Tag:summit league
Posted on: March 8, 2010 10:55 am
 

Summin' Up The Summit: Day 3

Drew Franklin

 

  

Four teams have been sent home and four teams are still fighting for a pair of dancing shoes in the Summit League Conference Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  

Last night, IPFW downed #4 South Dakota State 71-66 in the first of two quarterfinal games.  Jeremy Mixon scored 17 of his team high 19 points for IPFW in the second half to lead the comeback after SDSU's Kai Williams stretched South Dakota's lead to 44-37 with 14 minutes to play.  The Mastodons of IPFW fought back and secured the win with clutch free throw shooting down the stretch, including the two that gave IPFW their final lead with 37 seconds left.

In the second game of the evening, #3 Oral Roberts needed extra time as they survived a scare against #6 North Dakota State.  The Golden Eagles scored only 6 points in the final 10:47 after leading by 50-38. A basket by NDSU's Michael Tveidt tied the game with 14 seconds left to send it into overtime. where ORU would go on to win 65-64.

Let's take a look at tonight's semifinals:




#1 Oakland vs. #5 IPFW  - Semifinals Game 1 - 6:00 pm

Regular Season Meetings: Oakland 84, IPFW 76 - (Fort Wayne, IN); Oakland 86, IPFW 83 - (Rochester, MI)

Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies ended the regular season with 23 victories, matching last season’s Division I school record ... Oakland is 25-1 in its last 26 league games and holds the nation’s 15th-best home winning streak at 13 ... The Grizzlies have finished among the top three of The Summit League standings in seven of 11 years, including each of the last four ... OU entered the tournament riding an eight-game win streak, one victory shy of matching the school record, set earlier this season ... The Grizzlies went 7-0 this season in league games decided by five points or fewer. (via The Summit League)

IPFW: Trey McCorkle scored a career-high 25 points at Oakland, converting 9-of-15 shot attempts and all seven free throw attempts, a career-best ... The Mastodons had their four- game winning streak snapped in a three-point loss in the regular season finale at Oakland ... Deilvez Yearby posted his ninth double-double of the season with 23 points and 10 rebounds at Oakland ... IPFW finished the regular season above .500 for the first time in its Division I history since 2001-02. (via The Summit League)

Tonight's game will be the second meeting between the two teams in the last 10 days.

  


#2 IUPUI vs. #3 Oral Roberts - Semifinals Game 2 - 8:30 pm

We can only hope this one is as entertaining as their mascot fight in the 2008 tournament:



Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 7, 2010 12:04 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Summin' Up The Summit: Day 2

Drew Franklin

Welcome back!

Basketball is on the minds of everyone in Sioux Falls, South Dakota this weekend during the annual clash of the titans that is the Summit League Conference Tournament.  As expected, the top two seeded teams were victorious yesterday in the opening round of the tournament.  They will advance to play the winners of tonight's last two quarterfinal matchups.

Before we look ahead tonight, let's get a quick rundown of what the first day.

From yesterday:

#1 Oakland 85, #8 UKMC 70

All five starters scored in double figures for Oakland to lead the top-seeded Golden Grizzlies over UKMC, yesterday.  Oakland led from the beginning and dominated the boards throughout the entire game, doubling the Kangaroos 46-23 in rebounds.

#2 IUPUI 77, #7 Western Illinois 68

IUPUI's Robert Glenn scored 30 points for the Jaguars in the 77-68 win over Western Illinois.  WIU led by one at the half but Glenn's 19 second half points were the difference maker for IUPUI.

Let's look at today's games:

#4 South Dakota State vs. #5 IPFW - Game 3 - 6:00 pm

(Winner will face #1 Oakland)

The third quarterfinal game of the Summit League Tournament features an epic mascot duel between the Jackrabbits and the Mastodons.  The two split their regular season meetings so expect a barnburner in this matchup between the four and five seeded teams.  South Dakota State enters the tournament with a possible lack of confidence having lost four of its last five games.  On the other hand, IPFW is coming in hot, having won four of their last five with a 3-point loss at top-seeded Oakland in the season finale.

South Dakota State University

-       Location: Brookings, South Dakota

-       Motto: You Can Go Anywhere From Here

-       Mascot: Jackrabbits

-       Colors: Yellow and Blue

-       Alumni: Adam Vinatieri

-       Record: 19-12 (13-5)

-       Head Coach: Scott Nagy (12th year)

-       Star Watch: Clint Sargent - 13.1 ppg

Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW)

-       Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana

-       Motto: One university.  Two great names.

-       Mascot: Mastodons

-       Colors: Blue and White

-       Alumni: a few Indiana senators

-       Record: 15-14 (9-9)

-       Head Coach: Dane Fife (5th year)

-       Star Watch: Deilvex Yearby - 14.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg

 

#3 Oral Roberts vs. #6 North Dakota State - Game 4 - 8:30 pm

(Winner will face #2 IUPUI)

The final quarterfinal game pits the #3 Oral Roberts Golden Eagles and the #6 seeded North Dakota State Bison. Oral Roberts won both regular season contests and is led by four players averaging double figures despite the team’s 69.3 ppg overall.  The lack of a bench may not hurt the confident Eagles in this one but could be a factor if they advance to semifinals.

Oral Roberts University

-       Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma

-       Motto: Educating the Whole Program

-       Mascot: Golden Eagles

-       Colors: Navy Blue and Gold

-       Alumni: Ned Flanders (The Simpsons); Kathie Lee Gifford

-       Record: 19-12 (13-5)

-       Head Coach: Scott Sutton (8th year)

-       Star Watch: Dominique Morrison - 15.5 ppg

North Dakota State University

-       Location: Fargo, North Dakota

-       Motto: For the land and its people

-       Mascot: Bison

-       Colors: Yellow and Green

-       Alumni: Bob Backland (former WWF wrestler); Annette Olson (Miss North Dakota 2006)

-       Record: 11-17 (8-10)

-       Head Coach: Saul Phillip (2nd year)

-       Star Watch: Michael Tveidt - 15.5 ppg

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 6, 2010 11:12 am
 

Summin' Up The Summit

Drew Franklin

It’s the first weekend of March and that can only mean one thing - the Summit League Conference Tournament is here!  (Applause)

Today marks the opening day of the tournament for the Summit League, which happens to be the NCAA’s most-uniquely nicknamed athletic conference.  Nowhere else will you find battles between the Jags, Gents, Leathernecks, Mastodons, Kangaroos, and Jackrabbits.  If that doesn’t get you excited about March Madness, I don’t know what will.

We have a couple of quarterfinal matchups this evening featuring the Summit’s top two teams and their not-so good opponents.  Both games should be blowouts but if there is one thing I know about the Summit League, it is to never count out a team named the Leathernecks. 

Let’s breakdown tonight’s matchups:

 

 

#1 Oakland vs. #8 UMKC - Game 1 - 6:00 pm

The top-seeded Golden Grizzlies of Oakland will face the UMKC Kangaroos in the opening game of the 2010 Summit League Conference Tournament.  The Golden Grizzlies won by double-digits in both regular season meetings between the two teams.  Oakland set a league record with 17 conference wins this season, while UKMC lost four of its last five regular season games.

Oakland University

-       Location: Rochester Hills/Auburn Hills, Michigan

-       Motto: Seguir virtute e canoscenza

-       Mascot: Golden Grizzlies

-       Colors: Black and Gold

-       Alumni: “Booger” from Revenge of the Nerds; David Hasselhoff (attended)

-       Record: 23-8 (17–1)

-       Head Coach: Greg Kampe (25th year)

-       Star Watch: Keith Benson – 17.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg

University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC)

-       Location: Kansas City, Missouri

-       Motto: Educating the Whole Person

-       Mascot: Kangaroos

-       Colors: Blue and Gold

-       Alumni: John D. Carmack (video game programmer); Danny Carey (drummer from Tool)

-       Record: 12-17 (6-12)

-       Head Coach: Matt Brown (1st year)

-       Star Watch: Jay Cousinard – 14.3 ppg

 

#2 IUPUI vs. #7 Western Illinois – Game 2 – 8:30 pm

The IUPUI Jaguars take on the Western Illinois Leathernecks in the second quarterfinal game of the opening day.  The Jaguars, who enter the tournament on a 4-game win streak, won both regular season games including a 28-point blowout in the most recent contest.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

-       Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

-       Motto: Where Impact is Made

-       Mascot: Jaguars

-       Colors: Crimson and Old Gold

-       Alumni: Dan Quayle (Former Vice President); George Hill (San Antonio Spurs); Kevin Skinner (Jag Tag holder)

-       Record: 22-9 (15–3)

-       Head Coach: Ron Hunter (13th year)

-       Star Watch: Robert Glenn – 19.3 ppg; Alex Young – 18.8 ppg

Western Illinois University

-       Location: Macomb, Illinois

-       Motto: Higher Values in Higher Education

-       Mascot: Leathernecks

-       Colors: Purple and Gold

-       Alumni: “Martin Crane” from Frasier; Rodney Harrison (former NFL safety)

-       Record: 13-16 (6-12)

-       Head Coach: Jim Molinari (1st year)

-       Star Watch: Ceola Clark – 14.4 ppg

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 4, 2010 7:25 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2010 7:53 pm
 

Championship Week(s) Primer

MIKE RUTHERFORD

Opening round action has already tipped in the Big South, Horizon League, Ohio Valley, Patriot League and Atlantic Sun, which means the madness is officially upon us. 

Thirteen days of nothing but dream-fulfilling, career-ending, win-or-turn-in-your-jersey action. All the elements that draw casual fans so completely into the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament are inherent in each and every one of the 30 conference tournaments that will take place over the course of the next two weeks.

Quite simply, it's high drama that you can't find anywhere else in sport.

We've taken our shots at ESPN since the start of the season, but the fact remains that each and every one of us are enormously indebted to the worldwide leader for what it does during college basketball's postseason. Between Thursday and Selection Sunday, ESPN will air 152 conference tournament games on its family of networks. If it was possible for me to get sick of the sport, I would.

Mid and low-major D-I basketball is an acquired taste, and it's one that's especially difficult to attain when the team you love and follow plays in a conference like the Big East. So while I'm fully aware that the majority of you likely aren't interested in any of what you're about to read, allow me to say this: I don't care. This is my favorite time of the year, I'm currently smiling as I type, and this post is going to happen whether you like it or not.

For the rest of you, it's time to get briefed for Championship Week...sans, of course, the six major and four mini-major (A-10, WAC, MWC, C-USA) conferences.

YOUR COMPLETE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT DATES AND LOCATIONS

It's the most logical, if not exciting, jumping off point, and we all know this blog has always been rooted in practicality.

Let's go ahead and include the big boys in this one just because we can.

Conference Tournament site Dates
ACC Greensboro, N.C. March 11-14
America East Hartford, Conn. March 6-7, 13
Atlantic Sun Macon, Ga. March 3-6
Atlantic 10 Atlantic City, N.J. March 9, 12-14
Big East New York March 9-13
Big Sky TBD (regular-season champion) March 6, 9-10
Big South Campus sites (higher seeds) March 2, 4, 6
Big Ten Indianapolis March 11-14
Big 12 Kansas City, Mo. March 10-13
Big West Anaheim, Calif. March 10-13
Colonial Richmond, Va. March 5-8
Conference USA Tulsa, Okla. March 10-13
Horizon Campus sites (higher seeds) March 2, 5-6, 9
Ivy League No Tournament  
MAAC Albany, N.Y. March 5-8
MAC Cleveland March 7, 11-13
MEAC Winston-Salem, N.C. March 8-13
Missouri Valley St. Louis March 4-7
Mountain West Las Vegas March 10-13
Northeast Campus sites (higher seeds) March 4, 7, 10
Ohio Valley Nashville, Tenn. March 2, 5-6
Pac-10 Los Angeles March 10-13
Patriot Campus sites (higher seeds) March 3, 7, 12
SEC Nashville, Tenn. March 11-14
Southern Charlotte, N.C. March 5-8
Southland Katy, Texas March 10-13
Summit Sioux Falls, S.D. March 6-9
Sun Belt Hot Springs, Ark. March 6-9
SWAC Shreveport/Bossier City, La. March 10-13
WAC Reno, Nev. March 11-13
West Coast Las Vegas March 5-8
 
Five is a good number. Agree? Agree.

 

FIVE SQUADS FOR THE BUBBLE BOYS TO PULL FOR

If you're a major conference fan still with us (me), we'll (I'll) humor you.

Rapidly aging fans of teams that haven't done enough yet to warrant "lock" status should adopt these squads as their own for the next couple of weeks.

1. Gonzaga (West Coast)

A perennial occupant of any such list, the 'Zags are merely playing for seed at this point.

2. Butler (Horizon)

Ditto.

3. Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley)

A team from the MVC was noticeably absent on this list a year ago. No more, as the Panthers have controlled the Valley from start to finish and have put themselves in position to snag a single-digit seed in the big show. 

4. St. Mary's (West Coast)

No team has been helped more by the struggles of bubble teams from power conferences in recent weeks than the Gaels. They've lost three conference games in a down season for the WCC, but their RPI is strong enough (44) that winning a game in the league tourney and falling to Gonzaga in the finals might be enough to get them an at-large bid. 

5. Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic)

The Saints' 0-4 record against RPI top 50 teams means they'll likely have to win the MAAC tourney to get in, but the Notre Dames and San Diego States of the world should probably go ahead and don their gold and green this week just to be safe. 

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FIVE MORE BIG TIME FAVORITES

These runaway  regular season champs are all expected to go dancing, but will be relegated to the NIT with an upset.

1. Murray State (Ohio Valley)

The Racers weren't the preseason favorite in the OVC (defending champ Morehead was), but they, ahem, raced out to a 15-0 start in conference play and finished the regular season at 17-1 and 28-4 overall. 

2. Morgan State (MEAC)

Todd Bozeman's Bears are the three-time defending regular season MEAC champs and the defending league tourney champs. Their 14-1 conference record is best by four games. 

3. Oakland (Summit)

The Rawle Marshall-led Golden Grizzlies went to the NCAA Tournament in 2005, but Oakland captured its first Summit League regular season title this season by virtue of its 17-1 league record. 

4. Sam Houston State (Southland)

The Bearkats (it's right) have won 14 of their last 15 and have dominated opponents on their way to a 14-1 league record. SHS has won its last three games by a combined 71 points.

5. Jackson State (SWAC)

They've won 11 straight and sit at 15-1 in the conference but will still almost certainly be sent to Dayton for the play-in game if they can make it through the SWAC tourney unscathed. 

 

15 PLAYERS WHO WILL BE HEARD FROM

1. Gordon Hayward (Butler/Horizon League)

By averaging over 15 points and rebounds a game, Hayward became the fourth Bulldog in five years to bring home Horizon League POY honors. He sat out the regular season finale with a back injury, but should be good to go when Butler takes the floor in the Horizon semifinals on Saturday.

2. Omar Samhan (Saint Mary's/West Coast)

The senior center broke the Saint Mary's single-season scoring record when he dropped 33 on Loyola Marymount Saturday. He went off for 31 and 12 against Gonzaga in the first of two losses to the 'Zags earlier this year.

3. Artsiom Parakhouski (Radford/Big South)

The 6-foot-11 repeat Big South Player of the Year averaged 21.6 points and 13.2 rebounds and led the nation with 24 double-doubles. 

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4. Ryan Wittman (Cornell/Ivy)

You won't get to see him until the big dance since the Ivy League doesn't have a little dance, but the son of ex-NBA head coach Randy Wittman is one of the best shooters in college basketball. 

5. Reggie Holmes (Morgan State/MEAC)

Holmes, a senior, didn't become a full-time starter until this season, but has scored enough (22.0 ppg) to be just 42 points shy of 2,000 for his career. He's gone over 30 points five times this season, including a 34-point outburst in a November win at Arkansas.

6. Kenneth Faried (Morehead State/Ohio Valley)

Faried led the nation in rebounding again this season despite standing just 6-7. The reason for that being possible is simple: he plays harder than anyone else on the floor.  His 22 double-doubles were second only nationally to Parakhouski. 

7. Adnon Hodzic (Lipscomb/Atlantic Sun)

The A-Sun Player of the year averaged over 22 points per game for the top-seeded Bisons. His family fled war-torn bosnia when he was just a toddler.

Adnanhodzic_medium

8. Ronald Moore (Siena/Metro Atlantic Athletic)

Moore leads the nation in assists per game (7.7), has an assist-to-turnover ratio of more than 3-to-1 and has the Saints poised for another NCAA Tournament run. He almost single-handedly led Siena to a first round victory over Ohio State a year ago, and then handled Louisville's pressure as well as any point guard had all season as the Saints nearly upset the top overall seed in the tournament. 

9. Marquez Haynes (UT-Arlington/Southland)

Haynes, a Boston College transfer, is the nation's third-leading scorer and one of the few true NBA prospects on this list. 

10. Noah Dahlman (Wofford/Southern)

Despite leading the league in scoring, Appalachian State's Donald Sims lost out to Dahlman in a hotly contested race for SoCon Player of the year. The junior forward led the division champion Terriers and ranked fourth in the league in scoring at 17.4 points per game. He has scored in double figures 44 straight times.

11. Tyren Johnson (Louisiana-Lafayette/Sun Belt)

Johnson led the Sun Belt in scoring, was second in rebounding, steals and minutes played, was fourth in blocked shots and in the top 15 in field goal percentage (.503), assists and assists-to-turnover ratio. No other player in the league led his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots.

12. Chris Harris (Navy/Patriot)

The All-Patriot League selection led the league in scoring (21.1), three-pointers made (84) and steals (2.0).

13. Justin Rutty (Quinnipiac/Northeast)

Rutty, Quinnipiac's first NEC Player of the Year, is the prototypical dominant mid-major post player: strong, too short to play low in a BCS conference and extremely aggressive. He notched a league best 14 double-doubles in his junior season. 

14. Larry Sanders (VCU/Colonial Athletic)

The departure of Eric Maynor has allowed Sanders to establish himself as his team's and the league's top post presence, averaging 14.8 ppg and 8.9 rpg. He's expected to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft if he chooses to skip his senior year of college. 

15. Osiris Eldridge (Illinois State/Missouri Valley)

He was the Arch Madness MVP a year ago despite playing for the runner-up, and has admittedly spent the past 12 months preparing for this week and a shot at redemption. 

Osiris_20eldridge_202_medium

 

FIVE MORE BECAUSE I CAN

Marqus Blakely (Vermont/America East)
Donald Sims (Appalachian State/Southern)
Matt Bouldin (Gonzaga/West Coast)
Johnathon Jones (Oakland/Summit)
Michael Deloach (Norfolk State/MEAC)

 

FIVE TITLE GAMES YOU WANT TO HAPPEN

1. Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary's (West Coast)

These two simply don't care for one another. The 'Zags swept the regular season series with relative ease, but the stakes will be higher with the Gaels - perhaps - playing for their NCAA Tournament lives. 

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2. Murray State vs. Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

The defending champs and preseason favorites squaring off against the team that surprisingly dominated the league from start to finish. The last meeting between these two ended with Morehead handing Murray its first OVC loss and snapping the nation's longest winning streak in the process. 

3. Akron vs. Kent State (Mid-American)

Two words: identical records (22-8, 12-3).

4. Robert Morris vs. Quinnipiac (Northeast)

Robert Morris spanked the Bobcats by 27 in the NEC semifinals a season ago, but Quinnipiac exacted a bit of revenge in 2010 by knocking off the Colonials on Feb. 20 to earn the head-to-head tiebreaker and bring home the first regular season title in program history. 

5. Stony Brook vs. Vermont (America East)

The Catamounts are back among the league's elite and head into the postseason winners of eight of their last nine. Their only loss over that span was an 82-78 decision at Stony Brook which proved to be the difference in a regular season title race that was ultimately decided by one game. 

 

FIVE CRAZY COMPETITIVE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

Parity reigns supreme and should make for some tremendous games in each of these leagues.

1. Atlantic Sun

Four teams tied for the regular season title, with Lipscomb ultimately earning the top seed by virtue of their 4-2 record against the other three teams. Perennial powerhouse Belmont wasn't one of the teams who finished 14-6, but the Bears enter the postseason as the hottest team in the league, having won eight of nine. 

2. Southern

While Stephen Curry's decision to leave for the NBA a year early will likely have a negative affect on the SoCon title game's TV rating, the tournament itself should be more fun to follow. Or at least the games will be more competitive. Come back, Steph. Wofford (15-3), Charleston (14-4) and Appy State (13-5) are the most likely contenders to end the Davidson Invitational era.  

3. Colonial Athletic Association

There was talk in late January of this league possibly producing multiple at-large bids, but inexcusable stumbles from the league's top dogs quickly brought it back down to win or go home status. Still, any one of the top five teams from this conference (Northeastern, Old Dominion, William & Mary, VCU, George Mason) are more than capable of springing a first round upset in the dance. 

4. Patriot League

With the exception of American and Navy tying for fourth-place at 7-7, each spot in the final league standings is separated by a single game. Year in, year out, the Patriot produces the most competitive quarterfinal contests during the opening week of the postseason. 

5. Sun Belt

Middle Tennessee, Troy and North Texas all finished with league-best records of 13-5. Still, Western Kentucky may (again) be the favorite here, riding a seven-game league winning streak into the Belt tourney. 

 

FIVE CRAPPIER CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

There's been a growing trend in recent years of leagues starting their regular season champions, or top two seeds, in the semifinals of the postseason tournament. It makes sense in that it adequately rewards regular season performance and gives the league its best shot to be well-represented in the NCAA Tournament, but it's like, not as fun.

Here are five conference tournaments that hope the prince cheats on Cinderella in ten years.

1. Big Sky

Not only does the Big Sky automatically place its top two seeds in the semifinals, but it only includes six teams in the whole tournament. A conference tournament that has as many total games as a first round baseball playoff series is un-American. I said it.

2. Horizon League

The Horizon has been utilizing this practice for a few seasons, but two years ago they stepped it up a notch. Now the top two seeds get an automatic bye into the semis, while the other eight teams have to win four games in four days. Wright State earned the second seed over Green Bay by a mere game and now sits in the semifinals, while the poor Phoenix have to win a pair of games just to get there. Of course a year ago Cleveland State did make it to the NCAAs by winning four games from the No. 3 spot.

3. West Coast

Gonzaga and St. Mary's will both begin league play in the semifinals, making this the easiest championship game to predict in the history of college basketball.

4. Big West

The Big West gives its top two seeds a bye into the semis, but it's also one of the few leagues that employs the NHL style of having the highest remaining seed play the lowest remaining seed in each round. Smart? Sure. Annoying as hell for fans of postseason college basketball? You bet.

What have we learned so far? Conference tournaments west of the Mississippi are infinitely lamer than conference tournaments east of the Mississippi. The Big East has four games for three straight days. THREE STRAIGHT DAYS OF FOUR GAMES.

Grow up, left coast. 

5. Ivy League

Say what you will about the other four, but at least they have tournaments. Also, studying: not cool.

 

FIVE TEAMS EVEN THOSE WHO STOPPED READING AN HOUR AGO SHOULD WATCH

1. VMI (Big South)

The highest scoring team in college basketball. That is all.

2. Sam Houston State (Southland)

Lots of pressing, lots of points, fairly high quality of basketball.

3. North Dakota State (Summit)

They stole America's hearts a year ago and I seriously doubt they've gotten any less scrappy or any less white.

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4. Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

Kenneth Faried should be taped and shown to any and all youth basketball players.

5. Portland State (Big Sky)

Capable of beating or losing to anyone in their conference because of their style of play. If you must watch the Big Sky Tournament, then be happy that the Vikings snuck in. 

 

TEN POTENTIAL NON-TOP SEEDS WHO COULD GO DANCING

1. Mount St. Mary's (Northeast)

Losers of nine straight earlier in the year, the Mountaineers are now riding a ten-game winning streak into the postseason. They've already defeated both Quinnipiac and Robert Morris, who tied for the regular season title.

2. Eastern Illinois (Ohio Valley)

The Panthers have won eight straight, including a victory over league runner-up Morehead State on Feb. 11.

3. Western Kentucky (Sun Belt)

Sharing the wealth has never been Western's thing. Just when you think it's definitely going to be someone else's year the 'Tops run off seven straight and thump the league's regular season champ (Troy) by 18. 

Basketball_span_2_medium

4. Belmont (Atlantic Sun)

See above. The Bears have dominated this tournament for the past decade and, despite finishing fifth in the final A-Sun standings, have won eight of their last nine. 

5. Hofstra (Colonial)

A tough task lies in front of the seventh-seeded Pride, but they're playing as well as any team in the CAA. They closed the regular season by winning six straight and nine of their last ten, a run that included a Bracket Buster win over Rider and an 11-point triumph at Northeastern. 

6. Milwaukee (Horizon)

Winners of six straight, the fourth-seed may have a better shot at knocking off Butler than anyone else. 

7. Northern Colorado (Big Sky)

Not just for stab-happy kickers anymore. The Bears have won seven of eight, falling only to regular season champ Weber State on Feb. 13, a game which was their second on the road in as many days.

8. Vermont (America East)

Not exactly a sleeper pick. The Catamounts have won eight of nine and figure to get another shot at top-seed Stony Brook this weekend. 

9. Norfolk State (MEAC)

I'll go ahead and say it: if anyone's going to upset Morgan State, it'll be the Spartans. They've won five of six and fell to the Bears by a single point on the road last week. 

10. Portland (West Coast)

The odds of anyone outside of Gonzaga and Saint Mary's snagging WCC glory are slim, but the Pilots have won six of seven and knocked off the Gaels in ovetime on Feb. 13.

 

FIVE MORE BECAUSE I STILL CAN

Buffalo (Mid-American)
Illinois State (Missouri Valley)
Radford (Big South)
Oral Roberts (Summit)
Appalachian State (Southern)


And that's it. If you didn't read every word, you're tacky and I hate you.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com