BSB Baseball Suicide Pool: Round One to J

Well, the first ever BSB Baseball Suicide Pool was short, but rather sweet for one guy.  J took down the 11-person field in a mere 4 days to start the season with a healthy winfall.  7 of the 11 entries went down in the very first day, as the Rays, Cubs, and Cardinals losses each eliminated a pair of competitors, and the Rockies ousted another.  J nearly won it on Day Two, as he took his bye, Gross, Sr., lost with the A’s against Seattle, and Greeley and Dave needed a Pirates bullpen implosion to even survive to Sunday.  Greeley took his bye on Sunday, but Dave wanted to get one more day so that he could use his on the short Monday schedule, and lost with the Red Sox.  J rode Roy Oswalt to a Sunday win to take on Greeley in a mono e mono Monday battle.

Ironically, on Monday, J (possibly the biggest Yankee hater I know) picked the Yankees, who won, and Greeley (possibly the biggest Yankee FAN I know), lost with the Cards and was eliminated by his own team.

Round Two begins Wednesday with one big change.  Instead of offering a bye, we are going with the three strikes and you’re out policy.  So, it’s basically become a triple-elimination pool, so we are allowing for 2 losses before being eliminated.  All other rules still apply.  If anyone interested in Round Two, let me know.

CTC Final Recap: By an Amazing Score of 2,652 – 2,651, Rikey Wins the 2011 Overall Title

Truth is oftentimes stranger than fiction.  And, in this case, you can’t make this kind of thing up.  After 13 days, 276 games played, and 45,712 points awarded, the CTC overall title was decided by one single, solitary point.  Doogan asked me how many times I recounted the scores to make sure I wasn’t missing anything – well, the answer is, “a lot.”  I actually found two mistakes in my “audit,” but they were just small point omissions for Teddy and Mac.  Nothing that would change the fact that Bry’s brilliant pick of the eventual Big East champion to lose to an 0-18 team on the first day of the Big East tournament cost him a 3rd straight overall title.  A much-deserved overall victory to Rikey, who hid in the shadows, lurking around the leaders for most of the contest, before exploding onto the scene to win 4 of the last 6 days and take the overall title.  He dominated the big conferences, finishing either 1st of 2nd in the ACC, A-10, Big XII, and SEC.  He hit three of the four games on Day Thirteen to finish off the comeback.  And, maybe most impressive of all was his consistency.  Rikey took the overall title and yet only won one conference (the SEC on the final day). 

Sharing the Day Thirteen victory honors are Bry, Alexi, Lil Lohse, and Gersh.  Lynch and Cheryl got no points on Day Thirteen and fell to 17th and 20th, respectively, in the final standings.  J, who lost three straight potential clinchers, still finish a solid 3rd place, just 21 points behind the winner.  Alexi and Lohse finish solidly in the top 5, while Doogan drops to 7th on the final day.  Gersh actually made the biggest jump on Day Thirteen, moving from 16th after Day Twelve to an 11th place finish.  Dave and Lil Lohse also climbed a couple spots when it mattered most.  KA climbed a big spot into 19th in the final standings.  Stri fell 4 spots and out of the top 10.

Thanks to all for participating and Doogan for all the help with the recaps.  We hope to see everyone back for the 2012 version.

DAY THIRTEEN SCORES (days won):

  1. Alexi – 270 (2)
  2. Bry – 270 (4)
  3. Gersh – 270 (1)
  4. Lil Lohse – 270 (1)
  5. Rikey – 270 (4)
  6. Dave – 190
  7. Lohse – 190
  8. Teddy – 190
  9. Dan – 180
  10. Primm – 180 (1)
  11. Scoot – 180
  12. Waters – 180
  13. J – 170 (1)
  14. Gross – 100 (1)
  15. Doogan – 90 (2)
  16. KA – 90 (1)
  17. Mac – 80 (1)
  18. Stri – 80
  19. Cheryl – 0
  20. Lynch – 0

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS (conferences won):

  1. Rikey – 2652 (SEC)
  2. Bry – 2651 (Big XII, Big Sky*, CAA, Horizon*, MWC*, Summit*, WCC*)
  3. J – 2631 (A-Sun, Big West, Great West, MAC, MWC*, OVC, Sun Belt)
  4. Alexi – 2548 (ACC, MVC)
  5. Lohse – 2366 (Summit*)
  6. Dan – 2362 (A-Sun, Great West)
  7. Doogan – 2324 (AmEast*, Big South, MAC, MEAC)
  8. Waters – 2317 (A-10, WAC)
  9. Scoot – 2316 (Big East, NEC*)
  10. Dave – 2295 (A-Sun, Southland)
  11. Gersh – 2268
  12. Stri – 2248 (NEC*, Summit*)
  13. Primm – 2242 (Big 10, MAAC)
  14. Lil Lohse – 2240 (Summit*)
  15. Mac – 2195 (Great West, Summit*)
  16. Gross – 2174 (Patriot*, SoCon, Summit*)
  17. Lynch – 2134 (C-USA, Pac-10, SWAC, Summit*)
  18. Teddy – 2052 (Summit*)
  19. KA – 1860
  20. Cheryl – 1837 (Summit*)

FINAL ACC STANDINGS (prior CTC titles):

  1. Alexi (’11) – 310
  2. J – 300
  3. Rikey – 280
  4. Gersh – 260
  5. KA – 260
  6. Bry (’08) – 250
  7. Teddy – 250
  8. Doogan (’09) – 240
  9. Lil Lohse – 240
  10. Lohse – 240
  11. Dan – 190
  12. Dave – 190
  13. Lynch – 180
  14. Mac – 170
  15. Cheryl – 160
  16. Scoot – 160
  17. Stri (’10) – 160
  18. Primm – 150
  19. Gross – 130
  20. Waters – 130

FINAL SEC STANDINGS:

  1. Rikey (’11) – 320
  2. Scoot – 310
  3. Dan – 290
  4. Dave – 290
  5. Gersh – 290
  6. Lohse – 290
  7. Alexi (’09, ’10) – 270
  8. Bry – 240
  9. Gross – 240
  10. Lil Lohse – 240
  11. Teddy – 240
  12. Cheryl – 230
  13. Stri – 230
  14. Primm – 220
  15. Mac – 200
  16. Waters (’08) – 170
  17. J – 160
  18. KA – 160
  19. Doogan – 160
  20. Lynch – 80

FINAL ATLANTIC 10 STANDINGS:

  1. Waters (’08, ’11) – 290
  2. Rikey – 240
  3. Gross – 160
  4. Bry (’09, ’10) – 140
  5. Cheryl – 140
  6. Stri – 130
  7. Alexi – 120
  8. Scoot – 120
  9. Doogan (’10) – 110
  10. Dave – 100
  11. J – 100
  12. Dan – 70
  13. Mac – 70
  14. Lil Lohse – 60
  15. Lohse – 60
  16. Lynch – 60
  17. Primm – 60
  18. Teddy – 60
  19. Gersh – 50
  20. KA – 30

FINAL BIG TEN STANDINGS:

  1. Primm (’11) – 280
  2. Alexi – 260
  3. Dan – 260
  4. J – 230
  5. Scoot – 220
  6. Waters (’10) – 220
  7. Gersh – 180
  8. Lil Lohse – 180
  9. Mac – 160
  10. Rikey – 160
  11. Stri – 160
  12. Gross – 150
  13. Bry (’08, ’09) – 140
  14. KA – 110
  15. Lohse – 110
  16. Teddy – 110
  17. Dave – 100
  18. Cheryl – 80
  19. Doogan – 80
  20. Lynch – 50

CTC: Day Thirteen

After twelve days of pretty amazing basketball and intense CTC competition, it all comes down to one game (and maybe a single point) to decide the 2011 CTC overall title.  With only four games today – all worth 80 points apiece – it is a real feast or famine day, so there can be a lot of movement on the final leaderboard.

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
A thorough BSB investigation determined that Duke-UNC is the second-best rivalry in all of sports.  And, now we are ready for yet another chapter.  Today’s ACC title game will be the 6th time since 2001 that these two basketball superpower in this title game, and the winner of each of the first five of them has then gone to the Final Four that April.  That is an incredible statistic.  Alexi, who is currently leading the ACC, will win the 2011 CTC ACC title with a Duke win.  A UNC win will give Dan the 2011 ACC crown.

#1 North Carolina vs. #2 Duke
It should be obvious, from these two weeks, that I love the smaller conferences and, during the season, get pretty sick of having to watch Duke and UNC every Wednesday or Thursday night, playing against some cannon fodder that has no chance of winning in Cameron or the Dean Dome.  But, there is little better than wars between two elite teams, especially those that hate each other as much as these two do.  I haven’t been all that excited about any single ACC tournament game this year…until now.  This one is a must-see battle.  UNC was playing at an extremely high level coming into the tournament, but needed everything they had to erase big deficits against both Miami and Clemson, along the way, winning their semi in OT.  Duke, on the other hand, was not really scared in either of their tournament games against Maryland and Virginia Tech.  Nolan Smith was healthy enough yesterday to drop 27 on the Hokies, so that isn’t a big issue today.  We will see how the youth of UNC responds to the big moment against the immense experience that the Dookies bring to the table.  The CTC is pretty split on this one, with 19 people having one of these two teams as their champion (Lynch had Va Tech).  8 people (Stri, Waters, Scoot, Cheryl, Dan, Primm, Gross, and Mac) have UNC.  The other 11 have Duke.

FINAL SCORE:  Duke 75 – North Carolina 58
With a thorough beatdown of their arch-rivals, the Blue Devils secure themselves yet another ACC title and yet another NCAA tournament #1-seed.  The Devils scored the first 8 points of the game and never looked back, opening the lead up to 19 at one point and never trailing themselves all game.  It was a pretty anticlimactic ending to an okay ACC tournament.  In bad news for the rest of the country, Nolan Smith looked totally healthy again, leading Duke with 20 points.  11 people nailed Duke as their ACC champ.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
The two teams left standing after 10 SEC tournament games are both playing at extremely high levels and should be heard from deep into the month of March.  It should be an interesting game that, much like the ACC title game, pits a team with age and experience against a team with very little, but a ton of talent.  The two games together may give us a bit of an idea on just what is driving today’s college hoops game and whether or not the Calipari/Hewiit style of recruiting (get the most talented kids regardless of one-and-done NBA ambitions or willingness to cater to a team’s system) is really better than the Coach K/Ben Howland way (get less-heralded kids with strong work ethics who are not thinking of immediate NBA riches and their draft positions, but rather simply of how they can get better as basketball players).  Do you want Ashton Gibbs, Chandler Parsons, and Lance Thomas as seniors or John Wall, Terrence Jones, and Derrick Favors as freshmen?  Honestly, I don’t know, but it’s the interesting dilemma that big-time college coaches are faced with these days.  The SEC’s current leader, Stri, will win the 2011 CTC title with a Florida win.  Rikey will win the 2011 CTC SEC title AND the 2011 CTC overall title with a Kentucky win.  J will win the overall title with a Florida win.

#1E Florida vs. #2E Kentucky
Florida (who won the tough Eastern Division) actually had a much more difficult road in this tournament than Kentucky (who finished second in the East).  The Gators had to go through two tough tournament teams – Tennessee and Vanderbilt – while Kentucky faced a probable CBI team in Ole Miss and a probably NIT team in Alabama.  But, they both got here just the same and will play for it all in the SEC today.  I am very eager to see the individual battle between Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones, plus the point guard battle between highly-touted Brandon Knight versus the 5’7″ jet Erving Walker.  The CTC is only somewhat split on this one.  The majority of the field (12 entries) has Kentucky.  4 people have Florida (Stri, Waters, Cheryl, and Mac), and four more have already lost with either Vandy (Doogan and J), Mississippi State (Lynch), or Alabama (KA).

FINAL SCORE:  Kentucky 70 – Florida 54
In another game that wasn’t all that close, UK closes out an impressive run through the SEC tournament with a convincing win over Florida, giving the ‘Cats another SEC title, and Rikey the 2011 CTC Overall Title.  These Kentucky freshmen look really good, and I would not want to be matched up with them next week.  A dozen people got this championship pick right, including Rikey and Bry, which catapulted them ahead of J into 1-2 in the overall standings.

ATLANTIC TEN CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
The A-10 expansion of about a decade ago has really been great for the league.  Adding perennial national contender, Xavier, as well as solid programs like St. Louis and the two teams that will play for this year’s championship – Richmond and Dayton – was a pretty nice step for a league that has dealt with the defections of teams like Villanova, Pitt, West Virginia, Penn State, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech to richer conferences.  In today’s final, the world will get to see – on CBS – two of the great additions to the league play for it all.  And, it could be a great day for the A-10.  If Dayton beats Richmond, the league should get 4 teams in The Dance tonight, which would tie the record for the league, which received 4 bids in 1993, 1997, and 2003.  Bubble teams all over the land are hard-core Richmond fans today, as is Waters, who wins the 2011 CTC A-10 title with a Spiders win today.  Rikey will take the title with a Dayton win.

#3 Richmond vs. #9 Dayton
Well, the 9-seed won the Big East tournament last night, so it is not ridiculous to think it could happen here in the A-10, as well.  In fact, Dayton certainly has the talent to be this conference’s last team standing.  With Chris Wright and Chris Johnson, this team expected to be in the Dance from the start of the year.  They definitely didn’t expect to have to win this tournament to do it, though.  Jawan Staten is a terrific freshman point guard, but he is a freshman, and he is up against one of the best in the country in Kevin Anderson.  Also, there will be a great battle on the inside, as well, with Wright going up against first-team all-A10 player, Justin Harper.  It is not surprising that no one has Dayton winning this tournament, but it is a bit surprising that only one (Waters) has Richmond.

FINAL SCORE:  Richmond 67 – Dayton 54
The Spiders complete the tournament victory, ensuring their selection in the field of 68 (and it was probably a good thing, considering what happened with the bubble teams).  The last chance for the A-10 to place 4 teams in the field was quelled today, when Dayton just didn’t have enough in the tank to take down Richmond.  Waters was the only one to have Richmond winning this tournament, so he picks up a cool 100 points on the rest of the field.

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
The top of the bracket was rather easy for top-seed Ohio State to navigate, but Penn State coming out of the bottom of the bracket – which contained Purdue, Wisconsin, and Michigan State – is incredible, and should get the Nittany Lions into the tournament, regardless of the outcome of their game against the nation’s number one today.  What is interesting is that, with this game tipping off at 3:30, it probably will not come to an end until about 5:30 or so.  With the brackets being announced at 6:00, the Committee’s opinion on Penn State is probably already made up before this game even begins.  Personally, I think that it is bad for Penn State, from a seeding perspective, but good for them in terms of selection.  The Committee probably has them in or not and won’t really be able to be swayed if the Lions get blown out today.  But, if they win, normally, their seeding would be improved substantially, but, with all the different things that the Committee has to take into consideration, it will probably be a lot of work to up PSU’s seeding at the 11th hour, if they are to beat OSU.  Primm has already clinched the 2011 CTC Big Ten championship trophy.

#1 Ohio State vs. #6 Penn State
Like I said above, I think PSU is in already.  But, there is no doubt that they very close.  They, obviously, would feel MUCH better, though, if they were to make it official by taking the Big Ten title here, especially if Dayton wins their early game.  OSU is, in my mind, clearly the best team in America, but their one potential weakness is their lack of depth, so it should be interesting to see how Thad Matta works the rotation in their third game in three days.  On the other side, this is PSU’s fourth game in four days, and a lot of their success falls on the shoulders of one guy – Taylor Battle.  If Battle, a jump-shooter and slasher, is fatigued and short on the jumpers, the already somewhat anemic PSU offense becomes basically impotent.  No one has the Lions here, but a dozen entries pegged the Buckeyes as their champ (Bry, J, Stri, Alexi, Waters, Lil Lohse, Scoot, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, Primm, and Mac.

FINAL SCORE:  Ohio State 71 – Penn State 60
In the final game of another amazing two weeks of college hoops, the country’s best team won the Big Ten title in convincing fashion over the upstart Nittany Lions, who played their way into the tournament this week.  Jared Sullinger was a man-child all week, and was named MOP of the tournament, despite only making 12 of his 36 field goal attempts.  12 more people hit this champ here.

CTC Day Twelve Recap: Rikey Wins a Big Day Twelve and Could Complete a Historic Comeback

And, then there were two.  Rikey’s correct picks of Richmond and Kansas yesterday have put him in striking distance of J, the overall leader, on the final day.  And, get this – if Kentucky wins – Rikey will win the overall title by a single point over Bry.  (EDITOR’S NOTE:  One f’ing point?!?!?  Are you kidding me?).  J blew two chances to clinch the overall title yesterday (Michigan State and Texas).  But, he still has the overall lead and another chance to win this thing.  If Florida beats Kentucky today, J will hold off the hard-charging Rikey and take the 2011 CTC Overall Title.  Waters took the biggest jump on Day Twelve, going from 15th to 9th.  Scoot jumped 4 spots, and Dan climbed 3.  Dave took the biggest fall on Day Twelve, dropping from 7th to 13th.  Gross and Primm fell 4 spots.

DAY TWELVE SCORES (days won):

  1. Rikey – 462 (3)
  2. Mac – 430 (1)
  3. Waters – 428
  4. J – 416 (1)
  5. Alexi – 404 (1)
  6. Scoot – 384
  7. Bry – 372 (3)
  8. Dan – 360
  9. Doogan – 360 (2)
  10. Lynch – 352
  11. Stri – 342
  12. Cheryl – 294
  13. Lil Lohse – 292
  14. KA – 278 (1)
  15. Gross – 262 (1)
  16. Lohse – 260
  17. Dave – 252
  18. Primm – 252 (1)
  19. Gersh – 240
  20. Teddy – 184

OVERALL STANDINGS (conferences won)

  1.  J – 2461 (A-Sun, OVC, Sun Belt)
  2. Rikey – 2382
  3. Bry – 2381 (Big Sky*, CAA, Horizon*, Summit*, WCC*)
  4. Alexi – 2278 (MVC)
  5. Doogan – 2234 (Big South)
  6. Dan – 2182 (A-Sun)
  7. Lohse – 2176 (Summit*)
  8. Stri – 2168 (NEC*, Summit*)
  9. Waters – 2137
  10. Scoot – 2136 (NEC*)
  11. Lynch – 2134 (Summit*)
  12. Mac – 2115 (Summit*)
  13. Dave – 2105 (A-Sun)
  14. Gross – 2074 (Patriot*, SoCon, Summit*)
  15. Primm – 2062 (MAAC)
  16. Gersh – 1998
  17. Lil Lohse – 1970 (Summit*)
  18. Teddy – 1862 (Summit*)
  19. Cheryl – 1837 (Summit*)
  20. KA – 1770

FINAL BIG EAST STANDINGS (prior CTC titles):

  1. Scoot (’11) – 200
  2. Mac – 175
  3. Dave – 165
  4. Lohse – 160
  5. Primm – 160
  6. Stri – 160
  7. Dan – 150
  8. Doogan (’08, ’09) – 140
  9. Gersh – 130
  10. KA – 130
  11. Rikey – 100
  12. Cheryl – 95
  13. Bry – 85
  14. Lil Lohse – 80
  15. Lynch – 80
  16. J – 75
  17. Alexi – 70
  18. Waters – 65
  19. Gross – 50
  20. Teddy (’10) – 40

FINAL BIG XII STANDINGS:

  1. Bry (’11) – 280
  2. Mac – 260
  3. Rikey – 260
  4. Lil Lohse – 250
  5. Stri (’10) – 220
  6. Alexi (’09) – 180
  7. Dan – 180
  8. KA – 180
  9. Dave – 150
  10. Gersh – 140
  11. J (’10) – 140
  12. Lil Lohse – 140
  13. Lynch – 140
  14. Primm – 120
  15. Scoot – 120
  16. Waters – 120
  17. Gross – 110
  18. Doogan (’08) – 100
  19. Teddy – 100
  20. Cheryl – 90

FINAL PAC-10 STANDINGS:

  1. Lynch (’11) – 230
  2. Gross – 190
  3. Gersh – 160
  4. Lohse – 130
  5. Doogan (’08) – 110
  6. KA – 110
  7. Rikey – 110
  8. J – 100
  9. Scoot – 100
  10. Alexi (’09) – 90
  11. Primm – 90
  12. Stri (’10) – 90
  13. Mac – 80
  14. Waters – 80
  15. Dan – 70
  16. Teddy (’10) – 70
  17. Bry – 60
  18. Lil Lohse – 60
  19. Dave – 50
  20. Cheryl – 40

FINAL MOUNTAIN WEST STANDINGS:

  1. Bry (’11) – 224*
  2. J (’08, ’11) – 224*
  3. Alexi – 208
  4. Doogan – 208
  5. Primm – 208
  6. Lynch (’09) – 208
  7. Waters – 200
  8. Cheryl – 184
  9. Dave – 184
  10. Lil Lohse – 176
  11. Mac – 176
  12. Rikey – 176
  13. Scoot – 176
  14. Stri (’10) – 152
  15. Dan – 136
  16. Teddy – 136
  17. Gross – 120
  18. Lohse – 120
  19. Gersh – 112
  20. KA – 104

FINAL CONFERENCE USA STANDINGS:

  1. Lynch (’11) – 192
  2. J – 168
  3. Waters – 150
  4. Lil Lohse – 120
  5. Alexi – 108
  6. Dave – 90
  7. Doogan – 90
  8. Mac – 90
  9. Lohse (’10) – 84
  10. Rikey – 84
  11. Cheryl – 78
  12. Gersh – 78
  13. Primm – 66
  14. Gross – 54
  15. Bry (’09) – 48
  16. Teddy – 48
  17. Dan – 42
  18. Scoot – 36
  19. Stri – 36
  20. KA – 24

FINAL WAC STANDINGS:

  1. Waters (’11) – 92
  2. Bry (’09) – 88
  3. Doogan – 84
  4. J – 76
  5. Scoot – 76
  6. Lil Lohse – 72
  7. Cheryl – 68
  8. Dave – 64
  9. Lynch – 64
  10. Stri – 64
  11. Teddy (’10) – 64
  12. Dan – 60
  13. Lohse – 56
  14. Primm – 56
  15. Rikey – 56
  16. Alexi (’08) – 52
  17. Gross – 52
  18. Mac – 52
  19. Gersh – 48
  20. KA – 0

FINAL MAC STANDINGS:

  1. Doogan (’08, ’09, ’11) – 100
  2. J (’11) – 100
  3. Alexi – 96
  4. Gross – 96
  5. Teddy (’10*) – 80
  6. Primm – 72
  7. Bry – 68
  8. Gersh – 56
  9. Rikey – 56
  10. Waters – 52
  11. Dave – 48
  12. KA – 48
  13. Lynch – 48
  14. Mac – 48
  15. Stri – 48
  16. Dan – 44
  17. Lil Lohse – 40
  18. Lohse – 40
  19. Cheryl – 32
  20. Scoot – 24

FINAL BIG WEST STANDINGS:

  1. J (’11) – 32
  2. Waters – 26
  3. Cheryl – 22
  4. Dan – 22
  5. Dave – 22
  6. Gersh – 22
  7. Lynch – 22
  8. Scoot – 22
  9. Stri (’10) – 22
  10. Bry (’09*) – 18
  11. Mac – 18
  12. Teddy – 18
  13. Alexi – 16
  14. Gross – 16
  15. Lil Lohse – 16
  16. Lohse – 16
  17. Primm – 16
  18. Rikey – 16
  19. Doogan (’08) – 12
  20. KA – 12

FINAL AMERICA EAST STANDINGS:

  1. Doogan (’11*) – 70*
  2. Dave – 66
  3. J – 48
  4. Lil Lohse – 48
  5. Lohse – 48
  6. Waters – 40
  7. Bry (’09) – 36
  8. Primm – 36
  9. Stri (’10) – 36
  10. KA – 34
  11. Scoot – 32
  12. Teddy – 30
  13. Cheryl – 26
  14. Mac – 26
  15. Rikey – 22
  16. Dan – 20
  17. Lynch (’10) – 18
  18. Alexi (’08) – 14
  19. Gross – 14
  20. Gersh – 12

FINAL MEAC STANDINGS:

  1. Doogan (’11) – 66
  2. Bry (’10) – 64
  3. J – 46
  4. Lynch (’09) – 46
  5. Rikey – 44
  6. Teddy – 44
  7. Dan – 40
  8. Gersh – 40
  9. Alexi (’08) – 36
  10. Primm – 36
  11. Lil Lohse – 30
  12. Waters – 30
  13. Gross – 26
  14. Dave – 22
  15. KA – 22
  16. Lohse – 22
  17. Mac – 22
  18. Stri – 20
  19. Cheryl – 18
  20. Scoot – 10

FINAL SOUTHLAND STANDINGS:

  1. Dave (’11) – 30
  2. Lohse – 26
  3. Lynch (’10) – 26
  4. Gross – 22
  5. Gersh – 20
  6. Primm – 20
  7. Rikey – 20
  8. Stri (’10) – 20
  9. Doogan – 18
  10. J – 18
  11. Teddy (’10) – 18
  12. Mac – 16
  13. Scoot – 16
  14. Waters (’09) – 16
  15. Bry (’08) – 14
  16. Cheryl – 8
  17. Dan – 8
  18. KA – 8
  19. Lil Lohse – 8
  20. Alexi (’10) – 4

FINAL SWAC STANDINGS:

  1. Lynch (’11) – 48
  2. Dave – 34
  3. KA – 34
  4. Teddy (’10) – 34
  5. Lil Lohse – 26
  6. Waters (’08) – 26
  7. Cheryl – 22
  8. Dan – 22
  9. J – 22
  10. Bry – 18
  11. Gersh – 18
  12. Mac – 12
  13. Rikey – 12
  14. Stri – 12
  15. Alexi – 8
  16. Doogan – 8
  17. Lohse – 8
  18. Primm – 8
  19. Scoot – 8
  20. Gross – 4

FINAL GREAT WEST STANDINGS:

  1. Dan (’11) – 38
  2. Gersh (’11) – 38
  3. J (’11) – 38
  4. Mac (’11) – 38
  5. Scoot – 34
  6. KA – 34
  7. Lohse – 22
  8. Alexi – 18
  9. Doogan – 18
  10. Lil Lohse – 18
  11. Primm – 18
  12. Teddy – 18
  13. Dave – 14
  14. Bry – 8
  15. Cheryl – 8
  16. Gross – 8
  17. Lynch – 8
  18. Rikey – 8
  19. Stri (’10*) – 8
  20. Waters – 4

CTC: Day Twelve

Last Update: 9:58 AM
*denotes recent update

Yesterday was an unbelievable day of wild finishes, blown leads, and lots of overtimes.  Can today provide anything like that?  Well, there are some more great games, and some huge CTC implications all day.  Another day “lost” to the roundball…

BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
A great, crazy Big East tournament is down to two, including the 9-seed, UConn.  Scoot is leading the Big East, but Stri (the only one with Louisville) will win the Big East title with a win by the ‘Ville.  Scoot will hold on if UConn wins. 

#3 Louisville vs. #9 Connecticut
Can Kemba do it again?  Walker has been off-the-charts this week and watching him play is just amazing.  The Cards have surprised people all year, so why not one more time?  The Big East tournament never disappoints, so expect a great game in the Garden tonight.  Either way, it should be a great coaching matchup between two of the best of all-time.  Stri is the only one that even has a shot at this, as he has Louisville.

*FINAL SCORE:  Connecticut 69 – Louisville 66
What have you done in the last 5 days?  Well, Kemba Walker played 190 minutes of basketball (154 of them were in the past 4 days against ranked teams), scored 133 points (46 more than the previous Big East tournament record), won 5 games, and took home the MVP along with his team’s Big East championship trophy.  Unbelievable!  And, to all of those who say these conference tournaments don’t matter in the rich conferences because they’re only playing for seeding – you’re dead-wrong.  No matter what happens the rest of the way, UConn has a banner to fly and ridiculous memories to hang on to, and THAT is why we have sports.  For memories, for pride.  And UConn has both of them to take away in spades from MSG.  Oh, and they robbed Stri of being the only one to nail the Big East champ.

BIG XII CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
The best two teams in the Big XII survived the week to meet in a great Big XII final.  Bry, the current Big XII leader, will win the conference with a Kansas win.  Gersh will steal the crown if Texas wins today.

#1 Kansas vs. #2 Texas 
A 6:00 pm start time for one of the best games of the year.  A great KU team against an almost great UT team will battle for the Big XII title.  Texas has not really been that tested, as they cruised by a bad OU team and then kept A&M at arm’s length all game yesterday.  On the other hand, KU has had it rough this week.  They survived a one-point game against Okie State in the quarters and then trailed for much of the game against Colorado yesterday.  But, they are both here and the score is 0-0.  The Morrises have been fantastic this week and we will see how they are against a good, athletic, and skilled frontline of UT.  A huge game for CTC purposes, particularly at the very top, as the overall leader, J, has Texas, and his three closest pursuants – Bry, Rikey, and Lohse – all have Kansas.  Stri, Alexi, KA, Dan, and Mac also have KU.  Doogan, Gersh, and Gross have Texas here.  Everyone else has already lost it.

FINAL SCORE:  Kansas 85 – Texas 73
Today, Kansas looked like the Final Four favorite that they truly are.  They pretty much dominated a good Texas team from start to finish and probably locked up a #1 seed in the pairings that will be announced tomorrow night.  KU is now 8-1 in Big XII championship games, while Texas is 0-6 (4 were against KU).  8 people hit this game, and J falls to 0-2 in games that would have clinched him the overall title.  He has one chance left (tomorrow’s SEC championship) or he is going to think back on what could have been.

PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIP (80 points)
The two most talented Pac-10 teams arrive in the finals today in LA.  If Arizona wins today, Gersh will take the Pac-10 title.  If Washington wins, Lynch will grab the crown.

#1 Arizona vs. #3 Washington 
Arizona knocked off the suddenly-trendy bubble pick of USC yesterday, while UW got a break facing Oregon and took advantage.  The inside game of Arizona and some guy named Derrick Williams will battle the guard-oriented Washington team and some guy named Isaiah Thomas.  Both teams should be in The Dance, but UW would like to get the auto-bid, just in case.  Lynch and Gross have UW here.  Bry, J, both Lohses, KA, Teddy, Scoot, Rikey, Gersh, and Mac all have Arizona.

FINAL SCORE:  Washington 77 – Arizona 75 (OT)
It’s probably not smart to say this before the Big East game has ended, but this was, by far, the best ending in a weekend that was jam-packed with great endings.  And, it just so happens, the great Gus Johnson was on the mike.  I thought he was going to explode when C.J. Wilcox hit a three for UW to send it to OT.  Then, he took it to yet another level when Kevin Parrom hit a game-tying three for Arizona with :06 seconds left in OT.  And, then I think he actually DID explode when Isaiah Thomas hit a ridiculous shot at the buzzer to win it for the Huskies.  When the shot went in (and, trust me, I watched it about 87 times just to hear Gus), he just yelled, “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!”  Then, he composed himself (relatively) enough to scream at top volume “COLD-BLOODED!”  Ya, it was amazing.  Thanks, Gus, my life is better because of you.  Lynch and Gross’s life is a little bit better, also, because they had the Huskies here.

ATLANTIC 10 SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
One game between two teams that had to win on the road on Tuesday just to get to AC, and another game between two of the league’s best teams.  Bubble teams around the country have joined us here at BSB as die-hard Temple fans – at least for the next two days. 

#9 Dayton vs. #12 St. Joe’s
One of these teams will be in the A-10 championship game – which is an amazing thing to think.  Dayton, who eliminated their arch-rival and top-seed Xavier yesterday after winning big in UMass on Tuesday.  St. Joe’s went into GW and beat the Colonials on Tuesday and then came to AC and ended Duquesne’s quest for a tournament berth.  Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, and Jawan Staten (who is gonna be incredible) lead a very talented Dayton team that just underachieved all year.  This is not your typical 9-seed.  Clearly, no one has either of these teams even in this game, let alone winning it.

FINAL SCORE: Dayton 64 – St. Joe’s 61
A spirited finish to another disappointing season for the Hawks, but Chris Wright goes for 17 points, 15 boards, and 5 assists to send Dayton to the title game, where they’ll have a chance to steal a tourney bid.

#2 Temple vs. #3 Richmond 
The Owls offense looked really, really good for the second straight game against LaSalle yesterday, dropping a cool 96 with a very balanced offense.  It looks like Scootie Randall may miss another game today, so Aaron Brown may be in the starting lineup again, but Khalief Wyatt is really the third guard in crunch time.  The Spiders – the only team with two first-team all-A10 players – probably need another win here to go back to the tournament to erase the memories of a disappointing first-round loss to St. Mary’s last year.  The Spiders will need to play defense like they did yesterday when they held Rhode Island to less than half what Temple scored against LaSalle.  A pretty big swing game here, especially for Rikey, who can gain on all the other leaders if Richmond wins here.  Doogan, Alexi, Waters, and Scoot all have the Spiders along with Rikey.  Waters is the only one with Richmond winning the title.  Stri, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, Gersh, Primm, and Mac all have Temple winning here, but not in the finals.  Bry, J, Lynch, Lohse, KA, Teddy, Dan, and Gross all have TU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Richmond 58 – Temple 54
The first A-10 tournament loss in the career of Temple senior Lavoy Allen comes today in the semis to a Richmond team that probably just put themselves in the Dance.  The big two for Richmond – Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper – combined for 40 of the Spiders 58, and the defense held a Temple team to almost half of what they scored last night against LaSalle.  Juan Fernandez was really bad for the Owls today, going just 3-17 from the floor and missing the front-end of a key 1-and-1 down the stretch.  Waters keeps his champ alive, and 4 other people get this pick right.

ACC SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
With Chris Singleton out for FSU, we probably have the league’s four best teams in the semis today.  Should be a pretty good double-header.

#1 North Carolina vs. #4 Clemson
UNC barely survived Miami yesterday, while Clemson took it to BC in an easy quarterfinal win.  These two teams will now play for the right to go to the ACC championship game.  This could be a big game because if Duke has to play without Nolan Smith, the winner of this game may enter the championship game as a favorite.  Watch for which UNC guard Brad Brownell decides to guard with his great perimeter defender, Demontez Stitt.  Teddy and Dave have already lost this game (BC); Lohse has the big upset pick with Clemson.  Everyone else has UNC.  Stri, Waters, Scoot, Cheryl, Dan, Primm, Gross, and Mac all have the Heels winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE: North Carolina 92 – Clemson 87 (OT)
This game was reminiscent of a few already today and also UNC’s win yesterday, as Clemson leads all game until a Tar Heel comeback sends it to OT on a nice Tyler Zeller hook shot.  The emergence of Harrison Barnes hit a new high point.  The freshman looked Jimmer-esque, scoring 40.  He’s now averaging nearly 20 points over the Heels’ last 13 games.  Clemson will have to keep their fingers crossed trying to get into the field tomorrow night.  Lohse just misses his upset pick.

#2 Duke vs. # 6 Virginia Tech
I’m not gonna lie, I was really hoping for that Derwin Kitchen shot to count and beat Va Tech, just for the humor of watching the Hokies on the bubble again.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Seth Greenberg, and I really like this Va Tech team, but the humor of three straight years as the first one out would be too much.  But, now, they are probably in.  A win today will assure that.  As for Duke, it should be interesting to see what they do without Nolan Smith (assuming he doesn’t play).  Seth Curry did a good job with the offense at the end of the Maryland game yesterday, but if he the long-term answer?  There is no doubt that he can run this team offensively – maybe almost as well as Smith – but he is quite a liability on defense, and this team is already a bit questionable on that end.  I think that, if we focus on his three-pointers and offensive awareness, we may not notice a huge difference, but let’s pay attention to the points allowed difference with Curry in the lineup as opposed to Smith.  Waters, Primm, and Gross have already lost this game (FSU).  Lynch and Cheryl have the nice upset pick here of Va Tech, with Lynch having them win it all.  Everyone else has Duke here.  Bry, Doogan, J, Alexi, both Lohses, KA, Teddy, Rikey, Dave, and Gersh all have Duke winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Duke 77 – Virginia Tech 63
In their third game in three days and after playing only 6 players in yesterday’s game, Virginia Tech didn’t have enough in the tank today against the Dukies and a not-so-hobbled Nolan Smith, who dropped 27 in a game where many thought he wouldn’t even play.  The Blue Devils advance to the ACC finals against who else – UNC.  Lynch and Cheryl missed this big upset pick, with Lynch losing his champ.

BIG TEN SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
A bit of an odd final four in the Big Ten comes together today.  With Purdue and Wisconsin going down yesterday, the OT survival of OSU gives them a pretty wide open path to the title – but there is still that guy named Izzo.

#1 Ohio State vs. #4 Michigan
The best team in America needed OT to beat the 8th-best team in the Big Ten yesterday, but like last year, when the Buckeyes barely survived their quarterfinal, they can still cut down the nets.  Speaking of that game last year, it was at the expense of a Michigan team that thought they had a huge win to put themselves into at-large conversation.  This year, they already have that win – beating Illinois yesterday – and should be in regardless of today’s result.  But, they are playing incredibly well right now and should be dangerous.  Lynch had Illinois winning this game, so he has already lost it.  Dave is the only one with Michigan.  The other 18 all have OSU, with a dozen picking the Buckeyes to win it.

FINAL SCORE: Ohio St. 68 – Michigan 61
John Bielein is reminding everyone how good of a coach he is, getting the Wolverines back to the Dance, but the Buckeyes were too tough in this one, riding a Jared Sullinger double-double into tomorrow’s Big Ten title game.  Dave misses his upset attempt.

#6 Penn State vs. #7 Michigan State
No one will argue that this MSU team is immensely talented and incredibly well-coached.  The question is, then, why are they on the bubble?  They have been very disappointing, but maybe finding their stride at the right time.  Kalin Lucas look dynamic yesterday, which makes this team really tough to defend.  Penn State scored 36 in an elimination game yesterday – and are playing again today.  What?!?  Well, this senior-laden team is trying to take one last shot at the tournament and might get themselves in with a win today.  No one has PSU winning this game.  J and Primm are the only two with MSU winning here.  A Michigan State win might seal up the overall title for J.

FINAL SCORE:  Penn State 61 – Michigan State 48
A day after holding the Badgers to 33 points, the Nittany Lions did it again – this time to Michigan State, holding the Spartans to 48 points on just 32% shooting.  Taylor Battle had 25 for the Lions, who may have punched their ticket to the Dance, but have a chance to make it official tomorrow against OSU.  J misses the first of three chances to officially clinch the overall title here, as he and Primm miss on this upset pick.

SEC SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
Alabama came from way down to crash the Eastern Division’s coronation today in the SEC semis.

#1W Alabama vs. #2E Kentucky
Alabama should be out and NIT-bound, but their NCAA hopes are still alive after a miracle comeback against Georgia yesterday.  Joe Lunardi actually has the Tide (and their 82 RPI) in the field as of today.  A win here against UK should cement that.  Kentucky, who, as usual, is mostly freshmen, is starting to play some good basketball down the stretch, but they didn’t look dominant against Ole Miss yesterday.  Everyone is alive here.  Lynch and KA are the only two with Alabama.  Everyone else has UK, with 12 having the Wildcats win the tournament.  KA has the Tide rolling to the SEC title.

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 72 – Alabama 58
An impressive performance by the Wildcats, as this game was not even as close as the score indicates.  They’ll get Florida or Vandy tomorrow in what should be an excellent SEC title game.  18 of the 20 CTC’ers hit this “upset” pick.

#1E Florida vs. #3E Vanderbilt 
This Florida team is very, very good and survived a really tough Tennessee team yesterday.  Vandy held off Mississippi State as John Jenkins comes back in style.  This should be a great game, as these two teams play for the shot at an SEC title and better seeding in tomorrow’s announcement.  Alexi, Lynch, Lil Lohse, and Primm have already lost this game with either Tennessee or Mississippi State.  Bry, Doogan, J, Lohse, Teddy, Gersh, and Gross all have Vandy.  Everyone else has Florida, including Stri, Waters, Cheryl, and Mac, who have UF winning the title.  Doogan and J both have Vandy cutting down the nets.

FINAL SCORE:  Florida 77 – Vanderbilt 66
Down for nearly the entire first half, the Gators came out of the locker room on a mission and blew out Vandy in the second half, 49-30.  This is the 7th time this year and twice in as many days that UF has turned a halftime deficit into a victory.  Doogan and J lose their champ.  Bry also loses this game, and Rikey gets it right.

MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP (64 points)
Round Three between two of the best teams in the history of the M-West should be fantastic today.  I have been waiting for this game all week.  There will be at least one champion here with a perfect bracket.  Bry and J will both go perfect if SDSU wins.  Stri will hit perfection with a BYU win.

#1 BYU vs. #2 San Diego State 
With all due respect to the Kansas-Texas Big XII title game, this game here is the game of the day.  And, that is really saying something for a game on the Versus Network.  We all know now what The Jimmer did yesterday, so we will see if he has an encore in store.  The key to this one – as it was in their first two meetings – will be the pace of play.  SDSU is much more comfortable in the 50s, while BYU would like to run in the 80s.  Last time they met, SDSU used Billy White on Fredette, and his athleticism did give him some trouble, but he got really worn out very quickly.  Steve Fisher will have to recognize when White is gassed and switch him off or he could be staring at a 10-0 Jimmer run.  Another huge storyline in this one is how different will BYU be this time around on the frontline without their leading rebounder in Davies.  Can Leonard, White, and Malcolm Thomas take full advantage of their big size advantage now?  It will probably change the dynamic of this game, at least.  Another matchup that might decide this game is which point guard plays better – Jackson Emery for BYU or D.J. Gay for the Aztecs.  Personally, I like Gay a lot more as a player, but it should be interesting because Gay is so incredibly good with the basketball, and Emery is so adept at taking it away.  18 of the 20 have a horse in this race.  KA and Gross have lost with UNLV.  Stri, Lohse, Teddy, Dan, and Gersh have BYU.  The other 13 have SDSU.

FINAL SCORE:  San Diego State 72 – BYU 54
Okay, I am going to make the case one more time:  is it me or is it almost ridiculous to think SDSU is ANYTHING BUT a #1-seed in the NCAA tournament?  I really don’t get it.  They are 31-2.  They tied for the regular season title and won the conference tournament in the 4th-rated conference in America.  They beat UNLV three times, including twice on the road.  Their ONLY 2 losses were against BYU – a top-10 team who they hammered here on the eve of Selection Sunday.  For all those who say that they didn’t play anyone – their SOS is 46 and their RPI is 3.  THREE!  And, here’s the key part – can you name me four teams more deserving? 

  • Kansas?  Sure. 
  • Ohio State?  Definitely if they win tomorrow; but, even if they don’t, sure. 
  • The Carolina/Duke winner tomorrow?  Okay. 
  • The Carolina/Duke loser?  Definitely not if it’s Carolina.  Probably not even Duke, either.  The Dukies lost to Va Tech, St. John’s, and FSU this year.  All tournament teams, to be sure, but BYU (the only team to beat SDSU) is a lot better than any of those three.
  • Notre Dame?  They have 6 losses, an RPI of 7, and they only won one game in their conference tournament and didn’t even make the finals.
  • Pitt?  They lost 5 games; their RPI is 9; and, they didn’t win a single game in their conference tournament.
  • Texas?  13 RPI and got pounded by Kansas today.  No way.
  • The Big East winner tonight?  Don’t even try and give me UConn – they were NINTH in their conference.  And, Louisville as an RPI of 15 and a loss to Providence.
  • Florida?  Not terrible resume, but losses to Jacksonville, South Carolina, and Ole Miss probably kill any chance.
  • BYU?  Do I have to answer that?

My point:  Give the Aztecs a #1-seed!  But, they won’t.  They will be a 3-seed and it’ll be a joke.  Anyway, Jimmer had 30 tonight in a losing effort to Bill White and his 21 points, 12 rebound, and 5 steals.  13 people got this right.

CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP (48 points)
It is hard to say that these are not the two best teams in C-USA, regardless of their seedings.  This should be a real war – starting at 11:30 am – on CBS.  If Memphis wins, Lynch will take the C-USA title.  Lil Lohse will be the 2011 C-USA champ if UTEP wins.

#3 UTEP vs. #4 Memphis
What a huge game here for these two teams.  One of them will go to the tournament to erase the thought of this disappointing season.  The other will be playing in the NIT with the constant memories of what could have been in 2011.  Randy Culpepper, the senior star for UTEP, will try to go out with another trip to the Dance, while Joe Jackson, the highly-touted freshman for Memphis, will try and salvage what was otherwise a rather disappointing freshman season.  This is another big CTC game.  Bry, Doogan, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, and Gross all have UTEP winning the title.  J, Waters, and Lynch all have Memphis winning it.

FINAL SCORE:  Memphis 67 – UTEP 66
It just doesn’t stop this time of year.  UTEP leads the entire game, but Joe Jackson gets fouled on a drive to the basket with 7 seconds left, makes both free throws to put the Tigers up by a point, and UTEP can’t get a bucket at the other end.  Josh Pastner has his first NCAA bid as a head coach, and the Miners miss out on a second straight berth in heart-breaking fashion.  J, Waters, and Lynch correctly pick the 4th-seeded Tigers for a nice pickup here.

WAC CHAMPIONSHIP (32 points)
Not surprising that USU is here, and the way the Aggies have played all year, it might not even matter.  Waters has already clinched the 2011 WAC championship.

#1 Utah State vs. #2 Boise State 
One team cruised through a blowout win yesterday, while the other struggled and was a long, late jumper away from maybe getting beat.  Well, USU against #8 San Jose State is the latter – they almost lost.  Boise State hammered #3 New Mexico State and enters this game with a lot of momentum.  But, it might not matter, as 17th-ranked USU is clearly the best team in this conference.  Bubble teams across the land are rooting for USU here because they will probably get in regardless.  Boise has one shot and one shot only to steal a bid – win this game.  KA was the only one of the 20 entries not to take USU to win this tournament, as she had Hawaii and is just hoping for a Boise win here to zero everyone out.

*FINAL SCORE:  Utah State 77 – Boise State 69
You have to hand it to the Broncos – they really never gave up, even as the Aggies kept hitting them with seeming knockout punches.  But, in the end, Boise just didn’t have the horses to take out the 17th-ranked team in America.  WAC POY, Tai Wesley, led the Aggies with 19.  Everyone except KA hit this champion.

MAC CHAMPIONSHIP (32 points)
Akron’s 5th straight trip to the MAC title game will end like 3 of the first 4 ended, unless they can upset Kent State today.  Either way, J and Doogan will share the 2011 MAC title belt. 

#1 Kent State vs. #6 Akron
Kent State arrives here with two workmanlike victories over Buffalo and Ball State.  Akron arrives with anything but, as they needed two OTs to beat Miami (OH) in the quarters and then they shook off the fatigue to beat W. Michigan.  The Zips are playing really well, but the Golden Flashes are the conference’s best team.  No one has Akron winning this tournament.  Bry, Doogan, J, Stri, Alexi, Waters, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, Primm, Gross, and Mac all have KSU.

FINAL SCORE:  Akron 66 – Kent State 65 (OT)
In another chapter in a viscous rivalry ended with a flurry of blocked shots, the final buzzer, and a lot of pushing and shoving between players and coaches alike, but, when the smoke cleared, the Akron Zips were left standing and ready to dance.  The last two minutes of this game were as good and exciting as any you will ever see, but Akron is used to that, as they have played countless OT sessions in this five-year run of going to the MAC title game every year.  No one hit this and a lot of people missed on KSU.

IVY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (20 bonus points)
In a CTC-first, we are adding a bonus for the Ivy League’s one-game playoff (partially inspired by the CTC veteran who is a Harvard alum who may be witnessing the first NCAA appearance for the Crimson since 1946).  I have to say that the Ivy League does it right (granted, they have the advantage of not needing any revenue from sports, so money is never a motivation, leaving all decision strictly for competition purposes).  They play the true round-robin on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year.  They have long-standing travel partners, which creates real good rivalries.  And, as much as I love the conference tournaments, they decide their auto-bid the fairest way – over a full year.  And, if a regular season isn’t enough, they play a one-game playoff on a neutral site.  And, that neutral site is the Ivy school that is most equidistant between the two.  Today, it will be played in Yale – for all the marbles.  Fantastic!

Harvard (12-2) vs. Princeton (12-2)
The preseason predictions pegged Princeton as the Ivy favorites, but only slightly above Harvard.  I think that history may have weighed upon that decision, as Princeton has a phenomenal basketball history, and Harvard, well, doesn’t.  Princeton has made 23 NCAA tournament, and actually won 13 tournament games.  Harvard has made ONE, and that was 65 years ago.  They went 0-2 in that tournament (not really sure how that worked, we weren’t exactly running a CTC back then).  So, it all comes down to this.  As for the bonus, J, Stri, Waters, Lynch, and Cheryl are the only 5 entries that went with Princeton.  The rest of the field thinks that the Harvard drought is going to end today.

FINAL SCORE:  Princeton 63 – Harvard 62
An absolute stomach-punch game, to say the least, for the Crimson.  Having not made the NCAA tournament in 65 years, they took a 62-61 lead with :11 seconds left on a Brandyn Curry layup.  They just needed one stop and they appeared to get it, but the ball was knocked out of bounds and remained Princeton’s ball with 2.8 seconds left.  Douglas Davis took the inbounds play, pump-faked his defender in the air and hit a fallaway jumper that just beat the buzzer and sends the Tigers to the tournament.  The Crimson may still have an outside shot at an at-large bid, but their chances may be slim.  J, Stri, Waters, Lynch, and Cheryl earned the first ever bonus points in CTC history.

BIG WEST CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
The best team in the regular season will take on the preseason favorites in a pretty good Big West final.  With all 20 entries having LBSU winning here, the current leader, J, will take the 2011 Big West title.

#1 Long Beach State vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara 
This game should actually be really good.  Orlando Johnson and the UCSB Gouchos are playing their best ball, and they were the preseason pick to win this conference.  But, LBSU is a fantastic team, led by a trio of super juniors in Ware, Anderson, and Robinson.  Next year was supposed to be the year for The Beach, but why not now?  Everyone has LBSU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  UC-Santa Barbara 64 – Long Beach State 56
Personally, I am a little upset about this result because I loved watching The Beach play and was looking forward to see what Dan Monson’s team could do next week in the Big Dance.  Instead, we’ll have to pick them as an NIT sleeper, as the Gouchos, led by their star (who you might hear a lot about in the next 4-5 days), Orlando Johnson, flat-out beat the 49ers.  Everyone got this one wrong.

AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
This league has been dark for almost a week now, but it is time to pick it back up with the championship game in Boston.  Doogan, who has already wrapped up the 2011 Am-East title, will get it with perfection if BU can win.

#2 Boston U vs. #5 Stony Brook
Stony Brook pulled off the big upset of Vermont last Sunday in Hartford in the semifinals to advance to the finals today.  BU benefitted almost as much as SB with the UVM upset because that means that the Terriers, after beating the hosts Hartford, get to host the championship game today.  No one has Stony Brook winning the Am East, but 7 people do have BU – Doogan, J, Waters, Lohse, Lil Lohse, KA, and Dave.

FINAL SCORE:  Boston U 56- Stony Brook 54
Maybe not a “good” game here, but yet another that came right down to the final seconds.  BU started the game shooting 3-21 from the field and trailed by 15 in the 2nd half before launching a comeback.  A pretty bogus foul call with the game tied and 2.5 seconds left put the Terriers on the line, where they took their first lead of the game and the conference championship.  It’s a sad day in Eastern Long Island and for Nickname Bracket fans, as the Sea Wolves fall just short.  7 entries, including our leader J, pick BU to win this tournament and are rewarded.

MEAC CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
Probably the best final the MEAC could give us is between a highly talented Hampton team against the two-time defending champs, Morgan State.  If Hampton wins, Doogan will take this title.  If Morgan State wins, Lynch will come from behind to steal the belt.

#2 Hampton vs. #4 Morgan State
Hampton has absolutely rolled through this tournament with a pair of 24-point wins over some of the MEAC’s weaker competition.  Morgan State has won two straight game 61-48 against some of the better competition in this conference.  Now, the two teams who have been on a collision course to this game all year, will settle it all on the court.  As I said above, this is probably the best the MEAC has to offer, so it could be, well, watchable, at least.  Alexi, Waters, and Lynch have Morgan State winning this tournament.  Bry, Doogan, J, Teddy, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, and Primm all have Hampton.  Everyone else had someone already eliminated.

FINAL SCORE:  Hampton 60 – Morgan State 55
The three straight regular season titles ended this year for Morgan State, and now the two straight tournament title streak is over as well.  Brandon Tunnell basically took this game over for the Pirates, and they are going dancing – probably in Dayton in the First Four.  8 people got this champ correct.

SOUTHLAND CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
A crazy SL regular season might end up with the top-seed winning the tournament.  No matter what, Dave will take this title here in 2011.

#1 McNeese State vs. #7 UT-San Antonio
McNeese has shown some versatility in this tournament, winning their quarterfinal 61-54 and then turning around and beating Texas State 91-83 in the semis.  The Roadrunners like to run, upsetting Northwestern State 97-96 in the quarters and then stopping a very good Sam Houston State team in the semis.  It is not surprising that no one has the #7-seed winning this tournament, but it is very surprising that only 2 people (Stri and Scoot) have the #1-seed, McNeese State.

FINAL SCORE:  UT-San Antonio 75 – McNeese State 72
The craziness of the SL season ends with the #7-seed winning the tournament.  Welcome to the First Four, UTSA!  Jeromie Hill, a freshman, was the star, scoring 25 for the Roadrunners.  Stri and Scoot miss out on hitting a champion pick.

SWAC CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
A crazy SWAC tournament (after a non-crazy regular season) has a First Four play-in game today between two teams that never even competed for a bad conference in the regular season.  If Alabama State wins this game, Lynch will take the SWAC title in 2011.  If Grambling wins, there will be a three-way tie between KA, Teddy, and Dave.

#4 Alabama State vs. #6 Grambling State
Not exactly the final SWAC followers expected, as this league was dominated by three teams all year, and none of them are here in the finals.  The winner of this game will advance to Dayton to play in the inaugural First Four.  Everyone is out of this game, except one – Lynch – who has Alabama State.

FINAL SCORE:  Alabama State 65 – Grambling State 48
Grambling actually had a 2-point lead at halftime in this game, but ASU scored 28 of the first 32 points scored in the second half to put it away and clinch a spot in the First Four.  We can now probably guarantee Alabama State, AR-Little Rock, and UT-San Antonio in the First Four.  The big question is who will be the 4th auto bid there?  It is probably between UC-Santa Barbara, Hampton, St. Peter’s, and Long Island.  I don’t think it’ll be LIU because they, at least, won their league.  I think it will either be UCSB or Hampton.  Lynch nailed this great champion pick to win the SWAC.

GREAT WEST CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
The battle of the Dakotas in a tournament that must have been incredibly exciting all week.  Lohse, the current leader, will win the title if SD wins.  If ND wins, there will be a four-way split of this title between J, Dan, Gersh, and Mac. 

#3 North Dakota vs. #4 South Dakota 
There is no NCAA tournament berth on the line (First Four or not), but the prestigious Great West tournament title is.  South Dakota survived an OT game against Chicago State in the quarters, and then beat the host and 1-seed Utah Valley yesterday.  North Dakota is here after beating two of the three worst teams in Division-I (by a combined 3 points).  Only one entry (Lohse) has South Dakota, but 6 have North Dakota (J, KA, Scoot, Dan, Gersh, and Mac).

*FINAL SCORE:  North Dakota 77 – South Dakota 76 (2 OTs)
Honestly, how amazing must the Great West tournament have been?  You know, other than the bad basketball.  This one went to double-OT and Josh Schuler hit a three with :04 seconds left in the second OT to give the Fighting Sioux the title and the auto-bid…to the CBI.  6 people hit the champ here.

CTC Day Eleven Recap: Alexi’s 596 Wins the Day, Moves into Top Five; J Takes Over the Overall Lead and is in Great Position for the Overall Title

In what is always the highest-scoring day of the CTC, Alexi scores almost as many as The Jimmer and moves into the Top 5.  J, who was right behind Alexi, has taken the overall lead and is in really good position to take the overall title.  It is the first day that has ended without Bry in the overall lead.  Aside from Alexi – who jumped 6 spots – the biggest movers were Gross and Gersh, who each climbed 4 spots up the leaderboard.  Scoot took the biggest fall, dropping from 8th to 14th.  Mac, Dave, and Dan also dropped a couple spots.  With two days left, it is probably safe to say that we are probably down to a 4-person race.  J is definitely the most likely to take the overall title, but Bry has a decent shot.  If things go well for Rikey or Lohse, they could probably sneak in and win it all.  Alexi and Doogan, who are tied for 5th, are probably just a little too far out to catch the leaders.

DAY ELEVEN SCORES (days wons):

  1. Alexi – 596 (1)
  2. J – 582 (1)
  3. Gross – 560 (1)
  4. Gersh – 542
  5. Doogan – 530 (2)
  6. Lynch – 524
  7. Lohse – 520
  8. Stri – 516
  9. Primm – 508 (1)
  10. Waters – 480
  11. Bry – 478 (3)
  12. Teddy – 466
  13. Dan – 462
  14. Dave – 456
  15. Rikey – 446 (2)
  16. Cheryl – 442
  17. Lil Lohse – 432
  18. KA – 426 (1)
  19. Mac – 426 (1)
  20. Scoot – 412

OVERALL STANDINGS (conference titles):

  1.  J – 2045 (A-Sun, OVC, Sun Belt)
  2. Bry – 2009 (Big Sky*, CAA, Horizon*, Summit*, WCC*)
  3. Rikey – 1920
  4. Lohse – 1916 (Summit*)
  5. Alexi – 874 (MVC)
  6. Doogan – 874 (Big South)
  7. Dave – 1853 (A-Sun)
  8. Stri – 1826 (NEC*, Summit*)
  9. Dan – 1822 (A-Sun)
  10. Gross – 1812 (Patriot*, SoCon, Summit*)
  11. Primm – 1810 (MAAC)
  12. Lynch – 1782 (Summit*)
  13. Gersh – 1758
  14. Scoot – 1752 (NEC*)
  15. Waters – 1709
  16. Mac – 1685 (Summit*)
  17. Lil Lohse – 1678 (Summit*)
  18. Teddy – 1678 (Summit*)
  19. Cheryl – 1543 (Summit*)
  20. KA – 1492

FINAL PATRIOT LEAGUE STANDINGS (prior CTC titles):

  1. Gross – 62*
  2. Dave – 58
  3. Bry – 46
  4. Doogan – 46
  5. J – 46
  6. Lil Lohse – 46
  7. Lohse – 46
  8. Lynch – 46
  9. Mac – 46
  10. Alexi – 36
  11. Primm – 36
  12. Rikey – 36
  13. Stri – 36
  14. Teddy – 36
  15. Cheryl – 32
  16. Gersh – 32
  17. KA – 28
  18. Scoot – 20
  19. Dan – 16
  20. Waters – 8

CTC: Day Eleven

LAST UPDATE:  10:49 am
* – denotes recently posted update

I have said many times that the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament are the four greatest days in the sports calendar.  And, I believe the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs is a close 5 & 6.  But, there is no doubt in my mind that the most underrated days on the sporting calendar are the Thursday and Friday of Championship Week, and probably could give any of those top picks a run for their money, in my book.  50 games yesterday and 39 more today are absolutely phenomenal.  Add the massive CTC implications, and you have yourself an amazing day.  Today’s games will go a long way to determining everything in the CTC standings, as there are hundreds and hundreds of points at stake here.  Just sit back and enjoy it…

PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (16 points)
Back on Day Two of the CTC we all only had about 20 points.  Perry Jones, Jim Tressel, Brandon Davies, and Charlie Sheen were seen as upstanding citizens.  No one had ever heard of Solomon Bozeman or the other Tristan Thompson.  And, the Patriot League tournament was just beginning.  Now, 10 days later, we are ready to crown a champion.   With Gross leading the PL, and no one picking Lafayette to win, the only question is will Gross get the perfect bracket to go alon with his 2011 CTC PL title belt?  If Bucknell wins, he will do just that.  If not, he’ll just get a “regular” belt. 

#1 Bucknell vs. #6 Lafayette
After dismantling Army in the quarters, Bucknell needed every bucket to knock off Lehigh in the semis, 66-64.  And, speaking of needing every bucket, Lafayette had a thriller in the semis, as they went into DC and beat American in double-OT.  The Leopards will have to win their third straight road game in this tournament if they are going to win it.  Interesting fact:  Bucknell’s win on Sunday marked the 20th time in 20 PL tournaments that the #1 seed advanced to the championship game.  And, they have won 15 of the 19 tournaments, so the smart money is on the Bison.  The CTC’ers seem aware of that, as 17 entries have Bucknell winning this game.  Only Waters, Dan, and Scoot – who have already lost this game – do not have Bucknell.

*FINAL SCORE:  Bucknell 72 – Lafayette 57
The #1 seed wins again in the Patriot, as Bucknell advances to the NCAA tournament.  The Bison should probably get a 14-seed or so and could be tough for someone.  17 people got this champion correct, but Gross comes up huge completing a pretty impressive perfect PL bracket.

BIG EAST SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
And the 12 games in 3 days are in the books, and the deepest conference in the country has its final four.  With all the talk about the disadvantage of the double-bye in the first two years of this format, the double-bye teams did alright for themselves yesterday, even though it didn’t begin all that well. 

#4 Syracuse vs. #9 Connecticut
The Orange survived a grueling game with St. John’s, while the UConn Kembas eliminated the top seed in the tournament on some last-second heroics.  The question here will be just how much the Huskies have left in the tank.  They are not exactly the deepest team, and this is their fourth game in four nights.  A lot of times fatigue will affect the jumpers, and against the Syracuse zone, those jumpers better not be short all night.  No one in the CTC even had UConn getting this far, let alone winning this game.  J, Lohse, Teddy, and Primm all have Syracuse winning this game and the title game tomorrow, so the other 16 contestants are now UConn fans.

*FINAL SCORE:  Connecticut 76 – Syracuse 71 (OT)
Two years after that incredible six-overtime game is a relatively short, routine, single-OT affair.  UConn seemed to have the game in hand in regulation, up by 6 with :20 seconds left, but Scoop Jardine (who I still think stinks) banked in a ridiculous three, then Shabazz Napier missed the front-end of a one-and-one, allowing Jardine to hit another and send it to OT.  Jardine tried again in OT to tie it with a stupid shot, but he missed, and UConn was able to ice it at the line.  The Huskies become the first team in college basketball history to win four straight conference tournament games without winning the title…yet.  Kemba Walker put together an UNBELIEVABLE line:  31 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 steals.  And, watching the game, he was even better than those numbers might indicate.  J, Lohse, Teddy, and Primm miss out on what would have been a huge CTC scoring opportunity here, and all lost their champ here as well.

#2 Notre Dame vs. #3 Louisville 
How good did both of these teams look last night?  Real good.  The Irish utterly dismantled Cincinnati, while Louisville beat down Marquette, setting up a really good nightcap in the Big East semis.   It should be interesting to see how the Irish – who I still don’t believe have a true ballhandling point guard – can handle the Louisville pressure.  If they can limit turnovers and easy buckets, I think ND will win this game due to their superior talent.  Also, watch for patented Pitino halftime adjustments if they are down at the break.  Mike Brey doesn’t exactly have the same track record, though I think he’s underrated as an in-game tactician.  J, Alexi, Teddy, Gersh and Cheryl have all lost this game already with either WVU, Marquette, or ‘Nova.  Of the remaining 15, 10 have ND and 5 have the ‘Ville (Doogan, Stri, KA, Scoot, and Dave).

*FINAL SCORE:  Louisville 83 – Notre Dame 77 (OT)
How great is the Big East tournament?  Two more semis, two more OT games.  Louisville erases a 16-point deficit (with some great halftime adjustments) to tie the game and win it in OT.  Preston Knowles played the last 15 minutes of the game with 4 fouls, completely dominating the Irish.  Big East POY, Ben Hansbrough, was really bad on this night, including an ill-advised shot late in the OT.  Purdue transfer Scott Martin was the best player for ND tonight with 21 and 8.  This was a big game for the CTC, as Bry loses his Big East champ in OT just hours after J lost his in OT.  Along with Bry, Dan, Gross, and Mac also lost their champs.  Stri is the only one with the Ville winning this tournament.

BIG XII SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
Three favorites and an upstart Colorado team won yesterday in the quarters, setting up a very interesting semifinal double-header today in Kansas City.

#1 Kansas vs. #5 Colorado
The Jayhawks didn’t look like the country’s second-best team yesterday, though I do believe they are.  Ok State is just really good this time of year.  Colorado, who probably did what they needed to get their name called next week by beating K-State, will try and cement an at-large with a win today.  Look for how Self decides to defend the great Alec Burks.  Ty Thomas is probably his best perimeter defender (though, I still think he sucks), but he may not have the size to match up with the bigger Burks.  Cheryl is the only one with the big upset pick here of Colorado.  A slew of people had K-State (Doogan, J, Waters, Lynch, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Scoot, Primm, and Gross).  The remaining 10 entries all have KU here, and all but Dave and Gersh have KU winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  Kansas 90 – Colorado 83
The Morris Family had 40 points, 21 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks today, as KU overcomes a big early deficit to eliminate Colorado.  The Buffs, led by 23 from Alec Burks, put up a nice fight pretty much all day, but the Jayhawks were just too talented for Colorado in their third game in three nights.

#2 Texas vs. #3 Texas A&M
A midseason swoon has seemed to cause America to forget about Texas A&M, but this was a top 10 team in the nation at one point.  And, they do it the old-fashioned way – with defense – though they didn’t last night in dropping 86 on Mizzou.  Texas, who pounded Oklahoma yesterday, is trying to erase the memories of last year’s late-season collapse that ruined the season of a team that spent some time at #1 in the country.  Alexi, Scoot, Cheryl, and Dan all have lost this game already with Mizzou.  KA and Dave are the only two with A&M here (Dave has them winning it all).  Everyone else has UT, including 4 people who have the ‘Horns cutting down the nets (Doogan, J, Gersh, and Gross). 

*FINAL SCORE:  Texas 70 – Texas A&M 58
The Aggies gave the ‘Horns a run for their money, but, in the end, the talent of Texas was too much, particularly the effort and athleticism of J’Covan Brown (another great name).  Texas will battle Kansas in a great Big XII title game on Saturday.  4 people, including overall leader, J, keep alive their champ.  Dave loses his champ.

PAC 10 SEMIFINALS (40 points each)
The big upset of UCLA last night opened up the bottom of the bracket for UW, but USC and Oregon are still scaring potential bubble teams around the country.

#1 Arizona vs. #4 USC
Arizona didn’t crush Oregon State the way many thought they should have, but the got the W and are two wins away from a Pac-1o tournament title to go alongside their regular season version.  USC, who is playing some of the best basketball in the league right now, beat up on Cal yesterday.  If you think ‘Zona is a heavy favorite – or a favorite at all – think again.  Vegas has the Trojans as a 1-point favorite in this one.  Lynch and Dan have the seed-based upset picks of USC here.  Cheryl, Dave, and Gross all have already lost with Cal.  The other 15 all have ‘Zona here, including 11 of them who have the ‘Cats winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: Arizona 67 – USC 62
Derrick Williams shoots 7-10 from the field, for 20 points, and leads the Cats to the win.  Maybe this guy should take more shots, huh?  Lynch and Dan miss their upset shot.

#3 Washington vs. #7 Oregon 
Probably the biggest upset of the day yesterday saw the Ducks take out UCLA.  UW survived in-state rival Wazzu and Klay Thompson’s 43 record-setting 43-point night last night.  Now, these two will get a shot to play for a spot in the Pac-10 finals.  Bubble teams around the country are big yoo-dub fans tonight.  Lynch, Lohse, Gersh, and Gross are the only ones with UW in this one – Lynch and Gross have the Huskies winning it.  No one has Oregon.

*FINAL SCORE:  Washington 69 – Oregon 51
It took the Huskies a while to shake a pesky Oregon team, but they finally did and ended up winning by a pretty big margin.  An atypical defensive day for the Huskies (or a game against an inferior opponent), as they held the Ducks to 51 points on 32% shooting.  Lynch and Gross keep alive their Pac-10 champion.

ATLANTIC 10 QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
Three days ago, four teams booked their tickets to Atlantic City for a weekend of…basketball.  The top four teams, including the great Temple Owls take the floor today for the first time in Championship Week.

#1 Xavier vs. #9 Dayton
The Musketeers were the best team in the A-10 all year, led by the conference’s best player – Tu (formerly Terrell) Holloway.  Dayton, who hammered UMass in Amherst on Wednesday, have the talent to win this tournament, so who knows…  There is one bold upset pick of Dayton here, and that is Gross.  The other 19 have the X, with many of them having Xavier go all the way.

FINAL SCORE:  Dayton 68 – Xavier 67
Three noontime games, three #1-seeds, three games that went to the final whistle…  Tu Holloway converted a traditional three-point play to give the Musketeers a 67-66 lead with :25 seconds left, and then the X defense made the stop, but Luke Fabrizius was fouled corralling the offensive board and hit both free throws with :06 seconds left.  Holloway’s long game-winning attempt went off iron and, just like that, the A-10’s #1-seed is gone.  As is the champion pick of Doogan, Stri, Alexi, Lil Lohse, Scoot, Cheryl, Rikey, Gersh, Primm, and Mac.  A HUGE upset pick by Gross here picks him up some major points.

#4 Duquesne vs. #12 St. Joe’s
The Duquesne Dukes looked, for a while, like they were going to break a very long NCAA tournament drought.  They won the first ever A-10 automatic bid and haven’t even been there since.  But, really it was just a result (as many people realized) of a soft early schedule.  It was great for them because they were in a position to get to where they wanted to be, but they still needed to get a couple nice wins before they were legit contenders.  St. Joe’s had an abysmal year (with their incredibly overrated coach), but they are young and are getting better.  They barely qualified for the A-10 tournament and then made the best of their qualification by going into GW and knocking off a decent Colonials team.  Now, they take a shot at the Dukes in AC.  No has St. Joe’s here to pull another upset, but a few (Lynch, Lil Lohse, KA, Teddy, Dan, and Gersh) have already lost this game by picking GW here.  The rest of the field has the Dukes.  Dave has the most on the line here, as he has Duquesne winning it all.  Lohse and Gross both have the Dukes in the finals.

FINAL SCORE:  St. Joe’s 93 – Duquesne 90
More absolute Madness in the A-10.  The St. Joe’s Hawks, who were lucky to even make this tournament are two wins away from winning it.  Carl Jones had 28-7-7 for the Hawks, but fouled out in the last two minutes of regulation, when it looked like St. Joes’ season was going to end.  But, a late rally, capped by the game-tying dunk by Ronald Roberts (9-for-11 from the floor) sent the game to OT, where they took control.  St. Joe’s, who averaged only 63 points per game this season, was not expecting to win a game in the 90’s.  No one got this crazy upset pick.  Dave lost the most here – losing his champion.  Lohse and Gross both lost Duquesne, who they had as a finalist (which looked like a great pick when Xavier lost). 

#2 Temple vs. #10 LaSalle
It is hard to sum up my feelings about this year’s Temple team because I am so emotionally invested in this team.  First of all, there is Lavoy Allen, who, when it’s all said and done, will go down as having one of the best careers of any Temple player of my generation.  They also have Juan Fernandez, who, while he had some shooting issues this year, is one of the better guards to go through the program.  Plus the development of guys like Ramone Moore, Michael Eric, and Scootie Randall has been incredible to watch.  This Dunphy guy really can coach, huh?  But, speaking of Eric and Randall, their injuries (Eric is out and Randall is questionable) could be the ultimate key to this team’s postseason success.  They start their postseason run tonight against Big Five rival – and pretty talented squad – LaSalle, who went into Olean, NY, and beat a tough Bonnies team on Wednesday night.  All 20 entries have the Owls in this one, with a lot of them picking Temple to win the tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Temple 96 – LaSalle 76
The Owls, after dropping 90 on the Explorers last week, even topped that in the quarters in the A-10 tonight to avoid the upset bug plaguing the A-10 tonight.  LaSalle turned the ball over 22 times (15 in the first half), and the Owls went 10-19 from the three-point line against the phantom defense played by Dr. Gianinni’s team.  Everyone got this one right.

#3 Richmond vs. #6 Rhode Island
Probably the most important game for the A-10, as a conference, is the nightcap quarterfinal tonight.  Richmond is squarely on the bubble, and they probably cannot afford a loss here or they’re probably NIT-bound.  And, it is not going to be easy because Delroy James and the Rams are tough.  URI is coming off a 9-point win at home against St. Louis in the opening round on Wednesday.  KA has a great upset pick here of URI and Dave has already lost with St. Louis.  The other 18 have the Spiders here.  Waters has the most at stake, as Richmond is his A-10 champion.  A bunch of entries have the Spiders in the finals (Doogan, Alexi, Waters, Scoot, and Rikey).

FINAL SCORE: Richmond 55 – Rhode Island 45
Kevin Anderson scores 21 and the Spiders win to set up an excellent semifinal with Temple tomorrow.  With Dayton and St. Joe’s on the other side of the bracket, Temple-Richmond will probably go down as the marquee matchup of this tournament.  KA’s alma mater exits toward the NIT.

ACC QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
Enter UNC and Duke, stage right.  The top 4 ACC teams join the 4 winners from yesterday for a weekend of ACC basketball.

#1 North Carolina vs. #9 Miami (FL)
Roy Williams is probably a very smart man, but how could it possibly take him so long to realize that Larry Drew wasn’t very good?  Now, he is getting all this praise for replacing him in the starting lineup, when I think we should be asking: “what took you so long?”  But, regardless, they are running on all cylinders right now, and are legit Final Four contenders.  They have a TON of talent, led by Harrison Barnes, who people completely wrote off after a slow start and have forgotten why there was so much hype around him to begin with.  The guy is AWESOME.  Miami had a miracle win over UVA yesterday just to keep their season alive.  18 entries have UNC winning this game, but 2 (Teddy and Dave) were bold enough to take Miami in what could be a legendary upset pick.  Expectedly, a lot of the field has UNC winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  North Carolina 61 – Miami (FL) 59
UNC led at exactly one point all day – at the final whistle.  Miami led all day, including 53-37 late in the second half, completely imploded down the stretch and fell victim to great playmaking drive by Kendall Marshall, who dished to Zeller for the game-winner.  Teddy and Dave were completely robbed here with a HUGE upset pick.  A lot of the field, barely, held on to their ACC champion here.

#4 Clemson vs. #5 Boston College
The winner of this game is going to the tournament.  It’s still unclear as to whether the loser will also go, but they should consider this an elimination game.  BC handled a terrible Wake Forest team yesterday to get here.  Clemson has had a bit of an under-the-radar solid season this year, but they could use another quality victory on their resume.  Demontez Stitt has never really reached the level that many predicted when he arrived on campus as a heralded freshman four years ago, but he is still a pretty solid player, and you can do a lot worse than him as a go-to guy.  This is a bit of a swing game here in the ACC, at least for this round alone.  Only 8 entries (Bry, Stri, Lohse, Scoot, Cheryl, Rikey, Gersh, and Primm) have the Tigers.  The other 12 all have BC here.  Lohse has the most faith in Clemson, pegging them as a finalist, while Teddy and Dave both have BC going to the finals.

FINAL SCORE:  Clemson 70 – Boston College 47
Demontez Stitt did lead the Tigers with 20 points in an easy quarterfinal win over BC.  Clemson has probably now secured an at-large bid, but they will get a shot to cement it against UNC in the semis.  BC is gonna sweat on Sunday, as Stitt (a great defender) shut down Reggie Jackson.  Teddy and Dave lost a finalist here.  Lohse kept a finalist alive.

#2 Duke vs. #7 Maryland
 Without Kyrie Irving, people just wrote this Duke team off as a possible dominant team.  And, honestly, while I thought it was absolutely crazy at the time, they really aren’t the same team – and I don’t understand that at all.  They are loaded!  When Kyle Singler is not the best player on your team, you KNOW you have a great team.  That being said, there are flaws.  This is not the Duke type defensive team that Coach K is used to.  The Plumlees are really just guys out there, instead of the studs that people thought they would be.  Duke is, in many ways, like the Yankees and their “prospects” are given much more credence just because they’re Duke.  Gary Williams, love him or hate him (and I’m more the latter than the former), is a great game-day coach and always find that extra gear against the Devils, so watch out.  Even the die-hard Terp fans in the CTC didn’t pick Maryland here.  Everyone has Duke, including 11 who have the Blue Devils as ACC champs.

FINAL SCORE:  Duke 87 – Maryland 71
Would you believe that this was a very close game for about 36 minutes?  Maryland even had a lead midway through the second half.  But, the Devils turned it on and ended up winning by 16.  But, the win is NOT the story of this game.  Nolan Smith – a national POY candidate – left this game with an apparent ankle or knee injury.  Stay tuned.  Everyone got this one right.

#3 Florida State vs. #6 Virginia Tech
Not many teams are, but FSU is definitely not good enough to really deal with the loss of their best player – and future pro – Chris Singleton.  They will try and get by with their solid, athletic frontcourt, but they might be over their heads both this week and next if Singleton can’t play – or isn’t 100%.  Va Tech hammered Georgia Tech yesterday to set up this important quarterfinal matchup.  If you ask me, they are in regardless, but knowing their past history, they are pretty well aware of what can happen on Selection Sunday even if you think you’ve done enough.  Va Tech was a pretty popular upset pick in this round (even though Vegas has them as a 4-point favorite), as J, Alexi, Lynch, Teddy, Cheryl, and Dan all have the Hokies going to the semis.  The rest of the field have FSU.  Waters, Primm, and Gross all have FSU going to the finals.  Cheryl has VT going to the finals; Lynch has them winning it.

*FINAL SCORE:  Virginia Tech 52 – Florida State 51
While the officials’ overturning of Derwin Kitchen’s apparent game-winner for FSU was pretty big for Va Tech and FSU in their quests for an ACC title and NCAA tournament berth, it was nothing compared to J and Bry’s quest for a CTC overall title.  When Kitchen hit what looked like a game-winner, it looked like Bry would extend his overall lead heading into the second-to-last day.  But, when the refs determined, correctly (on the closest call of this kind that I have ever seen), that when time expired, the ball was still touching the very fingertip of Kitchen’s middle finger, it gave J (and 5 others) the upset pick and the overall lead by himself.  Lynch is happy with this result, as he has Va Tech as his ACC champ.

BIG TEN QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
In Chicago, the best top three in a conference are ready to start their postseason runs, including the best team in the country at noon.

#1 Ohio State vs. #8 Northwestern
There is no doubt in my mind that OSU is the best team in the country.  In fact, I don’t like that everyone keeps saying that this year doesn’t have a “great” team.  This team is definitely great.  It has it all – from a stud big man to the senior leaders to dead-eye outside shooting to hard-core effort on the defensive end and the boards.  I will be picking the Buckeyes to win the NCAA tournament in any bracket I complete.  In fact, this team is so good, people completely forget about Buford, who may be some NBA team’s first-round draft pick this year.  Their one potential weakness is depth, which could come into play this weekend, but isn’t usually a big issue in next week’s tournament.  On the other side, people seem to forget that this NW team has a ton of talent and probably should have been a tournament team.  John Shurna is really good, and Juice Thompson (who had 35 yesterday), is a solid senior lead guard.  This won’t be a runaway for the country’s top team.  Not surprisingly, everyone went with OSU here, and most people went with the Buckeyes all tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Ohio State 67 – Northwestern 61 (OT)
An incredible shooting display by John Shurna is not enough, as OSU comes all the way back to send the game to OT and then dominate the extra session.  Jared Sullinger was not very good in his first postseason game, but was a force when they needed him most.  Unfortunately, despite another solid game by Juice Thompson, I still can’t convince the wife to start referring to me as “Juice.”  The Big Ten’s most popular champion pick stays alive – barely.

#4 Michigan vs. #5 Illinois
Probably the last ever Big Ten quarterfinal game between two teams that got byes will be today in the mid-afternoon.  Illinois should have been great this year, but, well, maybe Demitri McCamey just isn’t that good.  Yes, it is really hard for me to believe that I’m even writing that because I thought he was in the conversation for best point guard in America, but I was dead-wrong.  I do like some of the athleticism that Illinois has, but they lack any toughness whatsoever.  Michigan, on the other hand, may have gotten a double dose of toughness, and just didn’t get the talent.  But, when you have John Beilein as your coach (another incredibly underrated guy), you always have a chance, and, to everyone’s surprise, it looks like this team is going dancing.  More people believe in Illinois here than Michigan, as only 9 people took the Wolverines – Alexi, Lohse, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Cheryl, Dan, Dave, and Gersh.  One entry (Dave) took Michigan to reach the finals, and one entry (Lynch) took Illinois to reach the finals.  Both had their pick losing to Purdue.

FINAL SCORE:  Michigan 60 – Illinois 55
The Illini led most of the way, but flat-out gave this one away at the end with very sloppy play on both ends of the floor, marking only the 2nd time in 14 years that Illinois didn’t make the Big Ten semis (an amazing statistic, actually).  Gotta give credit to the Wolverines, though, as they have been one of the hottest teams in the land for about a month now and are now almost assured of selection in the Dance on Sunday night.  Love to see a guy named Tim Hardaway hitting big threes…ah, memories.  Dave kept alive his wildcard finalist, while Lynch lost his. 

#2 Purdue vs. #7 Michigan State
The game of the day – bar none – is a quarterfinal game.  Even with some big conferences (Big East and Big XII, among others) playing semifinals rounds, this quarterfinal game between the Big Ten’s 2- and 7-seeds could be phenomenal.  Here is one request I have about Purdue from here on out:  Can we please have a moratorium on “How good would they be with Robbie Hummel?” comments?  Please?!?  Why don’t we just say:  “Wow, this team is really, reall good.”  Period.  E’twuan Moore and JuJuan Johnson are as good an inside-outside combination as you will find anywhere in the country.  In fact, I think they are the best inside-outside duo anywhere.  Throw in dead-eye shooters like Ryne Smith and D.J. Byrd and a quintessential college point guard in Lewis Jackson, and this is a great team with or without that Hummel guy.  But, how tough did this tournament bracket break for them?  Because Michigan State was a complete train wreck for a lot of the season, this team with Final Four talent and an all-time great head coach is a 7-seed.  But, they can put it together.  And, it could be at any time.  This is going to be good.  And, aside from it being a fantastic game, from a basketball perspective (who cares about that?), this game, maybe as much as any other single game, is a HUGE game from a CTC perspective.  J, Alexi, Dan, Primm, and Gross all have MSU winning this game.  J and Primm have Sparty in the finals.  On the other side, Doogan, Lynch, Lohse, KA, Teddy, Cheryl, and Dave all have the Boilermakers winning this whole tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Michigan State 74 – Purdue 56
MSU had a huge first half and was able to stave off a furious Purdue comeback, as Sparty is going back to The Dance – definitely.  We saw Kalin Lucas, vintage 2009, tonight, as he dropped 30 and was easily the best player on the floor all night.  If he can return to his Big Ten POY level, this team could be rather dangerous.  This was a HUGE game for the 5 that hit this game, especially J and Primm, who have them in the finals.  When the CTC is all said and done, if J is the champion (which is a distinct possibility, at this point), we may look back at right now as the turning point, as J hit his upset pick with MSU, and Bry missed his with Tennessee.

#3 Wisconsin vs. #6 Penn State
We seem to say it every year:  “Bo Ryan [another Philly product at head coach] may have done his best job yet.”  But, if we say it every year, can’t we just say that this guy is one of the absolute best?  Yes, yes, we can say that.  I know that Jordan Taylor and John Leuer have immense talent, but looking at this roster, is this really a Top 10-caliber roster?  Not without Ryan.  The one reason for hesitation is that the Badgers were much better at home, and their games at Kohl are over.  I still think they have Final Four potential, but we shall see.  This pesky, senior-laden PSU team sees their collegiate mortality here, as they definitely need at least one more win for at-large consideration (and that still might not be enough, though a win over Wis would be nice).  They took care of Indiana in unimpressive fashion, but they’re here, and that’s all that matters.  Waters, Scoot, Dave, and Primm all have PSU in the upset here; everyone else has Wisconsin.  Gross has the most at stake, with Wisconsin as his champion.

FINAL SCORE: Penn St. 36 – Wisconsin 33
Nope, that score is not a typo.  Big Ten Basketball, everybody!  I saw that score come across the ticker and thought it was the halftime score.  The Nittany Lions had nobody in double-figures and got zero points from their bench, and they win.  Wisconsin shoots 2-21 from 3.  It’s hard to understand why Wisconsin is such a different team home and away.  Waters, Scoot, Dave, and Primm hit the nice upset, while Gross loses his champ.

SEC QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
Three East Division teams win yesterday, as the difference in the quality of the divisions continue to be spotlighted.  We will see how the top two Western teams do as they enter the tourney today.

#1W Alabama vs. #4E Georgia
UGA knocked off Auburn yesterday with expected ease.  Now, they get an upstart Alabama team that, if they had actually played anyone in the non-conference would be a solid bubble team.  Anthony Grant (former VCU head man) is a GREAT coach and is going to turn this Tide program around and rather quickly.  Bama is in the bubble mix, but needs AT LEAST a win here.  The Dawgs are a rather popular upset pick here.  Bry, Doogan, J, Scoot, Primm, Gross, and Mac all have UGA here.  Teddy has already lost this game (Auburn), and everyone else has ‘Bama.  No one has Georgia past the semis, but KA does have Alabama going to the finals and winning it.

FINAL SCORE:  Alabama 65 – Georgia 59 (OT)
If Georgia misses the NCAA tournament, they might subpoena my email and sue me for damages, as I sent an email to Gross with about 6 minutes left (when UGA had a 14-point lead), saying that we were about to hit a big email.  Alabama outscored Georgia 19-5 after that to send the game to OT and then rode that momentum to a win in the extra session.  JaMychal Green (another incredible name) stuffed the stat sheet for the Tide with 20 points, 13 boards, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 5 blocks.  Bama definitely boosted their at-large resume, but probably still need another win to feel even remotely safe.  7 entries are snakebitten by missing this seemed-to-be-in-the-bag upset pick.  KA miraculously saves her champion pick.

#2E Kentucky vs. #3W Ole Miss
I wonder how long Calipari can keep this up.  It seems like his stategy of complete turnover of a roster and then poor in-game coaching is only one semi-failed recruiting class (or one more recruiting allegation) away from mediocrity.  But, for now, he’s got yet another college team loaded with professional-caliber personnel.  Ole Miss and Chris Warren (who is 22 points away from becoming the 4th ever 2000-point, 400-assist in SEC history) knocked off South Carolina yesterday to set up their shot at the ‘Cats today.  It’s a bit surprising, but this game is unanimous – everyone has UK.  The Wildcats are also the most popular champion pick in the SEC, by a pretty wide margin.

FINAL SCORE:  Kentucky 75 – Ole Miss 66
The ‘Cats did not look all that good in a game that was a lot closer than the 9-point final spread may indicate.  The Rebels were in it until the end, when UK cemented the game with free throws.  A rough days for Knight and Jones were made up for by Lamb and Miller, who were both solid.  Chris Warren fell 2 points shy of the 2,000-point mark and now will hope that Ole Miss gets a shot in a postseason tournament.  The 12 entries with UK as their champion cannot be overly encouraged by this game, but, as we’ll keep saying all month, a win is a win, no matter how ugly here in March.

#1E Florida vs. #5E Tennessee
I have been in love with this Florida team from the very beginning.  Chandler Parsons, while not a household name, is a star.  Erving Walker has been off-the-charts surprising, and the bigs of Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin are VASTLY underrated.  Macklin’s hook shot is almost unstoppable when it’s on, and Tyus is very vulnerable at the 4.  And, the best part is that they have sort of realized how to best utilize Kenny Boynton.  He’s not going to win you games by taking 20 shots, but if you can get him 8 to 10 good ones, he can be very dangerous.  Tennessee, who beat Arkansas last night and is capable of beating anyone on any given night, are a brutal team for any top seed to have to play in the quarters.  Bry, Alexi, Lynch, Teddy, Primm, and Gross all went for a gigantic upset pick here with Tennessee.  Alexi even has them going to the finals.  Top-seeded Florida is only the champion pick of Stri, Waters, Cheryl, and Mac.

FINAL SCORE:  Florida 85 – Tennessee 74
Tennessee led for most of the first half and some of the second, but Bruce Pearl was called for a technical foul with his team down 1, which fueled a furious Florida spurt and the Gators never looked back.  A balanced scoring attack for Florida saw all five starters in double-figures and were led by Boynton with 22.  UT’s big two, Hopson and Harris, combined for 44, but it wasn’t enough.  A lot of people missed this upset pick, including Alexi, who lost a finalist.  Stri, Waters, Cheryl, and Mac are happy, as they are the only 4 with this top-seed winning this tournament.

#2W Mississippi State vs. #3E Vanderbilt
Mississippi State stinks.  But, their coach is incredible.  As long as Rick Stansbury is still on the sidelines, this Bulldogs team will have at least a modicum of success.  In fact, this is a battle between the two coaches who I think might be the most overlooked great coaches in America, as Kevin Stallings leads Vandy in to play the ‘Dogs.  This is a huge swing game in the SEC because of the belief in the long-term ability of these two teams.  While MSU is the favorite here, only 6 people picked them to win this game – Waters, Lynch, Lil Lohse, Dan, Dave, and Primm.  Primm and Lil Lohse both have them reaching the finals and losing.  Lynch has them reaching the finals and winning.  Bry, Doogan, J, Lohse, Teddy, Gersh, and Gross all have the Commodores going to the finals.  Doogan and J have them winning it.

*FINAL SCORE:  Vanderbilt 87 – Mississippi State 81
John Jenkins, who didn’t play in Vandy’s opening round win against LSU, came back with a vengeance, dropping 29 on the Bulldogs to end a forgettable season in Starkville.  The Commodores will now get top-seeded Florida in the semis.  Doogan and J keep alive their SEC champ.  Lynch loses his.

MOUNTAIN WEST SEMIFINALS (32 points each)
BYU survived a scare on the scoreboard, SDSU survived a scare on the injury table, but both are now in the semis tonight in tough games.

#1 BYU vs. #5 New Mexico
BYU survived to beat a bad TCU team yesterday, while New Mexico beat a really good Colorado State team.  And, remember, New Mexico gave BYU 2/3 of their season’s losses this year.  Lil Lohse, Scoot, Rikey, and Mac all took New Mexico with this upset pick, though none of them have the Lobos winning it all.  Everyone else has BYU, with Stri, Lohse, Teddy, Dan, and Gersh picking the Cougars to win this tournament. 

IN-GAME UPDATE:  Jimmer Fredette has 33 points, and it’s NOT EVEN HALFTIME.  Honestly, it looks like he’s playing NBA Jam and he’s on fire.  I’ve seen a lot of basketball in my days, and I’ve never really seen anything like this.

*FINAL SCORE:  BYU 87 – New Mexico 76
Even though The Jimmer was inhuman all night, this was a close game for about 35 minutes.  But, when New Mexico lost their two best players – Dariese Gary to injury and Drew Gordon to foul trouble – they just didn’t have the horses to handle a white-hot Fredette.  Jimmer hoisted up 37 shots – which I would harshly criticize, if he didn’t make 22 of them – en route to 51 points from the field (and 1 from the line).  It was absolutely unbelievable to watch.  Simply unforgettable.  I wonder what he has for an encore on Saturday.

#2 San Diego State vs. #3 UNLV 
What a game here!  SDSU – basically on the road – takes on UNLV.  The Rebels are probably in, but can’t be certain, while I really think that (especially with the Pitt loss), the Aztecs have a really strong argument for a #1-seed if they win this tournament.  And, that is big for a program that has never lost a tournament game, considering a 1-seed has never lost in the tournament.  Everyone has a horse in this race, and most people’s is the same horse.  Only Lohse, KA, and Gross have UNLV, with the latter two picking the Rebels to win it all.

*FINAL SCORE:  San Diego State 74 – UNLV 72
Mister Clutch strikes again, as D.J. Gay hit a buzzer-beater to break the hearts of the home crown in Vegas.  This was a phenomenal game of back-and-forth action that was, for most of the second half, a man’s war between Kawhi Leonard and Tre’Von Willis.  It was fantastic M-West basketball that ended with a big shot by the most underrated point guard in the nation.  KA and Gross lost their champ here, while a bunch of entries kept theirs alive.

CONFERENCE USA SEMIFINALS (24 points each)
With #1 UAB going out in the quarters, this conference now has three good teams and one Cinderella in the semis tonight.

#4 Memphis vs. #8 E. Carolina
Memphis won a hard-fought war with Southern Miss yesterday and benefit from not having to play the #1-seed UAB because of the ECU upset.  The Pirates are playing very well right now, though, so this is no walkover for the Tigers.  With the elimination of the top-seed, UAB, and a popular 5-seed, S. Miss, there are not a whole lot of people with a team left to root for in this game.  No one has ECU, and only 4 people (J, Waters, Lynch, and Lil Lohse) have Memphis.  Every one of the four except Lil Lohse has Memphis cutting down the nets.

FINAL SCORE:  Memphis 76 – E. Carolina 56
Joe Jackson had 24 off the bench for the Tigers, as they cruise past ECU into the finals.  J, Waters, and Lynch all keep their champ alive.

#2 Tulsa vs. #3 UTEP
UTEP knocked off Marshall yesterday on their home floor, while Tulsa survived a pesky Rice team.  They meet now in a good semifinal, with a trip to the C-USA championship on the line.  Neither team has a very strong at-large profile, so a loss here would pretty much eliminate either of them.  J, Teddy, and Dan have already lost this game with Marshall.  Stri, Waters, Scoot, and Gersh have Tulsa.  The other 13 all have UTEP.  Stri and Scoot have Tulsa winning it all.  Six entries (Bry, Doogan, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, and Gross) have UTEP winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  UTEP 66 – Tulsa 54
The Miners got 26 from their star, Randy Culpepper and knocked off Tulsa to move on to the finals against Memphis tomorrow.  The 6 entries with UTEP winning this tournament are happy.

MAC SEMIFINALS (16 points each)
A wild quarterfinal quadruple-header that went into the early morning hours in Cleveland sets up a good semifinal double-header.  It should be interesting to see how tired legs perform for the two teams that had to play extra time yesterday.

#2 W. Michigan vs. #6 Akron
Thanks to 6 straight missed free throws by the best FT-shooting team in the MAC, Akron survived in double-OT against Miami (OH) yesterday, even after blowing a 12-point second-half lead.  W. Michigan won a relatively close game against Bowling Green.  This is a bit of a swing game in the CTC.  5 people have already lost this with Miami (OH), but the other 15 are relatively split.  Doogan, J, Alexi, Teddy, and Gross have a nice upset pick of Akron here.  Bry, Stri, Waters, both Lohses, Scoot, Rikey, Gersh, and Primm all have WMU here.  Scoot, Dave, and both Lohses have W. Mich winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Akron 79 – W. Michigan 68
Akron advances to their fourth straight MAC final – pretty impressive – as they beat WMU almost wire-to-wire, though they did almost blow a huge lead until a really bad tech by WMU’s Mike Douglas gave Akron a ton of free throws to put it away.  5 people hit a nice upset here; 4 lost a champion.

#1 Kent State vs. #4 Ball State 
Ball State came back from 9 points down with under two minutes left to shock Ohio in OT yesterday.  Ohio even had the ole intentionally missed free throw for an offensive rebound and a really good look to tie in OT, but it didn’t fall, and the Cardinals advance to the semis against KSU.  Teddy has lost this game with Buffalo; Scoot and Dave have lost this game with Ohio.  Of the remaining 17, 16 have Kent State.  Cheryl is the lone dissenting opinion with Ball State.  A boatload of entries have KSU winning it all in the MAC.

*FINAL SCORE:  Kent State 79 – Ball State 68
Kent State led this game pretty much the whole way, but it didn’t ever seem like they had control, as Ball State hung around all game.  Justin Greene’s 20 points were finally just too much for the Cardinals, and the MAC’s best team advances to the finals to take on Akron.  A lot of CTC’ers keep their champ alive here.

WAC SEMIFINALS (16 points each)
With the top two teams getting byes to the semis, we now have a final four ready to tipoff in Vegas, with all trying to knock off the top-dogs.

#1 Utah State vs. #8 San Jose State
Utah State dominated this conference all year long and with the only team that beat them (Idaho) out of the tournament, they should be able to finish the job and take the decision out of the hands of the committee.  SJSU is coming off back-to-back upsets to get here is playing with nothing lose and their young team could be dangerous.  Everyone except KA (Hawaii) has USU winning this game and the WAC title.

*FINAL SCORE:  Utah State 58 – San Jose State 54
You have to hand it to a very young SJSU team that finished 8th in the WAC, but were a couple plays away from upsetting the heavy favorites and playing for the WAC title.  This is a team to watch going forward.  But, this year is about USU, who survived a SJSU three-point attempt that probably would have own the game to move on to the finals.  19 people have USU winning this tournament.

#2 Boise State vs. #3 New Mexico State
Boise State, somehow, got the 2-seed and the double-bye in this tournament.  They will take on NMSU, who was supposed to be the only team with the talent to contend with USU in this conference this year.  The Aggies knocked off Nevada yesterday to get here.  6 people have NMSU in this one (J, Lohse, Lil Lohse, Dan, Rikey, and Primm); 5 have already lost it with either Nevada or Fresno (Alexi, KA, Gersh, Gross, and Mac); the other 9 have Boise.

*FINAL SCORE:  Boise State 81 – New Mexico State 63
Boise hammers NMSU to advance to the WAC final to try and steal a bubble team’s bid against USU.  9 people got this one right.

BIG WEST SEMIFINALS (8 points each)
The 1-seed survived yesterday, and the 2-seed did not, as the Big West moves to the semifinal round.

#1 Long Beach State vs. #7 UC-Riverside
LBSU and that great trio of juniors took care of business (a little sloppily) last night against UC-Irvine.  Tonight, they get UCR, who pulled off a big upset of Cal Poly.  Since everyone picked LBSU to win this tournament, it would stand to reason that everyone has them winning their semifinal, as well.

*FINAL SCORE:  Long Beach State 74 – UC-Riverside 63
LBSU, who everyone has winning this tournament, allowed UCR to hang around, but, in the end, Casper Ware and company were just too much.

#3 CS-Northridge vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara
The Matadors were picked to finish last in the Big West.  The Gouchos were picked to finish first in the Big West.  But, CSN had a better year than UCSB and get to wear home white tonight in their semifinal.  CSN knocked off Fullerton last night easily, while UCSB eliminated a disappointing Pacific team.  With most people having Cal Poly here, this is a good shot for those with a team left here to gain some points on most of the field.  Alexi, Scoot, Dan, Dave, and Gross all have CS-Northridge.  No one has UCSB.

*FINAL SCORE:  UC-Santa Barbara 83 – CS-Northridge 63
The Gouchos hammered Northridge to advance to the Big West championship game – which should be a good one – against LBSU. 

MEAC SEMIFINALS (8 points each)
A crazily scheduled tournament is now down to a standard 4-team, 2-day tournament.  Three of the top four teams are joined by party-crashers Norfolk State tonight.

#2 Hampton vs. #6 Norfolk State
Hampton has been one of the dominant teams in the MEAC all year, and they caught a bit of a break, as they faced #10 UMES in the quarters and now #6 Norfolk in the semis.  Norfolk probably played as well as they could in beating Coppin last night, so we’ll see if they can get it going agains tonight.  No one has Norfolk State winning this game.  Stri, Alexi, Waters, Lohse, Dave, and Gross have all lost this game already with either Coppin or FAMU.  Everyone else has Hampton.  Bry, Doogan, J, Teddy, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, and Primm all have Hampton winning this tournament.

*FINAL SCORE:  Hampton 85 – Norfolk State 61
Hampton made a statement with a pummelling of Norfolk in the semis, setting up a great MEAC final with Morgan State.  A lot of people keep alive their champ.

#1 Bethune-Cookman vs. #4 Morgan State
One of the best BC teams in a long time has its biggest test of the year tonight.  Two-time defending champion Morgan State has the talent and experience to win this tournament, but they will have to go through #1 tonight.  5 people had N.C. A&T (J, Lohse, Teddy, Cheryl, and Dave) and have already lost it.  5 more have Morgan State (Bry, Doogan, Alexi, Waters, Lynch).  The other 10 all have BC.  Alexi and Waters have Morgan winning the whole thing.  Stri, Lil Lohse, KA, Gross, and Mac all have BC winning it.

FINAL SCORE:  Morgan State 61 – Bethune-Cookman 48
John Chaney’s alma mater will not be in the NCAA tournament this year, as Morgan handles the MEAC’s top-seeded team rather easily.  Kevin Thompson had 22 and the Bears move to the finals where they will try and win their 3rd straight MEAC title.  Alexi and Waters keep alive their champ.  5 others lose theirs.

SWAC SEMIFINALS (8 points each)
The SWAC’s top two teams are still on a collision course for the finals, but have to get through the semis tonight.

#2 Jackson State vs. #6 Grambling State
Jackson State – probably the most talented team in the SWAC – held Prairie View to 38 points in their quarterfinal two nights ago.  Grambling pulled off a nice upset of Mississippi Valley State yesterday to set up this semifinal matchup.  KA, Teddy, and Dave all have a nice upset pick of Grambling here.  Doogan, Scoot, Primm, and Gross have already lost this game with either Mississippi Valley State or Prairie View A&M.  The other 13 have JSU in this one.  Waters, Lil Lohse, Gersh, and Mac have JSU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Grambling 81 – Jackson State 75 (OT)
Donald Qualls, who averages 10 points per game, dropped 35 on Jackson State, as Grambling comes from 11 down in the final 6 minutes to send the game to overtime and win it.  KA, Teddy, and Dave hit a nice upset here.  4 people lose their champ.

#1 TX-Southern vs. #4 Alabama State
TX-Southern, who ran away with the SWAC this year, only scored 50 points in their Friday night quarterfinal win over AR-Pine Bluff, but their defense carried the day.  They will now get a decent Alabama State team, who beat up on Alabama A&M last night in the quarters.  Waters, Lynch, and Lil Lohse have the nice upset pick of Bama State.  KA and Gross have already lost the game with Bama A&M.  The other 15 have top-seeded TX-Southern, with most of them having TSU going the distance.

*FINAL SCORE:  Alabama State 73 – TX-Southern 66
The second straight SWAC semifinal upset results in an unlikely final, as TX-Southern goes down.  Waters, Lynch, and Lohse hit big with this upset.

GREAT WEST SEMIFINALS (8 points each)
The Strange West conference has its semis tonight, as the top-seed and host, Utah Valley, enters the tournament for the first time.

#3 North Dakota vs. #7 Houston Baptist
Houston Baptist – the worst team in the country – beat NJIT last night and now get ND.  The Fighting Sioux took care of another awful team, TX-Pan American, last night.  No one even had HB reaching this game, let alone winning it.  Doogan, J, Alexi, Lil Lohse, KA, Teddy, Scoot, Dan, Dave, Gersh, Primm, and Mac all have North Dakota here.  The other 8 had N.J.I.T., so they’ve already lost it.  J, Lohse, KA, Scoot, Dan, Gersh, and Mac all have ND winning this tournament. 

FINAL SCORE:  North Dakota 65 – Houston Baptist 63
I’m considering going to the Great West tournament next year, as this is the 4 straight game in this tournament that went down to the last possession.  But, then again, it didn’t sound like it was “good basketball,” even though it sounded quite clutch.  Andrew Gonzalez hit three free throws with :05 seconds left to tie it for HB, and then Patrick Mitchell hit two free throws with :02 seconds left to win it for North Dakota.  How there were 5 free throws in a close game in the final :05 seconds, I have no idea…  7 people keep alive their champ.

#1 Utah Valley vs. #4 South Dakota
UVU is the host and the best team in this conference.  They also received the only bye of this tournament, so they play their first postseason game of the year.  SD needed OT to beat a bad Chicago State team last night.  It is Lohse versus the world here, as he has South Dakota and the other 19 have UVU.  In fact, Lohse has SD winning this tournament.  Bry, Doogan, Stri, Alexi, Lynch, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Rikey, Dave, Primm, and Gross all have UVU winning it.

*FINAL SCORE:  South Dakota 72 – Utah Valley 70
There have been 5 games in the Great West tournament, and they have been decided by a combined 10 points.  South Dakota upset the top-seed and tournament hosts, UVU, to advance to the title game on Saturday against North Dakota.  Lohse won big here, as the only one with SD and the only one with them winning it all.

CTC Day Ten Recap: Rikey, Lohse, and Primm Shine on the Biggest Day Yet; Bry’s Overall Lead Continues to Shrink

Prior to Day Ten, the biggest single-day score was Rikey’s 266 on Day Eight.  Well, all 20 people had more than that on Day Ten.  And, once again, the big day was won by Rikey, who moves back into second place overall.  Lohse and Primm were right behind him, and both moved up in the standings.  Primm actually jumped 6 spots to #10.  Gross, Lil Lohse, and Teddy took the biggest falls down the leaderboard  But, generally, despite the big numbers, on a day of most chalk, there was not a lot of differentiation between the entries, so there wasn’t a ton of movement on the leaderboard.

DAY TEN SCORES (days won):

  1. Rikey – 482 (2)
  2. Lohse – 474
  3. Primm – 466 (1)
  4. Lynch – 432
  5. Scoot – 420
  6. J – 416 (1)
  7. Alexi – 404
  8. Stri – 404
  9. Dan – 396
  10. Doogan – 392 (2)
  11. Mac – 390 (1)
  12. Gersh – 382
  13. KA – 366 (1)
  14. Waters – 364
  15. Lil Lohse – 362
  16. Teddy – 362
  17. Bry – 360 (3)
  18. Dave – 358
  19. Gross – 350 (1)
  20. Cheryl – 324

OVERALL STANDINGS (conferences won):

  1. Bry – 1531 (Big Sky, CAA, Horizon, Summit, WCC)
  2. Rikey – 1474
  3. J – 1463 (A-Sun, OVC)
  4. Dave – 1397 (A-Sun)
  5. Lohse – 1396 (Summit)
  6. Dan – 1360 (A-Sun)
  7. Doogan – 1344 (Big South)
  8. Scoot – 1340 (NEC)
  9. Stri – 1310 (NEC, Summit)
  10. Primm – 1302 (MAAC)
  11. Alexi – 1278 (MVC)
  12. Mac – 1259
  13. Lynch – 1258 (Summit)
  14. Gross – 1252 (SoCon)
  15. Lil Lohse – 1246 (Summit)
  16. Waters – 1229
  17. Gersh – 1216
  18. Teddy – 1212 (Summit)
  19. Cheryl – 1101 (Summit)
  20. KA – 1066

CTC: Day Ten

Last Update: 10:59 AM

Well, first of all, I need to apologize in advance.  I had this post completely written (8,000+ words) – by far the longest post of the two weeks, and, somehow, it all got deleted.  It totally sucks, but I guess it’s “just basketball.”  So, this is not going to be as in-depth as I want it to be, but I’ll try and get as much as I can.

And, of course, it happens on the biggest day of the whole CTC.  50 games today – a ton of points at stake.  But, I guess the bright side is that you all can watch the games instead of reading 8,000 pointless words from some guy.  As an insane perfectionist, though, I am going to try and recreate it as much as I can.

BIG EAST QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
After 8 games in 2 days, the Big East gives us yet another quadruple-header, as the four best teams in the league enter the fray.

#1 Pittsburgh vs. #9 Connecticut
It has been the Kemba show over the past two days, as Kemba’s Huskies have dispatched of DePaul and G’town to get to the quarters here against the league’s best team.  Pitt has been great all year.  I have heard so many times that this team just isn’t a championship-type team, but I disagree.  I can definitely see this team cutting down the nets next month.  Ashton Gibbs may not be a superstar, but he can be a real go-to guy.  Plus, their size is really intimidating and crippling to smaller teams.  J and Gross have both already lost this game, but everyone else has Pitt.  7 people (Doogan, Alexi, Lil Lohse, KA, Scoot, Rikey, and Gersh) have the Panthers winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  UConn 76 – Pitt 74
A lot of computer issues here today.  Even some updates somehow got deleted.  Oh well.  This was one of the better games I’ve seen this season, with Kemba Walker hitting the game-winning jumper as time expired.  Ashton Gibbs’s career-high 27 points wasn’t enough to avoid the upset.  7 entries lose their champ.

#4 Syracuse vs. #5 St. John’s
After an incredibly controversial win yesterday on their “home” floor, the Johnnies now get the Garden’s other favorite team.  It should be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to this game, as St. John’s plays a lot of their regular season home games here, and Syracuse is always a big favorite in the Garden.  This Syracuse team has been interesting to me all year.  They have a lot of positives and a lot of negatives.  Rick Jackson has emerged as a star, which is good because Fab Melo has been more like Barely Serviceable Melo.  And, in the backcourt, they have one very good guard and one pretty bad guard.  But, it was supposed to be Jardine as the former, Triche as the latter.  But, Brandon Triche has been really, really good.  And, I think Jardine is pretty terrible.  Kris Joseph has been decent.  It should be interesting to see how far this team goes.  Doogan, Alexi, Waters, Lynch, Cheryl, Dan, Dave, Gersh, and Gross all have SJU here.  Dan has them going to the finals and losing, while Waters, Lynch, Cheryl, and Dave all have them winning this tournament.  J, Lohse, Teddy, and Primm all have the ‘Cuse winning the tournament, so no matter what, four entries will be without a Big East champion after this game.

FINAL SCORE:  Syracuse 79 – St. John’s 73
Barely Serviceable Melo had his best game of the year, with 12 points on 5-5 shooting, and the Orange hold off the upstart Johnnies.  Waters, Lynch, Cheryl, and Dave lose their champion.

#2 Notre Dame vs. #7 Cincinnati
The Bearcats hammered USF last night to set up this quarterfinal matchup.  But, today the competition steps up, as they get a really, really good Notre Dame team.  I have been on this Notre Dame team from the beginning, calling them the Team to Watch in our Big East preview.  But, I didn’t think they’d be quite this good.  They have a ton of experience and some great long-range shooting all over the floor.  And, as good as Ben Hansbrough has been this year, I think their best and most versatile player is the often-overlooked Tim Abromaitis.  One issue that might arise is that they are not incredibly deep, so foul and fatigue issues could get them.  No one has Cincinnati here, but KA, Teddy, Cheryl, and Dave all had Villanova.  Bry, Dan, Gross, and Mac all have ND winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE: Notre Dame 89 – Cincinnati 51
A nice start to the postseason for the best Irish team in a generation, as this one got really ugly.  Hansbrough led a balanced attack with 23.

#3 Louisville vs. #11 Marquette
How great of a job has Rick Pitino done this year?  Preston Knowles and Peyton Siva are nice player, but not stars, by any stretch.  In fact, this roster is more like 10th place team than a 3rd place team in this league, but Pitino has worked wonders here.  We will see, though, if they get exposed in the postseason.  They start it tonight against a Marquette team that looked real good in beating West Virginia last night.  J, Alexi, Waters, Lil Lohse, Teddy, and Gross have already lost this game with WVU.  Cheryl and Gersh have a nice upset pick of Marquette here, with Gersh having the Golden Eagles in the finals.  Stri has Louisville winning this tournament.  Doogan, KA, Scoot, and Dave all have the Ville in the finals.

FINAL SCORE:  Louisville 81 – Marquette 56
Another blowout as the Big East nighttime double-header didn’t exactly give us the drama of the daytime version.  Cheryl and Gersh miss a nice upset pick; Stri keeps his champ alive.

BIG XII QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
Quite the interesting opening round in the Big XII, which saw the complete implosion of Baylor, the end of the great Pat Knight Era, and the disappearance of any tournament shot for Nebraska.

#1 Kansas vs. #9 Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have never lost their first Big XII tournament game, and that trend continues as they send the ‘Huskers to the NIT yesterday.  KU rarely loses any games, and this year is no exception.  One of the Morris twins would create a matchup nightmare, but they have two of them.  Marcus is clearly the better and more versatile player (wouldn’t that be weird to be considerably better than your twin?), but Markieff is no slouch.  Add in a freshman PG in Selby who only has two months of play in him and two seniors in Reed and Morningstar who have been dreaming of wearing Jayhawk blue since they could walk.  The one thing that could get them is if Ty Taylor actually thinks he’s a star because he is not.  Everyone has KU here, with 8 people (Bry, Stri, Alexi, Lohse, KA, Dan, Rikey, and Mac) with KU as their champ.

FINAL SCORE: Kansas 63 – Oklahoma St. 62
Okie State led most of the game, but the Jayhawks manage to pull it out at the end and avoid the big upset.  Marcus Morris leads the way with 16 points/11 boards.

#4 Kansas State vs. #5 Colorado
The Buffs avoided an absolutely devastating loss yesterday by edging Iowa State.  They now have a shot to play their way into the draw with a win here.  But, that’s not easy task.  K-State is on fire, playing the kind of ball that everyone thought they would when they were a preseason Top 5 team.  Jacob Pullen has found it, and it seems like they finally learned how to play without Clemente.  Plus, Rodney McGruder has become a really solid player, and I still think Curtis Kelly is their most important guy.  I just can’t wait for the Frank Martin Stare all day.  You have to think that the Wildcats are looking ahead to a possible semifinal, in Kansas City, against their domineering big bros, KU.  17 people have K-State here; Lohse, Cheryl, and Dave have the Buffs.  Waters, Lynch, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Scoot, and Primm have K-State winning it all.  Gross, J, and Doogan have them in the finals, but losing to Texas.

FINAL SCORE:  Colorado 87 – Kansas St. 75
Alec Burks scores 24 and gets 28 from backcourt-mate Cory Higgins as Colorado douses the red-hot Wildcats and probably lockup an NCAA bid.  An impressive offensive display by the Buffs.  Lohse, Cheryl, and Dave hit this nice upset, while 6 entries lose their champion.

#2 Texas vs. #10 Oklahoma
Well, the Longhorns might have just gotten a walkover into the semis, as Baylor completely implodes and rolls over against a pretty bad OU team.  The Longhorns, for about two months, looked like the best team in the country.  I have always been a Rick Barnes apologist (on which Doogan calls me out quite often), so I guess I overrate this team, but I think they’re fantastic.  They seemed to fade down the stretch (as usual), so we will see if Barnes can reverse this alarming trend.  KA and Dave had Baylor here; no one has OU.  Doogan, J, Gersh, and Gross have the ‘Horns winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: Texas 74 – Oklahoma 54
Texas rolls right through OU into the semis.

#3 Texas A&M vs. #6 Missouri
In the late game last night, Mizzou nearly gave the game away against Texas Tech.  They had the game in hand and then just started turning the ball over at will.  But, they survived and now get to play a game with a fascinating contrast of styles.  You all know my thoughts on Mizzou, and I have similar thoughts about A&M in a much different way.  First of all, I think Mark Turgeon is one of the best coaches in the country that no one ever talks about.  He just wins – and he does it with defense.  Loubou and Middleton are pretty solid offensive players, and B.J. Holmes is decent, but they really don’t have Top 15 talent, but they’ve been there all year – at least until a late-season slide.  This team is dangerous in any tournament, so don’t overlook them here or next week.  This is a bit of a swing game in the CTC, as most people have the underdog Tigers.  Only Bry, KA, Rikey, Dave, and Primm have A&M.  KA has A& in the finals; Dave has them winning it all.  Alexi, Scoot, Cheryl, and Dan have Mizzou in the finals.  Cheryl has them winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  Texas A&M 86 – Missouri 71
A&M, usually a defensive team, pummelled Mizzou in the nightcap, setting up a date with the rival Longhorns.  The Aggies shot 57% from the floor and held the Tigers to 33%.  A whole lot of people missed this upset pick; Dave kept his darkhorse champ alive.

PAC 10 QUARTERFINALS (20 points each)
The Oregon schools swept the opening round last night, as Stanford and ASU’s seasons come to an end.  Now, the Pac-10 really gets going in LA.

#4 USC vs. #5 California
If you told me I had to win one basketball game to save my life, and I could choose anyone in the world to coach for me, Mike Montgomery might be the first guy I call.  He is at least on the short list.  As much as I like Austin Freeman as a player, that’s how much I like Montgomery as a coach.  This team was supposed to be terrible, with massive graduation losses, but he keeps them going.  Today they will take on a USC team that has plenty of bubble teams pretty scared.  With the wide openness of the Pac-10 tournament, it is not out of the question that a team with the talent of USC can run through the tournament and steal a bid.  Nik Vucovic has been on fire, scoring at least 18 points in 11 straight.  Bry, both Lohses, Teddy, Cheryl, Dave, and Gross have Cal in the mild upset. Gross and Cheryl have the Bears losing in the finals.  Dave has them winning it.  Lynch and Dan have the Trojans in the finals, though neither have them winning.

FINAL SCORE: USC 70 – California 56
The Trojans have very little depth, but they have a few guys that can really play, and they get it done here in their tourney opener.  7 entries miss on the mild upset pick.

#1 Arizona vs. #9 Oregon State
If Derrick Williams played in the Big East, people would be talking about him as possibly the best player in the country.  But, he is stuck in a bad Pac-10, so his greatness is almost completely overlooked.  This ‘Zona team is good.  Not title contender good.  Not Final Four good.  Probably not even Elite Eight good, unless they get a break in a bracket, but they are good.  A solid Pac-10 champ that won’t be an easy out this week or next.  Oregon State won a rather unexciting opening round game over Stanford last night.  Everyone has AZ winning here, with Bry, J, both Lohses, KA, Teddy, Scoot, Rikey, Gersh, and Mac having them win the tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  Arizona 78 – Oregon St. 69
Derrick Williams is 6-8 and shooting over 60% on 3’s this year.  He had never made more than 3 in a game though, until today.  Williams shoots 8-12 from the field and 5-6 from distance, totaling a rather efficient 22 points, to lead the top-seed into the semifinals.  Hart to imagine him NOT being a Top-5 pick in June.

#2 UCLA vs. #7 Oregon
The last game of the night last night saw Kyle Singler’s brother dominate Arizona State, marking the end of a great career for ASU point guard, Ty Abbott.  Now, the Ducks go up in competition, taking on a surprising UCLA team.  Acutally, it shouldn’t be surprising, I mean are there many better coaches than Ben Howland?  Is it any surprise that he has this team playing at the highest level their talent will allow.  I am very interested to see just how far he can take all this slightly better than mediocre talent.  They should be good again next year, though, as Nelson, Lee, and Honeycutt are all pretty good, but not anywhere near good enough to leave early.  Everyone has UCLA here, with Doogan, Stri, Alexi, Waters, Cheryl, and Dan picking them to win it all.

FINAL SCORE:  Oregon 76 – UCLA 59
A stunner here in LA, as Oregon takes out the #2 seeded Bruins.  The less talked about Singler in the country scored 24 for the red-hot Ducks, who are probably scaring some bubble teams right now.  No one hit this big upset, but 6 people lose their title pick.

#3 Washington vs. #6 Washington State
I don’t think it’s that much of a surprise that the Huskies of UW have been good, but not great, this year.  Yes, the have Isaiah Thomas back and Abdul Gaddy and Matthew Bryan-Amaning have taken that next step.  But, people seemed to forget that they lost their heart and soul from last year’s team in Quincy Pondexter.  It is hard to replace a guy that means that much.  Wazzu, who did not have the expectations of their in-state neighbors, but they did bring back their heart and soul – Klay Thompson – so who knows?  Wazzu is a popular upset pick here (Bry, J, Stri, Alexi, Waters, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Primm, and Mac).  J, Teddy, and Primm have the Cougars going to the finals.  Primm has them winning it.  Lynch, Lohse, Gersh, and Gross have UW in the finals.  Lynch and Gross have them winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: Washington 89 – Washington State 87
The Huskies comeback and avoid a 3-game sweep at the hands of Wazzu, despite Klay Thompson’s Pac-10 tournament record 43 points.  A popular upset pick almost pulls it out.  Lynch and Gross barely kept alive their champ, who now has a clearer path the finals with UCLA gone.

ACC OPENING ROUND (10 points each)
I hate the ACC, but I have finally come to grips with why.  I am jealous.  The best basketball year in and year out is played in the ACC.  Yes, they are a bit top-heavy, but only because they have the two best basketball programs of our generation, so any conference would be top-heavy.  Listen to some of these facts:

  • Following UNC’s 2009 title, the ACC has now had two seperate schools win national championships in successive seasons FOUR times in the last 30 years.  The Big East is the only other conference to boast such a feat, having done it twice (Georgetown and Villanova in the mid-80′s and UConn and Syracuse in the mid-00′s).
  • The ACC is 347-175 all-time in the NCAA tournament, which is more wins and a higher winning percentage than any other conference in the country – by wide margins.
  • The ACC was 153-39 (.797 winning percentage) in non-conference games last year.  It was the 8th straight year where ACC teams won at least 75% of their games against non-ACC opponents.  Overall, the ACC has a winning record against all 31 other D-I conferences.
  • When the New Jersey Nets selected Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors as the #3 overall pick, it marked the 22nd consecutive season featuring an ACC player chosen in the first round of the NBA draft.  Over that span, the conference has had 91 first-round picks, or an average of more than 4 per season.

I hate the ACC.  But, they’re good…real good.  Except for this year.  The two big dogs are fantastic, but after that, it’s actually pretty weak.  The only other near-definite tournament team is Florida State, and they lost their best player to injury.  Clemson, BC, and Va Tech will get consideration, but still have work to do.

#8 Virginia vs. #9 Miami (FL)
How great of a coach is Tony Bennett?  The son of Dick Bennett is following very well in dad’s footsteps.  He totally resurrected a down Wazzu program and now it looks like he’s about to do the same at UVa.  And, he is doing it the old-fashioned way – by coaching ’em up.  Miami, on the other hand, should get some decent talent into their system, but Frank Haith doesn’t exactly seem to possess the in-game coaching ability and/or preparation of Bennett.  This Hurricanes team is just okay – and have been for a while now.  The winner of this game will get to run-and-gun with the Tar Heels tomorrow afternoon.  Most of the field has the Miami upset here, as only Stri, Lil Lohse, Scoot, Cheryl, Dan, and Gersh have the Cavs.  Teddy and Dave have the ‘Canes upsetting UNC in the quarters.

FINAL SCORE: Miami 69 – Virginia 62 (OT)
In maybe the most unbelievable finish of a day with a lot of late blown leads, UVa led this game by TEN POINTS with :42 seconds left.  But, turnover after turnover after ugly turnover allowed this dream comeback for the ‘Canes.  Teddy and Dave keep alive their miracle upset pick of Miami over UNC alive.  Most people hit this mild upset.

#5 Boston College vs. #12 Wake Forest
How bad is Wake Forest?  Very, very bad.  The unfortunate passing of Skip Prosser sent this program into a tailspin and, hopefully for Deacon fans, they have finally hit rock-bottom.  For an ACC team to have an RPI of 256 is nearly impossible because of their strength of schedule, but Wake accomplished the feat by going 1-15 in the league and losing non-conference games to the likes of Stetson, UNC-Wilmington, and Presbyterian.  Mercifully, the season should end today, as they take on a desperate BC team to whom a loss would be devastating to any tournament hopes for the Eagles.  BC probably put themselves on the right side of the bubble after sweeping the Virginia schools and then Wake in the last three games of their season, but they can’t feel safe at all.  The Texas A&M win in the Old Spice Classic (one of the ugliest games I have seen all year) back around Thanksgiving is a win that might be keeping them on the right side of the cut line after a mediocre 9-7 ACC season.  BC can’t lose this game, but a win here would probably give them a win-and-you’re-in game against #4 Clemson in the quarters.  Bry and Cheryl went for the huge upset of Wake Forest.  A bunch of entries have BC winning again next round, with Teddy and Dave having them going to the finals.

FINAL SCORE: Boston College 81 – Wake Forest 67
One of the worst seasons in Wake Forest history mercifully comes to an end here in Greensboro.  Little know superstar with a familiar name, Reggie Jackson, had 27 for an Eagles team that is playing in a win-and-you’re-in game Friday against Clemson.  Bry and Cheryl missed a big upset pick.  Teddy and Dave keep alive their finalist.

#7 Maryland vs. #10 N.C. State
Living in Baltimore is not always the easiest thing to do when you think Cal Ripken is the most overrated athlete of all-time and Steve Blake is a close second.  But, that is my life.  I do have to say, though, that this Justin Williams character is gonna be special.  I am not sure if Gary Williams can recruit anyone to play with him (his recruiting record considering the talent of the area around him is almost embarassing), but if so, he’s going to be a stud.  And, speaking of studs.  Has anyone seen the studs that were supposed to report to campus in Raleigh?  If C.J. Leslie was one-tenth as good as he thinks he is, his guarantee of an ACC championship might not look like such a joke.  This year – the year of the best recruiting class for a generation in Raleigh, so people thought – will be Sidney Lowe’s last year in the triangle.  The winner here will move on to play Duke.  Dave, Dan, Cheryl, Stri, J, Doogan, and Bry all have N.C. State in the upset.  No one has either of these teams beating Duke.

FINAL SCORE: Maryland 75 – NC State 67
Jordan Williams – the future star of this Terp team – had 16 and 13, as the Terps officially send C.J. Leslie to D-League stardom.  Maryland will now get a shot at the Dukies on Friday night.  A couple entries miss here on an upset pick.  How was the Sidney Lowe Era for you guys?

#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Georgia Tech
Can it possibly happen again?  Can the Hokies be that last team out for an incredible third year in a row?  They shouldn’t be, they have a TON of talent.  I thought they might even be a Top 10 team this year with all the talent returning.  Malcolm Delaney is a stud and he’s got some big bodies and talented players around him.  They are thin, but Greenberg is pretty good at working around that.  They better be careful, though.  This Georgia Tech team has some talent and can sneak up on people.  Shumpert, Oliver, and Glen Rice Jr. are all immensely talented and Paul Hewitt is an underrated coach.  The bracket might be open to either of these teams, as FSU awaits them in the quarters, but they are probably going to be without Chris Singleton – their best player.  Bry, Doogan, and Scoot all have Georgia Tech in the upset here.  J, Alexi, Lynch, Teddy, Cheryl, and Dan all have Va Tech in the semis.  Lynch and Cheryl have Va Tech in the finals.  Lynch have them winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  Virginia Tech 59 – Georgia Tech 43
43 points?  Was this the SWAC or the ACC?  An ugly win for the Hokies probably seals their at-large bid, but they would be much safer if they could beat FSU on Friday.  Bry, Doogan, and Scoot miss the upset pick.  Lynch keeps his champ alive.

SEC OPENING ROUND (10 points each)
The SEC needs to revamp its seeding process.  The fact that Tennessee is, in reality, the #8-seed, while Mississippi State is the 3-seed and gets a first-round bye is a joke.  Because of that, this tournament is pretty interesting because of all the various big matchups that are coming earlier than they should.

#4E Georgia vs. #5W Auburn
Trey Thompkins is a complete stud, and the UGA team has a shot to make the tournament, they just need to get some things done.  A win here will put them in a BIG bubble game against Bama.  And, they really should win here because Auburn is absolutely dreadful.  Maybe the worst team in SEC history.  Check out a recap of their non-conference schedule (scroll down to the SEC part) here.  Waters and Teddy have Auburn in the upset.  Teddy has Auburn going to the semis.  Bry, Doogan, J, Scoot, Primm, Gross, and Mac have UGA in the semis.

FINAL SCORE: Georgia 69 – Auburn 51
The Bulldogs get things kicked off in Atlanta with a rout of Auburn.  Thompkins goes for 22 points/10 boards.  Waters and Teddy miss on the upset.

#3W Ole Miss vs. #6E South Carolina
Why is Ole Miss not good?  They have the resources, the recruiting base and the limelight of the SEC.  They should be good, but they’re not.  USC was the last place team in the East, but they are a solid team.  The winner of this game will take on Kentucky in the quarters.  Bry, Doogan, J, Waters, Lynch, Dan, Dave, Gross, and Mac have USC in this upset.  No one has either team beating UK next round.

FINAL SCORE: Ole Miss 66 – S. Carolina 55
A back-and-forth game goes to the Rebs with a late 11-1 run to put it away.  Despite missing most of his sophomore season, Chris Warren, who had 20 points and 4 assists for Ole Miss, is now only 22 points away from becoming just the 4th player in SEC history to score 2000 points and dish out 400 assists.  He will try and do that against Kentucky on Friday afternoon.  A lot of people missed out on an upset pick here.

#4W Arkansas vs. #5E Tennessee
I know that the Bruce Pearl debacle has been a huge distraction on the Vols season, but there is a TON of talent here and they have been a complete enigma.  Scotty Hopson is an elite player, and Tobias Harris, Melvin Goins, and Cameron Tatum are great college players.  Brian Williams is a big body, and this team is dangerous.  The Razorbacks have had a pretty disappointing season, it’s hard to know when they will be back.  A lot of love for the Vols in the CTC.  KA is the only one with Arkansas here.  Bry, Alexi, Lynch, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Primm, and Gross all have UT beating Florida in the quarters.  Alexi has the Vols reaching the finals.

FINAL SCORE: Tennessee 74 – Arkansas 68
Tennessee blew a 16-point lead to the Razorbacks, but recovered to hold on and advance to the quarters against Florida.  With a ton of CTC love for the Vols, this was scary, but they held on, and Alexi kept a finalist alive.

#3E Vanderbilt vs. #6W LSU
Kevin Stallings can flat-out coach.  He doesn’t get the players that other SEC teams get, but he just flat-out wins – the old-fashioned way – by coachin’ em up.  And, they all seem to get better in the program.  Jeffrey Taylor has become a real star, and what can you say about John Jenkins?  The guy went from an okay freshman to an SEC POY candidate.  LSU?  Well, they finish behind Auburn, who is possibly the worst SEC team ever, so that’s all we need to know about them.  The winner of this game will play Mississippi State in the quarters.  Waters is the only one with LSU in the upset here.  Waters, Lynch, Lil Lohse, Dan, Dave, and Primm are the only ones without Vandy in the semis.  Bry, Doogan, J, Lohse, Teddy, Gersh, and Gross all have Vandy in the finals.  Doogan and J have them winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  Vanderbilt 62 – LSU 50
Without superstar John Jenkins, Vandy turned to other star Jeffrey Taylor to lead them to an uninspired win over a bad LSU team.  A lot of people are hoping Jenkins is back quickly, especially Doogan and J, who have the Commodores winning the SEC.

BIG TEN OPENING ROUND (10 points each)
The Big Ten was supposed to be the best conference in America this year, and they have been rather close.  They have the best team in the country and two others that are legit Final Four teams.  The problem is that some of the teams that were supposed to be good have just not been.

#8 Northwestern vs. #9 Minnesota
It’s funny to me that many of the same people who root for the Cubs also root for Northwestern basketball.  Will they ever make the tournament?  Not this year, unless they can win four games in four days in, arguably, the best conference in America.  Minnesota has completely fallen apart after losing Al Nolen.  I know the point guard is important, but with talent like Hoffarber and Mbakwe, they shouldn’t be this bad.  Bry, J, Cheryl, Rikey, Dave, Primm, and Mac all have Minnesota in the mild upset.  No one has either of these teams beating OSU in the quarters.

FINAL SCORE: Northwestern 75 – Minnesota 65
One of the greatest names in college hoops, Juice Thompson, now has an on-court performance to match the name – scoring 35 in a win over Minnesota.  A couple people miss this mild upset.

#7 Michigan State vs. #10 Iowa
So much has been written about this MSU team, that I’ll save mine.  I’ll just say one thing:  In Izzo I Trust.  Fran McCaffery (product of LaSalle High in Philly) has proven, once again, that a good coach can really make a difference.  If he keeps going as he has started here in Iowa City, he should bring his amazing fourth different program to the tournament.  Bry, Stri, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, and Gersh all have Iowa in the big upset here.  J, Alexi, Dan, Primm, and Gross all have Michigan State in the semis.  J and Primm have Sparty in the finals.

FINAL SCORE: Michigan St. 66 – Iowa 61
The Spartans avoid what may have been an NIT-clinching loss to move on to an amazing quarterfinal matchup with Purdue.  Matt Gatens had a game-tying three just miss with :06 seconds left that would have probably sent this game to OT.  J and Primm keep alive a finalist, while a bunch of people miss a decent upset pick.

#6 Penn State vs. #11 Indiana
The resurgence of PSU?  Maybe, except that two-thirds of their scoring is from three seniors, so this might just be an “up” year that probably ends in the NIT.  As for Indiana, be patient, Tom Creen can turn this thing around, and he is going to do it right.  Gross, Cheryl, Bry, and Doogan all have IU upsetting Penn State.  Waters, Scoot, Dave, and Primm have PSU in the semis.

FINAL SCORE: Penn St. 61 – Indiana 55
This senior-laden Lions team can probably be considered a bubble team, as they hold on to beat IU.  4 people missed an upset pick here, while 4 more keep alive a possible upset next round.

MOUNTAIN WEST QUARTERFINALS (16 points each)
The best season of the M-West has the meat of its tournament today, after TCU eliminated Wyoming in the pigtail game last night.

#1 BYU vs. #9 TCU
Was that New Mexcico game a sign of BYU without Davies or just a team in shellshock?  I strongly believe it’s the latter.  This team is really good and The Jimmer is still there.  The one thing it does do is opens up BYU to a possible terrible matchup in the Big Dance.  They now are a little more at the wim of the bracket-makers for a good matchup.  TCU’s win last night will probably mean they are cannon fodder for the Cougars today.  Everyone has BYU here.  Stri, Lohse, Teddy, Dan, and Gersh have the Cougars winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: BYU 64 – TCU 58
BYU didn’t look good, but survived-and-advanced here against 1-15 TCU.  The Jimmer dropped 24.  5 people keep alive their champs.

#4 Colorado State vs. #5 New Mexico
Colorado State is a very good team that no one really talks about.  They really should have been in the tournament mix, but they lost a couple games they shouldn’t have.  New Mexico still has Dariese Gary and Drew Gordon is a really good big, but coming off a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament, a 5-seed in the M-West is a bit of a disappointment.  Only Waters, Cheryl, Dave, and Gersh have CSU here.  The other 16 have NM.  Lil Lohse, Rikey, and Mac have NM in the finals.

FINAL SCORE: New Mexico 67 – Colorado St. 61
A double-double for Drew Gordon gives NM a shot at three wins over BYU this year.  4 people keep alive a finalist.

#2 San Diego State vs. #7 Utah
As much as I love The Jimmer (and I do love The Jimmer), I would take Kawhi Leonard on my team before anyoe esle in this conference.  Combined with a consummate point guard in Gay (who NEVER turns the ball over) and a freaskish athlete in White, this team is a legit Top 10 team in the country, and I think they should be a #1 seed if they win this tournament.  Their one big weakness is outside shooting in the halfcourt set, so James Rahon might be their most important player – even as a reserve – this March.  Utah sees that they just can no longer compete in the M-West, so they decided to move down a level to the Pac-10 next year.  KA went for the big upset with Utah here.  The majority of the field has SDSU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE:  San Diego State 64 – Utah 50
The Aztecs took care of Utah with their patented halfcourt defensive supremacy, but Kawhi Leonard missed part of the game with a minor injury.  If he’s not 100%, this team’s ceiling if much lower.  KA missed the big upset here.

#3 UNLV vs. #6 Air Force
I remember in the past, when the A-10 tournament was in Dayton, I was not happy about Temple having to play their most important games on the home floor of the team with the best homecourt advantage in the league.  Well, that is what the M-West teams have to deal with by playing this tournament in the Thomas & Mack Center in Vegas.  UNLV should be in the tournament, but playing here doesn’t hurt their chances to solidify that bid.  Air Force has had a pretty good season this year, but got a tough draw here.  Dave is the only one with AF over the Rebels.  Lohse has UNLV in the finals; Gross has them winning it.

FINAL SCORE:  UNLV 69 – Air Force 53
UNLV handles AF with no problem, much to the delight of Gross, who has them winning this tournament.

(Alright, I did my best.  I can’t recreate all this other stuff I did, it’s just too much right now, and I want to actually WATCH these games.  So, I’ll just do CTC implications for the rest.  I hate computers)

CONFERENCE USA QUARTERFINALS (12 points each)

#1 UAB vs. #8 E Carolina
J, Cheryl, and Dave have all lost this game already with UCF, but the other 17 all have UAB in this one, with 8 people (Alexi, Lohse, KA, Teddy, Dan, Rikey, Gersh, and Mac) having the Blazers winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  E. Carolina 75 – UAB 70 (OT)
UAB gets 39 points from Aaron Johnson, but it’s still not enough to prevent the big upset by the Pirates of E. Carolina.  Not a single CTC’er picked this upset and 8 entries see their champ go down here in the quarters.

#4 Memphis vs. #5 S. Miss
This is a big swing game in the CTC.  Bry, Doogan, Stri, KA, Teddy, Scoot, Dave, Primm, Gross, and Mac all have S.Miss here.  Stri, Scoot, Dave, Primm. and Gross all have them in the finals.  Primm has them winning it.  J, Waters, Lynch, and Lil Lohse all have Memphis in the finals.  J, Waters, and Lynch all have them winning it.

FINAL SCORE: Memphis 66 – S. Miss 63
A great game in C-USA keeps Memphis’s tournament chances alive with a tough win over S. Miss.  J, Waters, and Lynch all keep alive their champ.  Memphis will now get 8-seed ECU in the semis.

#3 UTEP vs. #6 Marshall
J, KA, Teddy, and Dan all have Marshall in a nice upset here.  J, Teddy, and Dan even have them winning again tomorrow, though no one has them taking the title.  Bry, Doogan, Lil Lohse, Cheryl, Dave, and Gross all have UTEP winning the title.

FINAL SCORE: UTEP 77 – Marshall 65
UTEP has no problem with the Thundering Herd, as 6 people keep alive their champion hopes.

#2 Tulsa vs. #10 Rice
Bry and Gross have already lost this game with SMU.  The other 18 have Tulsa.  Stri and Scoot have Tulsa winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  Tulsa 81 – Rice 72
In a close game the whole way through, the Golden Hurricane held on to beat a pesky Rice team that is probably on the rise with sophomore Irani sensation Arsalan Kazemi.  Stri and Scoot keep alive their champ.

SOUTHLAND SEMIFINALS (8 points each)

#3 Sam Houston State vs. #UT-San Antonio
No one has UTSA in this one.  J, Doogan, Stri, Lynch, Lohse, Teddy, Dan, Gersh, and Primm all have SHSU in this one.  J, Doogan, Lynch, Teddy, Dan, Gersh, Primm, and Gross all have SHSU winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: UT-San Antonio 79 – Sam Houston St. 70
And, there goes the whole bottom of the SL bracket, as 7-seed UTSA advances to Saturday’s championship.  No one has that.

#1 McNeese State vs. #4 Texas State
Surprisingly, only Stri, Waters, Scoot, Rikey, Dave, Gersh, Primm, and Mac have the 1-seed winning here.  Lynch and Lohse have Texas State.  Everyone else had SE Louisiana and has already lost.

FINAL SCORE:  McNeese State 91 – Texas State 83
Top-seeded McNeese State advances to a First Four play-in game against UTSA with a win over TSU.  Stri and Scoot – the only 2 with the top-seed winning this tournament – are the only 2 left that can get the champ right.

MAC QUARTERFINALS (8 points each)

#2 W. Michigan vs. #7 Bowling Green
J has the big Bowling Green upset here.  Everyone else has WMU.  Lohse, Lil Lohse, Scoot, and Dave have WMU winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: W. Michigan 67 – Bowling Green 56
WMU holds off BG for a nice quarterfinal win.  4 people keep alive their champ.  J misses a big upset.

#3 Miami (OH) vs. #6 Akron
A bunch of entries have Akron in this upset (Bry, Doogan, J, Alexi, Lohse, Teddy, Dave, Primm, and Gross).  Doogan, J, Alexi, Teddy, and Gross all have Akron in the finals, though no one has them winning it.  Lynch, KA, Cheryl, Dan, and Mac all have Miami in the finals.  Lynch, KA, and Cheryl all have the RedHawks winning the tournament.

FINAL SCORE: Akron 82 – Miami 75 (2OT)
The best free-throw shooting team in the MAC missed 6 straight free throws in the second OT cost the RedHawks a great comeback victory.  Lynch, KA, and Cheryl lose their champ.  5 people keep alive a finalist in Akron.

#1 Kent State vs. #8 Buffalo
Teddy and Lohse have Buffalo in a huge upset here; everyone else has KSU in this one.  Teddy went all the way, taking Buffalo to win this tournament.

FINAL SCORE: Kent St. 73 – Buffalo 62
A relatively easy win for the Golden Flashes costs Teddy a repeat incredible MAC performance.  Lohse also misses this big upset.

#4 Ball State vs. #5 Ohio
Bry, Doogan, Alexi, both Lohses, Scoot, Dan, Dave, Gross, and Mac all have Ohio in this mild upset.  Lohse, Scoot, and Dave have Ohio in the finals.  Cheryl has Ball State in the finals.  No one has either team winning it.

FINAL SCORE:  Ball State 76 – Ohio 73 (OT)
The Bobcats should have won this game in regulation, but costly turnovers and missed free throws got the Cards to OT, and they took advantage, winning in the extra session.  Cheryl keeps a finalist alive.  Lohse, Scoot, and Dave keep alive their finalist.

WAC QUARTERFINALS (8 points each)

#4 Idaho vs. #8 San Jose State
No one has SJSU here, but KA, Scoot, and Rikey have already lost this game with Hawaii.  No one has Idaho going any further than this.

FINAL SCORE: San Jose St. 74 – Idaho 68
Cinderella is still alive in the WAC, as SJSU moves on to face Utah State in the semis.  Not an important CTC game in any way.

#3 New Mexico State vs. #6 Nevada
This is a pretty big CTC game.  Doogan, Alexi, Cheryl, Gross, and Mac all have Nevada in this one, with Alexi, Gross, and Mac picking them to reach the finals.  Bry, J, Waters, both Lohses, Dan, Rikey, and Primm all have NMSU here.  A couple people have lost this game with Fresno.  J, both Lohses, Dan, Rikey, and Primm all have NMSU in the finals.

FINAL SCORE: New Mexico St. 66 – Nevada 60
The Aggies take out a popular upset pick in Nevada, as both teams get big games from their stars – Story had 22 for Nevada and Gillenwater had 18 for NMSU.  6 people keep a finalist alive here, while 3 lose one.

BIG WEST QUARTERFINALS (4 points each)

#1 Long Beach State vs. #8 UC-Irvine
All 20 entries have LBSU winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE: Long Beach St. 79 – UC-Irvine 72
The Anteaters gave LBSU a scare, but their incredible trio of juniors (Casper Ware, T.J. Robinson, and Larry Anderson) combine for 56 points.  Ya, they’re going to be real good next year, too.

#4 Pacific vs. #5 UC-Santa Barbara
Bry, J, Stri, Lynch, Teddy, Scoot, Dan, Dave, Gersh, and Mac all have UCSB in this minor upset.

FINAL SCORE: UCSB 79 – Pacific 67
The Gouchos, behind 32 from Orlando Johnson, end the Pacific season here and get a shot at #1 LBSU.  A lot of people hit this minor upset. 

#2 Cal Poly vs. #7 UC-Riverside
J and Waters went for Riverside here in a big upset.  J has them in the finals.

FINAL SCORE:  UC-Riverside 70 – Cal Poly 66 (OT)
A really promising year for Cal Poly ends in utter disappointment here with an OT loss to UCR.  J and Waters hit this big upset, and J keeps alive a finalist.

#3 CS-Northridge vs. #6 CS-Fullerton
This game is very split.  Bry, Doogan, J, Waters, KA, Teddy, and Mac all have Fullerton in the upset.  Doogan, Waters, and Teddy have the Titans in the finals.  Alexi, Scoot, Dan, Dave, and Gross have Northridge in the finals.

FINAL SCORE:  CS-Northridge 75 – CS-Fullerton 54
The Matadors hammer Fullerton here to advance to the semis.  5 people keep alive a finalist.

MEAC QUARTERFINALS (4 points each)

#4 Morgan State vs. #5 N.C. A&T
This is a big CTC game.  J, Stri, both Lohses, Teddy, Cheryl, Dan, Dave, and Primm all have N.C. A&T in the upset here.  J, Lohse, Cheryl, Teddy, and Dave all have A&T in the finals.  Cheryl has them winning it.  Bry, Doogan, Alexi, Waters, and Lynch all have Morgan in the finals.  Alexi, Waters, and Lynch have them winning it.

FINAL SCORE: Morgan St. 77 – NC A&T 59
And easy win for Todd Bozeman’s Bears, as they advance to the semis, trying to win their third straight MEAC tournament.  Alexi, Waters, and Lynch keep alive their champ.  Cheryl loses hers.

#3 Coppin State vs. #6 Norfolk State
Stri has Norfolk here; everyone else has Coppin.  Alexi, Waters, Scoot, Dave, and Gross all have Coppin in the finals.  Lohse, Scoot, and Dave all have Coppin going to the Dance.

FINAL SCORE: Norfolk St. 55 – Coppin St. 53
Coppin’s solid season comes to an end on a last-second layup by Rob Hampton, as the Spartans, who overcame a 7-point deficit late, move on to the semis against Hampton.  Lohse, Scoot, and Dave lose their champ.

SWAC QUARTERFINALS (4 points each)

#3 Mississippi Valley State vs. #6 Grambling State
Bry, J, KA, Teddy, Cheryl, Dan, Dave, and Gersh all have Grambling in the upset here.  KA, Teddy, and Dave all have GSU in the finals.  Lohse, Scoot, Primm, and Gross have MVSU in the finals.

FINAL SCORE: Grambling St. 65 – Mississippi Valley St. 62
A pretty big upset here, as Grambling gets 25 points from Justin Patton and takes down the Delta Devils.  8 entries hit the solid upset pick.

#4 Alabama State vs. #5 Alabama A&M
Bry, Alexi, KA, Teddy, Scoot, Dave, Gersh, and Gross have A&M in this mild upset.  KA and Gross have them winning it all.  Lynch has Alabama State winning it all, while Waters and Lohse have them going to the finals and losing.

FINAL SCORE: Alabama St. 81 – Alabama A&M 61
Alabama State beats up on A&M to advance to the semis against top-seeded TX-Southern.  Lynch keeps alive his darkhorse champ.  Waters and Lohse lose a finalist.

GREAT WEST QUARTERFINALS (4 points each)
How strange is this conference in its composition?  Even though it is called the “Great West,” one of its teams is the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Jersey City, NJ (not even the western part of NEW JERSEY).  Two more of the teams are Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, TX, and the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND.  For anyone who isn’t a geography afficianado (or doesn’t care enough to google it), Edinburg is about 20 miles from the Mexican border, while Grand Forks is about 75 miles from the Canadian border.  So, this conference has teams on the easternmost, southernmost, and northermost borders of the United States.  In fact, the only “direction” not really covered in the Great West is, well, the west.  Utah Valley is actually the only school that could even be considered western at all.  Very strange.  But, all of this is just sort of distraction from the fact that this is a pretty poor collection of basketball teams.  This conference doesn’t provide us with an NCAA team because they haven’t been given an automatic bid (not sure if that’s on the table or not), and, honestly, even me – the ultimate defender or the “little guy” – cannot possibly make an argument that one of these teams should get to play for a national championship.  The league had, by far, the lowest conference RPI, and, of the 345 D-I teams, this 7-team league has three teams with RPIs of 339, 343, and 345.  So, that means that nearly half of this league is among the SEVEN WORST teams in D-I, including the worst, and third-worst teams in the country.  Ya, there won’t be a ton of analysis on these games…sorry.

#2 N.J.I.T. vs. #7 Houston Baptist
No one has HB in this upset here.  Waters and Cheryl have N.J.I.T. winning this tournament.

FINAL SCORE: Houston Baptist 72 – N.J.I.T. 70
The worst team in D-I (according to RPI) upset N.J.I.T. in the first-round of the second ever Great West tournament.  Waters and Cheryl lost a champ, while no one got this game right.

#3 North Dakota vs. #6 TX-Pan American
No one has UTPA here, but there is a lot of love for N. Dakota.  Doogan, J, Alexi, Lil Lohse, Teddy, Scoot, Dan, Dave, Gersh, Primm, and Mac all have ND in the finals.  J, KA, Scoot, Dan, Gersh, and Mac all have ND winning it all.

FINAL SCORE: North Dakota 71 – TX-Pan AM 70
The third-worst team in D-I (according to RPI) nearly upset North Dakota in the second game of the day, but the Fighting Sioux held on for a 1-point win to advance to a semifinal against HB.  6 people keep alive their champ.

#4 South Dakota vs. #5 Chicago State
Waters, KA, Scoot, and Dave all have Chicago State in this one.  Lohse is the only one with either of these teams beating #1 Utah Valley next round, and he has SD winning it all.

FINAL SCORE:  South Dakota 73 – Chicago State 70 (OT)
In the third game in what must have a been a thrilling triple-header in Oren, UT, goes to OT, with SD holding on against the 6th-worst team in D-I.  Lohse keeps his rogue champ pick alive.

CTC SNAPSHOT – ACC

Championship Picks:

  • #1 N. Carolina (8) – Stri, Waters, Scoot, Cheryl, Dan, Primm, Gross, Mac
  • #2 Duke (11) – everyone else
  • #3 Florida State (0)
  • #4 Clemson (0)
  • #5 Boston College (0)
  • #6 Virginia Tech (1) – Lynch

Lowest Seed to Win Earlier Rounds

  • OR – #12 Wake Forest – Bry, Cheryl
  • QF – #9 Miami – Teddy, Dave
  • SF – #6 Virginia Tech – Lynch, Cheryl

Prior CTC Titles:

  • ’08 – Bry
  • ’09 – Doogan
  • ’10 – Stri

CTC SNAPSHOT – BIG TEN

Championship Picks:

  • #1 Ohio State (12) – everyone else
  • #2 Purdue (7) – Doogan, Lynch, Lohse, KA, Teddy, Cheryl, Dave
  • #3 Wisconsin (1) – Gross

Lowest Seed to Win Earlier Rounds

  • OR – #11 Indiana – Bry, Doogan, Cheryl
  • QF – #7 Michigan State – J, Alexi, Dan, Primm, Gross
  • SF – #7 Michigan State – J, Primm

Prior CTC Titles:

  • ’08 – Bry
  • ’09 – Bry
  • ’10 – Waters

CTC SNAPSHOT – SEC

Championship Picks:

  • #1 Florida (4) – Stri, Waters, Cheryl, Mac
  • #2 Alabama (1) – KA
  • #3 Kentucky (12) – everyone else
  • #4 Mississippi State (1) – Lynch
  • #5 Vanderbilt (2) – Doogan, J

Lowest Seed to Win Earlier Rounds

  • OR – #12 LSU – Waters,
  • QF – #10 Auburn – Teddy
  • SF – #9 Tennessee – Alexi

Prior CTC Titles:

  • ’08 – Waters
  • ’09 – Alexi
  • ’10 – Alexi

CTC SNAPSHOT – BIG WEST

Championship Picks:

  • #1 Long Beach State (20) – everyone

Lowest Seed to Win Earlier Rounds

  • QF – #7 UC-Riverside – J, Waters
  • SF – #7 UC-Riverside – J

Prior CTC Titles:

  • ’08 – Doogan
  • ’09 – Bry (perfect)
  • ’10 – Stri

Day Nine Recap: Mac Takes Top Honors and the Overall Race Gets Tighter

Mac wins his first day and jumps up from the bottom to the middle of the pack.  J, Dave, and Dan all pick up some ground on the overall leader, and the biggest mover up the standings was Scoot who went from 14th to 8th.  Teddy, Stri, and Gross dropped the most spots.  We have some big-time scoring days upcoming, so it’s game time, folks.

DAY NINE SCORES (days won):

  1. Mac – 206 (1)
  2. Scoot – 204
  3. Dave – 202
  4. J – 202 (1)
  5. Dan – 200
  6. Gersh – 192
  7. Doogan – 180 (2)
  8. Lohse – 174
  9. Bry – 170 (3)
  10. Lil Lohse – 166
  11. Primm – 164 (1)
  12. Lynch – 160
  13. Cheryl – 154
  14. Alexi – 144
  15. Waters – 136
  16. Rikey – 134 (1)
  17. Stri – 130
  18. Gross – 108 (1)
  19. KA – 94 (1)
  20. Teddy – 94

OVERALL STANDINGS (conferences won):

  1. Bry – 1171 (Big Sky, CAA, Horizon, Summit, WCC)
  2. J – 1047 (A-Sun, OVC)
  3. Dave – 1039 (A-Sun)
  4. Rikey – 992
  5. Dan – 964 (A-Sun)
  6. Doogan – 952 (Big South)
  7. Lohse – 922 (Summit)
  8. Scoot – 920 (NEC)
  9. Stri – 906 (NEC, Summit)
  10. Gross – 902 (SoCon)
  11. Lil Lohse – 884 (Summit)
  12. Alexi – 874 (MVC)
  13. Mac – 869
  14. Waters – 865
  15. Teddy – 850 (Summit)
  16. Primm – 836 (MAAC)
  17. Gersh – 834
  18. Lynch – 826 (Summit)
  19. Cheryl – 777 (Summit)
  20. KA – 700

FINAL BIG SKY STANDINGS:

  1. Bry (’08, ’11) – 40*
  2. Dan – 36
  3. Cheryl – 32
  4. Doogan – 32
  5. Lil Lohse – 32
  6. Primm – 28
  7. Rikey – 24
  8. Stri – 24
  9. Dave – 16
  10. Lynch – 16
  11. Mac – 16
  12. Teddy – 16
  13. Waters – 16
  14. Scoot – 12
  15. Gersh – 8
  16. Gross – 8
  17. J (’09) – 8
  18. KA – 8
  19. Lohse (’10) – 8
  20. Alexi – 4

FINAL NEC STANDINGS:

  1. Scoot (’11) – 50
  2. Stri (’09, ’11) – 50
  3. Alexi (’10) – 46
  4. Dan – 46
  5. Lil Lohse – 46
  6. Bry (’10) – 40
  7. Doogan (’09) – 40
  8. Cheryl – 36
  9. J – 36
  10. Rikey – 36
  11. Primm – 30
  12. Gross – 26
  13. Lohse (’10) – 22
  14. Mac – 20
  15. Dave – 16
  16. Lynch – 16
  17. Teddy – 14
  18. Waters (’08) – 14
  19. Gersh – 8
  20. KA – 4