3/4 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown

3/4 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown


Northeast Conference Championship: 4 Games

(1) St. Francis NY vs. (8) LIU Brooklyn
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Peter Aquilone Court, Brooklyn, New York
Line: SFNY (-12)
My Pick: St. Francis by mid-high single digits

(2) Robert Morris vs. (7) Wagner
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Charles L. Sewall Center, Moon Township, Pennsylvania
Line: RMU (-9)
My Pick: Robert Morris by double digits

(3) Bryant vs. (6) Sacred Heart
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Chace Athletic Center, Smithfield, Rhode Island
Line: Bryant (-5)
My Pick: Bryant by mid-single digits

(4) Mount St. Mary's vs. (5) St. Francis PA
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Knot Arena, Emmitsburg, Maryland
Line: MSM (-5.5)
My Pick: St. Francis by low single digits


America East Conference Championship: 4 Games

(3) Stony Brook vs. (6) Binghamton
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Island Federal Credit Union Arena, Stony Brook, New York
Line: SB (-14)
My Pick: Stony Brook by low double digits

(4) UNH vs. (5) Hartford
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Lundholm Gymnasium, Durham, New Hampshire
Line: UNH (-6)
My Pick: UNH by low single digits

(1) Albany vs. (8) Maine
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: SEFCU Arena, Albany, New York
Line: Albany (-20)
My Pick: Albany by 20+

(2) Vermont vs. (7) UMBC
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Patrick Gymnasium, Burlington, Vermont
Line: UVM (-19.5)
My Pick: UVM by 15-20


Big South Conference Championship: 2 Games

(7) Gardner-Webb vs. (10) Campbell
TV: 2 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: The HTC Center, Conway, South Carolina
Line: Webb (-5)
My Pick: Gardner-Webb by high single digits

(6) UNC Asheville vs. (11) Liberty
TV: 6 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: The HTC Center, Conway, South Carolina
Line: UNC Asheville (-8.5)
My Pick: Asheville by low double digits


Ohio Valley Conference Championship: 2 Games

(5) Morehead State vs. (8) SE Missouri State
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Line: Morehead State (-4)
My Pick: SEMO by mid-single digits

(6) Eastern Illinois vs. (7) SIU Edwardsville
TV: 9 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: Nashville Municipal Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Line: Eastern Illinois (-1.5)
My Pick: Eastern Illinois by high single digits


Game With the Biggest Chance of an Upset: (8) SE Missouri State over (5) Morehead State- Although there are a dozen games to choose from this category, only two really pop into my mind. SE Missouri State upsetting Morehead, and Mount St. Mary's getting upset by St. Francis PA. Both of these games have a chance of being an upset, but I'm taking SEMO because of the neutral court factor. St. Francis, because of the Northeast Conference's alignment, will need to travel to Mount St. Mary's for their early round matchup, and everybody knows a road win is a much harder feat then a neutral court win. This game, one of two from the underrated Ohio Valley Conference, has upset written all over it. The Redhawks, a fast, big, physical team are much better than their underwhelming record (7-9, 13-16 overall) might suggest. They aren't a great defensive team by any measure, which hurts their chances of advancing in the tournament, but what they are is a talented offensive squad with numerous weapons to choose from. One of those weapons, senior wing Jarekious Bradley, is among the most gifted offensive players in the whole conference. His numbers are down from his JUCO breakout a year ago, but he is still a force to be reckoned with driving to the basket (42.7 fgp) and shooting from the outside (34%). Morehead State is not a bad team at all, but their smaller lineup isn't a great fit against the size and strength of the Redhawks. It worked for Morehead two months back when they faced SEMO on the road (70-57 Win), but this game should end a little differently. I got the Hawks by 5-8.


Game with the Biggest Chance of a Blowout: (1) Albany over (8) Maine- Take your pick. Albany or UVM. Both of those teams are facing awful competition (UMBC, Maine) and should have no trouble trouncing the weakest opponents in the America East with little to no effort involved. UVM has outscored UMBC by 40 points in its two games against the Labradors, while Albany has outscored Maine by 42. Stony Brook-Binghamton should be a little closer, but I wouldn't be shocked if the Seawolves still pulled out a double digit win at home. Moral of the story: if you're planning on watching an America East game tonight, make sure it's Hartford-UNH, which is shaping up to be a fun one. Getting back to Albany-Maine, this one should be over within the first minutes after the tip. Albany is a team filled with upperclassmen who would like nothing more than to get back to another NCAA Tournament after last year's first round loss. Maine has a couple decent young projects (Kevin Little-Freshman, Till Gloger-Junior) but aren't going to be deemed as real contenders until next season (at the earliest). The only reason to tune into either this game or the UVM one is to take a quick look at the two best teams (record wise) in the America East.


Closest Game: (6) Eastern Illinois vs. (7) SIU Edwardsville-Another two way battle, this game just barely edged out another epic clash, Hartford-UNH. Alas, the interstate matchup between Illinois schools is a tough game to predict, as both of these teams have showed signs of dominance throughout the year. On paper, Eastern Illinois is the clear favorite. The Panthers boast wins against Belmont (3rd seed), Eastern Kentucky (2nd Seed), Cleveland State, and Southern (neutral court) on the year. Edwardsville? Their only impressive wins this season were at SEMO, and home against Milwaukee. However, Edwardsville did trounce the Panthers at home just a few weeks back by the tune of 80-63. Overall, these teams match up really well against one another. Eastern Illinois plays some of the best defense in the conference, allowing only 62 points per game (65th in the nation). Edwardsville isn't a complete "run and gun" offensive team, but they are certainly better on that side of the ball. The Cougars average a respectable 68.3 points per contest, and aren't horrible on the defensive end either (66.9 points allowed per game). Eastern Illinois is not as balanced. The Panthers have been purely awful on the offensive side of the ball this season at times, which is reflected in the team's embarrassing PPG number (61.7 ppg). When the Panthers are making shots at even just a passable rate (40-42%) they are a really tough team to beat. But, when their forward combo of Chris Olivier and Trae Anderson start to struggle, this team becomes very, very beatable. I got the Panthers winning this one, but it really could go either way.


Game of the Day: (4) Mount St. Mary's vs. (5) St. Francis PA- For a game to earn the "game of the day" honor, it usually needs to have a blend of star power, team success, a chance of an upset, and just the greatest level of "watchability" compared to the other games. That game, at least for today, is the 5 seed in the NEC St. Francis going against the 4 seed Mount St. Mary's. Entering this season, many (including myself) predicted the Flashes of St. Francis to take the regular season title. That hasn't exactly worked out as planned, as the Flashes are just the five seed out of a possible 10 teams in the conference. Still, this is a team that has the firepower to grab a few upsets in the NEC Tournament. How? The easy answer is wing Earl Brown. Brown, a senior SF, is easily having his best year of his impressive four year career. The 6-6 wing from Philadelphia is averaging career bests in points (15.8), assists (1.9), free throw percentage (65.6) and field goal percentage (54.8%). He's also grabbing an impressive 7.6 rebounds per contest, not his career high, but an impressive number nevertheless. The Flashes case is simple: when Brown is hitting shots, they are a very, very tough team to beat. And as good as Brown is, the real key to victory for tonight as well as later in the tournament is going to be junior big man Ronnie Drinnon's activity. Interesting statistic: when Drinnon has scored at least 15 points per game this season, the Flashes are 5-0. When he's scored in single digits, the Flashes are just 7-12. Coincidence? I think not. The big man has big play potential written all over him, and has played in games this season where he has done just that: take over. Problem is, he also happens to be one of the least consistent players in the nation, and can give up easily when things aren't going his way. Mount Saint Mary's is a disciplined, athletic, and smart team led by young coach Jamion Christian. If the Flashes aren't playing at their best, there is no way they can knock off a team as impressive as MSM. However, it's hard to see (at least in my eyes) the Flashes not bringing their best effort into this one. Although it's not nationally televised, this is the game to watch for you streamers out there.


Picks from Yesterday: 8/8

Overall Picks for 2014-15 Tournaments: 8/8


Men's Basketball 2015 Conference Tournament Brackets