Three tickets to the NCAA tournament will be punched on Saturday, beginning with the Big South title game matching seven-seed VMI and regular season champion UNC Asheville. Eddie Biedenbach's Bulldogs have avoided the turmoil on the opposite side of the bracket, which saw both Coastal Carolina and Campbell fall in the quarterfinals. Duggar Baucom's Keydets were the ones who knocked off CCU, as they shot an impressive 14-for-28 from three in their 85-68 win over the Chanticleers.
LIU won at Sacred Heart by six (87-81) on January 5th and their meeting in Brooklyn was a wild 103-91 overtime track meet.
It may feel like it was only yesterday when college basketball fans were excited about the prospect of playing a game on an aircraft carrier, but the most important time of the season is here. Championship "Week" ("Fortnight" sounds more appropriate) begins on Monday, February 27th and won't end until Selection Sunday on March 11th.
It wasn't pretty but USF found a way to get the job done, beating Cincinnati 46-45 to move to 11-5 in the Big East and 18-11 overall. Freshman point guard Anthony Collins made a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining to give the Bulls the win, and while it isn't a resume-building win the Bulls did the simplest thing a bubble team can do this time of the year: they won. Collins, who is going to be an outstanding point guard in the Big East as he gains experience, led USF with 14 points and five assists and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick added eight and ten rebounds.
Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun knew heading into Wednesday's game that his struggling team, losers of three straight, needed some kind of spark to get things going. That meant shuffling the lineup, with Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi being replaced as starters by Ryan Boatright and Roscoe Smith, and for a short time on Wednesday night the move paid off. UConn got out to a 13-7 lead at the first media timeout and generally played better basketball on the offensive end, which was likely the desired effect of the move.
With the final month of the regular season on our door step, this is a good time to put together some all-conference teams. Enter CHN writer Jon Teitel, who not only picked his all-conference teams for each league but also provided a conference Player of the Year as well. Without further ado here are the all-conference teams, with the league POY in italics.
G Gerardo Suero (Albany)
G Darryl Partin (Boston University)
G Gerald McLemore (Maine)
F Chase Plummer (UMBC)
F Alasdair Fraser (Maine)
- Bracketology: Selection Sunday Projection
- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
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