3/9 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown


3/9 Conference Tournament Daily Breakdown


MEAC Tournament: 2 Games

(12) Savannah State vs. (5) Delaware State
TV: 6:30 PM ET, ESPN3
Location: Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Line: DSU (-6.5)
My Pick: DSU by low double digits

(6) Hampton vs. (11) Morgan State
Location: Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Line: Hampton (-5)
My Pick: Hampton by high single digits

MAC Tournament: 4 Games

(7) Akron vs. (10) Northern Illinois
TV: 7 PM ET, Streaming on Team Sites
Location: James A. Rhodes Arena, Akron, Ohio
Line: Akron (-6.5)
My Pick: Northern Illinois by mid-single digits

(5) Bowling Green vs. (12) Ball State
Location: Stroh Center, Bowling Green, Ohio
Line: BGSU (-10.5)
My Pick: Bowling Green by mid-single digits

(9) Miami OH vs. (8) Eastern Michigan
TV: 7:30 PM ET, ESPN3
Location: Convocation Center, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Line: EMU (-7.5)
My Pick: EMU by high single digits

(6) Western Michigan vs. (11) Ohio
TV: Streaming on Team Sites
Location: University Arena, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Line: WMU (-9)
My Pick: WMU by low double digits

Summit League Tournament: 2 Games

(5) South Dakota vs. (1) South Dakota State
Location: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Line: SDST (-8.5)
My Pick: SDST by low single digits

(3) Oral Roberts vs. (2) North Dakota State 
TV: 9:30 PM ET, ESPN3
Location: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Line: NDSU (-3)
My Pick: NDSU by high single digits

West Coast Tournament: 2 Games

(4) Pepperdine vs. (1) Gonzaga
Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Line: Gonzaga (-14)
My Pick: Gonzaga by mid-single digits

(6) Portland vs. (2) BYU
TV: 11:30 PM ET, ESPN2
Location: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Line: BYU (-8.5)
My Pick: Portland by low single digits

CAA Tournament: 1 Game

(3) Northeastern vs. (1) William & Mary 
TV: 7 PM ET, NBC Sports Net
Location: Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Line: W&M (-1.5)
My Pick: Northeastern by mid-single digits

Southern Conference: 1 Game

(1) Wofford vs. (10) Furman
Location: US Cellular Center, Asheville, North Carolina
Line: Wofford (-11.5)
My Pick: Wofford by mid-single digits

MAAC Tournament: 1 Game

(1) Iona vs. (3) Manhattan
Location: Times Union Center, Albany, New York
Line: Iona (-4)
My Pick: Iona by high single digits

Team with the Highest Chance of an Upset: (3) Northeastern over (1) William & Mary- In the first of three championship games scheduled for today, the #3 seed Northeastern Huskies are set to face off against the #1 William & Mary Tribe in the CAA championship. Both of these teams have battled to get to this point, and to say this game is going to be just "close" would be a vast understatement. In these squad’s two meetings up to this point, the average margin of victory favors the Tribe by just 5 points. Neither one of those games were very close, as the first meeting went to the Tribe (78-62) and the second one went to the Huskies (11 point win). The third contest, a neutral court game, is now deciding the champion of the conference. What else can you ask for? For the Huskies, they have certainly looked more capable then the Tribe up to this point in the tournament. They were given an easy first round game against Delaware, but were nearly upset (3 point win). How did they respond? A 7 point win against the two seed UNC Wilmington Seahawks. As for the Tribe, they were really tested at the end of their last game against a rock solid Hofstra team. They easily dispatched Elon in the first round, but clearly weren't prepared for Hofstra. They somehow forced overtime after trailing by 6 points with 1:30 left in the contest. The first overtime ended in a 10 point tie, forcing a second overtime. Hofstra fought valiantly, but in the end it was the Tribe's Marcus Thornton who proved to be unguardable (37 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists). That win was nice and all for the William & Mary faithful, but it surely isn't going to help the squad's title chances when facing a team that forces you to move on the offensive end as much as Northeastern. William & Mary's Marcus Thornton may be the best player in the conference, but the Huskies Scott Eatherton is close behind. The big is averaging 14.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, and 1.3 bpg. Those stats aren't as good as last year's impressive double-double line (15.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg), but he has grown as a player and as a teammate. If you’re looking for a no nonsense, fist to mouth game, this is the one to watch. Honorable mentions include (6) Portland over (2) BYU and (10) Northern Illinois over (7) Akron. 

Team with the Biggest Chance of a Blowout: (5) Delaware State over (12) Savannah State- No point in tuning into this one. Delaware State, one of the best offensive teams in the MEAC, tips off at 7 against one of the weakest teams in one of the worst conferences in the country: Savannah State. And although it isn't the biggest spread (-7) of the day, this is the game with the highest chance of a blowout in my book. Savannah State, at least on the defensive end, isn't a horrible team. They've proven they can compete with teams just by stopping them on the defensive end (66.9 points allowed per game). However, their train wreck of an offense (56.7 points per game, 347th in the country) can't win them anything. Their only player half decent on the offensive side of the ball is senior guard Terel Hall. The four year man is averaging a respectable 10.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, and 2.4 apg on the year, all while shooting a modest 48.4% from the field. Bottom line: this guy is pretty good. Problem is, when he's not fully healthy (which he isn't currently) this team cannot win anything. This is evident in the team's last contest against the worst team in college basketball, the 2-27 Florida A&M Rattlers. Savannah State lost the game by 7 points, struggling to score against one of the worst defenses in the entire nation. If Hall shows up, this team may lose by single digits, if he's hurt or not 100%, this is going to be a double digit blowout. Honorable mentions include Western Michigan over Ohio, and Hampton over Morgan State. 

Game of the Day: (6) Portland vs. (2) BYU- Although all three championship games should be fun to watch, I chose this late night clash between the Portland Pilots and BYU Cougars as my "Game of the Day". Why? It's simple: this game has a little bit of everything. Good guard play? How about Tyler Haws, Kyle Collinsworth and Kevin Bailey. Good interior play? How about Thomas van der Mars of Portland, one of the more underrated bigs in the country. Postseason implications? Joe Lunardi currently has BYU as one of the "Last Four in". A win here, plus a win at Gonzaga/Pepperdine could easily cement a spot in the field. For Portland, the postseason seems a little less likely, but anything is possible come March. Finally, is there any chance of an upset? Oh yes, there most certainly is. Portland, the number 6 seed in the WCC Tournament is coming off a huge win against a very talented Saint Mary's team (3 seed in the tournament). Usually when a higher seed is knocked off by a lower seed in a conference tournament, it's off a last second three or lucky tip in. Not here. The Pilots came into Las Vegas on a mission as a team possessed, and absolutely punched the Gaels in the mouth, beating them by 17. The scariest part of that game may not even be the final score either. Portland's backcourt duo of Kevin Bailey and Alec Wintering is widely considered the only consistent offensive threat the Pilots have on the roster. What did the "power duo" do against the Gaels? How about 23 points on 6-13 shooting from the field. Those aren't horrible numbers, but it also leaves 46 points for the other players to fill. For BYU, there is no doubt this team is capable of beating Portland. Heck, they've already done it twice this season by double digits both times. What makes this game different? Portland is a team that is playing hungry. Saint Mary's felt it last round, and I believe the Cougars are going to feel it this round. The game is on late, but for any late night troopers, this game will not let you down. Some honorable mentions include Northeastern vs. William & Mary, Wofford vs. Furman, and South Dakota vs. South Dakota State. 

Picks from Yesterday: 10/15

Overall Picks for 2014-15 Championship Week: 51/66 (77.2%)