Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Real March Madness: Day 9

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 Wednesday:

Two more auto-bids were handed out, some Big-12 bubbles got busted, and a Big East tournament game was marred by poor officiating

Game of the Day: St. John's 65, Rutgers 63

For the second day in a row, the Scarlet Knights were involved in a tightly-contested game that ended with an exciting-yet-controversial finish.

This game did not start to get interesting until the final two minutes. St. John's led for the majority of the second half, and was up by as many as ten points. But for the second day in a row, Rutgers faught back, and forced the game to be decided in the final minute. Instead of trying to break down the controversial ending to the game, click here to read more (Seriously folks, I have never seen anything like this). Dwight Hardy led the way for the Johnnies with 17 points and Sean Evans scored 13 point and nine rebounds coming off the bench.

They were good too:

- UT-San Antonio 97, Northwestern State 96

The No. 7-seed Roadrunner of UT-San Antonio rallied back from tweleve points with under five minutes to play to beat No. 2 Northwestern State in the quarterfinals of the Southland Conference tournament. Jeremie Hill scored the game-winning dunk with 2.5 seconds left after teammate Devin Gibson drove into the lane and fed the ball inside to him while unguarded, giving UTSA the lead for only the second time in the game.

- San Jose State 75, Hawaii 74

Adrian Oliver, the WAC player of the year, hit a pull-up jumper with five seconds left to lift No. 8 San Jose State over over No. 4 Hawaii in the first round of the WAC tournament. Oliver's jumper did end the game however. The Rainbow Warriors responded, as Jeremiah Ostrawski launched a desperation heave that was tipped-in at the buzzer by Bill Amis, but was reviewed by referees and was ruled no good.

Team of the Day: Northern Colorado Bears

The Bears deafeated reigning-champions Montana in the finals of the Big Sky Conference tournament 65-60. Devon Beitzel, the MVP of the regular season and the tournament, led the Bears with 27 points, 13 of which came in the final five minutes. Montana won last season's tournament championship thanks to an unforgettable second-half rally that saw the Grizzlies erase a 22-point deficit. Northern Colorado made sure that this year would be different. The Grizzlies tried their best to erase a seven-point deficit with under 50 seconds left, but Beitzel hit a long 3-pointer to seal the deal. This was the first tournament championship in school history. Northern Colorado has just four postseason wins since 1994, one of which came when it was a member of the Division II Northern Central Conference

They were good too:

- Marquette Golden Eagles

If there were any questions as to wether or not Marquette was on the bubble, they answered them last night with a gutsy win against West Virginia in the second round of the Big East tournament. The Golden Eagles got a tremendous performance from Junior Cadougan, who led the team with 15 points, and Darius Johnson-Odom provided late-game heroics, sinking two clutch 3-pointers in the final minutes of the game. The key to Marquette's victory was their defense. They held the Mountaineers to just 6-27 (27.2%) from the field in the second half after a first half which saw them make 14-24 (58.3%).

Player of the Day: Devin Gibson, UT-San Antonio

Gibson logged his second triple-double of the season as the Roadrunner's defeated the Demons of Northwestern State in the first round of the Southland Conference tournament. Gibson's final assist, the stat that gave him the triple-double was the most important stat of the day. He fed a wide-open Jeromie Hill down low who made the game-winning dunk with five seconds left. Gibson finished with a career-high 28 points, along with ten rebounds and ten assists. He also had three steals.

They were good too:
- Alec Burks, Colorado

The sophomore forward scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half to lead the Buffs to a must-needed win over Iowa State in the first round of the Big-12 Tournament. The unanimous pick for the Big-12 first team all-conference was 9-16 from the field and 11-14 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and dished out six assists.

- Malik Story, Nevada

Story hit all six of his 3-point attempts en route to scoring a career-high 34 points as the No. 6 Nevada Wolfpack beat the No. 7 Fresno State Bulldogs in the first round of the WAC tournament. Story was 11-14 from the field and made 11-15 from the charity stripe. He had not scored more than 15 points in six games, when he set a then career-high of 29 against San Jose State.

Bubble Banter

- Colorado kept their tournament hopes alive by withstanding a strong comeback from Iowa State. A win against No. 4 Kansas State tonight would do them wonders.

- Any shot that Baylor had is now certainly gone after they were trounced by Oklahoma in the first round of the Big-12 tournament, 84-67. The Bears may very well have locked up the title of "most dissapointing team of the year".

- Nebraska's outside chances were dashed due to end-of-game mismanagement against Oklahoma State. The 'Huskers needed at least one tournament win to pad their resume, and they didn't get it.

- Marquette cemented their tournament status with a huge win against West Virginia in the night-cap at Madison Square Garden.

Wednesday Results

Northeast Conference Tournament Finals

#1 Long Island 85 #3 Robert Morris 82 OT

Big Sky Conference Tournament Finals

#1 Northern Colorado 65, #2 Montana 60

Big East Conference Tournament Second Round

#9 UConn 79, #8 Georgetown 62
#5 St. John's 65, #13 Rutgers 63
#7 Cincinnati 87, #15 South Florida 61
#11 Marquette 67, #6 West Virginia 61

Big-12 Conference Tournament First Round

#9 Oklahoma State 53, #8 Nebraska 52
#5 Colorado 77, #12 Iowa State 75
#10 Oklahoma 84, #7 Baylor 67
#6 Missouri 88, #11 Texas Tech 84

Conference-USA Tournament First Round

#8 East Carolina 75, #9 UCF 60
#5 Southern Miss 63, #12 Tulane 47
#6 Marshall 97, #11 Houston 87
#10 Rice 58, #7 SMU 57

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#1 Bethune-Cookman 66, #9 South Carolina State 50
#2 Hampton 77, #10 Maryland-Eastern Shore 55
#6 Norfolk State 68, #11 Howard 53

Mountain West Conference Tournament First Round

#9 TCU 70, #8 Wyoming 61

Pac-10 Conference Tournament First Round

#9 Oregon State 69, #8 Stanford 67
#7 Oregon 76, #10 Arizona State 69

Southland Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#7 Texas-San Antonio 97, #2 Northwestern State 96
#3 Sam Houston State 61, #6 Stephen F. Austin 45
#1 McNeese State 61, #8 Nicholls State 54
#4 Texas State 72, #5 Southeastern Louisiana 68

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

#2 Jackson State 50, #7 Prairie View A&M 38
#1 Texas Southern 50, #8 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 45

Western Athletic Conference First Round

#8 San Jose State 75, #5 Hawaii 74
#6 Nevada 90, #7 Fresno State 80

Thursday Slate of Games

ACC Tournament
First Round (Greensboro, NC)

12:00PM - #9 Miami vs. #8 Virginia
2:30PM - #12 Wake Forest vs. #5 Boston College
7:00PM - #10 NC State vs. #7 Maryland
9:30PM - #11 Georgia Tech vs. #6 Virginia Tech

Big East Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (New York City, NY)

12:00PM - #1 Pitt vs. #9 UConn
2:30PM - #4 Syracuse vs. #5 St. John's
7:00PM - #2 Notre Dame vs. #7 Cincinnati
9:30PM - #3 Louisville vs. #11 Marquette

Big Ten Tournament
First Round (Indianapolis, IN)

2:30PM - #8 Northwestern vs. #9 Minnesota
5:00PM - #7 Michigan State vs. #10 Iowa
7:30PM - #6 Penn State vs. #11 Indiana

Big-12 Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (Kansas City, MO)

12:00PM - #1 Kansas vs. #9 Oklahoma State
2:30PM - #4 Kansas State vs. #5 Colorado
6:30PM - #2 Texas vs. #10 Oklahoma
9:00PM - #3 Texas A&M vs. #6 Missouri

Big West
Quarterfinals (Anaheim, CA)

12:00PM - #1 Long Beach State vs. #8 UC Irvine
2:30PM - #4 Pacific vs. #5 UC Santa Barbara
6:30PM - #2 Cal Poly vs. #7 UC Riverside
9:30PM - #3 Cal St. Northridge vs. #6 Cal St. Fullerton

Conference-USA Tournament
Quarterfinals (El Paso, TX)

12:00PM - #1 UAB vs. #8 East Carolina
2:30PM - #4 Memphis vs. #5 Southern Mississippi
6:30PM - #3 UTEP vs. #6 Marshall
9:00PM - #2 Tulsa vs. #10 Rice

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

6:00PM - #3 Coppin State vs. #6 Norfolk State
8:30PM - #4 Morgan State vs. #5 North Carolina A&T

Mountain West Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (Las Vegas, NV)

3:00 pm: #1 BYU vs. #9 TCU
5:30 pm: #4 Colorado vs. #5 New Mexico
9:00 pm: #2 San Diego State 70 vs. #7 Utah
11:30 pm: #3 UNLV vs. #6 Air Force

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

3:10PM - #4 USC vs. #5 Cal
5:40Pm - #1 Arizona vs. #9 Oregon State
9:10PM - #2 UCLA vs. #7 Oregon
11:40PM - #3 Washington vs. #6 Washington State

First Round (Atlanta, GA)

1:00PM - #W5 Auburn vs. #E4 Georgia
3:30PM - #E6 South Carolina vs. #W3 Ole Miss
7:30PM - #E5 Tennessee vs. #W4 Arkansas
10:00PM - #W6 LSU vs. #E3 Vanderbilt

Southland Conference Tournament
Semifinals (Katy, TX)

6:00PM - #3 Sam Houston State vs. #7 Texas-San Antonio
8:30PM - #1 McNeese State vs. #4 Texas State

Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament
Quarterfinals (Garland, TX)

12:30PM - #4 Alabama State vs. #5 Alabama A&M
8:00PM - #3 Mississippi Valley State vs. #6 Grambling State

WAC Tournament
Quarterfinals (Las Vegas, NV)

6:00PM - #4 Idaho vs. #8 San Jose State
8:30PM - #3 New Mexico State vs. #6 Nevada

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