Now the Nerves Start - Recapping Saturday's Action

Even though my evening/life was ruined by this news, (Seriously, first the Cubs sign Milton Bradley, now this?  It's a good thing the Leafs didn't beat the Rangers to Sean Avery on waivers.) it's March, so all is right with the world. 

Well, all is right for certain fanbases.  For others, the next week is going to be extremely nerve-racking.

For starters, let's congratulate the three teams who will appear in bold in Tuesday's bracket, thanks to their conference championship wins last night. (As always, score recaps are from Basketball State.)

  • Radford became the second team in after they defeated VMI, 108-94, in the Big South final.  The Highlanders beat the Keydets at their own game.  The Highlanders have a balanced attack and the Belarussian Behemoth, C Artsiom Parakhouski.
  • East Tennessee State took their first Atlantic Sun championship and first NCAA bid since 2004 (when they were in the SoCon) by easily beating regular-season champ, Jacksonville, 85-68.  Watch out for the Bucs, who have three guys who can really put up points, guards Kevin Tiggs (21.5 ppg) and Courtney Pigram (17.6 ppg) and forward Mike Smith (15.5 ppg).
  • In the game of the night, Morehead State defeated Austin Peay State, 67-65 in double OT, to win the Ohio Valley crown.  I finally got to see the highlights on ESPNews when I got back from Richmond.  Unbelievable!  All-OVC first-teamers Leon Buchanan and Kenneth Faried (also the first-ever OVC Def. POY) are players to watch on the Eagles.

In Richmond, things went according to plan in the first three games, though all three higher seeds (VCU, Old Dominion. and George Mason) got real games.  The Monarchs game with Hofstra going right to the buzzer.  The fourth game, however, saw 11 seed Towson win their second straight game, 58-54 over third-seeded Northeastern.  VCU faces ODU and GMU takes on Towson in the semifinals this afternoon.

While all that excitement was going on, there were a ton of resume-related games I was tracking on the BracketBerry.

  • Creighton's at-large candidacy is very much on life support, as Illinois State demolished them by 24 in the Bizarro Valley semifinals. Osiris Eldridge had 21, including 4 treys and at least one SportsCenter-worthy dunk.  The Redbirds face Northern Iowa today at 2 EDT (CBS) for the Valley crown.
  • Maryland's case took a major hit, after the Terps fell at Virginia, 68-63.  Are wins over North Carolina and Michigan State going to be enough?  It depends on how many games the Terps can win in the ACC tournament and who the opponents are.
  • Think Penn State is safe?  Maybe not, now that they lost to Iowa, 75-67 in double OT.
  • Rhode Island may have put themselves out with a 72-71 headscratcher at the hands of UMass.
  • Florida helped their case and pretty much doomed Kentucky to the NIT with their 60-53 win.
  • Michigan got by Minnesota,. 67-64 win, meaning all three teams in the Big Ten bubble round-robin finished 1-1.
  • Texas A&M got a nice bookend win by beating Missouri, 96-86.
  • Miami won at NC State, 72-64, to finish at 7-9 in the ACC.  If Maryland's on the bubble still, the Canes have to go back on it too.
  • Speaking of bubble newcomers, Auburn beat LSU, 69-53.  The Bayou Bengals had a chance to finish 15-1 in the SEC, but are 13-3 after two straight losses.  The Tigers, meanwhile, are 10-6 in the league. However, they went 8-2 against the weaker SEC West and 2-4 against the somewhat stronger East.
  • Dayton recovered nicely from their loss to Xavier Thursday, defeating Duquesne, 74-61.

Good news for bubble teams everywhere, Davidson, Siena, and Butler all won in their conference tournaments yesterday.  The Bulldogs face Cleveland State at Hinkle Tuesday night for the Horizon championship.

The Mountain West has tri-champions this morning.  BYU will be the one seed, Utah the two, and New Mexico the three.  San Diego State defeated UNLV, 57-46, at the Thomas & Mack Center, and the two meet again in the quarterfinals on Thursday.  The Runnin' Rebels are now 9-7 in the league.  Earlier wins over Arizona and Louisville will give the Committee a lot to discuss next week.

Speaking of the Cardinals, Louisville laid claim to a one seed by beating West Virginia, 62-59.  That win gave the Cardinals the outright Big East title.  Pitt did the same with a 70-60 win over UConn that gives them the two seed in the Big East tournament.  The Huskies will be seeded third.  Memphis is also in the running.  The Tigers closed out another regular season of C-USA perfection with a 74-47 win over Tulane.  And don't count out Oklahoma, 82-78 winners over Oklahoma State.

It's just about time to head down to Richmond for the CAA semis.  I apologize for not being all that responsive to e-mail yesterday evening, as my phone was dying at the end of the quadrupleheader.  Today should be better in that respect.  Updates to my site links and blogroll are forthcoming, probably tomorrow, as it's likely I won't be making the trip down to Richmond for the final. 

But that just means I'll get to have a game or open thread here for the first time.

Happy hoops viewing!

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