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Championship Fortnight Viewing Guide: Saturday, March 12, 2022

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After 61 games Thursday, 44 on Friday, there are merely 25 on today’s schedule. However, 15 of them will decide automatic bids!

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Semifinal-North Carolina vs Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is in great position after defeating UNC in Friday’s second ACC semifinal. But can the Hokies remove all doubt by stunning Duke to seize the auto bid?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Visit Conference Tournament Central and the 2022 Conference Tournaments Hub for full Championship Fortnight coverage.

Daily Chronological Schedule

* = tip time of the second game of a doubleheader is approximate

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Tip Time (ET) Conference Round Matchup Outlet Season Series
Tip Time (ET) Conference Round Matchup Outlet Season Series
11 a.m. America East F (2) UMBC at (1) Vermont ESPN2 UVM 2-0
11 a.m. Ivy SF (4) Cornell vs. (1) Princeton ESPNU 1-1 home split
1 p.m. MEAC F (7) Coppin State vs. (1) Norfolk State ESPN2 NSU 2-0
1 p.m. Big Ten SF (9) Indiana vs. (5) Iowa CBS UI 1-0 (H)
1 p.m. SEC SF (8) Texas A&M vs. (4) Arkansas ESPN 1-1 home split
1 p.m. Atlantic 10 SF (5) Saint Louis vs. (1) Davidson CBSSN DC 1-0 (H)
2 p.m. Ivy SF (3) Penn vs. (2) Yale ESPNU 1-1 home split
3 p.m. American SF (5) Tulane vs. (1) Houston ESPN2 UH 2-0
3:30 p.m.* Big Ten SF (7) Michigan State vs. (3) Purdue CBS MSU 1-0 (H)
3:30 p.m.* SEC SF (3) Kentucky vs. (2) Tennessee ESPN 1-1 home split
3:30 p.m.* Atlantic 10 SF (6) Richmond vs. (2) Dayton CBSSN UD 1-0 (A)
4 p.m. MAAC F (4) Monmouth vs. (2) Saint Peter's ESPNU SPC 2-0
5:30 p.m.* American SF (3) Memphis vs. (2) SMU ESPN2 SMU 2-0
6 p.m. MW F (3) San Diego State vs. (1) Boise State CBS BSU 2-0
6 p.m. Big 12 F (3) Texas Tech vs. (1) Kansas ESPN 1-1 home split
6 p.m. SWAC F (2) Texas Southern vs. (1) Alcorn State ESPNU ASU 2-0
6:30 p.m. Big East F (4) Creighton vs. (2) Villanova Fox 1-1 home split
7:30 p.m. MAC F (4) Akron vs. (2) Kent State ESPN2 KSU 2-0
8 p.m. Big Sky F (3) Northern Colorado vs. (1) Montana State ESPNU 1-1 home split
8:30 p.m. ACC F (7) Virginia Tech vs. (1) Duke ESPN DU 1-0 (H)
8:30 p.m. C-USA F (W3) Louisiana Tech vs. (W2) UAB CBSSN UAB 2-0
9 p.m. Pac-12 F (2) UCLA vs. (1) Arizona Fox 1-1 home split
9:30 p.m. Southland F (4) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. (2) SE Louisiana ESPN2 1-1 road split
10 p.m. WAC F (6) Abilene Christian vs. (1) New Mexico State ESPNU NMSU 1-0 (H)
11:30 p.m. Big West F (2) Cal State Fullerton vs. (1) Long Beach State ESPN2 LBSU 1-0 (H)

Winning Time!

America East Championship

Game 7: (2) UMBC (18-13, 11-7) at (1) Vermont (27-5, 17-1), 11 a.m. (ESPN2)
The Catamounts won the season series 2-0: 86-69 (away, Jan. 15) and 86-59 (home, Feb. 19).

Surprisingly, the Catamounts haven’t been to the NCAAs since 2019, though they never got the chance to play the America East final in 2020. Last season, of course, they lost this game to Hartford, who fell to UMBC in this season’s semis. The Retrievers are looking for their first trip since their historic 2018 bid. Note that Ryan Odom’s team that season was similarly defeated handily twice by Vermont in the regular season before turning the tables at Patrick Gym in the game that mattered the most.

MEAC Championship

Game 13: (7) Coppin State (9-22, 6-8) vs. (1) Norfolk State (23-6, 12-2), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Spartans won the season series 2-0: 84-77 (home, Jan. 22) and 89-59 (away, Feb. 19).

The Spartans can claim their second consecutive NCAA bid by knocking off an Eagle team that will need to win today to enter the Tournament with double-digit wins. Needless to say, if Coppin State makes the field for the first time since 2008 under legendary coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell, it will be destined for Dayton. Norfolk State, on the other hand, should be able to escape that fate and if things break right elsewhere, have a shot at a 15 seed.

MAAC Championship

Game 10: (4) Monmouth (21-12, 11-9) vs. (2) Saint Peter’s (18-11, 14-6), 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Peacocks won the season series 2-0: 67-62 (home, Jan. 14) and 70-65 (away, Feb. 25).

The Hawks’ last NCAA trip came in 2006, when they were an NEC member. This will be Monmouth’s final MAAC game, as the school is headed to the CAA in July. It would be incredible if this particular King Rice team would be the one to finally make the NCAAs, especially with the ill-fated 2015-2017 run of Justin Robinson, Micah Seaborn, Je’lon Hornbeak, and company still fresh in the memory. Standing in Monmouth’s way will be the No. 2 seeded Peacocks, who are looking to return for the first time since 2011.

Mountain West Championship

Game 20: (3) San Diego State (23-7, 13-5) vs. (1) Boise State (26-7, 15-3), 6 p.m. (CBS)
The Broncos won the season series 2-0: 42-37 (@SDSU, Jan. 22) and 58-57 (@BSU, Feb. 22).

We all had better hope that this one resembles game two of the season series and not game one, which featured one more point than yesterday’s North Texas-Louisiana Tech C-USA semifinal (more on that below). Boise State has never won the Mountain West Tournament, and the Broncos last tournament title came in 2008 as a WAC member. It’s a different story for San Diego State, who are the defending champs and in a fifth consecutive final (wins in 2018 and 2021).

Big 12 Championship

Game 8: (3) Texas Tech (25-8, 12-6) vs. (1) Kansas (27-6, 14-4), 6 p.m. (ESPN)
The season series was a 1-1 home split: TTU 75-67 (Jan. 8) and KU 94-91 (2OT) (Jan. 24)

In Friday’s semifinals, Kansas defeated TCU for the second time in a week and a half, while Texas Tech edged Oklahoma, 56-55, a result that might have relegated the Sooners to the NIT. Tonight, the Jayhawks will be looking for their first Big 12 title since 2018, while bolstering their case for one of the last two No. 1 seeds in the process. As for the Red Raiders, they have never won the Big 12 Tournament title and their last conference tournament title came in 1996, in the final edition Southwest Conference tourney. A three seed is basically assured for Tech, but a win tonight could see a rise to the 2 line.

SWAC Championship

Game 7: (2) Texas Southern (17-12, 13-5) vs. (1) Alcorn State (17-15, 14-4), 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Braves won the season series 2-0: 73-72 (home, Jan. 15) and 75-72 (home, Feb. 28).

The Braves last won the SWAC in 2002, under their legendary head coach Davey Whitney, a trip that ended with an Opening Round loss to Siena. On the other hand, Texas Southern will take its second straight trip under Johnny Jones and sixth since 2014. With a win at Florida on their profile, the Tigers could avoid Dayton, but Alcorn would likely head there with a victory.

Big East Championship

Game 10: (4) Creighton (22-10, 12-7) vs. (2) Villanova (25-7, 16-4), 6:30 p.m. (Fox)
The season series was a 1-1 home split:

The Bluejays boat raced top-seeded Providence 85-58, a game that included a 31-2 Creighton run. I don’t think there’s any doubt about the Jays’ place in the field, though I wonder about the Friars’ seeding. In the nightcap, Villanova held off UConn, 63-60, to put the Wildcats in their first final since 2019, the last of their three consecutive titles. As for Creighton, they’re 0-2 all-time in the championship game, losing to Georgetown in 2021 and Nova in 2017.

MAC Championship

Game 7: (4) Akron (23-9, 14-6) vs. (2) Kent State (23-9, 16-4), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Golden Flashes won the season series 2-0: 67-55 (home, Jan. 14) and 66-64 (away, Feb. 11).

Yesterday, the Zips took down Toledo, 70-62, which means the Rockets’ second consecutive MAC regular-season title will again not result in an NCAA appearance. With a victory, Akron will return to March Madness for the first time since 2013 under Keith Dambrot, though John Groce’s 2020 team would have had a chance had there been a MAC Tournament. It will be an all-Northeast Ohio affair in Cleveland, as Kent State won its rubber match with 2021 champ Ohio, 67-61. The Golden Flashes last qualified back in 2017.

Pac-12 Championship

Game 11: (2) UCLA (25-6, 15-5) vs. (1) Arizona (30-3, 19-2), 9 p.m. (Fox)
The season series was a 1-1 home split: UCLA 75-59 (Jan. 25) and U of A 76-66 (Feb. 3).

Arizona was able to pop Colorado’s bubble relatively easily, even without Kerr Kriisa’s services (ankle), 82-72, but defeating UCLA for a second time will be a different story if he’s absent. The Bruins won their rubber match against USC, 69-59, to set up yet another such matchup for tonight in Vegas. Curiously, both teams have relatively long conference tournament title droughts, given their respective histories. The Wildcats last won the Pac-12 Tournament in 2018 and the Bruins in 2014. In tonight’s game, Arizona can shore up its place as the second overall No. 1 seed with a win, while UCLA is trying to get off the 4 line.

ACC Championship

Game 14: (7) Virginia Tech (22-12, 11-9) vs. (1) Duke (28-5, 16-4), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The Blue Devils won the pair’s lone meeting at home, 76-65 (Dec. 22).

Last night, the Hokies took down a North Carolina team that had been playing its best basketball of the season relatively handily, 72-59, to ease their bubble worries a bit. Still, a win over Duke, who struggled to defeat Miami, 80-76, would take Virginia Tech’s fate out of the Committee’s hands. The Blue Devils, who have not looked at their best in Brooklyn, on the other hand, would like to stay on seed line 2, which may not be possible with a loss tonight. Duke’s last tournament title came in 2019, while Virginia Tech’s drought dates back to 1979, during the Hokies’ Metro Conference tenure.

Big Sky Championship

Game 10: (3) Northern Colorado (20-14, 13-7) vs. (1) Montana State (26-7, 16-4) , 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
The season series was a 1-1 home split: MSU 77-75 (OT) (Dec. 2) and UNC 87-85 (March 5).

If the two regular-season meetings between the Bears and Bobcats, you will want to check out at least the second half of tonight’s showdown in Boise. Both teams are trying to get back to the NCAAs for the first time in quite awhile, as Northern Colorado last qualified in 2011 and Montana State was the 13 seed Syracuse first defeated on its surprising Final Four run ... in 1996.

Conference USA Championship

Game 13: (3W) Louisiana Tech (24-9, 12-6) vs. (2W) UAB (26-7, 14-4), 8:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
The Blazers won the season series 2-0: 83-76 (away, Jan. 22) and 87-74 (home, March 5).

Friday’s two semifinals were contrasting contests. Louisiana Tech eliminated defending champ and regular-season champ North Texas, 42-36. The Mean Green’s performance in the lowest-scoring game of the entire D1 men’s season undoubtedly ended their already thin at-large hopes. Tech, which last qualified for the NCAAs in 1991, as a member of the long-defunct American South Conference, faces a team with considerably more basketball history, UAB. But the Blazers are in the midst of their longest NCAA drought, which dates back to 2015. As for how Andy Kennedy’s team got here? Well, they only won a triple OT classic against Middle Tennessee, 102-98. Jordan “Jelly” Walker scored for the Blazers, single-handedly outscoring UNT and coming within a bucket of La. Tech’s total.

Southland Championship

Game 7: (4) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (22-11, 7-7) vs. (2) Southeastern Louisiana (19-13, 10-4), 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The season series was a 1-1 road split: A&M-CC 86-71 (at SELA, Jan. 27) and SELA 83-74 (at A&M-CC, Feb 17).

The Southland final will see either A&M-Corpus Christi, last in the field in 2007, or Southeastern, who last danced in 2005, end a long drought. Of course, with the depleted conference’s metrics, the winner is likely headed to Dayton no matter what.

WAC Championship

Game 9: (6) Abilene Christian (23-9, 11-7) vs. (1) New Mexico State (25-6, 13-4), 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
The Aggies won the pair’s lone meeting at home, 77-63 (Jan. 15).

Last year’s Southland champ, ACU, will be looking for a second consecutive conference tournament title, this time in the WAC, where conference power NMSU awaits in tonight’s final. In Friday’s semifinals, the Wildcats edged Seattle, 78-76, to ensure the Redhawks’ tournament drought, dating back to 1969, remained in place. As for the Aggies, they defeated another 2021 NCAA team, the defending WAC champs Grand Canyon, 75-70. Chris Jans and NMSU are aiming to return to the Big Dance for the first time since a run of three straight WAC titles ended in 2019.

Big West Championship

Game 18: (2) Cal State Fullerton (20-10, 11-4) vs. (1) Long Beach State (20-11, 12-3), 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
The Beach won the pair’s lone meeting at home, 71-61 (Feb. 8).

Finally, a pair of Southern California rivals meet in the Las Vegas suburbs following a pair of contrasting semifinal wins. The Beach needed a buzzer beater to eliminate UC Santa Barbara, 67-64, while Fullerton needed no such dramatics to best Hawai’i, 58-46. While the Titans last made the field in 2018, Long Beach State last qualified in 2012.

Elsewhere ...

Bubble games are in bold.

In Friday’s episode of College Basketball Coast to Coast TJ Rives and I covered a lot of bubble ground in an eight-minute segment.

Ivy League Semifinals

ESPNU will air both games.

Game 1: (4) Cornell (15-10, 7-7) vs. (1) Princeton (22-5, 12-2), 11 a.m.
The series was a 1-1 home split.
Game 2: (3) Penn (12-15, 9-5) vs. (2) Yale (17-11, 11-3), 2 p.m.
The series was a 1-1 home split.

It’s a doubleheader of rubber matches at Harvard. In game one, Princeton has won seven straight since dropping its trip to Ithaca, 88-83, on February 4th. However, the Tigers only defeated the Big Red by a bucket, 72-70, at their earlier meeting at Jadwin Gym. Yale, meanwhile, lost at the Palestra, 76-68, on January 22nd, and took down Penn in New Haven, 81-72, on February 18th. The Bulldogs are just 2-2 since that win, while Penn stumbled from 8-2 in the Ivy to 9-5.

Big Ten Semifinals

CBS will air both games.

Game 11: (9) Indiana (20-12, 9-11) vs. (5) Iowa (24-9, 12-8), 1 p.m.
The Hawkeyes won the pair’s lone meeting at home.
Game 12: (7) Michigan State (22-11, 11-9) vs. (3) Purdue (26-6, 14-6), approx. 3:30 p.m.
The Spartans won the pair’s lone meeting at home.

By defeating both Michigan and Illinois, the Hoosiers are a likely at-large win or lose today, though you can bet Indiana will have a lot of fan support—at least until early arrivals for the second semifinal make it into the arena. The second game in Indianapolis will see Michigan State attempt to defeat Purdue for a second time this season, but it won’t be quite as easy for the Spartans as it was in East Lansing two week ago. Remember that Michigan State only won that game by three, 68-65.

SEC Semifinals

ESPN will air both games.

Game 11: (8) Texas A&M (22-11, 9-9) vs. (4) Arkansas (25-7, 13-5), 1 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 home split.
Game 12: (3) Kentucky (26-6, 14-4) vs. (2) Tennessee (24-7, 14-4), 3:30 p.m.
The season series was a 1-1 home split.

Texas A&M was one of the more successful bubble teams on Friday, and if the Aggies defeat the Razorbacks for a second time, it will be very difficult to leave them out. However, Arkansas is one of the nation’s hottest teams, having lost just twice since dropping that January 8th contest in College Station. The second semifinal is intriguing, not only because of how Kentucky and Tennessee traded dominant home wins during the regular season, but also because of the quality of their respective semifinal wins. The Vols had a relatively easy time in dispatching Mississippi State, 72-59, but the Wildcats got all they could handle from Vanderbilt before prevailing by just six, 77-71. Still, a No. 1 seed in now within Kentucky’s reach, while Tennessee could end up with a two with an SEC Tournament title.

Atlantic 10 Semifinals

CBSSN will air both games.

Game 11: (5) Saint Louis (23-10, 12-6) vs. (1) Davidson (26-5, 15-3), 1 p.m.
The Wildcats won the pair’s lone meeting at home.
Game 12: (6) Richmond (21-12, 10-8) vs. (2) Dayton (23-9, 14-4), approx. 3:30 p.m.
The Flyers won the pair’s lone meeting on the road.

With yesterday’s results, the Wildcats are almost assuredly safely in, Dayton still has life, and VCU and St. Bonaventure are eliminated following their losses to Richmond and Saint Louis. The Flyers probably need to make it to Sunday, but with the Atlantic 10 Tournament’s tendency to go haywire, don’t be surprised if it’s a Richmond-Saint Louis final that’s sure to burst someone’s bubble on Sunday afternoon’s slate.

American Athletic Semifinals

ESPN2 will air both games.

Game 8: (5) Tulane (14-14, 10-8) vs. (1) Houston (27-5, 15-3), 3 p.m.
The Cougars won the season series 2-0.
Game 9: (3) Memphis (20-9, 13-5) vs. (2) SMU (23-7, 13-4), approx. 5:30 p.m.
The Mustangs won the season series 2-0.

Houston had a difficult first half against Cincinnati in Friday’s opening quarterfinal before advancing with a 69-56 victory. The Cougars will play Tulane in today’s first semifinal, as the Green Wave took down Temple, 69-60, to close the day session in Fort Worth. In the evening doubleheader, the conference’s two other at-large contenders posted easy victories to set up a showdown: SMU took down Tulsa, 83-58, and Memphis eliminated UCF, 85-69. While the Tigers should be fine win or lose, thanks to wins over Alabama, Virginia Tech, and Saint Louis, along with a sweep of Houston, the Mustangs probably need to win this one.