3/8 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown

3/8 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown


America East: 2 Games

(1) Albany vs. (4) New Hampshire 
Location: SEFCU Arena, Albany, New York
Line: Albany (-8)
My Pick: Albany by mid-single digits

(2) Vermont vs. (3) Stony Brook
Location: Patrick Gymnasium, Burlington, Vermont
Line: UVM (-5)
My Pick: Stony Brook by low single digits

Patriot League: 2 Games

(1) Bucknell vs. (4) Lafayette
TV: 2 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
Location: Sojka Pavilion, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania 
Line: Bucknell (-3.5)
My Pick: Bucknell by mid-single digits

(2) Colgate vs. (6) American
TV: 4 PM ET, CBS Sports Network
Location: Cotterell Court, Hamilton, New York
Line: Colgate (-4.5)
My Pick: Colgate by high single digits

CAA Tournament: 2 Games

(1) William & Mary vs. (5) Hofstra 
TV: 2:30 PM ET, CAA.TV
Location: Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Line: Hofstra (-1)
My Pick: W&M by mid-single digits

(2) UNC Wilmington vs. (3) Northeastern 
Location: Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Line: NE (-2)
My Pick: Northeastern by high single digits

MAAC Tournament: 2 Games

(1) Iona vs. (4) Monmouth
TV: 4:30 PM ET, ESPN3
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Line: Iona (-5.5)
My Pick: Iona by low double digits

(3) Manhattan vs. (7) St. Peter's
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Line: Manhattan (-1.5)
My Pick: Manhattan by mid-high single digits

Southern Conference: 2 Games

(1) Wofford vs. (4) Western Carolina
Location: US Cellular Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Line: Wofford (-8)
My Pick: Wofford by mid-single digits

(3) Mercer vs. (10) Furman
TV: 8:30 PM ET, ESPN3
Location: US Cellular Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Line: Mercer (-8)
My Pick: Mercer by low double digits

Summit League Tournament: 2 Games

(4) IPFW vs. (5) South Dakota
Location: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Line: IPFW (-2.5)
My Pick: IPFW by mid-high single digits

(3) Oral Roberts vs. (6) IUPUI
TV: 9:30 PM ET, ESPN3
Location: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Line: Oral Roberts (-4.5)
My Pick: ORU by high single digits

Big South Tournament: 1 Game

(3) Coastal Carolina vs. (5) Winthrop 
TV: 12:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Location: The HTC Center, Conway, South Carolina
Line: CC (-4.5)
My Pick: Coastal by mid-single digits

Missouri Valley Tournament: 1 Game

(2) Northern Iowa vs. (4) Illinois State
TV: 2:05 PM ET, CBS
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Line: UNI (-4.5)
My Pick: Illinois State by low single digits

Atlantic Sun Tournament: 1 Game

(1) North Florida vs. (3) USC Upstate
TV: 2:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Location: UNF Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Line: UNF (-6)
My Pick: UNF by mid-single digits

Team with the Biggest Chance of an Upset: (3) Stony Brook over (2) Vermont - As the tournaments start to draw closer and closer to a finish, the chance of upsets start to rise. For example, on the first day of the tournaments, I picked only one upset. Now, on the sixth day, I have four upsets in 16 games. Pretty drastic difference. As for my projected "upset of the day," I got the Seawolves of Stony Brook knocking off the two seed Vermont Catamounts in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. After watching Stony Brook sleepwalk their way through the opening round of the tournament against a very bad Binghamton team, I expect a different team to come out for this one. They don't have much choice, as they will be blown out of the gym if "that" team shows up again. In the two meetings up to this point, Vermont has won by a combined 23 points, for an average winning margin of 11.5 points. That's not good for the Seawolves. However, as I'm starting to learn by watching the tournaments this year, it is exceptionally difficult to beat the same DI college basketball team three times in a season. Wichita State beat Illinois State twice in the regular season, but fell to them in the tournament. Oakland beat UIC twice, but fell to them in the tournament. The list goes on. Vermont isn't as athletically gifted, fast, or fun to watch as Stony Brook, but they play exceptional team defense, and run games at their own speed. For the Seawolves to win this game, they'll need to get out in transition, altering the Catamounts cool demeanor. Also, Vermont doesn't really have a proven big that can match up with big, strong Jameel Warney inside. If I'm the Stony Brook head coach, I'm constantly playing through the double-double machine for the entirety of this contest. Other potential upsets include Illinois State over Northern Iowa, and William and Mary over Hofstra. 

Game with the Biggest Chance of a Blowout: (1) Iona over (4) Monmouth - Iona really annoys me sometimes. They're so much more talented than any other team in the MAAC, but just nearly lost against Siena in the quarterfinals. When this team is running the floor, taking good shots, and crashing the boards, they are nearly unbeatable (on a MAAC scale). But when they are settling for bad shots, forcing up threes, and not working their tails off on the defensive end, they suddenly become very beatable. Monmouth is one of the only MAAC teams that have played two solid games against the Gaels. In the first matchup, at Monmouth, the Hawks were able to hold off the Gaels, giving them an 0-1 start in MAAC play. Since the loss, the Gaels have gone 16-2 in conference play. In the teams’ second meeting, this time at Iona, the Hawks played them tough, nearly knocking them off (69-68) for their first home loss of the year. Now, the two rivals meet again in the semifinals. Iona is coming off one of their least impressive performances of the year, a three point win over the struggling Siena Saints. As for Monmouth, their coming off an impressive win over a rock solid Canisius school. Advantage Monmouth, right? Wrong. So far on the season, Iona hasn't played three "bad" games in a row. A bad game can be categorized as either a loss, or a close win over a very poor opponent. This team is just far too talented to not win this very winnable game on a neutral floor against a beatable Monmouth team. It could be close, but I'm putting my money on the Gaels winning by over 10 points. Other potential blowouts include (3) Mercer over (10) Furman, and (3) Oral Roberts over (6) IUPUI. 

Game of the Day: (4) Illinois State vs. (2) Northern Iowa - What a main event. At 2:05 PM ET, we have easily the best game of Championship Week so far, and also one of the most underrated games of the year up to this point. Illinois State, a team that went 11-7 in MVC play in the regular season, and a combined 0-4 against Wichita State and Northern Iowa, now have a chance to lock in an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. What's blocking their path? A red hot, dangerous Northern Iowa Panthers team. When looking at the Panthers stats, not a lot of things stick out. They have only one double digits scorer on the squad (Seth Tuttle), and don't shoot the three at an elite rate (40%), and aren't automatic on the free throw line (72.3%). What makes them so good? One simple word: Discipline. Ben Jacobsen, the young coach for this Panthers squad, has proven to be one of the best coaches in the country this past year. His Panthers aren't as athletic as Duke, as fast as BYU, or as tall as Kentucky, but they are one of the most discipline teams in the nation. What does a "discipline" team mean, exactly? Well, the Panthers shoot 48.7% from the field as a team, good enough for 9th in the country. On the other end, they play beautiful team defense, always talking and helping out their teammates unselfishly. As a result, the team ranks 4th in the country in fewest points allowed (54.1) trailing just Virginia, Kentucky, and San Diego State, three of the best defensive teams in the nation. Contrary to popular belief, this team can indeed be stopped. The way to do it? Stop their motor. This team has depth off the bench, but rely on Seth Tuttle each and every day to put up at least 10 points and play over 30 minutes. In the team's three losses this season, Tuttle has averaged just 13 points and 6 boards per game. Still great numbers, but not nearly as good as his normal per game statistics. On the other bench, the Redbirds are going to need their catalyst to have a huge game for them. That catalyst is senior guard Daishon Knight. Knight put up 25 points in the Semifinal upset over Wichita State, and is going to have to once again carry the load for the Birds. Overall, this is going to be a great game, and is much watch television over on CBS at 2:05. Honorable mentions include Winthrop vs. Coastal Carolina, UNF vs. USC Upstate, and Stony Brook vs. Vermont. 

Picks from Two Days Ago: 14/18

Overall Picks for Championship Week: 41/51 (80%)

Men's Basketball 2015 Conference Tournament Brackets