Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Real March Madness: Day 5

Everyone loves the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Four straight days jam-packed with 12 hours of do-or-die college hoops is more than most people can handle.

But for junkies like us, the next 13 days are just as good, for it is when the true Madness takes place. Over the course of these two weeks, we whittle some 347 teams down to 30 conference champions (the Ivy doesn't have a tournament). Auto-bids will be won. Bubbles will be burst. Buzzers will be beaten. And most importantly, a 68 team bracket will be made.

For a comprehensive listing off all the conference tournaments, follow this link or click the "Complete Conference Tournament Schedules" page at the top of the screen.

Here is what happened on Saturday:

Three tickets to the Big Dance were punched last night, as the Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley conferences crowned tournament champions.

Game of the Day: VCU 62, Drexel 60

This CAA quarterfinal featured more than ten lead-changes and neither team led by more than seven. Down the stretch you could just tell that this game would end in dramatic fashion, and it did. Drexel's Chris Fouch, who finished with 20 points and 7 boards, hit a contested three-pointer with ten seconds left to tie the game at 60. But at the other end, Jamie Skeen, who finished with 24 points and 8 rebounds, drove to the bucket and hit a contested lay-up at the buzzer to win the game for the Rams. The two teams traded victories during the regular season, and both contests were decided by four point. With the victory, the No. 4 Rams will face top-seeded George Mason in the CAA semifinals on Sunday.

They were good too

- Northern Arizona 65, Montana State 62

Northern Arizona erased a 16-point second half deficit and beat Montana State in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament. Eric Platt hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 55 seconds left, the first time NAU had led since early in the first half. Platt hit three straight 3-pointers in the Final four minutes of the game to carry his team to victory. The senior guard shot 7-11 from the field including 5-9 from behind the arch. He also grabbed a career-high seven rebounds.

Team of the Day: Iona Gaels

The No. 2-seed plastered the back-to-back reigning conference champions by 30 points in the quarterfinals of the MAAC tournament. The Gaels shot a cool 35-60 (58%) from the field and 9-17 (53%) from behind the arc. Iona was led by Mike "Optimus Prime" Glover, who scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The Gaels did not trail once and were only tied twice, 2-2 and 15-15.

They were good too

- Hartford Hawks

The No. 6-seed Hawks upset the Black bears of Maine in the quarterfinals of the America East Conference tournament. This win gave the Hawks back-to-back wins for just the second time this season. This win also gives Hartford the season sweep over Maine, having upset them twice during the regular season. The Hawks were lead by Genesis Maciel's 19 points as they advanced to face No. 2 seed Boston U.

Player of the Day: Demonte Harper, Morehead State

When you think of Morehead State, the first player that is going to come to mind is Kenneth Faried, the 6'8", dreadlocked rebounding machine. But last night it was Harper, not Faried, that shined as the Eagles knocked off Tennessee Tech and earned themselves the OVC's autobid with 27 points, 11 boards, and eight assists.

They were good too

- Michael Glover, Iona

The man they call "Optimus Prime" dropped 31 points in the Gael's 30 point route of Siena. The Junior forward was 12-18 from the field and also provided 11 rebounds. This was his largest scoring output of the season since he dropped 39 points against Canisius back in early December.

- Solomon Bozeman, Arkansas-Little Rock

Bozeman showed why he was just recently named Sun Belt Player of the Year by scoring a career-high 28-points against South Alabama on Saturday night. Bozeman made 8 of 15 shots and was 10 of 11 from the free-throw line in his team's 82-68 win in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

- Derek Needham, Fairfield
Needham was the only Fairfield player to score double-digits, and led all players with 22 points in his team's 55-31 victory over the Red Foxes of Marist in the quarterfinals of the MAAC tournament .Marist's score was the lowest ever in a MAAC tournament game, dating to 1982. Much of that can be attributed to Needham who had 6 steals.

Saturday Results

Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Finals

#1 Belmont 87, #6 North Florida 46

Big South Conference Tournament Finals

#3 UNC-Asheville 60, #1 Coastal Carolina 47

Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Finals

#2 Morehead State 80, #4 Tennessee Tech 73

America East Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#5 Stony Brook 67, #4 Albany 61
#1 Vermont 57, #9 Binghamton 46
#2 Boston 69, #7 New Hampshire 60
#6 Hartford 66, #3 Maine 63

Big Sky Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#3 Weber State 79, #6 Eastern Washington 70
#4 Northern Arizona 65, #5 Montana State 62

Colonial Atheltic Association Tournament Quarterfinals

#1 George Mason 68, #9 Georgia State 45
#4 VCU 62, #5 Drexel 60
#2 Old Dominion 59, #7 Delaware 50
#3 Hofstra 72, #11 William & Mary 56

Horizon League Tournament Semifinals

#2 Butler 76, #3 Cleveland State 68
#1 UW-Milwaukee 70, #4 Valparaiso 63

Metro Atlatic Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#4 St. Peter's 70, #5 Loyola 60
#1 Fairfield 55, #9 Marist 31
#2 Iona 94, #7 Siena 64
#3 Rider 79, #6 Canisius 64

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Semifinals

#1 Missouri State 60, #5 Creighton 50
#3 Indiana State 61 #2 Wichita State 54

Southern Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#1N Western Carolina 77, #5N UNC-Greensboro 66
#2S Wofford 69, #3N Appalachian State 59
#3S Furman 61, #2N Chattanooga 52
#1S Charleston 78, #4N Elon 60

Summit League Tournament Quarterfinals

#1 Oakland 82, #8 Southern Utah 66
#2 Oral Roberts 72, #7 North Dakota State 65

Sun Belt Conference Tournament First Round

#3E Western Kentucky 66, #6W Louisiana-Monroe 50
#4W North Texas 83, #5E Troy 69
#6E Florida International 53, #3W Denver 49
#5W Arkansas-Little Rock 82, #4E South Alabama 68

West Coast Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#4 Santa Clara 76, #8 Loyola Marymount 68
#3 San Francisco 76, #6 Pepperdine 59

Sunday Slate of Games

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament
Finals (St. Louis, MO)

1:00PM - CBS - #1 Missouri State vs. #3 Indiana State

America East Conference Tournament
Semifinals (Hartford, CT)

5:04PM - #1 Vermont vs. #5 Stony Brook
7:34PM - #2 Boston vs. #6 Hartford

Colonial Atheltic Association Tournament
Semifinals (Richmond, VA)

12:00PM - #1 George Mason vs. #4 VCU
2:30PM - #2 Old Dominion vs. #3 Hofstra

Metro Atlatic Athletic Conference Tournament
Semifinals (Bridgeport, CT)

2:00PM - #1 Fairfield vs. #4 St. Peter's
4:00PM - #2 Iona vs. #3 Rider

Northeast Conference Tournament
Semifinals (At higher seed)

12:00PM - #4 Central Connecticut State at #1 Long Island
2:00PM - #3 Robert Morris at #2 Quinnipiac

Patriot League Tournament
Semifinals (At higher seeds)

5:00PM - CBS CS - #6 Lafayette at #2 American
7:30PM - CBS CS - #4 Lehigh at #1 Bucknell

Southern Conference Tournament
Semifinals (Chattanooga, TN)

6:00PM - #1N Western Carolina vs. #2S Wofford
8:30PM - #1S Charleston vs. #3S Furman

Summit League Tournament
Quarterfinals (Sioux Falls, SD)

7:00PM - #4 IPFW vs. #5 South Dakota State
9:30PM - #3 IUPUI vs. #6 UMKC

Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (Hot Springs, AR)

7:30PM - #1E Florida Atlantic vs. #4W North Texas
7:45PM - #2W Louisiana-Lafayette vs. #3E Western Kentucky
9:45PM - #1W Arkansas State vs. #5W Arkansas-Little Rock
10:00PM - #2E Middle Tennessee vs. #6E Florida International

West Coast Conference Tournament
Semifinals (Las Vegas, NV)

8:00PM - ESPN2 - #1 St. Mary's vs. #4 Santa Clara
10:00PM - ESPN2 - #2 Gonzaga vs. #3 San Francisco

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