3/5 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown

3/5 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown

Patriot League Conference Championship: 4 Games

(5) Boston University vs. (4) Lafayette 
TV: 7 PM ET, Patriot League Network
Location: Kirby Sports Center, Easton, Pennsylvania
Line: Lafayette (-4.5)
My Pick: Lafayette by mid-single digits

(6) American vs. (3) Lehigh
TV: 7 PM ET, Patriot League Network
Location: Stabler Center, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Line: Lehigh (-4.5)
My Pick: American by low single digits

(1) Bucknell vs. (8) Holy Cross
TV: 7 PM ET, Patriot League Network
Location: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Line: Bucknell (-5.5)
My Pick: Bucknell by low double digits

(2) Colgate vs. (7) Navy 
TV: 7 PM ET, Patriot League Network
Location: Cotterell Court, Hamilton, New York
Line: Colgate (-7.5)
My Pick: Colgate by low-mid single digits

MAAC Championship: 3 Games

(8) Siena vs. (9) Niagara
TV: 5 PM ET, Not Televised
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Line: Siena (-3.5)
My Pick: Niagara by mid single digts

(7) St. Peter's vs. (10) Fairfield 
TV: 7 PM ET, Not Televised
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Line: SPU (-4)
My Pick: St. Peter's by low double digits

(6) Quinnipiac vs. (11) Marist
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Line: Quinnipiac (-7)
My Pick: Quinnipiac by low-mid double digits

Atlantic Sun: 2 Games

(1) North Florida vs. (5) Lipscomb 
Location: UNF Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Line: UNF (-13)
My Pick: UNF by high single digits

(2) FGCU vs. (3) USC Upstate
Location: Alico Arena, Fort Myers, Florida
Line: FGCU (-4.5)
My Pick: FGCU by mid-high single digits

Ohio Valley Conference Championship: 2 Games

(4) Tennessee Martin vs. (5) Morehead State
TV: 7 PM ET, OVC Network
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Line: UT Martin (-2)
My Pick: UT Martin by mid-high single digits

(3) Belmont vs. (6) EIU 
TV: 7 PM ET, OVC Network
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Line: Belmont (-4.5)
My Pick: Belmont by mid-single digits

Missouri Valley Conference Championship: 2 Games

(8) Missouri State vs. (9) Southern Illinois
Location: Scottstrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Line: SIU (-2)
My Pick: Southern Illinois by high single digits

(7) Drake vs. (10) Bradley 
Location: Scottstrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Line: Bradley (-1)
My Pick: Drake by mid-single digits

Game with the Biggest Chance of an Upset: (6) American over (3) Lehigh - The Drake game has a bigger chance of an upset, but that line is so ridiculous that it shouldn't even be considered an upset if the Bulldogs pull it out. This game, on the other hand, has upset written all over it. American, the favorite of many coming into this year to take the Patriot League title, have not played to their full potential yet this year, not by a long shot. It doesn't really make sense if you look at it at a larger scale. The Eagles dominated the Patriot League last year, and easily took the title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Over the offseason, they had their two best players (Pee Wee Gardner, Jesse Reed) returning, and another great role guy (John Schoof) coming back as well. However, five months and a handful of losses later, the Eagles are now at the bottom half of the conference, looking up at beatable teams such as Boston University, Lehigh and Colgate. Still, if Eagles fans think this is going to be an easy opening round upset, they are about to have a very rude awakening. Lehigh is not a bad team, at all. The 3 seed in the conference has a lot of impressive weapons on both sides of the floor including a great big man in Tim Kempton. Still, the Hawks are very much beatable at home, just ask Lafayette, Colgate, and Loyola Maryland. Covering Kempton down low was a tall task for the Eagles bigs in the last meeting between these two teams on the 12th of February. The big erupted for 21 points on 7-10 shooting from the field. This upset is far from a lock, but it's certainly a possibility with the Eagles’ ability to play lockdown defense (15th best in the country in points allowed). 

Game with the Biggest Chance of a Blowout: (1) North Florida over (5) Lipscomb - Two weeks ago, there is no way I would have ever thought about putting this potential matchup in the blowout category. Lipscomb was running a smooth offense, stepping up on defense, and just had senior big Martin Smith returning from injury. Now, just two weeks later, this game has the potential to be a 15+ point beatdown. How? It's really quite simple: Malcolm Smith's departure. When I was watching the Lipscomb-Northern Kentucky game a few days back, I was shocked to see Smith not take the court. I searched around the Internet for an answer, but couldn't find one. Yesterday, I tried again. This time, the first article that popped up read: "Lipscomb's Malcolm Smith leaves the team for unknown reasons." And with that, the Bisons chance of advancing past the semi's were drowned. This team can still do some damage against weaker teams without their senior star, but have little to no chance of knocking off a team as good as North Florida without him. How important was he to this program? Let me list the ways. He was second on the team in ppg (14.5), first on the team in rebounds (5.1), second among starters in field goal percentage (46.1), and a quality outside shooter. Whew. He isn't as instrumental to this team's success as star sophomore guard Josh Williams, but his senior leadership led this team to countless victories over the year. Big brother Martin isn't a bad substitute (8.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.1, apg) but he is nowhere near the player his brother was. North Florida seems destined to face FGCU in an epic A-Sun final, and they should have no trouble slaying the Bison in the semi's. 

Game of the Day: (2) Florida Gulf Coast vs. (3) USC Upstate - For the second straight year, USC Upstate has had the luxury of a 3 seed in the A-Sun Tournament. Last season, they were apparently placed in the easier side of the bracket, facing Mercer in the second round, instead of one seed powerhouse FGCU. How did that turn out? Just ask the Eagles and the Blue Devils. This year, they are once again being blessed with being put on the "easier" side of the bracket. No offense to a talented North Florida team, but the senior-led Eagles are the team to beat in this year's A-Sun Tournament. In these team's two meetings this season, the Eagles have outscored the Spartans by 17 points en route to two victories (one at home, one on the road). This game, because of the way the A-Sun tournament works, will be held at FGCU's home floor, the always rocking Alico Arena. Upstate has proven to be one of the stronger teams in the conference on the road this year, evident in their impressive road win over the #1 seed Ospreys of North Florida back on January 31st. That's why the Spartans should have a little extra motivation in this one. They are the only A-Sun team to knock off the Ospreys on the road, while also beating them at home by 17 points a couple weeks later. Also, it's outstanding guard Ty Greene's last game in a Spartans uni, which should give the other players a boost. The Tennessee native averaged the most points in the conference this season (20.2) while also shooting a career high 43.3% from the field. It's going to be tough coming into Alico and escaping with a victory, but the Spartans have the fire power to do it. This game is at 7 PM ET, and is airing on ESPN3. If you're going to watch a conference championship game tonight, this is the one to watch. 

Picks from Yesterday: 11/12

Overall Picks for 2014-15 Tournaments: 19/20

Men's Basketball 2015 Conference Tournament Brackets