- Two one-seeds went down: Tennessee Tech lost in the OVC semifinals, and Davidson was eliminated in the Southern Conference semis.
- Four automatic bids will be handed out today, as the ESPN networks begin a schedule of court-stormings every two hours or so. We have the Big South's matchup of 1 Winthrop and 7 Charleston Southern (noon), the Ohio Valley (4 pm ET), the Atlantic Sun (6 pm ET) and the SoCon (8:00 pm). All games are on "The Deuce."
In the most shocking event of the week, Davidson's undefeated regular season was nullified by an upset loss. (recaps)(N2) North Carolina-Greensboro 73, (S1) Davidson 68
(N1) Chattanooga 57, (N3) Appalachian State 51
In a tight and furiously-contested game that saw the lead swing back and forth all night, the Spartans drove a sword through the Wildcats' Dance dreams. Josh Gross, a 6'5" senior, had the game of his life and scored 22 points - the normally efficient offense of Davidson was shut down, as UNCG held them to 37% shooting. On the other side of the bracket, the tourney host Mocs will play in their third consecutive SoCon title game. They were led by Lithuanian monster Mindaugas Katelynas' 18 points and 21 rebounds, and cut down the upstart App-Staters.
And by the way, this will be a rematch of 100 Games Project game 60
The title matchup has been finalized; thanks to an upset, we have a chance for a snubbed team from last year to bypass the selection process and earn a Dance ticket the old-fashioned way. (recaps)(5) Austin Peay 67, (1) Tennessee Tech 61
(2) Eastern Kentucky 69, Southeast Missouri 52
Austin Peay, last year's "Davidson," went undefeated in the regular season but lost to Murray State
66-60 in the OVC title game, and they didn't get Selection Committee consideration. Now they're back for a shot at their second conference championship in three years, after taking down the top seed with stingy defense.
EKU (21-8, 13-5 OVC) hasn't been mentioned too much in this space this year - the Colonels silently built a solid season while T-Tech and Samford have grabbed the headlines. They're a smart and savvy team who won eight of their last 10 regular season games, led by the best point guard in the league in Matt Witt - he can score and distribute with the best of them.Atlantic Sun:
Perhaps as shocking as anything in the above paragraphs is that the A-Sun tourney has gone exactly as seeded. The title game matchup at Nashville's Curb Events Center is now set.(1) Gardner-Webb 77, (4) Jacksonville 76 (story)(2) Central Florida 66, (3) Belmont 61 (story)
The Golden Knights of UCF never trailed and discharge the tourney host Bruins easily; G-Webb needed two free-throws in the final seconds by T.J. McCullough to escape the hard-charging Dolphins of JU. But the Runnin' Bulldogs from Boiling Springs have won their two games over the four and eight seeds by a combined three points - hardly a dominating run, and Music City is experiencing a Pepto-Bismol shortage, thanks to their fans. Central has done everything in its power to assuage doubts about their back-to-back championship hopes.America East:
After the low-seed qualification games, Saturday's quarterfinal matchups are fully bracketized.(9) Maryland-Baltimore County 78, (8) New Hampshire 73(7) Stony Brook 66, (10) Hartford 46
Retriever freshman Brian Hodges scored 28 and UMBC won its first-ever tourney game at the D1 level - they are officially no longer a chess school. Baltimore County will play 1 Vermont at 2:30 PM ET. Stony Brook disposed easily of the hapless Hawks, and gets 2 Northeastern in the first game of the evening session.West Coast:
In Friday's 6-through-10 qualifiers at Santa Clara, the higher seeds won out.(6) San Francisco 65, Portland 60 (story)(5) Pepperdine 91, (10) Loyola Marymount 79 (story)
The Dons escaped a hard challenge from the Portland Pilots and won in the final moments, and Pepperdine came back from 12 down to put away bottom seed LMU. Today's second round goes like this: USF plays the hosts and 3 Santa Clara
at 11:00 pm ET, and the Waves get 4 San Diego
The quarterfinals went exactly to form, surprising nobody. The top two teams have been on a collision course all year. (quality recaps and other PL goodies)(1) Holy Cross 76, (8) Army 42
(2) Bucknell 70, (7) Lafayette 34
(3) American 85, (6) Navy 83 (OT)
(4) Lehigh 77, (5) Colgate 60
One eye-opening number: 45. That's the number of points that Lehigh's little Joe Knight netted - the figure includes 10 three-pointers. Holy Cross slept through the first half and slammed the accelerator in the second; Bucknell rolled to the double-up. American continued to baffle observers, needing OT to dump Navy and anointing Linas Lekavicius their go-to guy
. Bucknell hosts American and Holy Cross "entertains" Lehigh, all on Sunday.Sun Belt:
Action kicked off at the Denton Super Pit with three first-round games, and local fans have lost their team to early elimination. (recaps)(E5) Florida International 60, (W4) South Alabama 57 (story)(E4) Arkansas State 84, (W5) North Texas 76 (story)(E3) Middle Tennessee State 77, (W6) New Mexico State 63 (box)
Hosts North Texas were sent off by Ark-State and its 10 three-pointers. Ivan Almonte's 24 points for FIU helped sink Team USA, and as longtime coach Lou Henson looked on in a wheelchair, his Aggies were ousted by MTSU.
The first two quarterfinals will be played this evening, and the two top seeds will enter the fray. In the first game (6:30 PM ET), E1 Arkansas-Little Rock
will play FIU, and W1 Denver
will take on Arkansas State.Colonial:
The first round in Richmond is complete, and there's been a minor upset.(9) William & Mary 68, (8) James Madison 54 (story)(7) Delaware 76, (10) Towson 56 (story)
W&M's "W" was their first tourney win since 1997, and was keyed by their senior point guard, Nick D'Antoni, and his 26 points. The Blue Hens kept their season alive by unceremoniously dumping Towson for the Tigers' 13th straight loss. Delaware will play 2 Virginia Commonwealth
at 6 p.m., and 1 Old Dominion
gets William and Mary at noon. The other quarterfinals feature 4 Drexel
versus 5 Hofstra
at 2:30, and 3 North Carolina-Wilmington
against 6 George Mason
The semis are set; the defending champions were eliminated, and the two Wisconsin teams prepare to defend their home turf.(4) Loyola (Ill.) 87, (5) Illinois-Chicago 81 (OT) (story)(3) Detroit 61, (6) Wright State 48 (story)
Blake Schlib, the hero of the Ramblers' first-round win, kept his team alive by dropping 39 on last year's Dancers UIC. The well-rested Detroit Titans dumped Wright with a sterline defensive shutdown. Here are the two matchups for today: UDM will play Green Bay, and Milwaukee will take on Loyola.Missouri Valley:
The first round of Arch Madness is done.(7) Drake 82, (10) Evansville 68 (story)(9) Indiana State 63, (8) Bradley 61 (story)
Drake's Lonnie Randolph scored 20 and the Bulldogs easily disposed of the Aces; despite holding the Sycamores to 19 second-half points, Bradley's last-second win attempt was stifled. Indiana State gets 1 Southern Illinois
today at 1:00 ET, and Drake will play 2 Wichita State
at seven. Bradley will be back - they're not graduating anyone.What's On Tap
Along with our title games, lots of stuff going on today. Quarterfinals in the America East, Sun Belt, Colonial and Missouri Valley; second rounds in the MAAC and WCC. Semis in the Horizon.Automatic BidsPennsylvania
(18-8, 11-1 Ivy) clinched the Ivy League
regular season title on February 27.