Sunday, 4 March 2007

Arch Madness and Other Conference Tournaments

Some regular seasons winding down, some conference tournaments heating up and finishing... in other words, a fine weekend of college basketball. I'll just focus in the smaller conference tournaments here.

Missouri Valley Conference
This was probably the worst-case scenario for the MVC. Southern Illinois and Creighton, the top 2 seeds and the 2 teams that were probably in regardless of what happened, advanced to the finals. That left the two bubble teams, Bradley and Missouri St. possibly on the outside looking in. But back to the Championship... how good was Creighton? Anthony Tolliver just abused Randal Falker down low, and that was really the difference in the ballgame. Great job by the Bluejays.

Colonial Athletic Association
The George Mason Dream is still alive! After a quarterfinals upset of Hofstra, they put a beating on 2nd seeded Old Dominion. Now on Monday they have a shot to get back to the Championship against top seeded VCU, who has probably already assured themselves of a berth. For Old Dominion and Drexel, they just have to sit and wait for a week to see if their resume will be good enough for a trip to the Big Dance. For Hofstra, well, it's another trip to the NIT.

Atlantic Sun
Belmont won the title game here by 27... in other words, not much to talk about.

Big South
Much to the relief of bubble teams everywhere, Winthrop was able to pull it out, though the Championship was only a 3-point game with VMI. But the important thing is that Winthrop is in, and they have the tools to do some damage. Their talented and athletic, and they showed they can play with the big boys. Depending on matchups, I wouldn't be shocked to see Winthrop in the Sweet 16.

Ohio Valley Conference
Great Championship game here between Eastern Kentucky and Austin Peay, really showing the greatness of what small college basketball is all about. The game was back and forth, especially towards the end... Eastern Kentucky would build up a 8 point lead, and Austin Peay, not wanting to see their season end, would battle back. By the end, Austin Peay had battled back for a 1-point lead, only an Eastern Kentucky floater with about 3 seconds left erased that deficit, gave Eastern Kentucky the 1-point lead, and eventually gave them the autobid. Just a great game showing what Championship Week is all about.

Southern Conference
College of Charleston almost wrecked the party here, beating Appalacian St. in the semis and then giving Davidson all that they wanted in the Finals. But it was Stephen Curry, the son of Dell Curry and 2nd leading freshman scorer in the country (behind one Mr. Durant) who led Davidson to the Title. Curry scored 29 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists en route to leading Davidson to the Tourney. Look out for these guys, because like Winthrop they are a team capable of winning a game and spoiling someone's party.

What did you think of the games?