Seven championships were decided on the penultimate day of Championship Fortnight. All hail Vermont, back in the Dance for the first time since 2005 (Season 1) and also for the first time in the Mike Lonergan era. Congratulations to Morgan State; the Bears navigated the always-difficult MEAC tourney to repeat as titlists. We salute UC Santa Barbara, which hadn't won the Big West tourney title since 2002. Sam Houston State, consistently one of the best teams in the Southland, broke through in the tourney for the first time since 2003.BracketsAmerica Eastat  Vermont 83,  Boston University 70Star of the Game: Marqus Blakely
Congrats, as well, to the surprise winners. The Ohio Bobcats completed a stunning run through the MAC tourney as a No. 9 seed, defeating Akron in overtime to claim that school's first Dance card since Season 1. New Mexico State had to knock off the top two seeds to win the WAC, but the Red Aggies completed the task late last night.
And a special hoorah is in order to yesterday's first-time dancers: Arkansas-Pine Bluff of the SWAC, just five years removed from winning a single game out of 27.
And, of course: well done, South Dakota, which won the first-ever Great West championship and will now play in a lesser postseason tournament.
Chaos into order in just 12 days. Two weeks ago, there were 247 teams with NCAA dreams. Now there are 22. A few of the runner-ups will sneak through the Selection Committee's side door, but the champions of Hoops Nation won their bids on the floor, but defeating any and all comers. We salute each and every one of them.
Today at approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, either Richmond or Temple will be the Atlantic One, and Championship Fortnight will be complete.
24 Pts (7-10 FG, 10-17 FT), 18 RebMen's Basketball is Heading to the Big Dance, Cats Top BU 83-70
- Behind a monster performance from the Reggie Lewis Most Outstanding Player Marqus Blakely (Metuchen, N.J.), the Vermont men's basketball team topped Boston University 83-70 in front of a sold-out Patrick Gym on Saturday afternoon to win the 2010 America East Championship. The Cats will now advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in school history, as they will find out where and who they will play on Sunday night at 6 p.m. when the NCAA Selection Show takes place live on CBS. The trip to the NCAA Tournament is the first for the Cats since 2005 when they knocked off Syracuse in the first round. The 2005 appearance was the last of three straight for Vermont. The Cats will enter the tournament having won 11 of their last 12 games overall and with a record of 25-9. The 25 wins are tied for the most in school history. (via Vermont)Big West  California-Santa Barbara 69,  Long Beach State 64Star of the Game: Orlando Johnson
20 Pts (4-11 FG, 11-12 FT)The Gauchos are Going Dancing! UCSB Wns Big West Title Over Long Beach, 69-64
- Orlando Johnson, named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, was the first to step-up, giving UCSB the lead for good with a pair of free throws with 4:52 remaining. Following a defensive stop on the other end, Johnson took a pass from Nunnally and powered his way for a lay-up giving the Gauchos a 56-53 advantage with 4:03 to play. Plater pulled the 49ers back within one, 56-55, making two free throws with 3:45 left on the clock. At the 3:22 mark, it was Johnson again as he made another pair of free throws. A Casper Ware jumper from just inside the free throw line narrowed the edge to one, 58-57, with 3:06 left. Johnson answered again, drawing another foul and making two more free throws to push the lead back to three, 60-57, with 2:43 remaining. Again, the 49ers would battle back as T.J. Robinson made a reverse lay-up to pull them back within one, 60-59 with 2:09 to play. Two free throws by Ware with 1:45 left and one by Robinson with 28 seconds to play cut the Gauchos' lead to 63-62 with 28 seconds remaining, setting the stage for the clutch free throws by Powell and Nunnally. Powell was intentionally fouled and made his first two with 27 seconds left. After UCSB forced Long Beach into a turnover, Powell was fouled again with just under seven seconds to play and he made two more. A lay-up by Larry Anderson made it 67-64 with 2.8 seconds left. This time, it was Nunnally, an All-Tournament Team selection, who was fouled intentionally, and like his teammates, he made both of his free throws. Ware missed a 3-pointer as time ran out and the Gauchos were Big West Tournament champions for the first time since 2002. (via California-Santa Barbara)MEAC  Morgan State 68,  South Carolina State 61Star of the Game: Kevin Thompson
18 Pts (8-10 FG, 2-3 FT), 10 RebMorgan headed to NCAA tournament for second straight year
- Kevin Thompson had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Morgan State claimed its second consecutive NCAA tournament berth by beating South Carolina State 68-61 on Saturday in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title game. League player of the year Reggie Holmes added 17 points for the top-seeded Bears (27-9). They shot 53 percent to overcome 20 turnovers and avenged their only regular-season conference loss by becoming the first repeat MEAC champion since Hampton in 2001 and '02. Khalif Toombs had 15 points to lead the third-seeded Bulldogs (18-14). They were denied their first NCAA berth since 2003 after shooting 31 percent and committing 19 turnovers. Morgan State held South Carolina State without a field goal for nearly 6 minutes and used a 13-2 run to take a 44-34 lead with 11� minutes left, then went 5 for 6 from the line in the final 2 minutes to seal it. (via Morgan State)Mid-American Ohio 81,  Akron 75 (OT)Star of the Game: D.J. Cooper
23 Pts (7-16 FG, 4-4 FT), 7 Reb, 6 AstOhio Stuns Akron, Wins Fifth MAC Tournament
- Ohio's backcourt of Armon Bassett and D.J. Cooper combined for 48 of Ohio's 81 points as the ninth-seeded Bobcats scored a historic win for the program, downing top-seeded Akron 81-75 in overtime Saturday evening in the Mid-American Conference championship game. The win clinched Ohio's fifth MAC Tournament victory. The previous triumphs were 1983, 1985, 1994, 2005. Ohio improved to 21-14 and will now await its seeding in the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. The bracket will be announced Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on CBS. Akron dropped to 24-10. Bassett was named Tournament MVP after scoring 25 Saturday on 8-16 field goal shooting. He was named Tournament MVP after averaging 29 points per game. His 116 points and 49 free throws also set a MAC Tourney record. Cooper shook off earlier struggles in the tournament to record 23 points on five 3-pointers, with seven rebounds and six assists. Kenneth van Kempen, Ohio's all-time leader in games played, chipped in 10 and a team-high nine rebounds. (via Ohio)David MaxwellSouthland  Sam Houston State 64,  Stephen F. Austin 48Star of the Game: Gilberto Clavell
21 Pts (7-10 FG, 7-8 FT)Bearkats punch ticket to NCAA Tournament
- It is has been seven years since the Bearkats were in the NCAA tournament. They punched their second trip to the Big Dance on Saturday. The Kats stormed out to an early lead on Stephen F. Austin and never looked back in a 64-48 win over the Lumberjack to win the Southland Conference Tournament title and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Ashton Mitchell, who was named tournament MVP, finished the game with 13 points and six assists. Gilberto Clavell led the way for the Kats with 21 points and was also named to the all-tournament team. Senior Corey Allmond scored 19. The Kats scored eight of the first 10 points in the game and built the lead to double digits on a 3-pointer by Mitchell with 11:28 to play in the first half. After a layup by Denzell Barnes for SFA, Allmond answered right back with a 3 and the lead never got back to single digits again. (via Sam Houston State)SWAC  Arkansas-Pine Bluff 50,  Texas Southern 38Star of the Game: Tavaris Washington
14 Pts (5-8 FG, 3-5 FT), 3 StlGolden Lions Basketball Makes History Capturing First NCAA Tournament Bid
-Tavaris Washington 14 points and tournament MVP Allen Smith added 11 as the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff defeated Texas Southern 50-36 in the Farmers Insurance SWAC Basketball Tournament Men's Championship. The lead changed hands seven times early with one tie, but the Golden Lions took the lead for good at the 5:53 mark on a three-pointer by George Davis and never trailed again. UAPB led 26-20 at halftime. In the second half, Univ. Arkansas-Pine Bluff extended to a double-digit lead at 41-31 on a pair of free throws by Washington with 8:45 to play and maintained its double-digit lead the remainder of the game. (via Texas Southern)Western Athletic New Mexico State 69,  Utah State 63 Star of the Game: Troy Gillenwater
15 Pts (6-12 FG, 2-2 FT)Aggies Win WAC Tournament, Advance to NCAAs
The New Mexico State men's basketball team won the 2010 WAC Tournament Championship after a 69-63 victory over Utah State, Saturday, March 13, at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev. The Aggies earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and are making their 18th appearance in school history. The Aggies improved to 22-11 and are going to the Big Dance for the first time since 2007 and in head coach Marvin Menzies' tenure. Junior guard Jahmar Young was named WAC Tournament Most Valuable Player after a team-high 19 points. Sophomore forward Troy Gillenwater also earned all-tournament team honors following a 15-point showing. Senior guard Jonathan Gibson was also in double-figures with 14 points. Utah State evened the score at 55-55 with 4:45 to play and then Gillenwater sank a 3-pointer before a floater from Young gave the Aggies a five-point lead, 60-55, at the 3:56 mark. Young pushed the advantage to 63-57 with a free throw at 2:26 for NM State. The Aggies held on and sophomore guard Hernst Laroche sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to play to give NM State its second WAC Tournament title in school history. (via New Mexico State)Great West  South Dakota 91,  Houston Baptist 86Star of the Game: Kendall Cutler
21 Pts (7-11 FG, 7-8 FT), 8 Ast, 2 StlCoyotes Down Huskies for GWC Tourney Title and CIT Bid
- Freshman guard Jake Thomas and junior guard Kendall Cutler both topped the 20-point mark to lead the No. 1 seed University of South Dakota men's basketball team to a 91-86 win over No. 2 seed Houston Baptist in the final of the Great West Conference Tournament on Saturday in the McKay Center. The 13th consecutive victory moved the Coyotes to 22-9 on the season and gave them an automatic bid to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The entire field for the CIT will be announced on Sunday. USD enjoyed a double-digit advantage most of the second half until HBU clawed back to tie the game at 82 with 2:14 left. Sophomore guard Louie Krogman (White River, S.D.) responded with a three pointer and landed a driving layup on the next possession to put the Coyotes up five at the 1:11 mark. Free throws from senior center Steve Smith (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Thomas (Racine, Wis.) and a block by senior forward Tyler Cain (Rochester, Minn.) sealed the win for South Dakota. (via South Dakota)Atlantic 4  Temple 57,  Rhode Island 44Star of the Game: Juan Fernandez
14 Pts (5-8 FG, 2-2 FT), 7 Ast, 3 Stl#17/17 Men's Basketball to Play for Third Straight A-14 Title After 57-44 Semifinal Win Over Rhode Island
- ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Jumping out to a 15-2 lead and never looking back, the #17/17 and top-seeded Temple men’s basketball team defeated fifth-seeded Rhode Island (23-9) by a score of 57-44 in the Atlantic 14 Tournament semifinals. The Owls (28-5) battled through a roof-leak delay and a second-half comeback attempt by the Rams, and will face either 2 seed Xavier or 3 seed Richmond in the championship game on Sunday, March 14 at 1:00 p.m. on CBS. (via Temple)
 Richmond 89,  Xavier 85 1
Star of the Game: David Gonzalvez 26 Pts (5-13 FG, 13-14 FT), 2 Stl
Spiders Advance To A-14 Final - This was the Richmond's 10th win over a team that played in the postseason last year and the Spiders are 5-2 against team s in the top-50 in the RPI and 7-2 against teams in the top-52 in the RPI. Richmond tied the 1987-88 team for the most wins in a season at 26. Richmond head coach Chris Mooney has now set the single-season record for wins at every school he has played or coached at since high school. The Spiders won their fourth-straight game against a ranked opponent, including their third this season. It was the second time Richmond defeated Xavier while the Musketeers were ranked in the last 371 days. Richmond defeated then No. 17 ranked Xavier 80-75 last March in the Robins Center, took down then No. 13 ranked Florida 56-53 on Dec. 19 and took down then No. 17 ranked Temple 71-54 on Feb. 6. Richmond has won five of its last seven games against ranked teams since January 2008. (via Richmond)
On Tap Today
 Temple vs.  Richmond - 1:00 pm ET | BBState Preview/Box
TU - 28-5 (14-2) [RPI: 15 State: 12] SOS: 67 Last 10: 9-1 Form: WWWWW PF/PA: 65.2/56.3
RICH - 26-7 (13-3) [RPI: 25 State: 27] SOS: 85 Last 10: 9-1 Form: LWWWW PF/PA: 69.8/62.4
Recent meetings: 02/06/2010 TU 54 @RICH 71 01/31/2009 RICH 65 @TU 74