Championship Festival Go-Round: March 5, 2011

On Friday night, I posted my regular Saturday viewing guide, but that post only covers regular season finales. I wanted to dedicate an entire post to the abundance of conference tournament action going on today, including the punching of the first tickets to the NCAA Tournament for 2011.

Details, starting with three (potentially four) games that will send teams to the tourney, are after the jump.

Big South Final

No. 3 UNC-Asheville Bulldogs at No. 1 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, ESPN2 (4 p.m. ET)

The Chanticleers, a program that's had to deal with injury and eligibility issues of late, look to close out Kimble Arena with a championship and NCAA bid, something they couldn't claim last year. Thanks to the two-horse Ivy race, the winner of this one will be the first team to book a ticket to the Dance for this season.

Remember, the Bulldogs stunned Coastal in Conway on February 22nd, thanks to a Matt Dickey steal and buzzer-beater.

Atlantic Sun Final

at Macon, Georgia

No. 6 North Florida Ospreys vs. No. 1 Belmont Bruins, ESPN2 (6 p.m. ET)

The top-seeded Bruins got a battle from the host Mercer in Friday's semifinals before advancing with an 80-72 victory. They'll face sixth-seeded Cinderella UNF, a team looking for its first ever NCAA bid. Belmont only beat the Ospreys by two in Jacksonville on February 5th. North Florida eliminated two-time defending champ East Tennessee State to make the decider. That's not bad for a team that won just 20 games between 2005 and 2009.

Ivy League Championship (Maybe)

Princeton Tigers at Harvard Crimson, ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET)

The Tigers can clinch the Ivy crown with a victory; however, if the Crimson win, they'll put themselves in position to meet the Tigers again in a one-game, neutral-site playoff for the crown, if Princeton is able to win at Penn in their finale on Tuesday night. Both teams won easily last night, Princeton topped Dartmouth by 22 and Harvard handled the Quaker team they may need help from in a few days, 79-64.

Ohio Valley Final

at Nashville

No. 4 Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles vs. No. 2 Morehead St. Eagles, ESPN2 (8 p.m. ET)

Top seeded Murray State is headed to the NIT after falling to the Golden Eagles in Friday night's first semifinal, 64-59. The Racers are the first regular season champ to lose in this Championship Festival. Tennessee Tech is trying to get its coach, Mike Sutton, to the tournament. He's been battling Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disease, which has led him to miss games this season. Tech's opponent is two seed Morehead State led by two-time OVC player of the year Kenneth Faried, one of the most dominant rebounders in basketball.

Morehead swept Tennessee Tech during the regular season.

Horizon League Semifinals

at Milwaukee

Both games air on ESPNU.

No. 3 Cleveland St. Vikings vs. No. 2 Butler Bulldogs, 6 p.m. ET
No. 4 Valparaiso Crusaders vs, No. 1 Milwaukee Panthers, approx. 8:30 p.m. ET

The Vikings pulled away from Wright State late to set up a third meeting with Butler, a team they've lost to handily twice previously. Valpo did the same to Detroit in Friday's second quarterfinal, thanks to some late threes. The Crusaders will look to avenge a February 16th loss to the Panthers, part of a season-ending nine-game Horizon League win streak for Milwaukee.

Missouri Valley Semifinals

at St. Louis

Both games are on FS Midwest and CSN Chicago

No. 5 Creighton Bluejays vs. No. 1 Missouri St Bears, 2:30 p.m. ET
No. 3 Indiana St. Sycamores vs. No. 2 Wichita St. Shockers, approx. 5 p.m. ET

Top seed Missouri State needed a Kyle Weems drive down the lane with 1.4 seconds left to eliminate No. 8 Southern Illinois in Friday's first quarterfinal. Two-time defending champ Northern Iowa bowed out with a loss to Creighton in the 4 vs. 5 game. No. 2 Wichita State had no issues in eliminating Bradley to start the night session, but Indiana State needed a Jake Odum jumper with 0.5 seconds left to beat Evansville in the nightcap.

Summit League Quarterfinals

at Sioux Falls, SD

Both games air on Midco Sports Net.

No. 8 Southern Utah Thunderbirds vs. No. 1 Oakland, Mich. Golden Grizzlies, 7 p.m. ET
No. 7 North Dakota St. Bison vs. No. 2 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET

Much like the Atlantic Sun, the top two seeds play their quarterfinals on one night, then take the night off while seeds three and four play theirs. The semifinals will be on Monday night.

West Coast Second Round

at Las Vegas

Both games air on BYU TV/ESPN3/Full Court.

No. 8 Loyola Marymount Lions vs. No. 4 Santa Clara Broncos, 9 p.m. ET
No. 6 Pepperdine Waves vs. No. 3 San Francisco Dons, approx. 11:30 p.m. ET

The Lions upset fifth-seeded Portland, surely to St. Mary's' delight, to advance to round two, 72-68. The win came 21 years to the night Hank Gathers died during a WCC quarterfinal against, Portland. Pepperdine also won a close one, topping San Diego, 84-81.

CAA Quarterfinals

at Richmond

All games air on various Comcast stations in the Mid-Atlantic and nationally on ESPN3 and Full Court.

No. 9 UNC-Wilmington Seahawks vs. No. 1 George Mason Patriots, 12 p.m. ET
No. 5 Drexel Dragons vs. No. 4 Va. Commonwealth Rams, approx. 2:30 p.m. ET
No. 7 Delaware Blue Hens vs. No. 2 Old Dominion Monarchs, 6 p.m. ET
No. 11 William & Mary Tribe vs. No. 3 Hofstra Pride, approx. 8:30 p.m. ET

All four bye teams will look to move on to the semifinals, to keep the CAA's hopes for three bids alive. Old Dominion and VCU are in the most danger, as they facing teams who topped them in the regular season. The Monarchs lost in Newark in their CAA opener back on December 4th, while the Rams lost to Drexel on February 23rd, part of an end of season run where they went 1-4.

MAAC Quarterfinals

at Bridgeport, CT

All games air on MAACSports.com.

No. 5 Loyola, Md. Greyhounds vs. No. 4 St. Peter's Peacocks, 2:30 p.m. ET (MSG)
No. 9 Marist Red Foxes vs. No. 1 Fairfield Stags, approx. 5 p.m. ET (MSG2)
No. 7 Siena Saints vs. No. 2 Iona Gaels, approx. 7:30 p.m. ET (MSG+)
No. 6 Canisius Golden Griffins vs. No. 3 Rider Broncs, approx. 10 p.m. ET (MSG/MASN)

Siena and Marist won their pigtail games Friday night, with the Saints needing overtime to end Manhattan's season in the night cap, while the Red Foxes handled Niagara in the opener.

Additionally, the Southern Conference moves to the quarterfinal stage in its tournament, but those games will air only on SoConTV streaming.

Southern Conference Quarterfinals

at Chattanooga, TN

N5 UNC Greensboro Spartans vs. N1 Western Carolina Catamounts, 2 p.m. ET
N3 Appalachian St. Mountaineers vs. S2 Wofford Terriers, approx. 4:30 p.m. ET
S3 Furman Paladins vs. N2 Chattanooga Mocs, approx. 7 p.m. ET
N4 Elon Phoenix vs. S1 Charleston Cougars, approx. 9:30 p.m. ET

The top four seeds, two from each division begin play today. The two Southern Division teams will be favored, but watch out for the Mocs at home.

After a day off, the America East Tournament resumes as well. Games are streaming on the America East website for a fee.

America East Quarterfinals

at Hartford

No. 5 Stony Brook Seawolves vs. No. 4 Albany Great Danes, 12 p.m. ET
No. 9 Binghamton Bearcats vs. No. 1 Vermont Catamounts, approx. 2:30 p.m. ET
No. 7 New Hampshire Wildcats vs. No. 2 Boston U. Terriers, 6 p.m. ET
No. 6 Hartford Hawks vs. No. 3 Maine Black Bears, approx. 8:30 p.m. ET

Please share your thoughts about today's action in the comments, after you sign up for a free SB Nation account, of course.

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