I’m sitting here at 3:15am watching the second overtime of the San Francisco-Saint Mary’s game from the WCC tournament in Las Vegas. It reminds me that ESPN’s old College Basketball Marathon, where they showed games for like 30 straight hours on a Monday/Tuesday, early in the season, was great fun. They should bring it back next year.
San Francisco 93, Santa Clara 87 2OT— Great game, ton of action, but it is 3:25am and I’m posting this and going to sleep. Maybe I’ll watch a movie first, but I’m signing off here.
— SE Missouri State 89, Tennessee Tech 82, OT— First ticket to March Madness is punched by the Redhawks, who at one point this season, were 5-9. SE Missouri won four games in four days to win their first conference title in 23 years, and they had to play overtime on the 4th day, after blowing an 11-point second half lead.
This game is what March is all about; just getting into the NCAA’s is a huge deal for these guys and they did it in dramatic style.
Old guy rant: In an era where rich NBA guys sometimes don’t play on consecutive days, four Redhawks played 36:00+ in this game, while playing for the fourth day in a row.
Merrimack 71, Sacred Heart 60
Fairleigh Dickinson 70, St Francis PA 50
Merrimack is the top seed, but they’re not eligible for the NCAA Tournament; this is only their 4th year in Division I, so Fairleigh Dickinson punches the second ticket to the NCAA’s- they go to the NCAA’s for the first time since 2019, no matter happens in the NEC final.
— Texas A&M 67, Alabama 61— Aggies were 6-5 on Christmas Day; they’re 17-3 since then, winning eight of their last nine games. A&M was 27-28 on the foul line; they’re the #2-seed in SEC tournament, finishing a game behind Alabama.
— Kentucky 88, Arkansas 79— Wildcats finish 21-10, 12-6 in SEC play, winning five of last six regular season games. Kentucky fans who have been whining about Calipari can put a sock in it; Bracketology has Kentucky as a 7-seed in NCAA’s.
Arkansas has lost three in row, five of last seven games; they’ll be the #10 seed in SEC tourney, making them a bubble team for the NCAAs if they don’t win a game next week.
— Iowa Sate 73, Baylor 58— Gambling is hard. This score makes no sense; Cyclones had lost four games in a row, but they shot 62.5% inside arc and won fairly easily. Now they can relax; they are in the NCAA’s, will be playing for seeding at the Big X tournament.
— West Virginia 89, Kansas State 81— Mountaineers get off the bubble, winning three of last four games, scoring 80 ppg.
— Duke 82, North Carolina 77— Tar Heels are 2-10 vs Quad 1 teams; how many wins do they need in the ACC tournament, to get to the NCAA’s? Tar Heels finished 7th in the ACC; no pre-season #1 team has ever missed the NCAA Tournament.
— Miami 78, Pitt 76— Won’t know for sure until we see the brackets next Sunday, but kind of like Miami as a Cinderella Final Four team. Hurricanes won eight of last nine games, and they blew a 25-point lead in the one loss.
Miami is #28 experience team, with #144 continuity not bad; they’re #22 in offense efficiency, and important metric for the NCAA Tournament.
Marquette 96, St John’s 94— On Christmas Day, Marquette was 9-4; they’re 16-2 since then, and won the Big East regular season title. by two games.
Shaka Smart is a really good coach; he is 44-19 in two years at Marquette, but fact of the matter is, he hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2013, losing his last seven NCAA Tourney games. He got VCU to the Final Four as an 11-seed in 2011, went WL in next two tournaments, but has come up dry since. This could be the year his team makes another run in the NCAA’s.
— South Alabama 78, Southern Miss 61— #1-seed Southern Miss was a great story this year, after going 24-65 the last three years, but they get upset in first round of Sun Belt tourney. USA outscored the Eagles 52-34 in the second half; they’ve won 10 of their last 12 games.
— San Jose State 63, Air Force 61— Spartans trailed 45-25 early in second half, but rallied to win and move to 19-12; they’ll have a bye in the Mountain West tournament for the first time ever.
— UNLV 69, Nevada 67 OT— Rebels upset their in-state rivals, giving them their first home loss this season. UNLV jumped out to a 13-0 lead, but trailed 54-46 with 2:27 left. Nevada was 23-35 on foul line, Rebels were 8-11. Nevada finishes as the #4-seed in Mountain West, UNLV #7.
Chattanooga 85, Samford 82— #7-seed Mocs upset #2-seed Samford, making 15-28 shots on the arc. Kid on Samford scored 27 points in 28:00 and he didn’t start. Bulldogs are 42-22 the last two seasons, but went 1-2 in the SoCon tournament.
— VCU 74, George Washington 68— Rams with regular season title by three games, but this is going to be the first time in over a decade this league gets only one team in NCAAs, which makes the conference tournament huge, obviously. Last seven years, seven different teams won the A-15 tournament; next week is going to be fun.
Bradley 71, Indiana State 70— Braves won their 12th straight game, shooting 62% inside the arc; they advance to play Drake in MVC finals Sunday. Bradley survived 5-24 shooting on the arc.
— UAB 93, Charlotte 91, 2OT— Jordan Walker scored 41 points for the Blazers; he was 8-20 on the arc. Charlotte’s whole team was 8-23 on the arc. UAB has won six in a row, 10 of last 11 games; if they play North Texas in the C-USA semi-finals next week, that’ll be a great game.
— Florida Atlantic 76, Louisiana Tech 72— Owls are having their best season ever, with a 28-3 record heading into the C-USA Tournament; FAU hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2002. Bracketology has FAU as a #9-seed; they could conceivably get in as an at-large team, if they lose in the conference tournament.