Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Real March Madness: Day 8

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. To become more acquainted with the teams that have already sealed up autobids, follow this link.

Here is what happened on Tuesday:

Upsets, close-finishes, comebacks, and more upsets.

Game of the Day: Arkansas-Little Rock 64, North Texas 63
The No. 5 Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock rallied back from down six with under 90 seconds to go, and Solomon Bozeman hit a deep 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament for the first time in school history. The game was back-and-forth for the first 37 minutes, but North Texas looked like they would pull away late. But Matt Mouzy hit a 3-pointer with 17.6 seconds left to make it 62-61. Mouzy then stole the in-bounds pass but missed the 3-point attempt, and the rebound was grabbed by North Texas' Tristan Thompson, who was immediately fouled. On Sunday, in the semifinals, Thompson hit a perfect 20-20 from the charity stripe, but with just nine seconds left in the conference title game, he missed the first of two shots. After making the second, North Texas led 63-61. Bozeman collected the in-bounds pass and well, I'll let the video explain the rest:

North Texas called a timeout and set-up for a final shot, but were unable to get a clean look. When the clock hit zeros, Arkansas-Little Rock had punched it's first ticket to the dance in 21 years. The Trojans went 7-9 in the Sun Belt regular season and lost to North Texas both times they met. Bozeman was named tournament MVP and averaged 22ppg during the four-game streak.

They were good too:

- Rutgers 76, Seton Hall 70 OT

This one of the more-entertaining games of the day. The two teams traded leads for much of the game, and neither team led by more than nine. As the game-clock wound down, you knew that the game was going to end in exciting fashion, and it did. For the last four minutes, neither team led by more than two points. After Mike Coburn sank two free throws to put the Scarlet Knights up three, Jordan Theodore took the in-bounds pass with nine seconds left and set up a crazy finish to end regulation:

In overtime, Rutgers made nine of their final twelve foul shots and earned their first Big East tournament win since 2005.

- La Salle 75, St. Bonaventure's 73 2OT

Steve Weingarten hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3o seconds left in the second overtime to seal victory over St. Bonaventure's in the first round of the Atlantic-10 tournament. The No. 10 Explorers, who will face the No. 2 Temple Owls in the quarterfinals, erased a 14-point deficit in regulation then overcame a seven-point deficit in the first overtime. The Explorers had three players score in double-figures, led by Jerrell Williams who had 19 points. Ruben Guillandeaux had 18 points including the tying shot at the end of regulation.

Team of the Day: South Florida Bulls

The Bulls were playing in only their fourth ever Big East tournament game, and erased a 15-point halftime deficit to beat the No. 10 Villanova Wildcats in the first round of the Big East tournament.This was the first time in conference history that a No. 15-seed won a tournament game. South Florida played shut-down defense in the second half, limiting the Wildcats to just four field goals. The Bulls were led by Shaun Noriega, who had 22 points, including 18 points from behind the arc. Anthony Crater only had six points, but he scored the four most important points of the game.


They were good too:

- Butler Bulldogs

The bulldogs had been written off by most of the country after a mediocre non-conference record and a uncharacteristic three game conference losing streak. But like they have done in season past, the Bulldogs plowed the the Horizon League tournament and are once again back in the NCAA tournament. Butler lost both their regular season games against UW-Milwaukee, but were able to beat the Panthers when it truly mattered. The Bulldogs only trailed once, and except for a five minute scoring drought in the second half, were in complete control of the game. Matt Howard led the way with 18 points and Shelvin Mack chipped in with 14 points.

Player of the Day: Keith Benson, Oakland

The Summit League Player of the Year had a monster night as he led the No. 1 Golden Grizzles to their second straight Summit League championship. Benson scored 28 points on 10-17 shooting. Benson also pulled in 14 rebounds, dropped four dimes and turned back three shots. This was Benson's 19th double-double of the season.

They were good too:

- Jonathan Mitchell, Rutgers

The senior had 25 points and made 11 of 14 free throws in the Scarlet Knights first Big East tournament win since 2005. Mitchell sparked Rutgers late-game comeback with a clutch three-pointer, and made eight free throws in overtime to seal the victory. He also had three rebounds, three assists and one steal.

Tuesday Results

Horizon League Tournament Finals

#2 Butler 59, #1UW-Milwaukee 44

Summit League Tournament Finals

#1 Oakland 90, #2 Oral Roberts 76

Sun Belt Tournament Finals

#5W Arkansas-Little Rock 64, #4W North Texas 63

Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament First Round

#9 Dayton 78, #8 UMass 50
#12 St. Joseph's 71, #5 George Washington 59 OT
#10 La Salle 75, #7 St. Bonaventure 73 2OT
#6 Rhode Island 70, #11 St. Louis 61

Big East Conference Tournament First Round
#9 UConn 97, #16 DePaul 71
#13 Rutgers 76, #12 Seton Hall 70 OT
#15 South Florida 70, #10 Villanova 69
#11 Marquette 87, #14 Providence 66

Big Sky Conference Tournament Semifinals

#2 Montana 57, #3 Weber State 40
#1 Northern Colorado 73, #4 Northern Arizona 70

Mid-American Conference First Round

#5 Ohio 74, #12 Toledo 57
#6 Akron 67, #11 Eastern Michigan 53
#7 Bowling Green 74, #10 Northern Illinois 54
#8 Buffalo 64, #9 Central Michigan 50

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament First Round

#10 Maryland-Eastern Shore 87, #7 Florida A&M 85 2OT
#9 South Carolina State 64, #8 Delaware State 59

Wednesday Slate of Games

Northeast Conference Tournament
Finals (at higher seed)

7:00PM - ESPN2 - #3 Robert Morris at #1 Long Island

Big Sky Conference Tournament
Finals (Greeley, CO)

11:00PM - ESPN2 - #1 Northern Colorado vs. #2 Montana

Big East Conference Tournament
Second Round (New York City, NY)

12:00PM - #8 Georgetown vs. #9 UConn
2:30PM - #5 St. John's vs. #13 Rutgers
7:00PM - #7 Cincinnati vs. #15 South Florida
9:30pm - #6 West Virginia vs. #11 Marquette

Big-12 Conference Tournament
First Round (Kansas City, MO)

12:30PM - #9 Oklahoma State vs. #8 Nebraska
3:00PM - #12 Iowa State vs. #5 Colorado
7:00PM - #10 Oklahoma vs. #7 Baylor
9:00PM - #11 Texas Tech vs. #6 Missouri

Conference-USA Tournament
First Round (El Paso, TX)

12:00PM - #8 East Carolina vs. #9 UCF
3:30PM - #5 Southern Miss vs. #12 Tulane
7:30PM - #6 Marshall vs. #11 Houston
10:00PM - #7 SMU vs. #10 Rice

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournnament
First Round (Winston-Salem, NC)

3:00PM - #6 Norfolk State vs. #11 Howard
8:00PM - #4 Morgan State vs. #5 North Carolina A&T

Mountain West Conference Tournament
First Round (Las Vegas, NV)

7:30PM - #8 Wyoming vs. #9 TCU

Pac-10 Conference Tournament
First Round (Los Angeles, CA)

9:00PM - #8 Stanford vs. #9 Oregon State
11:30PM - #7 Oregon vs. #10 Arizona State

Southland Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (Katy, TX)

1:00PM - #2 Northwestern State vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio
3:30PM - #3 Sam Houston State vs. #6 Stephen F. Austin
7:00PM - #1 McNeese State vs. #8 Nicholls State
9:30PM - #4 Texas State vs. #5 Southeastern Louisiana

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (Garland, TX)

1:30PM - #7 Prairie View A&M vs. #2 Jackson State
9:00PM - #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. #1 Texas Southern

WAC Tournament
First Round (Las Vegas, NV)

6:00PM - #5 Hawaii vs. #8 San Jose State
8:30PM - #6 Nevada vs. #7 Fresno State

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