last game of the season, while winning by five at home. In the bottom half, both matchups in the regular season went to overtime with Northeastern winning both of them. I think you’re going to see two really good games and I’m going to say Charleston advances and UNC-Wilmington wins in overtime this time around. Some names to keep an eye on include Vasa Pusica, Devontae Cacok, David Cohn and Joe Chealey.

Horizon League
Semifinals
Horizon

Per usual, the top seed lost in the Horizon League. It’s happened the last three years and we’re now set up for another crazy semifinals in Detroit. The biggest thing was Oakland getting by IUPUI last night in a pretty good game. Oakland is essentially playing at home and will have the home court advantage the next two games. They also have the best scorer in the conference in Kendrick Nunn and experience with guys like Jalen Hayes and Isaiah Brock. They beat Cleveland State both times they played them by an average of 14.5 points. I don’t think that changes tonight. Knowing they have NKU out of the way, I expect Oakland to look locked in tonight, even though Cleveland State had the extra day of rest. In the bottom half of the bracket, Wright State should be a decent favorite over Milwaukee despite losing at home by one a couple of weeks ago. Despite the craziness of the Horizon, I expect Oakland and Wright State to move on.

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MAC
Opening Round
MAC

Time for some MACtion – basketball edition. The top four teams have byes and the better seed will play a home game today. If you’re looking for an upset Ohio went into Miami just over a week ago and won outright, they are a 3.5 point dog tonight. This tournament is expected to be pretty open though as Buffalo went 15-3 in conference and then there was a logjam of teams between 7 and 11 losses. Buffalo has some legit stars in Wes Clark and CJ Massinburg, but the 3 conference losses actually came to three teams playing today. It wouldn’t shock me to see Toledo or Eastern Michigan make a run here as Toledo has Tre’Shaun Fletcher, arguably the best player in the conference. Even a team like Western Michigan can get hot with Thomas Wilder and make a run from the 6 seed. Again, this is going to be a wide open tournament. I think Buffalo gets to the title game, but the bottom is going to be crazy. Don’t be surprised to see WMU/Buffalo title game and Ohio beat Miami tonight.

MEAC
First Round
MEAC

Not a whole lot to say about the MEAC. The winner of this will most likely be a 16 seed and possibly be in Dayton for the first round. KenPom gives Hampton a 29% chance to win the tournament, but if you want to look for a possible upset, keep an eye on Norfolk State at the 5 seed. Norfolk played Hampton to a 3-point game to close the season and only played NC A&T once (a 3-point road loss). Norfolk forces a decent amount of turnovers, ranking 81st in the country, which can give some problems in a tournament type situation. Just two games tonight though as they split up the opening round.

Summit
Semifinals

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There were some really good games yesterday in the Summit League. North Dakota State took an 18-point lead at halftime and had to hang out to beat IPFW – which knocks out Bryson Scott, one of the best players in the league. Then Denver had to hit a banked three at the buzzer of regulation by Joe Rosga to send the game to overtime. Actually, they even needed more than that. It took an and-1 by Rosga with 11 seconds to go and then that for overtime to happen. With a double over time game, late night last night (that game ended around midnight on the east coast), you have to wonder how tired Denver’s legs are. South Dakota had an extra day of rest after cruising against Nebraska Omaha. In the top half, it’s Mike Daum and South Dakota State against ND State. I actually like South Dakota State there since it just took a scare in the quarterfinals and then had the day off. I think you see the top two seeds advance here.

West Coast Conference
Semifinals
WCC

The WCC is holding serve and the game to watch here is BYU/St. Mary’s. This is one that almost every bubble team should be locked in on. A loss by St. Mary’s will knock them out of the NCAA Tournament. A win keeps them on the right side of the bubble with a third shot at Gonzaga most likely. During the preview, I talked about how BYU could steal a bid. That’s still obviously in play and a win over St. Mary’s would make plenty of bubble teams nervous, including the team they’d beat. Gonzaga should beat San Francisco, winning both matchups this year by 9 and 10. A win there keeps Gonzaga alive for a top-4 protected seed. If you can stay up late, I highly suggest it. That BYU/St. Mary’s game should be great. St. Mary’s did sweep the regular season with one of the games going to overtime.