One Chapter Ends, “Second Season” Next Up …
The final day before NCAA Tournament play begins featured only a handful of games across the country, headlined by 11 conference tournament title tilts along with some key non-tournament machups out west. The 11 games involving top-50 teams in the CB360 Composite National Rankings (CNR) produced only two upsets – but only one of the five #1 seeds (The Citadel) in action on Sunday managed to close the deal and win its conference tournament. (front page photo courtesy of St. John’s)
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 six non-tournament games … also be sure to access CB360’s conference tournament main page via the link posted above.)
The 27 conference tournaments contested over the past few weeks produced only five #1 seeds – Bethune Cookman (Mid-Eastern/MEAC), Citadel (Southern Conf.), Coastal Carolina (Big South), Minnesota (Big Ten) and TCU (Mt. West) – that matched their seed by claiming tournament titles. Here’s the complete seed breakdown for 2010 conference tournament champions:
#1 seeds (5) – Bethune Cookman (MEAC), Citadel (SoCon), Coastal Carolina (BigSouth), Minnesota (Big Ten) & TCU (Mt. West)
#2 seeds (9) – Central Connecticut (Northeast), Dartmouth (Ivy), Illinois St. (Missouri Valley), Jacksonville St. (Ohio Valley), Kent St. (Mid-American), Mercer (A-Sun), Milwaukee (Horizon), Oral Roberrts (Summit) & Southern Miss. (C-USA)
#3 seeds (3) – Rider (Metro Atlanic/MAAC), Stony Brook (America East) & Virginia Commonwealth (Colonial)
#4 seeds (4) – Bucknell (Patriot), Florida International (Sun Belt), Hawaii (Western Athletic) & St. John’s (BIG EAST)
#5 seeds (3) – Baylor (Big 12), Florida State (Atlantic Coast/ACC) & Saint Louis (Atlantic-10)
#6 seeds – Grambling (Southwestern/SWAC)
#7 seeds – Lamar (Southland)
#8 seeds (1) – LSU (SEC)
FINAL CHAMPIONS: Here are the 11 tournaments that were decided on Sunday:
• Atlantic Coast – #5 seed Florida State 8, #7 North Carolina State 3
• Big 12 – #5 seed Texas A&M 5, #6 Baylor 3 (10 inn)
• BIG EAST – #4 seed St. John’s 3, #2 Connecticut 0
• Horizon – #2 seed Milwaukee 6, #1 Wright State 3 (Milwaukee also beat Wright St. on Sat. night)
• Northeast – #2 seed Central Connecicut 9, #1 Sacred Heart 3 (CC also beat SH on Sat. night)
• Ohio Valley – #2 seed Jacksonville State 10, #1 Tennessee Tech 8
• Southeastern – #8 seed LSU 4, #7 Alabama 3 (11 inn.)
• Southern – #1 seed The Citadel 10, #6 Western Carolina 3
• Southwestern – #3-West seed Grambling 15, #3-East seed Alcorn State 2
• Sun Belt – #4 seed Florida International 14, #6 Troy 10
• Western Athletic – #4 seed Hawaii 9, #1 Fresno State 6 (Fresno beat Hawaii on Sat. night)
SATURDAY’S CHAMPIONS: Saturday’s action – which featured 36 of the CB360 top-50 teams (10 head-to-head) – resulted in 10 teams winning conference tournaments with automatic NCAA bids:
• Atlantic 10 – St. Louis 5, Charlotte 4
• Atlantic Sun – (2-seed) Mercer 3, (3-seed) East Tennessee State 1
• Big South – (1-seed) Coastal Carolina 8, (2-seed) Liberty 2
• Big Ten – (1-seed) Minnesota 15, (4-seed) Iowa 5
• Colonial – (3-seed) Virginia Commonwealth 7, (4-seed) UNC Wilmington 5 (12 inn.)
• Conference USA – (2-seed) Southern Mississippi 7, (1-seed) Rice 4
• Mid-American – (2-seed) Kent State 5, (1-seed) Central Michigan 3
• Missouri Valley – (2-seed) Illinois State 17, (1-seed) Wichita State 8
• Southland – (7-seed) Lamar 17, (1-seed) Texas State 7
• Summit – (2-seed) Oral Roberts 12, (1-seed) South Dakota State 2
Notes: UNC-Wilmington had defeated VCU earlier on Sat. (10-0), setting up the decisive rematch … C-USA’s championship round featured only one game (Rice was 3-0 and had outscored its opponent 53-6 before the loss to Southern Miss) … six tournaments had concluded earlier, with the winners including: Stony Brook (America East), Dartmouth (Ivy), Bethune Cookman (Mideastern), Rider (Mid-Atlantic), TCU (Mt. West) and Bucknell (Patriot) … the Big West, Pac-10 and WCC to not sponsor postseason tournament (champions from those leagues are Fullerton, Arizona St. and San Diego, respectively) … the first-year Great West does not have an NCAA automatic bid.
Saturday 11 games involving CB360 top-50 teams included five conference tournament finals, along with three games from the Pac-10, a pair of Big West games and one from the WCC.
BUBBLE ANXIETY: Several leagues appear on pace to 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 – During Saturday’s action, fellow bubble teams simply were hoping that any of the remaining contenders other than #7 seed North Carolina State would win this tournament … but the Wolfpack reached the title game and may have wrapped up an NCAA bid (key tourney wins over Clemson and Va. Tech) … it will be interesting to see the fate of fellow ACC bubble teams North Carolina (narrowly missed ACC tourney) and Boston College (went 1-2, with RPI-boosting win over Miami)
• Atlantic Sun – Runaway regular-season champ Florida Gulf Coast was eliminated early, but if the Eagles fail to receive an at-large spot the A-Sun will remain a 1-bid league … Mercer (#2 seed) completed an undefeated run to win the tournament and earned the NCAA automatic bid.
• BIG EAST – Tournament champ St. John’s may end up taking a bubble team’s spot if the Red Storm beat UConn in the final … #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).
• Big South –#2 seed Liberty is a bubble team that could have clinched an NCAA spot, but the Flames lost the title game to top seed Coastal Carolina … that game still should lift Liberty’s RPI, but will it be enough?
• Big 12 – Bubble team Baylor (#6 seed) reached the title game, which may be enough to secure a spot in the NCAAs (the other finalist is #5 seed Texas A&M).
• Conference USA – #2 seed Southern Mississippi likely needed to win this event to keep its season going … and that what Southern Miss did, beating a Rice team that had rolled over its three previous opponents … convention thinking would indicate that a bubble team saw its NCAA hopes burst with the result in the C-USA final.
• Southern – #2 seed College of Charleston was been eliminated early but likely still will reach the NCAAs … #6 seed Western Carolina (a classic “fly in the ointment”) regained its early-season form but lost to #1 The Citadel in the SoCon title game (probably not enough to reach the NCAAs).
• Southland – This conference had been shaping up as a 1-bid league over the past few weeks, but it may be conceivable that #1 seed Texas State still could earn an at-large spot … the Bobcats reached the title game but lost to #7 seed Lamar (the epitome of a “bid-stealer” … unless Texas State gets left out, then it’ a wash in the big picture).
Sun Belt –Top seed Florida Atlantic lost twice to #4 Florida International and failed to reach the Sunbelt final (if two many bubble spots dry up, is FAU still safe for an at-large spot?) … tournet champ FIU is a great addition to the NCAA field, with Garrett Wittels riding a 54-game hit streak … there’s also another bubble team from the Sunbelt (#2 seed and regular-season co-champion Louisiana-Lafayette) that went out early 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.
… AND OUT WEST – The jumbled Pac-10 fittingly ended up with two teams tied for 5th-place (#19 Oregon and #41 Cal, at 13-24; Ducks won head-to-head series with 6-5 game on Sun.) and two more tied for 7th (#30 Arizona and #40 Oregon St., at 12-15; Beavers won series-deciding game, 3-1, on Sun.) … #6 UCLA beat #24 in Sunday’s series-deciding game (11-1), finalizing the Bruins’ bid to be a top-8 national seed … in the CB360 to-50 games involving Big West teams on Sunday, #9 Cal State Fullerton (vs. Northridge) and #26 UC Irvine (Long Beach) finished series sweeps while WCC leader #20 San Diego won its series-deciding game vs. Saint Mary’s (5-3).
SUNDAY’S TOP-50 RESULTS (5/30/10; 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.)
• #17 Florida State 8, #48 North Carolina State 3 (ACC)
• St. John’s 3, #18 Connecticut 0 (BIG EAST)
• #27 Texas A&M 5, #43 Baylor 3 (10 inn.; Big 12)
• #34 LSU 4, #29 Alabama 3 (11 inn.; SEC)
• #39 The Citadel 10, Western Carolina 3 (SoCon)