Six more teams are in: Vermont (America East), Ohio (MAC), UTEP (WAC), Delaware State (MEAC), George Washington (A-10), and Utah State (Big West).Bracket WrapBig West: (2) Utah State 65, (1) Pacific 52 (story)
Championship Week concludes today with a pair of games: the SWAC and Southland finals.
It's Selection Sunday, the holiest day of the college basketball year.
- UOP's nation's-best win streak is over at 22, but if there's any justice in the world they should get a chance to start a new one next weekend in the NCAA Tournament. Utah State, a 24-7 team that hung around on the outskirts during January and February, finally got sweet revenge on the Tigers; they held their opponents scoreless for over eight minutes in the second half. They won in convincing fashion after two narrow regular-season losses in which USU dominated, but could not hold off miraculous last-minute heroics by Christian Maraker and the Orange and Black. This victory is also a wad in the collective eye of the Selection Committee, who won't get a chance to snub the WAC-bound Aggies, like they did after a one-loss campaign and a semifinal drop last year.America East: (1) Vermont 80, (2) Northeastern 57 (story)
- The nice part about this third league championship victory in a row for UVM is that it wasn't all about the two Catamount senior stars, Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine
. Okay, so it was a lot about Coppenrath, who scored 37 points, nabbed nine rebounds, and owned the paint. Sorrentine chipped in with 11, but sophomore forward Martin Klimes - a man upon whom Vermont will rely upon heavily next year to keep the momentum going - scored a career-high 15 points. Quote machine Tom Brennan, retiring coach of the Catamounts, had this to say afterwards
: "When I was broke, when I had nothing, people took me in, and now I've won the lottery three times in a row."Mid-American: (4) Ohio 80, (7) Buffalo 79 (OT) (story)
- Ohio rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half, and won on a last-second putback in overtime by Bobcat forward Leon Williams, who was named tourney MVP minutes later. We'll have more on this game soon - but for now, you can enjoy some nice pictures
if you'd like.Western Athletic: (2) Texas-El Paso 91, (8) Boise State 78 (story)
- You couldn't blame the Broncos for not having enough energy down the stretch - they had pulled two upsets (1 Nevada, 3 Rice) in three days and may have been a bit tuckered out. Shots fell short and hustle points were lacking, and UTEP led by 10 at halftime and as many as 20 before easing up late. Senior Miner guard Filiberto Rivera scored 32 points, and El Paso completed one of the more difficult tasks in college basketball, the three-game season sweep.
Mid-Eastern: (1) Delaware State 55, (2) Hampton 53 (story) - It's a long way from dingy little Memorial Hall in Dover to the Dance, but the Hornets have now walked that long mile. The school's first championship in any sport came when Aaron Williams hit a 12-foot jumper in the key with one second remaining, dashing the hopes of a Pirate team that had charged out of early-season adversity to make a run at the top. The MEAC's representative is a diligent crew of yeomen who earned the bid by gutting out wins and streaks - they're on an eight-game tear heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Atlantic 10: (W1) George Washington 76, St. Joseph's 67 (story) - St. Joe's dictated the flow (hard and slow), but the freewheeling Colonials earned their first A-10 basketball championship ever by playing along for most of the game. They turned aside a brave 25-point performance from co-player of the year Pat Carroll, and pulled away late for the victory, dropping a 10-0 run as the minutes ticked away in Cincinnati. GW will be making their seventh entrance to the Great Ball.
What's On Tap
Yes, welcome to Selection Sunday. May I take your order? For some mid-major schools, today will bring heapin' helpings of pain; for a select few, a buffet of boundless exuberance. These are the teams who didn't win their conference tournaments, and have to wait to see if they've warranted at-large love from the Committee.
So who will make it, and who won't? Here are the Unlucky 13, the teams with the best chances to crash the party, ranked in order of perceived Danceability - based on conference tourney performances and that "blunt instrument" known as the Ratings Percentage Index. RPI figures are gathered from Ken Pomeroy's site.
T1. Southern Illinois, Missouri Valley (23-10, 13-7 MWC, 18 RPI)
T1. Nevada, Western Athletic (24-6, 16-3 WAC, 33)
3. Pacific, Big West (26-3, 19-1 BWC, 22)
4. Miami (Oh.), Mid-American (19-10, 13-7 MAC, 43)
5. St. Mary's, Western Athletic (25-8, 12-4 WCC, 30)
6. Wichita State, Missouri Valley (20-9, 13-7 MVC, 45)
7. Northern Iowa, Missouri Valley (21-10, 11-7 MVC, 37)
8. Buffalo, Mid-American (22-9, 14-8 MAC, 46)
9. Southwest Missouri State, Missouri Valley (18-12, 11-9 MVC, 52)
10. St. Joseph's, Atlantic 10 (19-11, 16-3 A-10, 57)
11. Holy Cross, Patriot (24-6, 15-2 PL, 66)
12. Davidson, Southern (21-8, 17-1 SoCon, 80)
13. Denver, Sun Belt (20-10, 14-4 SBC, 101)
So how many will make it in? At which number is the Big Screw applied? Click on the word balloon under this post and let me hear your thoughts. Remember, after this evening all the "Bracketology" and projections are rendered completely meaningless, and it's down to hard reality.
I'm guessing five.
So here's how The Mid-Majority will work this week. The results from the initial shock of the brackets and subsequent digestion of such will appear Monday morning, and then a recap of how many wrong preseason picks I had. That will be followed by a series of handy team profiles (by region) over Tuesday and Wednesday, and we'll begin voting for the title of Mid-Majority Baller Of The Year. Before play starts on Thursday, you'll be able to register for an "adoption certificate" that will certify your temporary love for one of the Chosen Four (Vermont, Pacific, SIU, Nevada) that we're trying to push into the Sweet Sixteen.
Pennsylvania (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.
Fairleigh Dickinson (20-12, 14-5 NEC) won the Northeast tournament on March 9.
Montana (18-12, 12-5 BSky) won the Big Sky tournament on March 9.
Bucknell (22-9, 13-4 PL) won the Patriot tournament on March 11.
Vermont (23-6, 18-2 AE) won the America East tournament on March 12.
Delaware State (19-13, 17-4 MEAC) won the Mid-Eastern tournament on March 12.
George Washington (22-7, 14-5 A-10) won the Atlantic 10 tournament on March 12.
Ohio (21-10, 15-7 MAC) won the Mid-American tournament on March 12.
Texas-El Paso (27-7, 17-4 WAC) won the Western Athletic tournament on March 12.
Utah State (24-7, 15-5 BWC) won the Big West tournament on March 12.
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