Friday, March 6, 2015

Grip's Bracket - Friday, March 6

Automatic Bids

America East - Albany
All chalk in the quarterfinals as the Great Danes will host the season's surprise package New Hampshire as Stony Brook (who avoided disaster against much improved Binghamton) goes to Vermont (who didn't even let UMBC get to 40) in the semifinals on Sunday afternoon.
Atlantic Sun - North Florida
Bernard Thompson got fouled shooting a 3 down 3 in the waning moments but missed the last free throw, leaving Dunk City a point short in last night's semifinal against USC Upstate, whom the Ospreys will have to figure out a way to beat for the first time this season to get to the NCAA's on Sunday afternoon.
Big Sky - Eastern Washington
Stupidly, I moved Sacramento State in to this spot in the first draft so of course they turn around and lose at Southern Utah last night, falling back in to a 3 way tie with the Eagles and Montana.  EWU's RPI is sinking - it's at 94 after previously being inside the top 50 - so they may be sliding back in to 14/15 seed range if they can win next week's conference tournament.  Anyone else is getting a 16.
Big South - Coastal Carolina
Make it back to back seasons that the # 1 seed has gone down in the conference quarterfinal as last year it was the Panthers who were victims to Winthrop and this year it was Charleston Southern who went down to Longwood.  Then High Point got upset in overtime by Gardner Webb so the host Chanticleers are also the top seed remaining.  The conference tournament is so far following the regular season's script and it is glorious.
Big West - UC Davis
It took a wild comeback but the Aggies beat UC Riverside by a deuce to clinch the outright regular season title and # 1 seed in the conference tournament.  Now they have Senior Night against 2nd placed UC Irvine but it's The Alan Williams Project who is red hot, having won four straight including a victory over Irvine last Saturday, and might be finally playing up to its capabilities at the right time.
CAA - William & Mary
The Tribe will get Elon in tomorrow afternoon's first quarterfinal and they shouldn't take them lightly after the Phoenix beat both them and 2 seed UNC Wilmington last week.  3 seed Northeastern as well as whoever wins the 4/5 quarter between James Madison and Hofstra are each capable of winning the tournament as well.
Horizon - Valparaiso
The Crusaders really locked down Cleveland State and then held on at the end before Green Bay swept away Oakland so it's those two who get the double byes in to the semifinals.  But Valpo took the regular season crown by a full game so it gets both the semi and a potential final with the Phoenix on their home floor.
Ivy - Yale
Harvard stubbed its toe back with an awful performance at Cornell and then they were offensively feeble tonight on their home floor as the Bulldogs went in to Lavietes and left with one foot in the NCAA tournament, needing only a win at Dartmouth tomorrow night to wrap it up.
MAC - Kent State
A(nother) wild night in the MAC ended with the Golden Flashes beating rival Akron at the buzzer on a coast to coast layup, Central Michigan losing at Western Michigan to cede the 1 seed to Kent and Buffalo beating Bowling Green in a thrilling back-and-forth game to secure the 3 seed.  Got all that?  It's only gonna get crazier in Cleveland next week.
MAAC - Iona
The Gaels have the dreaded road quarterfinal at Siena tomorrow afternoon after the Saints marched through Niagara last night.  Monmouth or Canisius would await in the semifinal - Iona lost at Monmouth by 3 and Canisius by 4 while beating the Hawks in New Rochelle by just a point and the Golden Griffins by 3.  It won't be easy.
MEAC - North Carolina Central
The perfect conference season has been completed and now the Eagles will await the winner of the Bethune Cookman/Coppin State quarterfinal from next Tuesday.  Coppin, by the way, scored 63 in the second half and 92 in the game last night but it still wasn't enough to beat Delaware State and Kendall Gray's 33 points and 30 rebounds (or Amere May's 40 points) as the Hornets won 101-92.
NEC - St. Francis (NY)
It was never going to be an easy Brooklyn derby in a conference quarterfinal setting, particularly with the underdog 8 seed Long Island Blackbirds making the 1.3 mile trip west to The Pope in hopes of shocking the runaway regular season champions, but the hosts won by 9 and now face their St. Francis doppelganger in the semis after PA won at the Mount in their quarterfinal.
OVC - Murray State
The Racers survived 5 seed Morehead State in a wild semifinal thanks to a late Cameron Payne 3.  They were up double digits at halftime and had to come back from down double digits in the second half.  Usual suspects Eastern Kentucky and Belmont will duke it out in the other semifinal after the Bruins completed Eastern Illinois' collapse by flattening them 97-64 last night.
Patriot - Bucknell
It took overtime but the Bison survived popular preseason pick Holy Cross in their quarterfinal last night and will now face Lafayette, who demolished Boston University in theirs, on Sunday afternoon.  Defending champion American won at Lehigh and now will go to Colgate, who dusted off Navy, in the other semifinal.
SoCon - Wofford
The Terriers will face UNC Greensboro winner in tomorrow afternoon's first quarterfinal.  They're on the far less imposing side of the bracket as the two teams who beat them in the regular season - 2nd seed Chattanooga and 7th seeded The Citadel - are on the other side as are defending Atlantic Sun champ Mercer and always dangerously offensively potent VMI.
Southland - Stephen F. Austin
The Jacks pasted Northwestern State last night and now a Senior Night victory over 2nd placed Sam Houston State (who survived by 6 at Lamar last night) tomorrow night is all that stands between them and the outright regular season title.
Summit - South Dakota State
NDSU and SDSU both ended the regular season at 12-4 but the Jackrabbits get the top seed and to the victor go the spoils of 8-19 Western Illinois in the quarterfinals.  Then again, the Bison aren't exactly getting a bad draw themselves with 12-17 Denver - who was only the preseason favorite.  Joe Scott strikes again.
Sun Belt - Georgia Southern
It's all to play for tomorrow afternoon.  The Eagles and Georgia State are tied atop the standings at 14-5 and the winner in Atlanta will be the outright regular season champion and # 1 seed.  Perhaps the 2 seed is preferable, however, if fading UL Monroe remains the 3 seed and the red hot defending tournament champion UL Lafayette Rajun Cajuns is the 4.
SWAC - Texas Southern
The Tigers rolled over Alcorn State last night to wrap up an outright regular season title.  They could finish two clear of Alabama State (and the rest of the field) after trailing the Hornets for much of the regular season and with ASU not participating in the conference tournament, Mike Davis' men will be heavy favorites.
WAC - New Mexico State
Texas Pan American was blown away on Wednesday just like Chicago State probably will be too tomorrow night and the Aggies will win this league by four (or more) games and should win the conference tournament with ease as well.  They're truly the Kentucky of the WAC.

S Curve

Kentucky Virginia Duke Villanova
Wisconsin Arizona Gonzaga Kansas
Maryland Utah Iowa State Notre Dame
Baylor Oklahoma Wichita State Northern Iowa
North Carolina Arkansas West Virginia Louisville
SMU Providence Georgetown Butler
Iowa St. John's Ohio State Georgia
San Diego State Oregon Colorado State VCU
Oklahoma State Xavier Michigan State Cincinnati 
NC State Dayton Ole Miss Boise State Temple 
Texas Davidson Temple Texas A&M/UCLA
Indiana/BYU Wofford Iona Stephen F. Austin
Louisiana Tech Yale Valparaiso Murray State
UC Davis Kent State South Dakota State Eastern Washington
William & Mary North Carolina Central New Mexico State Albany
Georgia Southern Texas Southern Coastal Carolina/St. Francis (NY) Bucknell/North Florida

Last 4 In - Texas A&M, UCLA, Indiana, BYU
First 4 Out - Illinois, Purdue, LSU, Tulsa
Next 4 Out - Miami (FL), Old Dominion, Stanford, Richmond


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

(1) Kentucky (SEC)
(16) Bucknell (Patriot)/North Florida (A-Sun)

(8) VCU
(9) Xavier

(5) North Carolina
(12) Stephen F. Austin (Southland)

(4) Baylor
(13) Louisiana Tech (C-USA)

(6) Butler
(11) Texas

(3) Notre Dame
(14) Eastern Washington (Big Sky)

(7) Iowa
(10) Temple

(2) Gonzaga (WCC)
(15) William & Mary (CAA)

WEST (Los Angeles)

(1) Villanova (Big East)
(16) Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)

(8) San Diego State
(9) Michigan State

(5) Louisville
(12) Iona (MAAC)

(4) Northern Iowa
(13) Murray State (OVC)

(6) SMU (American)
(11) Texas A&M/UCLA

(3) Iowa State
(14) UC Davis (Big West)

(7) Ohio State
(10) NC State

(2) Arizona (Pac-12)
(15) Albany (AE)

EAST (Syracuse)

(1) Virginia (ACC)
(16) Coastal Carolina (Big South)/St. Francis (NY) (NEC)

(8) Colorado State
(9) Oklahoma State

(5) West Virginia
(12) Indiana/BYU

(4) Wichita State (MVC)
(13) Yale (Ivy)

(6) Georgetown
(11) Davidson

(3) Maryland
(14) South Dakota State (Summit)

(7) St. John's
(10) Boise State (MWC)

(2) Kansas (Big 12)
(15) North Carolina Central (MEAC)

SOUTH (Houston)

(1) Duke
(16) Texas Southern (SWAC)

(8) Oregon
(9) Cincinnati

(5) Arkansas
(12) Wofford (SoCon)

(4) Oklahoma
(13) Valparaiso (Horizon)

(6) Providence
(11) Temple

(3) Utah
(14) Kent State (MAC)

(7) Georgia
(10) Dayton

(2) Wisconsin (Big Ten)
(15) New Mexico State (WAC)

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