Our quick thoughts on Sunday's results:
There won't be any bids stolen out of the MVC. Wichita State led Northern Iowa by three at the half, but the top-seeded Panthers found their shooting stroke in the second half and pulled away for a 67-52 win over the Shockers in St. Louis. Kwadzo Ahelegbe scored 24 points and Jake Koch added 13 for UNI, who have now made the tournament five of the last seven years. They'll be a single-digit seed this time around, and will likely be on the 8 line in our bracket tomorrow.
Florida will now have to secure their bid in the SEC tournament. The Gators trailed by as many as 18 points late in the first half and lost to Kentucky 74-66 Saturday at Rupp Arena. The Gators shot just 4-of-15 from three, leading scorer Erving Walker was 3-of-15 from the field, and Chandler Parsons was held to just nine points. The Wildcats, on the other hand, had a very balanced attack, with five players in double figures and their bench leading the way with 48 points. They are now an absolute lock for a 1 seed. Florida will still be in the bracket tonight, but they need to win two games in the SEC tourney, against Auburn and Mississippi State, to avoid sweating out Championship Week and Selection Sunday. One SEC win might be enough, but that's a risk they won't want to take.
Wisconsin got its revenge on Illinois on Saturday, and they may have punched them a ticket to the NIT in the process. The llini have now lost three in a row and five of six overall, and their 72-57 blowout loss - at home - to the Badgers on Saturday is certainly not the impression they wanted to give the committee heading into the Big Ten tourney. The Illini have three Top 25 wins to their credit, which is impressive, but they will end up with 14 losses and an RPI in the 70s. They will likely fall out of tonight's bracket, since we aren't too confident that they will be able to beat the Badgers on a neutral court this week in their first game of the Big Ten tournament. They might also need more than one win to secure a bid, given their poor computer numbers and their struggles down the stretch.
Old Dominion came real close to being the ultimate bubble team, but they rallied to beat VCU in overtime on Saturday to advance to the Colonial final. The Monarchs trailed by 12 with 11 minutes to play, but that's when they made their run to get back in it. Gerald Lee was the key to ODU's comeback, as he scored a career-high 26 points and got the game tied on a bucket with 1:55 to play. Ben Finney scored five of ODU's 11 points in OT, including a big three with 1:08 left. With everything that's happened over the last two days, it's hard to see the Monarchs not getting an at-large - if they need it - now that they've made the final. If they had lost in the semis, they would have been in trouble, but we can't see the committee (especially this year) leaving out the regular season champ of a top 12 league that also made the final. They'll face William & Mary in the final on Monday night, a team that they swept in the regular season.
The WCC final turned out to be the one we all expected to see. Gonzaga held off a second-half comeback attempt by Loyola Marymount to win 77-62 in the first semifinal, and more importantly, St. Mary's dominated Portland to win the second semifinal. A finals appearance doesn't make the Gaels a lead pipe lock for a bid, but we really can't see them getting left out at this point given the way the rest of the bubble has fallen apart the last few days. Their wins at Utah State and San Diego State are looking better by the day, they have a top 50 RPI, and they made the final in convincing fashion. That's enough to keep them in our bracket even if they lose to the 'Zags, and we think the committe will feel the same (Right, committee members, right? Don't screw us with the Gaels again this year...)
Of note: Wake Forest snapped their four-game losing streak with a 70-65 home win over Clemson; Michigan State blew out Michigan at home; Minnesota blew out Iowa at home.
MAAC Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Siena beat No. 5 Rider; No. 2 Fairfield beat No. 6 Niagara.
Northeast Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Quinnipiac beat No. 4 Long Island; No. 2 Robert Morris beat No. 3 Mount St. Mary's.
America East Tournament - Semifinals
No. 4 Boston University knocked off No. 1 Stony Brook; No. 2 Vermont beat No. 6 New Hampshire.
Southern Tournament - Semifinals
S1 Wofford beat N2 Western Carolina; N1 Appalachian State beat S2 Charleston.
Patriot Tournament - Semifinals
No. 1 Lehigh beat No. 4 American; No. 3 Lafayette beat No. 7 Holy Cross.
Summit Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 3 Oral Roberts beat No. 6 North Dakota State in OT; No. 5 IPFW beat No. 4 South Dakota State.
Sun Belt Tournament - Quarterfinals
No. 1 Troy beat No. 9 South Alabama; No. 2 North Texas beat No. 10 Louisiana-Monroe; No. 6 Denver beat N. 3 Middle Tennessee State; No. 4 Western Kentucky beat No. 5 Arkansas State.
MAC Tournament - First Round
No. 5 Buffalo beat No. 12 Toledo; No. 6 Eastern Michigan beat No. 11 Northern Illinois; No. 7 Western Michigan beat No. 10 Bowling Green; No. 9 Ohio beat No. 9 Ball State.