Conference Tournament & Bubble Team Rundown

May 29, 2010
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TCU (Mt. West),  Stony Brook (America East) and Rider (MAAC) wrapped up their respective conference tournament titles on Friday, as postseason play continued around the nation. (front-page photo courtesy of Stony Brook)

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CLICK HERE for CB360’s Conference Tournament Main Page

(Reminder – Scores for all games involving the CB360 top-50 are listed at the bottom of this page, with the customary links provided for the seven non-tournament games … also be sure to access CB360’s conference tournament main page via the link posted above.)

Here are links to CB360′s wrapup pages from the past few days:
Thursday (May 27)
Wednesday ( May 26)
Tuesday (May 25)

Friday’s schedule featured 38 teams in action from the CB360 Composite National Rankings (CNR), with the 29 top-50 games including nine head-to-head matchups. Nearly 40% of the top-50 games that were played on Friday resulted in upsets (10 of 27; two games were postponed/suspended).

The Friday games involving CB360 top-50 teams took place primarily within conference tournament settings, along with four games from the Pac-10, a pair of Big West games and one from the WCC.

It appears that many #1 seeds have been knocked out before the title-game round (we’re going to compile a list of all the departed #1 seeds).

BUBBLE ANXIETY: There remain several leagues that could receive an “extra” entrant into the NCAAs (i.e. upset winner that was not a solid at-large candidate). Such spoiler teams – which ostensibly would take spots away from “bubble” teams– could emerge from the following leagues:

• ACC – At this point, fellow bubble teams probably are simply hoping that any of the remaining contenders other than #7 seed North Carolina State win this tournament (those also still alive include #3 Ga. Tech, #4 Miami, #5 Florida St. and #6 Va. Tech).

Atlantic Sun – Runaway regular-season champ Florida Gulf Coast has been eliminated, but if the Eagles fail to receive an at-large spot the A-Sun will remain a 1-bid league … Mercer (#2 seed) has the inside track to win the tournament, with #3 East Tennessee and #5 Jacksonville also still in the mix.

• BIG EAST – #6 seed Rutgers and #4 St. John’s are in top positions for the title game, as each would have to lose twice on Saturday (RU vs. #2 UConn and SJU vs. #1 Louisville) … #3 seed Pittsburgh, an NCAA bubble team, exited early (so it all might be a wash, with the BIG EAST still getting the three entrants that some predicted) … needless to day, many teams around the country will become big UConn and Louisville fans.

• Big South – It would be a longshot at this point for top seed Coastal Carolina to not win this event, but if #2 Liberty or #5 High Point surge to the tournament title then it’s likely a bubble will burst somewhere across the country (Liberty itself is a bubble team, so there should be plenty of other bubble trams rooting for Coastal).

• Big 12 – Bubble team Baylor (#6 seed) has reached the title game, which may already be enough to secure a spot in the NCAAs (the other finalist is #5 seed Texas A&M).

Conference USA – #2 seed Southern Mississippi is another bubble team that could snatch away a bid, but Southern Miss would have to beat Rice twice (and the Owls are rolling big-time right now).

• Southern – #2 seed College of Charleston has been eliminated but likely still will reach the NCAAs … the four teams remaining include #1 The Citadel, bubble team Elon (#4) and two upstart “flies in the ointment” (#6 Western Carolina & #7 Appalachian State)

• Southland – This conference had been shaping up as a 1-bid league over the past few weeks, but it’s conceivable that #1 seed Texas State still could earn an at-large spot if the Bobcats reach the title game (the other remaining teams are #5 Texas-Arlington and #7 Lamar).

Sunbelt –Top seed Florida Atlantic is the only team from the four remaining that has an NCAA spot locked up (#4 Florida International is a bubble team, while #6 Troy and #7 Arkansas State could be “bid-stealers” if they win this event) … of course, there’s another bubble team from the Sunbelt (#2 seed and regular-season co-champion Louisiana-Lafayette) that went out earlyy and may end up being squeezed out, so this conference could end up receiving the same number of bids that it would have prior to the past few days.

… Here’s a quick rundown on the three conference that crowned tournament champions on Friday:

AMERICA EAST – #3 seed Stony Brook won the America East tournament for the second time in the past three years, with a 4-2 victory over #4 seed Albany … earlier in the tournament, Stony Brook had pulled off the mild upset of #2 seed Maine (10-1), while Albany knocked off top-seeded Binghamton … Stony Brook also beat Albany on Thursday, 8-4, in the “winners-bracket” game.

MOUNTAIN WEST TCU (#11 in the cb360 top-50) followed up its regular-season title by winning the MWC Tournament, capped by a 2-0 pitchers duel vs. #2 seed New Mexico … the Horned Frogs now await the upcoming NCAA announcements on Sunday/Monday, hoping to be one of the nation’s 16 #1 seeds (and possibly one of the top-8 national seeds, which would help secure home-field for a potential Super Regional series) … TCU was listed 19th in the latest NCAA official RPI (thru 5/23 games). … New Mexico (#38 in the CNR) – which beat #5 seed UNLV in a Friday elimination game – also will be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the NCAA field, as the Lobos are in the running for an NCAA at-large spot (UNM was #42 in this week’s NCAA RPI).

METRO ATLANTIC (MAAC) – #3 seed Rider became another upset winner, after beating #1 seed Canisius on Friday night (4-2) to earn a spot in the NCAAs.

… CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES SET FOR SATURDAY – There are 14 other conference tournaments that could be decided on Saturday (some may extend to Sunday):

Atlantic 10 – #1 seed Charlotte vs. #5 Saint Louis (Charlotte has to beat SLU twice)

Atlantic-Sun – still several combinations of possibilities (may extend to Sunday) … #2 seed Mercer, #3 East Tennessee and #5 Jacksonville are the teams remaining (Mercer has yet to lose)

Big South –#1 seed Coastal Carolina vs. #2 Liberty/#4 High Point winner (possible rematch on Sun.)

Big Ten – #1 seed Minnesota vs. #2 Michigan/#4 Iowa winner (possible rematch on Sun.)

Colonial –#3 seed Virginia Commonwealth vs. #4 UNC Wilmington (UNC-W has to beat VCU twice)

Conference USA –#1 seed Rice vs. #2 Southern Mississippi (Southern Miss needs two wins)

Horizon – #1 seed Wright State vs. #2 Milwaukee/#4 Valparaiso winner (possible Sun. rematch)

Mid-American –#1 seed Cen. Michigan/#5 Bowling Green winner vs. #2 Kent St./#7 E. Michigan winner

Missouri Valley –#1 seed Wichita State vs. #2 seed Illinois State

Northeast – #1 seed Sacred Heart vs. #2 seed Central Connecticut/#3 Wagner winner (possible Sun. rematch)

Ohio Valley – several combinations possible (teams remaining: #1 Tenn.Tech, #2 Jacksonville St. & #3 Murray St.)

Southland – #1 Texas State/#5 Texas-Arlington winner vs. #7 Lamar

Summit –#1 seed South Dakota State vs. #2 Oral Roberts (SDSU must beat ORU twice)

Western Athletic – #4 seed Hawaii vs. #6 San Jose State/#1 Fresno State winner (may extend to Sunday)

SUNDAY’S TITLE-GAMES: The remaining seven conference that have automatic NCAA bids will crown their tournament champions on Sunday, with some spots in those title-game matchups already set (note that the Ivy League, Patriot League and MEAC previously concluded their tournaments, while the Big West, Pac-10 and WCC do not sponsor conference tournaments):

Atlantic Coast (ACC) – #4 seed Miami or #5 Florida State vs. pool-B winner (#3 GT, #6 VT or #7 NC-St)

Big 12 – #5 seed Texas A&M vs. #6 Baylor

BIG EAST – #6 seed Rutgers/#2 UConn (UConn must beat RU  twice on Sat.) vs. #4 St. John’s/#1 Louisville (UL must beat SJU twice on Sat.)

Southeastern – #8 seed LSU or #6 Mississippi (Ole Miss must beat LSU twice on Sat.) vs. #7 seed Alabama vs. #1 Florida (Gators must beat Tide twice on Sat.)

Southern – several combinations possible (teams remaining: #1 Citadel, #4 Elon, #6 Western Carolina & #7 Appalachian St.)

Sunbelt – #6 Troy/#7 Arkansas State winner vs. #1 FAU/#4 FIU winner

SWAC – Alcorn State (East #3 seed) vs. Grambling State (West #3 seed)

… AND OUT WEST – Arizona State and UCLA have secured the respective top-2 spots in the Pac-10, but it’s still a free-for-all beyond that: Washington State 14-11, Stanford 14-12, Oregon 12-13, Cal 12-13, Arizona 11-14 and Oregon State 11-14 … ASU and Stanford will decide their series on Saturday, while game-2 will be played in three other key series (WSU at UCLA…Cal at Oregon…and Arizona at Oregon St.) … also out west, UC Irvine’s win Friday over Long Beach State locked up a runner-up finish in the Big West for the Anteaters (further boosting UCI’s resume for the NCAAs).

FRIDAY’S TOP-50 RESULTS (5/28/10; upsets in italics)
(based on the CB360 Composite National Rankings)

Reminder – follow THIS LINK for CB360’s Conference Tournament Main Page (with links to all of the conference tournament  central pages that include complete info., links, etc.)

at #32 Stanford 5,  #1 Arizona State 2 (series tied) | Final Stats
STAN RecapASU Recap

#4 Coastal Carolina 15,  High Point 2 (Big South)

#5 Florida 5,  #16 Vanderbilt 2 (SEC elim. game)

at #6 UCLA 6,  #24 Washington State 1 (series opener)  |  Final Stats
UCLA RecapWSU Recap

#7 Louisville 9,  South Florida 7 (11 inn. … BIG EAST elim. game)

#8 Georgia Tech vs. #48 N.C. St. – suspended to 5/29 (10 a.m. ET; GT leads 1-0 in 1st)

at #9 Cal State Fullerton 6,  Cal State Northridge 0 (series opener)  |  Final Stats
CSF RecapCSN Recap

#11 TCU 2,  #38 New Mexico 0 (Mt. West title game)

#23 Mississippi 10,  #14 Auburn 7 (SEC elim. game)

#43 Baylor 8,  #15 Oklahoma 3 (Big 12 round-robin)

#17 Florida State 12,  Boston College 2 (ACC round-robin)

#18 Connecticut 7,  #42 Pittsburgh 2 (BIG EAST elim. game)  

#41 California 4,  at #19 Oregon 3 (series opener)  |  Final Stats
Cal RecapORE Recap

at #20 San Diego 4,  St. Mary’s 1 (series opener)  |  Final Stats
USD RecapStM Recap

#25 Virginia Tech 9,  #21 Clemson 8 (ACC round-robin)

#22 Rice 20,  Marshall 0 (Conference USA)

#26 UC Irvine 6,  at Long Beach State 0 (series opener)  |  Final Stats
UCI RecapLBSU Recap

Appalachian State 10,  #28 College of Charleston 6 (SoCon elim. game)

at #40 Oregon State 6,  #30 Arizona 3 (series opener)  |  Final Stats
OrSt RecapAZ Recap

Florida International 18,  #35 Florida Atlantic 16 (Sun Belt)

East Tennessee State 12,  #36 Florida Gulf Coast 10 (Atlantic-Sun elim. game)

#37 Kansas State 10,  Kansas 5 (Big 12 round-robin)

#38 New Mexico 10,  UNLV 3 (Mt. West elim. game)

#44 Elon 7,  Samford 4 (SoCon elim. game)

#46 Texas State 9,  Nicholls State 5 (Southland elim. game)

#46 Texas State 5,  Texas-Arlington 4 (Southland)

#49 Liberty 9,  Winthrop 7 (Big South elim. game)

#49 Liberty vs. High Point postponed to 5/29 (11 AM)

McNeese State 5,  #50 Southeastern Louisiana 4 (Southland elim. game)

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