Saturday, March 8, 2008

A few More

Southern Illinois said bye-bye to it's postseason hopes with a second round exit against Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley tournament yesterday, while 2 seed in the OVC Murray State got bounced in the semis by Tennessee State. Valparaiso also knocked off Wright State in the Horizon, setting up a semi final with Cleveland State to see who gets to lose to Butler. Meanwhile Belmont and Jacksonville rolled through the Atlantic Sun, setting up a 1 v 2 matchup in the championship today. Other championships today include the aforementioned OVC championship between Tenn State and 1 seed Austin Peay, and the big 1 v 2 in the Big South between UNC-Asheville and Winthrop that I highly recommend watching (I can't, I have to go to an infant CPR class) on ESPN2 at 10:30am CST.

Two tournies kick off today:

The Big Sky never seems to make much noise during the regular season, but the teams have won a few NCAA games. Weber State has a few wins, including a nice run with Harold "The Show" Arceneaux, and Montana has a win or two. This year was bascially a two man race, with Portland State and Northern Arizona at the top of the conference, which only sends its top 6 teams into the tournament, which is weird. Portland State is the highest scoring team in the league, led by two top-5 scorers in 5-6 point guard Jeremiah Dominguez and shooting guard Deonte Huff. The Vikings essentially take 6-11 center Scott Morrison, plot him down low and surround him with scoring guards. Northern Arizona comes in on a tear, having won their last five. The have maybe the top player in the conference in power forward Kyle Landry, who was second in the Big Sky in scoring and field goal percentage, and third in rebounding. The Lumberjacks can shoot the ball, ranking 27th in the nation in 2-point field goals at 53%. Both teams can score and shoot, so if they match up in the final it should be a good one.
FAVORITE: Portland State
SLEEPER: Weber State. Third in the conference, and you can never count them out in the Big Sky tourny.
W's PICK: Northern Arizona. Despite getting swept by PSU this year, I still think Northern Arizona is the better team, as evidenced by their win over Western Kentucky earlier this year.

Formerly the Mid-Con, Valpo went away and this league changed around a bit and renamed itself the Summit. One thing that hasn't changed, is that Oral Roberts (O, R U?) is still the class of the league. The Golden Eagles were good enough this season to have been in the At-Large discussion at one-point, thanks to a win over Oklahoma State and an 11-0 league start. They are in free fall mode, finishing up 3-3 (2-3 in conference) and hoping to regain form to run through the tournament and make the dance. Their biggest challenger will be the IUPUI Jaguars, who finished just one game behind ORU and have a win over UMass on their resume. IUPUI is a very efficient team offensively, and boast a top player in George Hill, who led the Summit in scoring (21.2) and was third in steals (1.8) and fifth in rebounding (6.6), assists (4.4), field goal percentage (56%) and three point percentage (46%). Basically he does it all well.
FAVORITE: Oral Roberts
SLEEPER: North Dakota State. The Bison can score (1st in the Summit), rebound (2nd), and shoot (2nd). Woodside and Winkelman are the 3rd and 4th top scorers in the conference, and if they get hot they could do some damage.
W's PICK: IUPUI. The Jaguars as a team shoot 51% from the field, 42% from three, and 78% from the line. These numbers mean they are the #2 ranked team in terms of offensive efficiency in the country, and are #1 in both field goal and three point percentage. Both Hill and point guard Gary Patterson rank in the top 20 in efficiency individually.

TOMORROW: America East and Missouri Valley championships


Anonymous said...

fyi, NDSU isn't playing in the Summit League tournament because the school isn't eligible for the NCAA tournament.

the last thing the league would want would be for its auto-bid to go to a team that can't advance.

WWWWWW said...

Geez, it takes forever to get eligible.

My mistake, thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

Nice Gopher basketball blog.

T. Dog said...

Please tell me that you guys saw the kid from Hill-Murray feel up his girlfriend after they scored their goal. The best part, she just laughed. What a girl.

Anonymous said...

Really awesome grab buddY! I give that guy two thumbs up!