Championship Week Viewing Guide: Saturday, March 15, 2014

Joe Murphy

It's Selection Eve and 14 automatic bids will be awarded on yet another day and night full of college basketball.

All TV info is courtesy Matt's College Sports on TV site. He has many more games listed, particularly ones broadcast only on local channels and in-house cable sports/local interest channels that are not widely available nationwide. You'll also want to check out his listings for information on which conference regional matchups and CSN, FSN, and Root Sports contests (all games listed in these posts marked with an *) are available on which affiliates.

All times are Eastern.

C-USA Championship

No. 2 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (20-12, 13-3) vs. No. 1 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (27-6, 13-3), 11:30 a.m. ET (CBS)
KenPom predicted score: Bulldogs 74-70

Both the Golden Hurricane (2003) and Bulldogs (1991) will look to end long NCAA droughts this morning. Louisiana Tech defeated Danny Manning-coached Tulsa 66-61 in the pair's only regular season showdown.

America East Championship

No. 4 Albany Great Danes (17-14, 9-7) vs. No. 2 Stony Brook Seawolves (23-9, 13-3), 11:30 a.m. ET (ESPN2)
KenPom predicted score: Seawolves 68-62

The Seawolves will look to clinch their first-ever NCAA bid on their homecourt. On the other hand, Albany, which knocked Stony Brook out of the America East Tournament at the semifinal stage last season (much like they did to Vermont Catamounts this season) is looking for a second consecutive trip to the field of 68. The hosts defeated the Great Danes by five to close out the regular season, but fell to Albany on the road back on January 29th.

SWAC Championship

No. 8 Prairie View Panthers (11-22, 6-12) vs. No. 2 Texas Southern Tigers (18-14, 12-6), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
KenPom predicted score: Tigers 79-70

The winner of this one is likely headed to Dayton. Don't let the records fool you, this should be a competitive game, as the Tigers needed three overtimes to defeat the Panthers at home and lost to them on the road.

MEAC Championship

No. 3 Morgan State Bears (15-15, 11-5) vs. No. 1 N.C. Central Eagles (27-5, 15-1), 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
KenPom predicted score: Eagles 72-63

The Eagles have pummeled Howard and Norfolk State so far in Norfolk, and they'll be expected to do the same to the Bears in the final. However, NCCU just slipped past the Bears by a 53-52 count in the two teams' lone meeting of the season.

Mountain West Championship

No. 2  New Mexico Lobos (26-6, 15-3) vs. No. 1 San Diego State Aztecs (29-3, 16-2), 6 p.m. (CBS)
KenPom predicted score: Aztecs 64-62

One week ago, the Aztecs took advantage of a Lobo offensive power outage to claim a 51-48 win and the Mountain West's regular season championship. Of course, UNM used the Aztecs' own struggles with the ball to claim a 58-44 home win in the pair's first meeting on February 22nd.

American Championship

No. 4 Connecticut Huskies (26-7, 12-6) vs. No. 2 Louisville Cardinals (28-5, 15-3), 6 p.m. (ESPN)
KenPom predicted score: Cardinals 70-64

One week ago, the Cardinals steamrolled the Huskies by an 81-48 score. Since then, they've won their two AAC Tournament games by a combined score of 176-98. Still, don't be surprised if UConn puts up a serious fight this evening.

Pac-12 Championship

No. 2 UCLA Bruins (25-8, 12-6) vs. No. 1 Arizona Wildcats (30-3, 15-3), 6 p.m. (FS1)
KenPom predicted score: Wildcats 72-65

The Wildcats and Bruins met just once during the regular season, a 79-75 Arizona win all the way back on January 9th. (Great job, Pac-12 schedule makers!) UCLA played Arizona close for most of the game at Pauley, but will face a more hostile crowd in Las Vegas this evening.

MAC Championship

No. 2 Toledo Rockets (27-5, 14-4) vs. No. 1 Western Michigan Broncos (22-9, 14-4), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
KenPom predicted score: Rockets 78-76

It's a seemingly rare thing for the top two teams in the MAC standings to meet for the auto bid in Cleveland, yet here we are. The Broncos defeated the Rockets by 11 to start off the conference campaign, but Toledo returned the favor by claiming an 11-point overtime win on March 1st.

Big Sky Championship

No. 2 North Dakota (17-15, 12-8) vs. No. 1 Weber State Wildcats (18-11, 14-6), 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
KenPom predicted score: Wildcats 78-71

The Wildcats look to return to the NCAAs for the first time since 2007, after two consecutive Big Sky final losses and a CIT final defeat. On the other hand, North Dakota, nickname-less and relatively new to Division I is in search of its first invite. They'll be challenged to get there, as the Wildcats took a pair of 12-point decisions from them in the regular season.

Southland Championship

No. 3 Sam Houston State Bearkats (23-9, 13-5) vs. No. 1 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (30-2, 18-0), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
KenPom predicted score: Lumberjacks 73-65

Northwestern State pushed the Lumberjacks in their semifinal on Friday night, but SFA survived to face a Bearkat team it swept during the Southland campaign -- winning by 17 at home and seven away.

Big East Championship

No. 4 Providence Friars (22-11, 10-8) vs. No. 2 Creighton Bluejays (26-6, 14-4), 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
KenPom predicted score: Bluejays 79-72

The Friars stunned the Bluejays in Providence on January 18th, Doug McDermott ensured there was no repeat one week ago. Providence will look to take its fate out of the Committee's collective hands by reversing that decision tonight.

Big 12 Championship

No. 7 Baylor Bears (24-10, 9-9) vs. No. 4 Iowa State Cyclones (25-7, 11-7), 9 p.m. (ESPN)
KenPom predicted score: Cyclones 77-76

While the pair split their regular season meetings, the Bears are in search of their second victory over the Cyclones this month. However, that first win was in Waco and the crowd might not be quite so friendly in Kansas City tonight.

WAC Championship

No. 5 Idaho Vandals (16-17, 7-9) vs. No. 2 New Mexico St. Aggies (25-9, 12-4), 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
KenPom predicted score: Aggies 82-71

In their final game before heading to the Big Sky, the Vandals will look to secure their first NCAA bid since 1990 against the two-time defending WAC Tournament champs. While NMSU routed Idaho by 24 at home, they fell by six in Moscow on February 6th.

Big West Championship

No. 7 Cal Poly Mustangs (12-19, 6-10) vs. No. 5 Cal. St.-Northridge Matadors (17-17, 7-9), 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
KenPom predicted score: Matadors 70-67

The Mustangs, who have already knocked off the Big West's top two seeds, will look to clinch their first-ever NCAA bid against a Matador team that last made the field in 2009. They'll have to like their chances, considering they swept Northridge during the Big West season.

ACC Semifinals

Both games on ESPN and ACC Network

No. 5 Pittsburgh Panthers (25-8, 11-7) vs. No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers (26-6, 16-2), 1 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Cavaliers 63-59
No. 7 N.C. State Wolfpack (21-12, 9-9) vs. No. 3 Duke Blue Devils (25-7, 13-5), approx. 3:30 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Blue Devils 81-72

While Pitt looks to be safe now and Virginia and Duke in position to earn No. 2 seeds, N.C. State is the lone bubble team in action in Greensboro on Saturday. The Wolfpack need to defeat the Blue Devils to have any hope of qualifying.

Atlantic 10 Semifinals

Both games on CBS SN

No. 9 St. Bonaventure Bonnies (18-14, 6-10) vs. No. 4 St. Joseph's Hawks (22-9, 11-5), 1 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Hawks 74-72
No. 3 George Washington Colonials (24-7, 11-5) vs. No. 2 VCU Rams (25-7, 12-4), approx. 3:30 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Rams 72-68

Bubble teams will likely be cheering for St. Joe's to defeat the Bonnies for the second time this month, as SBU would be a true bid thief with an unexpected A 10 Tournament title. Game two, on the other hand, is a rubber match, as the Rams and Colonials each won on their respective home floors.

Big Ten Semifinals

Both games on CBS

No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (25-8, 10-8) vs. No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (24-7, 15-3), 1:30 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Wolverines 65-64
No. 3 Michigan State Spartans (24-8, 12-6) vs. No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (26-6, 12-6), approx. 4 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Badgers 71-69

The Buckeyes take on the Wolverines for just the second time this season, and they'll look to avenge the 10-point defeat Michigan handed them back on February 11th. Curiously, the Badgers and Spartans also met just once, with the Badgers winning a 60-58 classic in East Lansing on February 9th. If both Michigan and Wisconsin win, the fourth number one seed might just be on the line in Sunday's final.

SEC Semifinals

Both games on ABC

No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers (21-11, 11-7) vs. No. 1 Florida Gators (30-2, 18-0), 1 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Gators 64-60
No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (19-12, 12-6) vs. No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats (23-9, 12-6), approx. 3:30 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Wildcats 69-64

The Gators will look to keep their 24-game winning streak rolling by defeating the Volunteers for the third time, while the Wildcats will look for a repeat of their 25-point win over the Bulldogs, which happened all the way back on January 25th.

Sun Belt Semifinals

Both games on Sun Belt TV/CSS/CST/TWCS Texas/ESPN3

No. 4. Arkansas State Red Wolves (19-12, 10-8) vs. No. 1 Georgia State Panthers (24-7, 17-1), 3 p.m.
KenPom predicted score: Panthers 79-72
No. 3 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns (21-11, 11-7) vs. No. 2 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (20-11, 12-6), approx. 5:30 p.m.
KenPom predicted score:

On Friday night, Arkansas State needed four overtimes to defeat rivals Arkansas-Little Rock, meaning they'll probably be a bit tired for tonight's semifinal against a Panther team they were quite competitive with during the regular season -- losing a pair of meetings by a total of four points. In game two, the Hilltoppers will be rested up for their meeting with a Ragin' Cajun team they swept during the regular season. However, ULL only lost by three in Bowling Green on March 6th.

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