Posts Tagged conference tournaments

American Dreams On

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Well, we nailed this one.

American University will appear in the NCAA tournament for the first time in the school’s history following its 52-46 victory over Colgate.

The win netted the top-seeded Eagles the Patriot League’s automatic tournament berth.

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March Madness: Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Projection

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The 30-part series of conference tournament projections finally reaches its conclusion as the computer spits out its predictions for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

This tournament has the potential to produce a rubber match between Duke and North Carolina, this time on the neutral court of Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

To this point in the year, Duke and North Carolina have met twice, with each team marching into enemy territory and leaving with a win. The long-standing rivalry resumed on the court on February 6, when the then-second-ranked Blue Devils knocked off the then-third-ranked Tar Heels in Chapel Hill by an 89-78 score.

A little over a month later, North Carolina — now the top team in the country — visited sixth-ranked Duke on Senior Night at Cameron Indoor Arena and avenged its earlier loss, coming away with a 76-68 win and evening the season series.

With North Carolina holding the number one seed in the ACC Tournament and Duke seeded second, the teams appear destined for a showdown in the tournament finals that could have a huge impact on where each team is seeded in the NCAA Tournament. Appropriately, that theoretical clash would take place hours before the Selection Committee finalizes the bracket for the 65-team tournament.

So, is UNC-Duke destined to take place? Or will one of those damned other teams fighting to keep their season alive step in and ruin it for everybody else? Let’s have a look.

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Portland State Wins Big Sky Tournament Just To Spite Me

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They’re dancing in the Best Walking Town in America. For the first time in school history, Portland State has advanced to the 65-team NCAA tournament field following the Vikings’ win over Northern Arizona in the Big Sky Championship game on Wednesday night.

The Vikings prevailed, 67-51, in front of the hometown crowd at the Rose Garden. Allow me to extend my congratulations to Portland State and also express my bewilderment as to why they hadn’t thought of doing this a year ago.

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March Madness: Big 12 Conference Tournament Projection

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The Big 12 Conference Tournament is a bit of a sleeper tournament with regard to marquee matchups. A lot of experts seem to be looking forward to a potential showdown between Duke and North Carolina in the finals of the ACC Tournament. Others are rooting for a UCLA-Stanford rematch in the Pac 10 tournament — particularly in the aftermath of their controversial game over the weekend. But, if things go as the seeding projects, the #5 and #6 teams in the nation could collide with a #1 seed in the Big Dance at stake. That’s a pretty intriguing matchup, too.

Of course, for that to happen, the Jayhawks will have to get past Michael Beasley and third-seeded Kansas State. Beasley has continued the trend started last year by Kevin Durant of rookie dominance in the Big 12. Beasley averages over 26 points and 12 rebounds per game, and — along with North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough — is a favorite to be named the player of the year.

Does our formula think Beasley — or somebody else (hey, remember when Texas A&M used to be good?) — can spoil the big game? Jump!

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March Madness: Big Ten Conference Tournament Projection

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When writing about the Big East Conference tournament earlier, I made mention of how stacked that conference is, and how any of a long list of teams has a reasonable chance of going deep into and/or winning the tournament outright. Well, it’s a similar situation in the Big Ten tournament.

A case could easily be made for any of the top four teams in the tournament — Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana and Michigan State — to emerge as league champs. But then you look further down the list and see Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan — a few quality sleepers, in my opinion, that could put together a run.

The difference I see between the Big Ten and Big East tournaments is that the high-level teams in the Big East have a greater level of separation between themselves and the “sleeper” teams. It wouldn’t be all that stunning, for example, to see Ohio State knock off Indiana. It may not even be that big of an upset any more, given the Hoosiers’ play since Kelvin Sampson’s exit. If Illinois or Michigan did it, it would be an upset, but I personally wouldn’t be stunned if it happened.

Essentially, the key word may be parity in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament. Just about any team has a chance in just about any game. There are no sure things here. Except maybe for Northwestern. That’s a bad team right there.

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March Madness: Southeastern Conference Tournament Projection

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The Tennessee Volunteers are already surefire NCAA tournament participants. Whether or not they’ll land a number one seed in the Big Dance is the bigger question. How they fare in the upcoming Southeastern Conference tournament will probably have a heck of a lot to do with that decision. If they stumble, they could end up dropping down to a #2 seed. If they plow through the rest of the conference, as one would expect them to, they’re likely to not only be rewarded with a trophy, but what is presumed to be a slightly easier path to the Elite Eight than they might otherwise receive as a two seed.

The Volunteers are the class of the SEC, but they’re not untouchable. The Vols have lost three times this year — all three times on the road. Two of the losses came within the conference, when Kentucky beat them 72-66 on January 22 and, more recently, Vanderbilt knocked them off by a 72-69 count on February 26. Will Vandy or Kentucky be able to pull it off again? Will a third SEC team knock off the Vols? Or will it be smooth sailing ahead for the regular-season champs?

And what about the defending champs? The Florida Gators appear to be a bubble team, and will need to put together a pretty nice run in the SEC tournament if they don’t want to be sweating on Selection Sunday.

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March Madness: Southland Conference Tournament Projection

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We’re headed into the final stretch of this 30-part projection series. In fact, we’re so darn close to the end that there is only one conference left that I really don’t have any knowledge of. And I figured that I’d get that one out of the way right away before moving onto the…ahem…final four.

With this in mind, I present to you what is, by definition, a formulaic evaluation of the Southland Conference tournament, which begins Thursday.

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