Friday, March 13, 2015

Updated Championship Week Predictions

Can today match yesterday's madness?  Today there will be another 44 games, beginning with three games (in the AAC, A-10, and Big Ten) tipping off at Noon Eastern and ending with the UC Irvine/UC Santa Barbara tilt in the Big West that tips off at 11:59 Eastern.  This is probably the most exciting pre-NCAA Tournament day of college basketball, as 13 conferences have their semifinals and another five have their quarterfinals.  But before we can think about today, let's talk about yesterday, when many bubbles were likely burst.  Rather than run down everything that happened, I'll just do that for the Big Ten, since that's the league I care about most, and then, for the other leagues, I'll only note if a Top 4 seed lost, if there was an upset by a really low-seeded team, or if there was an exciting game:
  • In the Big Ten, the Hoosiers finally played well, beating Northwestern handily in a must-win for IU's NCAA Tournament hopes.  Illinois saw its NCAA Tournament bubble burst with a 17-point loss to Michigan.  Ohio State beat Minnesota.  Iowa lost to Penn State, which is a bad loss but probably not enough to knock the Hawkeyes out of the NCAA Tournament.  Unfortunately, this means that Purdue gets to play Penn State instead of Iowa.  Then again, if the Nittany Lions continue their little run and beat Purdue, that might very well knock Purdue out of the NCAA Tournament.  A guy can dream, can't he?
  • In the ACC, 5-seed UNC beat 4-seed Louisville.  That's not too much of an upset, but noteworthy nonetheless.
  • In the Big 12, 7-seed Texas blew a late 10-point lead, giving up the final 12 points to 2-seed Iowa State, who won on a buzzer beater, potentially blowing the Longhorns' NCAA Tournament chances.
  • In the Big East, 3-seed Butler fell to 6-seed Xavier.  The Bulldogs are a lock for the NCAA Tournament, however.
  • In the Conference USA quarters, 3-seed Old Dominion lost to 6-seed Middle Tennessee State, which all but shatters the Monarchs' NCAA Tournament hopes.
  • In the MAC, 3-seed Kent State fell to 7-seed Akron in a battle for Northeastern Ohio supremacy, or whatever you might call a third-round MAC Tournament game.
  • In the MEAC, 3-seed Maryland-Eastern Shore lost to 6-seed Hampton.  First Iowa State as a 15-seed in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament and now this?  What's next, Hampton?!  Also, 4-seed Howard lost to 5-seed Delaware State.
  • The SEC continues to prove it's the worst major conference in men's college basketball, as two of the conference's bubble teams lost to bad teams.  First, 13-seed Auburn won its second game in a row, beating 5-seed Texas A&M, which likely boots the Aggies to the NIT.  Then, 6-seed Ole Miss (which was on Joe Lunardi's Last Four Byes) laid an egg against 11-seed South Carolina, which may very well mean the Rebels are banished from the Big Dance.
  • Here are the bubble teams that won yesterday:  Boise State, Colorado State, Indiana, UCLA, VCU
  • Here are the bubble teams that lost yesterday:  Illinois, Miami, Mississippi, Old Dominion, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M
  • 18 tournaments have games today.
  • There are no bids up for grabs today, before the remaining 20 automatic bids will be clinched tomorrow and Sunday.

Here are the tournaments with games today, bids up for grab today, who has already clinched an automatic berth, and my predictions for the remaining conference tournaments. 

Tournaments with games today:
-Atlantic 10
-Big 12
-Big East
-Big Sky
-Big Ten
-Big West
-Conference USA
-Mountain West
-Sun Belt

Bids up for grabs today (all times Eastern):

Already clinched automatic berths (in parentheses is the NCAA tournament appearances, including the bid just clinched):
-Atlantic Sun:  North Florida (1)
-Big South:  Coastal Carolina (4)
-Colonial:  Northeastern (8)
-Horizon League:  Valparaiso (9)
-MAAC:  Manhattan (8)
-Missouri Valley:  Northern Iowa (7)
-Northeast Conference:  Robert Morris (8)
-Ohio Valley:  Belmont (7)
-Patriot League:  Lafayette (4)
-Southern Conference:  Wofford (4)
-Summit League:  North Dakota State (3)
-West Coast Conference:  Gonzaga (18)

Remaining Tournaments (all times are Eastern):

AAC (March 12-15; Hartford)
3/13 – Quarterfinals
12 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) SMU vs. (8) ECU.  Predicted winner:  SMU
2 p.m. (ESPN2) (4) Temple vs. (5) Memphis.  Predicted winner:  Temple
7 p.m. (ESPNU) (3) Cincinnati vs. (6) UConn.  Predicted winner:  Cincinnati
9 p.m. (ESPNU) (2) Tulsa vs. (10) Houston.  Predicted winner:  Tulsa
3/14 – Semifinals
3 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) SMU vs. (4) Temple.  Predicted winner:  SMU
5 p.m. (ESPN2) (2) Tulsa vs. (3) Cincinnati.  Predicted winner:  Cincinnati
3/15 – Finals
3:15 p.m. (ESPN) (1) SMU vs. (3) Cincinnati.  Predicted winner:  SMU

ACC (March 10-14; Greensboro)
3/13 – Semifinals
7 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2) (1) Virginia vs. (5) North Carolina.  Predicted winner:  Virginia
9 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2) (2) Duke vs. (3) Notre Dame.  Predicted winner:  Duke
3/14 – Finals
8:30 p.m. (ESPN) (1) Virginia vs. (2) Duke.  Predicted winner:  Virginia

America East (March 4, 8, 14; campus of higher seeds)
3/14 – Finals
11:30 a.m. (ESPN2) (3) Stony Brook at (1) Albany.  Predicted winner:  Albany

Atlantic 10 (March 11-15; Brooklyn)
3/13 – Quarterfinals
12 p.m. (NBCSN) (1) Davidson vs. (9) LaSalle.  Predicted winner:  Davidson
2 p.m. (NBCSN) (4) Richmond vs. (5) VCU.  Predicted winner:  VCU
6:30 p.m. (NBCSN) (2) Dayton vs. (7) St. Bonaventure.  Predicted winner:  Dayton
9 p.m. (NBCSN) (3) Rhode Island vs. (6) George Washington.  Predicted winner:  Dayton
3/14 – Semifinals
1:30 p.m. (CBSSN) (1) Davidson vs. (5) VCU.  Predicted winner:  VCU
4 p.m. (CBSSN) (2) Dayton vs. (3) Rhode Island.  Predicted winner:  Dayton
3/15 – Finals
1 p.m. (CBS) (2) Dayton vs. (5) VCU.  Predicted winner:  VCU

Big 12 (March 11-14; Kansas City)
3/13 – Semifinals
7 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2) (1) Kansas vs. (4) Baylor.  Predicted winner:  Kansas
9 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN2) (2) Iowa State vs. (3) Oklahoma.  Predicted winner:  Iowa State
3/14 – Finals
6 p.m. (ESPN) (1) Kansas vs. (2) Iowa State.  Predicted winner:  Kansas

Big East (March 11-14; New York)
3/13 – Semifinals
7 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) (1) Villanova vs. (4) Providence.  Predicted winner:  Villanova
9 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) (2) Georgetown vs. (6) Xavier.  Predicted winner:  Georgetown
3/14 – Finals
8:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) (1) Villanova vs (2) Georgetown.  Predicted winner:  Villanova

Big Sky (March 12-14; hosted by regular season champion (Montana))
3/13 – Semifinals
7:30 p.m. ( (2) Eastern Washington vs. (3) Sacramento State.  Predicted winner:  Eastern Washington
10 p.m. ( (1) Montana vs. (4) Northern Arizona.  Predicted winner:  Montana
3/14 – Finals
9 p.m. (ESPNU) (1) Montana vs. (2) Eastern Washington.  Predicted winner:  Eastern Washington

Big Ten (March 11-15; Chicago)
3/13 – Quarterfinals
12 p.m. (ESPN) (1) Wisconsin vs. (9) Michigan.  Predicted winner:  Wisconsin
2:30 p.m. (ESPN) (4) Purdue vs. (13) Penn State.  Predicted winner:  Purdue
6:30 p.m. (BTN) (2) Maryland vs. (7) Indiana.  Predicted winner:  Indiana
9 p.m. (BTN) (3) Michigan State vs. (6) Ohio State.  Predicted winner:  Ohio State
3/14 – Semifinals
1 p.m. (CBS) (1) Wisconsin vs. (4) Purdue.  Predicted winner:  Wisconsin
3:30 p.m. (CBS) (6) Ohio State vs. (7) Indiana.  Predicted winner:  Indiana
3/15 – Finals
3:30 p.m. (CBS) (1) Wisconsin vs. (7) Indiana.  Predicted winner:  Indiana

Big West (March 12-14; Anaheim)
3/13 – Semifinals
9:30 p.m. (ESPNU – tape delayed) (1) UC Davis vs. (5) Hawaii.  Predicted winner:  UC Davis
11:59 p.m. (ESPN3) (2) UC Irvine vs (3) UC Santa Barbara.  Predicted winner:  UC Irvine
3/14 – Finals
11:30 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) UC Davis vs. (2) UC Irvine.  Predicted winner:  UC Davis

Conference USA (March 11-14; Birmingham, AL)
3/13 – Semifinals
4 p.m. (CBSSN) (2) UTEP vs. (6) Middle Tennessee.  Predicted winner:  UTEP
6:30 p.m. (CBSSN) (1) Louisiana Tech vs. (5) Western Kentucky.  Predicted winner:  Louisiana Tech
3/14 – Finals
3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports 1) (1) Louisiana Tech vs. (2) UTEP.  Predicted winner:  Louisiana Tech

MAC (March 9, 11-14; first round at campus sites of higher seed; remaining rounds in Cleveland)
3/13 – Semifinals
6:30 p.m. (1) Central Michigan vs. (4) Toledo.  Predicted winner:  Central Michigan
9 p.m. (2) Buffalo vs. (7) Akron.  Predicted winner:  Buffalo
3/14 – Finals
7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) Central Michigan vs. (2) Buffalo.  Predicted winner:  Central Michigan

MEAC (March 9-14; Norfolk, VA)
3/13 – Semifinals
6:00 p.m. (1) North Carolina Central vs. (5) Delaware State.  Predicted winner:  North Carolina Central
8:00 p.m. (2) Norfolk State vs. (6) Hampton.  Predicted winner:  Norfolk State
3/14 – Final
1:00 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) North Carolina Central vs. (2) Norfolk State.  Predicted winner:  North Carolina Central

Mountain West (March 11-14; Las Vegas)
3/13 – Semifinals
9 p.m. (CBSSN) (1) Boise State vs. (4) Wyoming.  Predicted winner:  Boise State
11:30 p.m. (CBSSN) (2) San Diego State vs. (3) Colorado State.  Predicted winner:  San Diego State
3/14 – Finals
6 p.m. (CBS) (1) Boise State vs. (2) San Diego State.  Predicted winner:  San Diego State

Pac-12 (March 11-14; Las Vegas)
3/13 – Semifinals
9 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) (1) Arizona vs. (4) UCLA.  Predicted winner:  Arizona
11:30 p.m. (ESPN) (2) Oregon vs. (3) Utah.  Predicted winner:  Utah
3/14 – Finals
11 p.m. (ESPN) (1) Arizona vs. (3) Utah.  Predicted winner:  Utah

SEC (March 11-15; Nashville)
3/13 – Quarterfinals
1 p.m. (SEC Network) (1) Kentucky vs. (8) Florida.  Predicted winner:  Alabama
3 p.m. (SEC Network) (4) LSU vs. (13) Auburn.  Predicted winner:  LSU
7 p.m. (SEC Network) (2) Arkansas vs. (10) Tennessee.  Predicted winner:  Arkansas
9 p.m. (SEC Network) (3) Georgia vs. (11) South Carolina.  Predicted winner:  Georgia
3/14 – Semifinals
1 p.m. (ESPN) (1) Kentucky vs. (4) LSU.  Predicted winner:  Kentucky
3 p.m. (ESPN) (2) Arkansas vs. (3) Georgia.  Predicted winner:  Arkansas
3/15 – Finals
1 p.m. (ESPN) (1) Kentucky vs. (2) Arkansas.  Predicted winner:  Kentucky

Southland (March 11-14; Katy, TX)
3/13 – Semifinals
6 p.m. (ESPN3) (1) Stephen F. Austin vs. (4) Northwestern State.  Predicted winner:  Stephen F. Austin
8:30 p.m. (ESPN3) (2) Sam Houston State vs. (3) Texas A&M-CC.  Predicted winner:  Sam Houston State
3/14 – Finals
9:30 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) Stephen F. Austin vs. (2) Sam Houston State.  Predicted winner:  Sam Houston State

Sun Belt (March 12-15; New Orleans)
3/13 – Second Round
6 p.m. (ESPN3) (4) Louisiana Lafayette vs. (8) Texas State.  Predicted winner:  Louisiana Lafayette
8:30 p.m. (ESPN3) (3) Louisiana Monroe vs. (6) South Alabama.  Predicted winner:  Louisiana Monroe
3/14 – Semifinals
2 p.m. (ESPN3) (1) Georgia State vs. (4) Louisiana Lafayette.  Predicted winner:  Georgia State
4:30 p.m. (ESPN3) (2) Georgia Southern vs. (3) Louisiana Monroe.  Predicted winner:  Georgia Southern
3/15 – Finals
1 p.m. (ESPN2) (1) Georgia State vs. (2) Georgia Southern.  Predicted winner:  Georgia Southern

SWAC (March 10-14; Houston)
3/13 – Semifinals
3:30 p.m. (2) Alabama State vs. (3) Southern.  Predicted winner:  Alabama State
9:30 p.m. (1) Texas Southern vs. (4) Prairie View A&M.  Predicted winner:  Texas Southern
3/14 – Finals
6:30 p.m. (ESPNU) (1) Texas Southern vs. (2) Alabama State.  Predicted winner:  Texas Southern
**Southern and Alabama State are both ineligible for post-season play this year, so neither will got to the NCAA Tournament if they win the SWAC Tournament.  If one of the ineligible teams wins the tournament, the team among the seven eligible teams that advances the furthest in the tournament will receive the conference's NCAA tournament bid.  If there is a tie (for example, all remaining tournament-eligible teams are eliminated in the same round), the automatic berth will go to the highest-seeded team.

WAC (March 12-14; Las Vegas)
3/13 – Semifinals
9 p.m. (1) New Mexico State vs. (4) Cal State Bakersfield.  Predicted winner:  New Mexico State
11:30 p.m. (2) UMKC vs. (3) Seattle.  Predicted winner:  Seattle
3/14 – Finals
11 p.m. (ESPNU) (1) New Mexico State vs. (3) Seattle.  Predicted winner:  New Mexico State

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