G.G. Smith and his Loyola Greyhounds battled for forty minutes in a Patriot League first round tournament game tonight, and held off Army 82-79. The loss ensures an 80th NCAA tournament which will see the Black Knights not participate. A promising early season will end with disappointment as Army loses their final seven games, and 10 of their last 11.
The Big South also threw High Point and Presbyterian to the tournament graveyard. If you’re looking for a Futility silver lining, it would be that Longwood was the team that vanquished High Point. They are one of the remaining 31 teams still alive from our original 43 schools.
Three tournaments begin tomorrow, including our first two neutral sight affairs. The Big Ten will begin our games at 5:30 PM ET tipping off their championship in the heart of their conference footprint, New York City. We have two first round games, including the Power 6 Conference leader on our Drought list with Rutgers failing to make an NCAA Tournament since 1991. The Scarlet Knights will be taking on the mess of a team that has been the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The second of our four Futility leaders will be in action during the NEC quarterfinals. St. Francis NY secured the five seed in the Northeast Conference and will travel to LIU Brooklyn for the 4/5 game attempting end the 79 year dry spell. Their conference cousin St. Francis PA has made one NCAA tournament, but it was the same field that featured Rutgers 26 brackets ago. The Red Flash are the three seed and will host Fairleigh Dickinson. However the school most likely to flip the script might just be Wagner. They earned the one seed and will host Central Connecticut. The Seahawks last made the NCAA in 2003, good (bad?) enough to just make it in the top 100 Droughts.
Finally the Ohio Valley Conference tournament has been held in Nashville for the past 15 years, and essentially toggled between Kentucky Cities and Nashville outside of one year at the JAR in Akron Ohio. This year though they invade the Hoosier State. Fun fact- the OVC has exactly the same amount of teams from Indiana as Ohio in their current makeup. Zero.
SIU Edwardsville doesn’t really care where this tournament is held, they would just like to ensure their futility streak doesn’t hit double digits as they come in with zero appearances since their 2008 inception into Division I. The Cougars are the eight seed, but their opponent scoffs as their pain. Tennessee Tech is the five seed and their second, and most recent, NCAA appearance came all the way back in 1963 which is seventh on our Droughts. The other first round game will feature the six seed Tennessee State who have missed the last 23 NCAA tournaments. Their opponent is Eastern Illinois and EIU is on a modest streak of 16 misses.
Notable Games (predictions in italics, 0-1 last night, 2-0 from pending games previous night, 64-42 overall, 4 games pending from tonight)
Wednesday's top five as I see them:
#5 Syracuse at Boston College- Boston College 70, Syracuse 68
#4 Villanova at Seton Hall- Villanova 79, Seton Hall 77
#3 Houston at SMU- SMU 70, Houston 69
#2 Nevada at UNLV- UNLV 78, Nevada 77
#1 Florida State at Clemson- Clemson 75, Florida State 72