Saturday, March 8, 2014

Harvard First NCAA Entrant, High Point First NIT Entrant

The Big Dance and the NIT both have their first official teams in their respective fields. More on that after the bracket and rundown.

Last Four Byes: Oregon, Stanford, Pittsburgh, Dayton
Last Four In: BYU, Xavier, Providence, Tennessee
First Four Out: Georgetown, Missouri, California, Nebraska
Next Four Out: Florida State, Minnesota, St. John's, Southern Miss

Conference Rundown:
7: Big 12
6: Atlantic 10, Pac-12
5: ACC, American, Big Ten
4: Big East, SEC
2: Mountain West, West Coast
22 one-bid leagues

The first official NCAA Tournament ticket was punched Friday, as Harvard defeated Yale 70-58 to win their third straight Ivy League title and become the first team into the Big Dance. Slyani Chambers led the Crimson with 17 points and six assists, Steve Moundou-Missi scored 16 and Brandyn Curry dropped 14 off the bench. Justin Sears of Yale led all scorers with 28 in a losing effort. The Crimson jumped up to the 12-line thanks to a shift in the MAC standings. Western Michigan defeated Central Michigan 78-64, clinching the top seed in the MAC tournament, in the process. Harvard closes their regular season tonight against Brown.

The first official NIT ticket was also punched Friday. That's because Big South regular season champion High Point was upset in the quarterfinals by Winthrop, 62-60, as Keon Moore led the way with 23 points for the Eagles, who advanced to the semifinals where they will face UNC-Asheville. VMI and Coastal Carolina will meet in the other semifinal. The Panthers now receive an automatic bid to the NIT, where they will almost certainly be a No. 8 seed. Coastal Carolina now moves in the current AQ, thanks to their head-to-head victory over VMI in the regular season, as both teams were 11-5 in conference play.

The Shockers are still undefeated. Wichita State "aced" their quarterfinal against Evansville, 80-58, to set up a semifinal showdown with Missouri State, whom the Shockers just beat one week ago. Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker each scored 17 points for the winners and Tekele Cotton (11) and Chadrick Lufile (11) also posted double-digit points. Leading the way for the Aces was D.J. Balentine with 31. The other MVC semifinal will pit Indiana State, who defeated Loyola (IL), against Southern Illinois, who upset No. 3 Northern Iowa.

Belmont breezed by Morehead State in their Ohio Valley semifinal, winning 86-63, as three Bruins starters  and two players off the bench reached double-figures, led by J.J. Mann's 16. Reece Chamberlain nearly had a double-double, with nine points and eight rebounds.

Their opponent in the championship, however, will not be Murray State, as the Racers were upset in the other semifinal by Eastern Kentucky by a score of 86-83. Corey Walden had 24 points for the Colonels, as four starters hit at least ten points. The finals are tonight.

So as I said yesterday, this was the calm before the storm. Today is the final Saturday of the regular season and it promises to be a great one. Plenty of action all across the bracket. Let's start with the conference tournament games, including the second tournament bid being handed out in the Ohio Valley.

Ohio Valley Championship (in Nashville)
No. 3 Eastern Kentucky vs. No. 1 Belmont, 7:00, ESPN2

Southern Quarterfinals (in Asheville, NC)
No. 8 Samford vs. No. 1 Davidson, 12:00, ESPN3
No. 5 Western Carolina vs. No. 4 Elon, 2:30, ESPN3
No. 7 Georgia Southern vs. No. 2 Chattanooga, 6:00, ESPN3
No. 11 Citadel vs. No. 3 Wofford, 8:30, ESPN3

MAAC Quarterfinals (in Springfield, MA)
No. 8 Rider vs. No. 1 Iona, 12:00, ESPN3
No. 5 Siena vs. No. 4 Canisius, 2:30, ESPN3
No. 7 St. Peter's vs. No. 2 Manhattan, 6:30, ESPN3
No. 11 Niagara vs. No. 3 Quinnipiac, 9:00, ESPN3

Colonial Quarterfinals (in Baltimore)
No. 8 Hofstra vs. No. 1 Delaware, 12:00
No. 5 Northeastern vs. No. 4 Drexel, 2:30
No. 7 James Madison vs. No. 2 Towson, 6:00
No. 6 Charleston vs. No. 3 William & Mary, 8:30

America East Quarterfinals (in Albany)
No. 8 New Hampshire vs. No. 1 Vermont, 12:00, ESPN3
No. 5 UMBC vs. No. 4 Albany, 2:30, ESPN3
No. 7 Maine vs. No. 2 Stony Brook, 6:00, ESPN3
No. 6 Binghamton vs. No. 3 Hartford, 8:30, ESPN3

Northeast Semifinals (higher seed hosts)
No. 4 Mount St. Mary's at No. 2 Wagner, 12:00
No. 6 St. Francis (PA) at No. 1 Robert Morris, 2:00

Big South Semifinals (in Conway, SC)
No. 4S Winthrop vs. No. 2S UNC-Asheville, 12:00, ESPN3
No. 2N VMI vs. No. 1S Coastal Carolina, 2:00, ESPN3

Missouri Valley Semifinals (in St. Louis)
No. 4 Missouri State vs. No. 1 Wichita State, 2:35, ESPN3
No. 6 Southern Illinois vs. No. 2 Indiana State, 5:05, ESPN3

West Coast Quarterfinals (in Las Vegas)
No. 6 San Diego vs. No. 3 San Francisco, 3:00, BYUtv
No. 10 Loyola Marymount vs. No. 2 BYU, 5:30, BYUtv
No. 9 Santa Clara vs. No. 1 Gonzaga, 9:00, ESPN2
No. 5 Pepperdine vs. No. 4 Saint Mary's, 11:30, ESPN2

Patriot League Semifinals (higher seed hosts)
No. 5 Army at No. 1 Boston University, 3:30, CBS Sports Network
No. 3 Holy Cross at No. 2 American University, 5:30, CBS Sports Network

Summit Quarterfinals (in Sioux Falls, SD)
No. 7 IUPUI vs. No. 2 IPFW, 7:00

Horizon League Semifinals (in Green Bay, WI)
No. 3 Wright State vs. No. 2 Cleveland State, 7:00, ESPN3
No.5 Milwaukee vs. No. 1 Green Bay, 9:30, ESPNU

And as if that wasn't enough, here's the rest of the notable games today.

Kentucky at Florida, 12:00, CBS
St. John's at Marquette, 12:00, Fox Sports 1
SMU at Memphis, 12:00, ESPN2
Cincinnati at Rutgers, 12:00, ESPNews
Kansas at West Virginia, 12:00, ESPN
Baylor at Kansas State, 1:30, ESPN Full Court
Oklahoma State at Iowa State, 2:00, ESPN
Connecticut at Louisville, 2:00, CBS
Eastern Michigan at Toledo, 2:00
Georgetown at Villanova, 2:00, Fox Sports 1
Western Kentucky at Georgia State, 2:30, ESPN Full Court
Utah at Stanford, 2:30, Pac-12 Network
Arkansas at Alabama, 4:00, ESPN3
Pittsburgh at Clemson, 4:00, ESPN Full Court
Arizona at Oregon, 4:00, CBS
Oklahoma at TCU, 4:00, ESPN Full Court
Missouri at Tennessee, 4:00, ESPN
Texas at Texas Tech, 4:00, ESPNews
George Washington at Fordham, 4:30
Arizona State at Oregon State, 4:30, Pac-12 Network
Georgia at LSU, 5:00, ESPN Full Court
Weber State at Eastern Washington, 5:05
Jackson State at Alabama State, 6:00
Indiana at Michigan, 6:00, ESPN
Colorado at California, 6:30
Texas Southern at Southern University, 6:30
Harvard at Brown, 7:00
Richmond at Dayton, 7:00
St. Bonaventure at VCU, 7:00
UC Davis at UC Irvine, 7:30
Illinois at Iowa, 8:30, Big Ten Network
North Carolina at Duke, 9:00, ESPN
New Mexico at San Diego State, 10:05, CBS Sports Network
UCLA at Washington State, 11:00, Fox Sports 1

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