The beginning of the championship weeks in Division I is exciting, with hopeful teams knocked off by sub-.500 squads, with excitement and close games galore. After you are all caught up with last night's action, take a look at what conferences continue action today.
For faster scrolling you can use the links below.
Ohio Valley Conference
In the Ohio Valley Conference, #8 seed Austin Peay defeated #5 seeded Tennessee Tech, 92-72, cruising the whole way. #6 seed Murray State dispatched #7 seed Eastern Illinois by a score of 78-62.
on tap tonight in Nashville:
The Tennessee State Tigers - who we noted as a team to watch in the Ohio Valley yesterday - spring into action against the Austin Peay Governors at 6:00 PM. The video will be carried on the Ohio Valley Conference's website. So you can watch Peay's tremendous big man Chris Horton (19 points, 12 rebounds) challenge the veteran and defensively oriented Tigers with wing Tahjere McCall and effective forward Demontez Lemon. The winner takes on Belmont on Friday evening.
Morehead State takes on Murray State at 8:00 PM. Video also available on the Ohio Valley Conference's website. The winner gets Tennessee-Martin on Friday.
|#4 Tennessee State vs. #8 Austin Peay||6:00 PM||OVCDN|
|#3 Morehead State vs. #6 Murray State||8:00 PM||OVCDN|
Only Holy Cross pulled an upset in the opening round, so everything is as it was. Lehigh, Bucknell, Army and Boston University get into the action tonight on their campuses.
|#9 Holy Cross at #1 Bucknell||7:00 PM||Patriot League Network|
|#5 Colgate at #4 Army West Point||7:00 PM||Patriot League Network|
|#7 Navy at #2 Lehigh||7:00 PM||Patriot League Network|
|#6 American at #3 Boston University||7:00 PM||Patriot League Network|
Missouri Valley Conference
Arch Madness starts tonight with, essentially, play-in games in St. Louis. But it's a huge event - some of the best under-the-radar basketball in the Midwest. The Wichita State Shockers are the very likely winner, but expect them to play hard; their non-conference schedule has left them in a precarious position with respect to the NCAA Tournament. They might slip in as an at-large... but they want to win Arch Madness to be sure.
Since beating Evansville - one of the challengers to Wichita State - Indiana State has lost seven of their last ten, with wins over three of the opening round teams to break up the streak.
Northern Iowa, a team that slows things down so you can watch the paint dry,
The Bradley Braves - the team with the second-highest roster turnover from last season (St. John's is first) - have five wins, but have a chance to get their sixth against Loyoloa-Chicago's Ramblers in the opening round. Drake faces off against Missouri State. The games start at 6:00 PM and are available on ESPN3.
|#9 Bradley Braves vs. #8 Loyola Ramblers||6:05 PM||ESPN3|
|#10 Drake Bulldogs vs. #7 Missouri State Bears||8:35 PM||ESPN3|
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament
In Albany, where Siena coach Jimmy Patsos says the arena is a neutral court despite the Siena Saints playing all their home games there, the MAAC Tournament features three excellent teams at the top, and Fairfield and Saint Peter's, who could play spoiler.
Monmouth is the favorite, but has tapered off after a hot non-conference season. The Hawks have wins at UCLA, over Notre Dame, over USC, at Georgetown, along with at Drexel and at Rutgers. (No one invite them over next year, yeesh!) Their Bench Mob gets publicity, but their diminutive guard Justin Robinson is 5'10" of Ball Don't Lie. They have taken a dip with the injury to wing Deon Jones but have lots of scoring punch.
The contenders include Iona and hometown Siena. Iona features high-scoring wing AJ English, who is being watched by NBA scouts, has dropped 40 points twice this season and eclipsed 30 points four other times. Forward Jordan Washington is there to foul, be fouled, and grab some rebounds.
Siena will have huge fan support when they start play on Saturday, and feature an imposing interior of forwards Brett Bisping and Javion Ogunyemi; freshman Nico Clareth is explosive, and the Saints play up tempo.
Tonight's opening games are not on television.
|#8 Rider vs. #9 Quinnipiac||5:00 PM||[no tv]|
|#7 Canisius vs. #10 Niagara||7:00 PM||[no tv]|
|#6 Manhattan vs. #11 Marist||9:00 PM||[no tv]|
Big South Tournament
Leaving the coastal shores of South Carolina, the Big South has moved their tournament to Gore Arena in Buies Creek, North Carolina, home of the Campbell Camels. The top four seeds receive byes in the tournament. That means that #1 seed High Point - who may be without dynamic forward John Brown, who suffered a foot injury in their season finale - have an extra day off.
Let's see what a John Brown dunk looks like.
Well. Ok. Wow. That happened in a competitive conference game.
The conference also features UNC-Asheville - led by a pair of freshmen and a pair of sophomores; Winthrop, led by 5'7" guard Keon Johnson, who gets buckets in a big way, with five 30-plus point efforts this season; and last year's winner Coastal Carolina, a veteran team that plays excellent defense (and has the angriest rooster mascot imaginable).
|#8 Longwood vs. #9 Charleston Southern||2:00 PM||Big South Sports|
|#7 Radford vs. #10 Presbyterian||4:30 PM||Big South Sports|
|#6 Gardner-Webb vs. #11 Campbell||7:00 PM||Big South Sports|