Oakland of the Mid-Continent Conference pulled the low-seed surprise of the year, taking down 1 seed Oral Roberts in the league's title game by a 61-60 score.Bracket WrapMid-Continent: (7) Oakland 61, (1) Oral Roberts 60 (story)
- Two other proud conference champions, and two overjoyed satellite campuses: Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Louisiana-Lafayette.
- The Portland State Vikings, who had led the Big Sky Conference nearly all year, were defeated in the semifinals by Weber State.
- The Big Sky and Northeast Conference crown winners tonight.
- It's been said many times, many ways, but this is what March Madness is all about. A backup junior point guard named Pierre Dukes
, who averaged 5.4 points a game this year
, hit a three-pointer with a single second left, and a Mid-Con afterthought stole away the title in the top seed's home city. Golden Grizzlies fans can make their Dayton-area hotel reservations now because they'll almost assuredly play in the 16a-16b play-in game due to their 12-18 record, but it doesn't matter. They're champions.
Oral Roberts now has five days to sweat, preparing for what would seem to be impending Selection Sunday heartbreak. Label their chances as slim, but not necessarily none.Horizon: (1) Wisconsin-Milwaukee 59, (3) Detroit 58 (story)
- The Panthers' march to the title seemed inevitable until this game. Detroit held a slight lead down the stretch (56-52 with four minutes left), but made too many mistakes and missed too many free throws. But as with so many HL results this season, the officials decided this one - a foul with four ticks left and the score tied at 58 put UWM's Adrian Tigert on the line. He hit the second one, and that was that. As former UDM coach Dick Vitale might say, "Heartbreak city, baby!"Sun Belt: (W2) Louisiana-Lafayette 88, (W1) Denver 69 (story)
- Spicy! ULL is back in the Dance for the second straight year. They avenged their two regular-season drops to the upstart Pioneers, and showed they knew how to get hot at the right time: they won 14 of their last 17 games. Like frosting on a yummy cake, the Ragin' Cajuns slathered points onto their lead a few at a time with mini-runs coming out of the halftime break, and added laginappe
with a game-closing 15-4 run. Tiras Wade, a tall, wiry guard, scored 30 big points.Big Sky:
We have a final two in Portland, and the local team isn't one of them.(3) Montana 79, (2) Montana State 67 (story)(5) Weber State 71, (1) Portland State 61 (story)
Yes, postseason experience does count for something. Traditional Weber is making folks forget about their disappointing regular season, most of which was spent coming together as a team with a larger-than-usual shipment of juco transfers - in this game, they executed flawlessly and defeated the Vikings' A-Game right there at Portland State's house. They'll play Montana tonight, who beat in-state buddies Montana State with a big first half and a hold-off.Southland:
Eight have become four in the SLC as the campus-site tourney continues.(1) Northwestern State 81, (8) Texas-Arlington 67(2) Southeast Louisiana 75, (7) Texas State 58(3) Sam Houston State 88, (6) McNeese State 70(5) Lamar 91, (4) Texas-San Antonio 83
Top seeds won handily, but 5 Lamar won the axis game; the Cardinals make one last gasp to fulfill the promise that led me to pick them at the beginning of the season. Today's a travel day, and play will resume Thursday at the homes of the upper seeds. Lamar goes to NW State, and SELU hosts Sam State.Western Athletic:
The two first round games were played last night in Reno; the two lower seeds were sloughed off to create a guarterfinal octet.(7) Hawaii 72, (10) San Jose State 48(8) Boise State 83, (9) Tulsa 73
The WAC takes a break today and then it's the quarterfinals tomorrow. Hawaii gets 2 Texas-El Paso
, while Boise State moves on to face the home team, one-seed Nevada
.What's On Tap
Two finals, as noted above - the NEC matchup is 6 Wagner
at 2 Fairleigh Dickinson
, the winners of Sunday's semis. The Atlantic 10 and Big West begin their first rounds of action, the MEAC kicks off quarterfinals. Oh yeah, and some power conference start tournament play, or so I've heard.Automatic BidsPennsylvania
(19-8, 12-1 Ivy) clinched the Ivy League regular season title on February 27.Winthrop
(27-5, 18-1 BSC) won the Big South tournament on March 5.Eastern Kentucky
(21-8, 13-5 OVC) won the Ohio Valley tournament on March 5.Chattanooga
(20-13, 13-6 SoCon) won the Southern tournament on March 5.Central Florida
(24-8, 15-7 A-Sun) won the Atlantic Sun tournament on March 5.Creighton
(23-10, 13-7 MVC) won the Missouri Valley tournament on March 7.Niagara
(20-9, 15-5 MAAC) won the Metro Atlantic tournament on March 7.Old Dominion
(28-5, 18-3 CAA) won the Colonial tournament on March 7.UMPFN
(25-4, 14-2 WCC) won the West Coast tournament on March 7.Oakland
(12-18, 9-9 Mid-Con) won the Mid-Continent tournament on March 8.Louisiana-Lafayette
(20-10, 14-4 SBC) won the Sun Belt tournament on March 8.Wisconsin-Milwaukee
(24-5, 16-2 HL) won the Horizon tournament on March 8.