Now THAT is what Championship Week is supposed to be about. One great game goes to overtime, another team makes its first ever NCAA Tournament and a power goes down in a game they always win. This was the kind of night we have waited for! Some notes:
--- The game of the night was the MAAC Championship, which our man CM recapped in a great running journal, but was a classic game for March. Siena is the power of the conference, having made the last two NCAA Tournaments and won their first round game in both, a feat that less than ten teams in the country will be able to claim in this year's version of the NCAA. They got down big early, falling behind by 13, just as they had in both their quarter and semifinal games as well. But they stormed back, and watched as their opponent Fairfield, went ice cold in overtime to give Siena their third straight tournament berth. Siena is slowly entering the Gonzaga/Butler level, where they can no longer be considered a sleeper team, but rather are a legitimate power to be contended with every season. They showed the heart of a champion tonight.
--- Ding-Dong the witch is dead. Gonzaga showed why its the softest program in America yet again on Monday, getting hammered by St Marys. The Zags were beaten off the dribble, outhustled to loose balls and then lost their cool down the stretch, getting smoked by 19 in the tournament final. That game thus gave us two realities...first, St Marys is in and worries about their bubble status are irrelevant. And second, Gonzaga is once again a team to ignore in your NCAA pool...just like every year.
--- The best story of the night comes from Wofford, which will be in its first NCAA Tournament ever after winning the Southern Conference Tournament in Charlotte. The Terriers held on to beat Appalachian State after giving up an 18 point second half lead and allowing the App. State to cut the game to three. But Wofford hit big free throws down the stretch and they will be dancing for the first time in school history. The tiny school in Rock Hill, South Carolina is known for almost nothing except having produced Wendy Nix and a bunch of congressmen in South Carolina that you dont know. But now they will be the darlings of the NCAA Tournament, and having beaten both South Carolina and Georgia this year, they could be dangerous depending on the matchup.
--- The final ticket was punched in the "Battle of the Moustaches" as Old Dominion won the Colonial Title with a solid win over William and Mary. ODU is going to its first tournament since 2007, built in large part on there athletic play that has overwhelmed their opponents in the Colonial, both in the regular season and the tournament. When you watch ODU play, think of two things...first their coach's black moustache has the potential to be one of the 4 or 5 most ridiculous modern looks you will see from people that venture out in public. Also, ODU is another team that can pull a shocker...they will likely be ticketed for something like a #13 seed, and if given the right #4 team (like maybe Vandy), we could see the traditional 4-13 upset go down,
So there you have it...a great night of college basketball to kick off one of the most fun weeks of the year. Tonight we have three more finals, with the Sun Belt Conference, The Big Sky and the Butler-dominated Horizon League. Also, the Big East Tournament kicks off in New York and we get that exciting South Florida-Depaul matchup that you have waited all year for. We will get you ready for all these events and more all day...so stay tuned and tell your friends...because they want to know, even if they say they don't.