In the next installment in his NCAA Tournament interviews series CHN writer caught up with two players for the Montana Grizzlies, guards Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar. Cherry is one of the best defenders in the country and was named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year this season, while Jamar was named conference tournament MVP.
Jon Teitel: In high school you lost a state title to Kareem Jamar's team. Could you ever imagine that only a few years later you two would be teammates in the NCAA tournament?
Day two of the Big East Championship features four teams looking to improve their chances of reaching the NCAA tournament, with the biggest game of the day being the first. Nine-seed Connecticut, who opener their tournament with an 81-67 win over DePaul on Tuesday, takes on eight-seed West Virginia with the winner likely locking up a tournament berth. These two teams met once during the regular season, a 64-57 UConn victory at the XL Center on January 9th, and with so much change over the nearly two months since that game there may not be a whole lot to take from it.
While there's plenty of conference tournament action on Tuesday's schedule, and three bids to be distributed, there's also a huge game in the Ivy League as Penn (19-11, 11-2) visits rival Princeton (18-11, 9-4). What's on the line for the Quakers? A share of the Ivy League title with Harvard, which would force a one-game playoff between the two teams at a site to be determined.
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.
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.