More Confernce Tournament Previews
Are you in the mood for some real-live March Madness?
Good, 'cause between now and this coming Sunday -a/k/a Selection Sunday - there are a whopping total of 168 College Basketball Conference Tournament games on tap and they include everything from the ACC to the Atlantic-10 to the Big 12 to the Sun Belt Conference ... and everything in between.
Hey, there's gonna be a whole of movin' and shakin' when it comes to next week's NCAA Tournament bids based on these aforementioned 168 games and we've already had a dose of that this past weekend when 2-point underdog Murray State bopped Belmont in the Ohio Valley Conference Championship Game and what about 2-point favorite Bradley roaring back from 18 points down to defeat Northern Iowa 57-54 in the title tilt of the Missouri Valley Tournament Championship Game?
In other words, it's a case of massive mayhem on the hard courts of America and there's plenty on tap all this week as we work our way towards Selection Sunday where even the #1 seeds are far from a slam dunk - right Duke and Tennessee?
Here's this week's College Basketball mini-tournies that begin tonight with the ...
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT - Mon. (four home games), Thurs-thru-Sat
at Cleveland, OH
Best thing you can say about the Mid-Am this year is that top seed Buffalo (28-3, 16-2) was a steady presence in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and there's more than a few in-the-know folks that believe a mini-tourney title here and some outside assistance could enable the Bulls to climb onto the NCAA Tournament's No. 4 seed line (though we've got some doubts about that!). The nation's fifth-best offensive squad (averaging 85 points per game) sports a balanced attack led by CJ Massinburg who averages 18.5 ppg and shoots treys at a 41.5 accuracy rate. Go beat that, guys!
The Favorite: Buffalo
The Dark Horse: Kent State
Pointspread Note: Central Michigan is a MAC-best 17-10 ATS (against the spread) this hoops season
ACC TOURNAMENT - Tues-thru-Sat
At Charlotte, NC
Let's see ... we should get a North Carolina versus Duke Part III showdown in Friday's semifinals and there's no telling which double-digit seeds will make hay here with two or even three consecutive pointspread "W's" ... something's telling us well-drilled Miami could be profitable. In any event, always-underappreciated Virginia (28-2, 16-2) zooms into action as the top seed while North Carolina (26-5, 16-2) is on a major run with covers in 10 of its last 14 games while Duke (26-5, 14-4) claims frosh Zion Williamson will get the green light to go here after a prolonged absence but something tells us the Blue Devils better shoot it good from deep ... or else.
The Favorite: North Carolina
The Dark Horse: Virginia Tech
Pointspread Note: The triumvirate of Virginia, North Carolina and Duke is a combined 57-33 spreadwise with the Cavaliers heading the group at 22-8 versus the vig
SUN BELT CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT - Tues (two home games), Thurs-thru-Sun
at New Orleans, LA
This is always - and we mean always - just a one-bid league when it comes to next week's NCAA Tournament with 10 of the Sun Belt's dozen teams getting a shot here in a mini-tourney that heavily favors the top two seeds. In fact, #1 seed Georgia State (22-9, 13-5) and UT-Arlington (16-15, 12-6) need to win just one game apiece to make it into the championship game but we often see a club with momentum make a splash right into the final round.
The Favorite: Georgia State
The Dark Horse: Coastal Carolina
Pointspread Note: Keep an eye on UT-Arlington which blasts its way into this mini-tourney on a sizzling 13-3 spread run
ATLANTIC-10 TOURNAMENT - Wed-thru-Sun
At Brooklyn, NY
It's "everyone into the pool" in this bloated 14-team league that usually is stuffed with weekend surprise teams and here we truly believe any of the top four seeds - in order, that's VCU, defending champ Davidson, Dayton and St. Bonaventure -- all have legit shots to be crowned A-10 champ by approximately 3 p.m. ET time Sunday. One thing worth noting here is VCU is a top 10 defensive team (allows 61.2 ppg) and defense generally wins out in a league where there are not a whole lot of great shooters.
The Favorite: VCU
The Dark Horse: Duquesne
Pointspread Note: VCU's 19-10 spread mark is the best in the A-10 while - surprise, surprise - St. Joe's owns the worst spread log at 11-18
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT - Wed-thru-Sat
At Las Vegas, NV
There's actually major intrigue here when it comes to this mini-tourney being played at the venerable Thomas and Mack Center: Top seed Nevada (28-3, 15-3) continues to believe it'll land a top four seed in next week's NCAA Tournament while #2 seed Utah State (25-6, 15-3) was Nevada's equal for much of this 2018-19 campaign. How about Utah State getting a #6 seed in the "Big Dance" if the Aggies should capture this mini-tournament? Meanwhile, Fresno State (22-8, 13-5) probably needs at least one mini-tourney win to nail down a bid and if either San Diego State or UNLV gets to the final - both are 11-7 in league play - then they'll garner some committee support.
The Favorite: Nevada
The Dark Horse: Air Force
Pointspread Note: Nevada went from covering six in a row to failing to cover five of its last six games