March 15, 2008 10:33 am ET by Kyle Whelliston
Cursed no more, the Eagles' win streak against Colgate (now eight) turned out to be more important than American's 0-3 record in Patriot League title games. Tourney MVP Garrison Carr scored 17 points to seal American's first-ever Dance ticket.
Saint Joe's proved that it's NCAA-worthy (we've been on the bandwagon for a while now), locking down the X's potent perimeter attack. Temple absorbed two runs by Charlotte and got a 2-and-15 double-double from Mark Tyndale.
Have you caught Anteater Fever yet? Well, why not? UCI held UCSB to 32 percent shooting and earned an 11-board margin in the upset win. Fullerton creamed Northridge with 24 points from Josh Akognon. It's the first time since 2003 this conference hasn't had a No. 1 or No. 2 reach the finals.
If you've been reading along, you might have saw saw them coming, but Coppin is hott. For the second straight night, Tywain McKee's free-throw shooting prowess clinched wins (he has, after all, hit 86.6 percent of his attempts this year). Morgan had a tussle with Del-State, but you don't get between the (real) Boubacar and what he wants. Coly had 13 and 10 in the win.
Miami couldn't pull off an NCAA miracle for a second year in a row -- they're going home after giving top seed Kent everything it didn't want. Four Zips scored in double figures to ensure an all-East affair for the third time in four years.
We were right (saying the top two seeds wouldn't make the final), but we were so very wrong on another count -- longtime TMM and State favorites Sam State simply ran out of gas down the stretch. We'll have more about that when we recap the State of the Other 22 for the year later on, but today is a day to celebrate the low seeds. The Mavericks shot an even 50 percent to take down SHSU, and you must never, never, never bet against the Demons in March. Tired top seed SFA coughed up the ball 15 times in the second half to allow Northwestern State an improbable come-from-behind win. The Demons were outshot by nine percentage points and outrebounded by seven, but still won.
Despite having no Trey Johnson anymore, SWAC champ Jackson State is back in the title game after taking down the top-seeded Hornets. MVSU won a clankathon (shooting 37 percent to UAPB's 35) with superior rebounding and general toughness.
BSU guard Aaron Garner, who hadn't scored 10 or more all season, went 4-for-6 and scored 14 points -- along with three other double-figure Broncos, he helped nullify a Utah State season sweep and move on to the finals. They'll meet host and defending tourney champion New Mexico State, which won for the first time in three tries against Nevada by more than doubling up the Wolf Pack on the glass, 49-24.
On Tap Tonight
After a week off, the A-East returns to decide a champion. Neither school has ever been to the NCAA Tournament.
It's Big Five flava in Atlantic City, with two North Philly and City Line going at it for the first time in an A-14 title game. This may come down to whichever side can bring more fans.
As it should be: Kent and Akron taking their crosstown rivalry to the big stage. Much as like tonight's Temple-Saint Joe's game, the two teams have never met with everything on the line like this.
Mississippi Valley State won the season series, but the second matchup that came two weeks ago was a SWAC classic, with Standford Speech laying in a shot at the buzzer to win it for the Delta Devils. MVSU hasn't been on the big bracket since 1996.
What a day for local rivalries. The two Baltimore schools will fight it out for all the MEAC marbles. Morgan wants the MEAC's first 15 seed since 2002; Coppin would be happy with a trip to Dayton.
Fast, physical NMSU matches up very well against the shooters of Boise State, if a recent 99-80 blowout wasn't enough proof. The Aggies have won six straight meetings between the two.
Irvine's run could be attributed in large part to a sudden burst of Windex; the Big West's eighth-best rebounding team and 18-th worst in the nation has won the boards battle in both of its tourney games. Fullerton's Josh Akognon has made 50 percent or more of his 3-point attempts in his last five contests.
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