Tuesday, March 6, 2018

5-MAR Bracket Projections: No Rule of Eighty

Cue sad horn.  William & Mary was eliminated in the Colonial semifinals tonight and ensures the Tribe will go eighty years without an NCAA Tournament appearance.  They will join The Citadel, Army, and St. Francis NY atop this list for yet another season.  Good luck in 2019, gents.

The Denver Pioneers were defeated in the Summit League semifinals, and Maryland Eastern Shore went out in the first round of the MEAC Tournament.  We have 12 programs still eligible for history.

It was a fairly modest drought, but congratulations to UNC Greensboro who secured the Southern Conference automatic bid tonight.  It ends a sixteen year drought for the Spartans.

Difficult night for the homonym conferences tonight.  Fairfield could not solve the Tim Cluess MAAC riddle, losing to the Gaels in the conference final and pushing the drought out to 21 years.  In the slightly more efficiently named MAC Northern Illinois lost on a buzzer beater to Kent State to stretch their disappointment to a 22nd season.  Neither though have amassed the misery that has been Bowling Green basketball.  The Falcons now owns a fifty year NCAA tournament drought, longer than the previous two schools combined.  In fact they move into a tie with Columbia for the 8th longest active drought, taking their place behind the Futile Four as well as Dartmouth (59 years), Maine (56 years) and Tennessee Tech (55 years). 

San Francisco (20 years) also was eliminated from the 2018 NCAA Tournament this evening. 

Conference Tournaments
Ten brackets in play tomorrow including five championship games and three leagues starting postseason play for the first time.  The Northeast finals will feature the Wagner Seahawks, the top seed, looking to get past the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds for their first Selection Sunday mention since 2003.  College of Charleston and Northeastern will vie for the Colonial Automatic Bid.  The Cougars last appearance was in 1999.  The Summit League Championship will be an all Mount Rushmore state affair, as South Dakota will be looking for their first NCAA appearance in school history against Mike Daum and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.  Speaking of stair affairs, it’s an all Ohio battle in Detroit when Cleveland State and Wright State compete for the Horizon League title.  Gonzaga will be in the WCC title game, and will take on the Saint Mary’s and BYU winner that is currently underway.

The American East returns with the semifinal rounds.  Hartford is chasing their first ever NCAA appearance and will be at UMBC.  Stony Brook is at Vermont in the other side of the bracket. 

The MEAC is back for day two, but we’re still in first round games for this event.  Howard has missed 25 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and will have their first chance to begin avenging that mark with a game against Florida A&M tomorrow.  South Carolina State’s last trip was in 2003, and they will be in action tomorrow against Morgan State.

The SWAC initiates with four quarter final games at campus sites.  Prairie View A&M possesses the league’s longest streak of NCAA misses, with their last appearance coming in 1998.  They are the two seed and will host Alcorn State.  The Braves are second on that list, with 15 misses.

The Big Sky is in the “biggest little city in the world” with four first round games scheduled in Reno.  Sacramento State is the 11 seed, and will be looking to get past Portland State and advance their opportunity for their first trip to the dance.  Idaho State has the leagues longest active draught, missing the last 30 NCAA Tournaments.  The seventh seeded Vandals draw Southern Utah.  Those Thunderbirds are also fairly hungry, missing the last 16 brackets.  The Bobcats of Montana State are the 9 seed, and haven’t made a trip to the Tournament since 1996.  Last note, the bottom seed Northern Arizona has missed the last seventeen NCAAs.

The ACC Tournament begins tomorrow, and despite Pittsburgh’s best effort to epitomize Futility, no schools has any noteworthy appearance droughts of any significance.  Boston College has missed the last eight, which is the longest of the 15 constituents.  That said, very necessary games for teams like Syracuse and Notre Dame on the docket tomorrow. 

Notable Games (predictions in italics, 3-1 tonight, 0-0 from pending games previous night, 86-53 overall, 1 game pending from tonight)
Tuesday's top five as I see them:
#5 LIU Brooklyn at Wagner- Wagner 77, LIU Brooklyn 71
#4 Hartford at UMBC- UMBC 73, Hartford 69
#3 Northeastern vs College of Charleston- Northeastern 71, College of Charleston 70
#2 South Dakota vs South Dakota State- South Dakota 77, South Dakota State 76
#1 Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s- Gonzaga 73, Saint Mary’s 72  (or Gonzaga 75, BYU 70 if necessary)

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