13) OVC tournament: Morehead State 86, Belmont 71
This game started at 8:00pm ET; these players had their COVID tests at 8:30 or 9:30am, 11 or so hours before the game, then had shootarounds, then went back to their hotels for the rest of the day. Not the ideal way to prepare for the biggest game of the year.
Last six years, Belmont is 91-15 regular season OVC games; they’ve only won the OVC tourney once in those six seasons, going 6-5 in OVC tournament games.
Morehead State is in the NCAA’s for the first time in ten years.
12) Tough day for #1-seeds in low/mid major tournaments: Texas State, Wagner, Navy, UMBC all got beat Saturday. Play-in games in Dayton in 10 days are going to have some odd teams playing. NCAA Tournament is more fun when higher seeds win the smaller leagues.
11) Oklahoma State 85, West Virginia 80:
— Cowboys won even though their star player (Cunningham) didn’t play (ankle).
— Oklahoma State won six of its last seven games.
— ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla may be campaigning to be the agent for OSU coach Mike Boynton; the last couple times he worked Cowboy games, he made Boynton sound like a combination of Dean Smith/John Wooden.
— Seeing how Boynton hired Cunningham’s brother as an assistant coach, paying him a reported $200,000/year, comparing him to Larry Brown would be more accurate.
— 30+ years ago, Kansas hired Danny Manning’s dad as an assistant coach; couple years later, Brown’s Jayhawks won the national title, led by Danny Manning. It is legal, and it happens a decent amount, but it doesn’t make you Dean Smith.
10) St John’s 81, Seton Hall 71:
— Pirates led this game, 18-0. Eighteen to nothing.
— Seton Hall lost its last four games (hello NIT??)
— St John’s won nine of its last 12 games.
9) Purdue 67, Indiana 58— Boilermakers have beaten Indiana nine times in a row; Archie Miller’s seat keeps getting hotter.
People on social media scoffed at me (imagine that???) for suggesting that Steve Alford would be a good coach for Indiana. He obviously played there; he’s been a good coach at five other D-I schools. He’d energize the fanbase, then all he’d have to do is win. A lot.
8) Notre Dame 83, Florida State 73— This score clinches the ACC regular season title for Virginia. Couple weeks ago, I was prepared to declare the Seminoles as my dark horse choice to win the national title, now I’m queasy. Florida State doesn’t have a star, that one guy who is a 100% cinch to get a basket/free throws, anytime they need one.
7) Upsets of the Day:
— Morehead State (+7) 86, Belmont 71
— Oklahoma State (+7) 85, West Virginia 80
— Appalachian State (+5) 76, Texas State 73, OT
— UAB (+4.5) 65, North Texas 61
— Providence (+4) 54, Villanova 52
6) MVC tournament:
— Loyola 65, Indiana State 49— Ramblers won 16 of their last 17 games.
— Drake 71, Missouri State 69— Drake is down two starters to injury; they split a pair of games with Loyola three weeks ago. Bulldogs didn’t have to play Friday because Northern Iowa had COVID issues, and that helped them in this difficult game against Missouri State.
5) Southern Conference tournament:
— #2/#3-seeds both got upset Saturday, leaving NC-Greensboro a clear path to their 2nd NCAA bid over the last 20 years.
— Either VMI/Mercer is going to be in the SoCon final; neither finished over .500 in conference games during the regular season.
4) Summit League tournament:
— South Dakota State 84, Omaha 71—
— South Dakota 86, Western Illinois 69— Finally, a league where the better teams win.
3) Sun Belt tournament:
— Appalachian State 76, Texas State 73 OT— Last September, Texas State fired Danny Kaspar, because of he was accused of using racially insensitive language toward his players. Kaspar had been at Texas State for seven years, going 45-22 the last two years.
This season, assistant Terrence Johnson led the Bobcats to an 18-7 record, 12-3 and top seed in the Sun Belt, but they stumbled in this game and now appear headed to the NIT.
2) WCC tournament:
— Saint Mary’s 52, LMU 47— James Naismith was turning over in his grave during this game; not a very good exhibition of offense.
— Pepperdine 78, Santa Clara 70— Waves play BYU Monday night; WCC smartly takes Sunday off, but mostly it is because BYU isn’t allowed to play games on Sundays.
1) America East tournament:
— UMBC/Vermont tied for the regular season title; they both lost Saturday, leaving Hartford and Mass-Lowell to play for the conference title next Saturday. Hartford is ranked #199, Lowell #217; winner will obviously go to Dayton for a play-in game. This is only second time in last six years the regular season champ didn’t win the conference tournament.