Today marks a critical turning point in our post-season, good citizens. From this point forward, every men's college basketball game will air on television, and we're finally to the point where it's reasonable to start counting down the number of games left in the season. As of now, that number is 62 (or 63, if the CBI final goes three games).
Madison Square Garden's event schedule for Tuesday and Thursday is now set, and there won't be a single Power 5 program in New York City. BYU and Valparaiso were already in place yesterday morning, and they'll play the early game Tuesday; last night, they were joined by the participants in Tuesday's late game. Florida tied the game in the final three minutes, but a key three from Tyler Cavanaugh, who also went 4-4 from the line afterward, put George Washington into the semifinals. Their opponent will be San Diego State, who steamrolled Georgia Tech.
The CIT was lit last night, with all three games being decided by a single bucket. With 2:33 to go, it looked like Coastal Carolina was about to end their final game as a member of the Big South. Down by six to Grand Canyon, the Chanticleers mounted a comeback. Or, more accurately, Elijah Wilson mounted a comeback. The junior scored the final eight points of the game and had a key blocked shot, leading CCU one more payday.
It was close wire-to-wire in That Other Manhattan. Ball State was down by two to Columbia with two seconds left, but had Sean Sellers at the line to shoot two. He missed the first, then missed the second on purpose. Columbia was able to grab the rebound, though, and survived. On Sunday, they'll host the winner of tomorrow's UTA-NJIT game in the semifinals.
And in Lafayette, Cal-Irvine survived without Mamadou Ndiaye. The Cajuns trailed for the duration, but finally grabbed the lead with just 23 seconds left. Mike Best saved the game for the Anteaters, however, dropping a bouncing jumper with less than three seconds to go. Irvine will travel to Coastal Carolina for Sunday's other semifinal.
The CBI was less fraught. Morehead State and Ohio did jockey back and forth quite a bit, but in the end the Eagles made a five-point halftime lead stand up as both squads tallied 48 apiece in the second half. Nevada, on the other hand, rolled Vermont hard. Monday, Nevada travels to Morehead for the first game of the CBI championship series; game two will be Wednesday in Reno, and if necessary game five will also be in Reno on Friday.
Finally, and we apologize for having neglected this in yesterday's schedule, the Division II Elite Eight was last night. The most notable detail about those games is who won and what it means, which we'll get to in a bit.
We also neglected the NAIA and Division III entirely, so some quick hits on those championships since they're already done:
- On March 19 in the traditional Salem, Va., home of the NCAA Division III final four, Saint Thomas (MN) knocked off previously unbeaten Benedictine (IL) 82-76. The Tommies earned their second D-III championship, their first coming back in 2011.
- In NAIA Division I on Tuesday, Mid-America Christian's Malcolm Mann tossed a short jumper at the buzzer which bounced... and bounced... and bounced again before finally falling through the hoop to give the fourth-seeded Evangels a 100-99 overtime win over the top seed, the Georgetown (KY) Tigers. It's MACU's first NAIA title.
- Second-seeded Indiana Wesleyan edged the top seed, Saint Francis (IN), 69-66 on March 15 in Point Lookout, Mo. The Wildcats claimed their second NAIA Division II championship, having previously won the 2014 crown.
|NATIONAL INVITATION TOURNAMENT|
|MON FINAL||(4) George Washington 82, (2) Florida 77||Tyler Cavanaugh (GWU), 23|
|SC FINAL||(2) San Diego State 72, (4) Georgia Tech 56||Trey Kell (SDSU), 18
M.A. Georges-Hunt (GT), 18
|COLLEGE BASKETBALL INVITATIONAL|
|SF||Morehead State 77, Ohio 72||Jaaron Simmons (OHIO), 21|
|SF||Nevada 86, Vermont 72||Cameron Oliver (UNR), 23|
|QF||Coastal Carolina 60, Grand Canyon 58||Elijah Wilson (CCU), 16
Grandy Glaze (GCU), 16
|QF||Columbia 69, Ball State 67||Alex Rosenberg (COL), 18|
|QF||Cal-Irvine 67, Louisiana-Lafayette 66||Alex Young (UCI), 21|
|NCAA DIVISION II MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|QF||(A2) West Liberty 75, (E4) Stonehill 74||Seger Bonifant (WLU), 22|
|QF||(SE1) Lincoln Memorial 93, (S3) Barry 75||Yunio Barrueta (BAR), 26|
|QF||(W1) Western Oregon 81, (MW5) Saginaw Valley State 68||Andy Avgi (WOU), 20|
|QF||(C1) Augustana (SD) 86, (SC4) Tarleton State 79||Alex Richter (AUSD), 32|
|NCAA DIVISION III MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|Saint Thomas (MN) 82, Benedictine (IL) 76||Taylor Montero (STU), 27|
|NAIA DIVISION I MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|(4) Mid-America Christian 100, (1) Georgetown (KY) 99 (OT)||Noah Cottrill (GTKY), 32|
|NAIA DIVISION II MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|(2) Indiana Wesleyan 69, (1) Saint Francis (IN) 66||Kegan Comer (SFIN), 22|
Today's Men's Schedule
The Big Dance returns to center stage today with the semifinal rounds of the South and West regionals. Fifth-seeded Maryland advanced rather than fourth-seeded California, but the other seven teams playing today represent nothing but chalk. The psychological highlight of the night will surely be Oklahoma taking on Texas A&M.
The CIT semifinals will become set after UTA faces NJIT, and we'll also figure out who'll meet in Saturday's Division II championship game.
|NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|SOUTH SF||6:10pm||(3) Miami (FL)||(2) Villanova||Louisville KY||CBS|
|WEST SF||6:37pm||(3) Texas A&M||(2) Oklahoma||Anaheim CA||TBS|
|SOUTH SF||8:40pm||(5) Maryland||(1) Kansas||Louisville KY||CBS|
|WEST SF||9:07pm||(4) Duke||(1) Oregon||Anaheim CA||TBS|
|QF||6:30pm||Texas-Arlington||at||New Jersey Tech||Newark NJ||College Insider|
|NCAA DIVISION II MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|SF||6:00pm||(A2) West Liberty||(SE1) Lincoln Memorial||Frisco TX||NCAA.com||8:30pm||(W1) Western Oregon||(C1) Augustana (SD)|
Wednesday's Women's Results
The only difference between the two WNIT games last night was the lone bucket Tulane failed to score which would have given us a pair of 71-63 games. We're still only halfway through the quarterfinals, and as a result we only know one of those round-of-eight matchups: Hofstra will visit FGCU on Monday.
The WBI semifinals were... anticlimactic. So we'll just leave you to the results, although we'll note that Louisiana-Lafayette is the defending WBI champions and will host Weber State on Saturday afternoon to try and repeat. As for the lower divisions which we neglected... the NCAA is doing the same thing with the women that they did a couple of years ago with the men; all three divisions will play their championship games in Indianapolis April Fool's weekend.
The Division II semifinals were last night, and two teams which have never won an NCAA title in any sport will clash for the D-II title on April 4: undefeated Lubbock Christian, who until recently was an NAIA program, and Alaska-Anchorage. Those of you who are even remotely aware of anything outside the D-I bubble are probably as shocked as we are that UAA has never won an NCAA championship, but here we are. Also on April 4, and set last weekend, is the Division III title game between Tufts and Thomas More.
The NAIA titles, of course, have already been settled. In Division I, we should really be taken out back and given a good thrashing for not having covered this in a timely manner, as the championship game was Tuesday night in Independence, Mo., between two Kansas schools. Olathe topped Baldwin City as Mid-America Nazarene, one of four two-seeds, dispatched six seed Baker 49-35 to win their first national title. Meanwhile, the Division II title game featured the two schools who have played each other for the last two NAIA football titles, which is sort of terrifying. The result was the same as the 2015 football championship, with three-seed Marian (IN) defeating top-seeded Southern Oregon.
|WOMEN'S NATIONAL INVITATION TOURNAMENT|
|R3||Florida Gulf Coast 73, Tulane 61||Whitney Knight (FGCU), 22|
|R3||Oregon 73, Utah 63||Lexi Bando (ORE), 31|
|WOMEN'S BASKETBALL INVITATIONAL|
|SF||(1) Louisiana-Lafayette 69, (2) Youngstown State 49||Kia Wilridge (ULL), 22|
|SF||(7) Weber State 79, (8) South Carolina-Upstate 53||Kristen Dickerson (USCU), 21|
|NCAA DIVISION II WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|SF||(W2) Alaska-Anchorage 67, (MW7) Grand Valley State 47||Jessica Madison (UAA), 14|
|(SC1) Lubock Christian 67, (E1) Bentley 57||Jen Gemma (BENT), 22|
|NAIA DIVISION I WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|CHAMPIONSHIP||(2) MidAmerica Nazarene 49, (6) Baker 35||Kyleesha Weston (MANU), 21|
|NAIA DIVISION II WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT|
|CHAMPIONSHIP||(3) Marian (IN) 59, (1) Southern Oregon 48||Carly Meister (SOU), 18|
Today's Women's Schedule
It's light, but by this time tomorrow we'll have all but one slot in the WNIT semifinals settled. Not so sure about Ohio-Temple, but the other two games tonight are mildly intriguing both geographically and on the court.
|WOMEN'S NATIONAL INVITATION TOURNAMENT|
|R3||7:00pm||Northern Iowa||at||South Dakota||Vermillion SD||GoYotes|
|R3||8:00pm||Texas Christian||at||Texas-El Paso||El Paso TX||MinerTV|