Monday, March 7, 2011

The Real March Madness: Day 6

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 Sunday: Another automatic bid was handed out, the longest winning streak in the country came to an end, and two overtimes were needed to settle the score in a Patriot League semifinal game.

Game of the Day: Lafayette 73, American 71 2OT

Jim Mower hit a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining to lead Lafayette over American 73-71 in double-OT in the Patriot League semifinals. Trailing by two with seven seconds remaining, Tony Johnson drove the length of the floor before kicking it to Mower for the game-winning basket. Ryan Willen hit a 3-pointer with ten seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game, and Mower hit 1 of 2 free throws under ten seconds left in the first OT to force a second over time. Vlad Moldoveanu led all scorers with 26 points, but it was not enough, as Lafayette upset the No. 2-seed Eagles on their home floor. The No. 6-seed Leopards will face top-seeded Bucknell in the Patriot League finals.

They were good too

- Robert Morris 64, Quinnipiac 62: Velton Jones did not score 29 points like he did in the NEC quarterfinals against Wagner, but he did hit a floater over two defenders with 6 seconds left to play, lifting No. 3 Robert Morris over No. 2 Quinnipiac 64-62 in the NEC tournament semifinals. The game was tightly contested throughout, with 22 lead changes and 12 ties. This was the third year in a row that Robert Morris has ended Quinnipiac's season, as Bobby Mo advances to face Long Island in NEC final.

Team of the Day: Stony Brook Seawolves

The No. 5 Seawolves didn't just beat No. 1 Vermont in the America East quarterfinals. They demolished them. Stony Brook led by ten for a good portion of the first half and most of the second. Vermont tried to make a late push, cutting a double digit lead down to 40-34 with less than nine minutes left. But Stony Brook held Vermont without a field goal for the final 5:26, going on a 29-13 run. They'll move on to play No. 2 Boston U. in the finals.

They were good too

- St. Peter's Peacocks: At the half of this MAAC semifinal game, the No. 4 Peacocks led the No. 1 Stags 40-15. In fact, in took St. Peter's 12 minutes in the second half to score two field goals, and they still led by six despite Fairfield's 21-2 run. Once they found their touch again, the ran away with it. Four Peacocks scored in double-figures, led by Jeron Belin, who scored 15 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

- Virginia Commonwealth Rams: The No. 4 seed Rams put a halt to the longest active winning streak in the country, as they plastered No. 1 George Mason 79-63 in the semifinals of the CAA tournament.For the second day in-a-row, Jamie Skeen led the Rams in scoring, as he scored 21 points. Bradford Burgess added 16 points and Joey Rodriguez 13 for the Rams, who made 11 3-pointers, one shy of the tourney record. The Rams hit a three pointer with nine minutes left in the first half to make it 24-21, and they never looked back. They will face-off against No. 2 Old Dominion in the CAA tournament finals.

Player of the Day: Tristan Thompson, North Texas

The senior guard scored a career-high 36 points in No. 4 North Texas's quarterfinal upset of No. 1 Florida Atlantic, 78-64. But even more impressive than his 36 points is where they came from. Thompson, a Sun Belt Conference first-teamer, was a perfect 20-20 from the charity stripe and a perfect 2-2 from behind the arc.

They were good too

- Nate Wolters, South Dakota State: Wolters scored 30 points en route to the No. 5 Jack Rabbits 85-75 win over the No. 4 Mastadons of Indiana Forth Wayne in the Summit League quarterfinals. The guard was 7-18 from the field and 14-19 from the foul line. He also grabbed seven rebounds and provided five assists. South Dakota State now has the difficult task of taking on No. 1 Oakland in the semifinals.

- Leroy Nobles, IUPUI: Nobles scored more points yesterday than anybody in the country. He scored 37 points on 11-17 shooting including 6-9 from behind the arc. He was 9-10 from the charity stripe and also filled up the stat sheet with seven rebounds and two steals. The No. 3 Jaguars move on the the Summit League semifinals with the 79-55 win over the No. 6 Kangaroos of Missouri-Kansas City.

Sunday Results

Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Finals

#3 Indiana State 60, #1 Missouri State 56

America East Conference Tournament Semifinals

#5 Stony Brook 69, #1 Vermont 47
#2 Boston 55, #6 Hartford 49

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Semifinals

#4 VCU 79, #1 George Mason 63
#2 Old Dominion 77, #3 Hofstra 69

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals

#4 St. Peter's 62, #1 Fairfield 48
#2 Iona 83, #3 Rider 59

Northeast Conference Tournament Semifinals

#1 Long Island 69, #4 Central Connecticut State 67
#3 Robert Morris 64, #2 Quinnipiac 62

Patriot League Tournament Semifinals

#6 Lafayette 73 #2 American 71 2OT
#1 Bucknell 66, #4 Lehigh 64

Southern Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#2S Wofford 86, #1N Western Carolina 72
#1S Charleston 63, #3S Furman 58

Summit League Tournament Quarterfinals

#5 South Dakota State 85, #4 IPFW 75
#3 IUPUI 71, #6 UMKC 55

Sun Belt Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#4W North Texas 78, #1E Florida Atlantic 64
#3E Western Kentucky 81, #2W Louisiana-Lafayette 76
#5W Arkansas-Little Rock 59, #1W Arkansas State 52
#2E Middle Tennessee 73, #6E Florida International 38

West Coast Conference Tournament Semifinals

#1 St. Mary's 73, #4 Santa Clara 64
#2 Gonzaga 71, #3 San Francisco 67

Monday Slate of Games

Colonial Athletic Association Tournament
Finals (Richmond, VA)

7:00PM - ESPN2 - #2 Old Dominion vs. #4 VCU

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament
Finals (Bridgeport, CT)

7:00PM - ESPNU - #2 Iona vs. #4 St. Peter's

Southern Conference Tournament
Finals (Chattanooga, TN)

9:00PM - ESPN2 - #1S Charleston vs. #2S Wofford

West Coast Conference Tournament
Finals (Las Vegas, NV)

9:00PM - ESPN - #1 St. Mary's vs. #2 Gonzaga

Summit League Tournament
Semifinals (Sioux Falls, SD)

7:00PM - #1 Oakland vs. #5 South Dakota State
9:30PM - #2 Oral Roberts vs. #3 IUPUI

Sun Belt Conference Tournament
Semifinals (Hot Springs, AR)

7:00PM - #3E Western Kentucky vs. #4W North Texas
9:30PM - #2E Middle Tennessee vs. #5W Arkansas-Little Rock

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