Posted on: March 9, 2010 12:36 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 12:39 am
Fairfield blew a nice lead.
Saint Mary's did not.
Here's Tuesday morning's Gettin' In.
Teams that punched tickets Monday: Old Dominion, Siena, Saint Mary's and Wofford each earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday. That means nine of the 65 spots in the field are claimed.
Best game: Fairfield was up 13 with less than 18 to play Monday night, and bubble-watchers everywhere were debating whether Siena could get an at-large bid after the sure-to-come loss in the MAAC tournament title game. My opinion: No, the Saints probably wouldn't have received an at-large bid given that they own zero top 50 victories. But guess what? It doesn't matter now because the Saints stormed back, forced overtime and recorded a 72-65 victory that made them the MAAC's automatic qualifier. Now they'll sit back and wait for the selection committee to give them a No. 12 seed, then we'll all pick them to beat some No. 5 seed.
Team whose dream remained alive: North Texas was nearly upset in the Sun Belt quarterfinals, but the Mean Green easily handled Denver in Monday's semifinals. The 63-56 victory will allow them to take a 10-game winning streak into Tuesday's title game.
Team whose dream was crushed: Western Kentucky fell behind by 16 points late in the first half and only scored 48 in the game, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Hilltoppers lost Monday in the semifinals of the Sun Belt tournament. What's surprising is that they had a chance to win, and that they actually led 48-47 with less than four minutes remaining. WKU seemed in control. But Troy countered with a 7-0 run, won 54-48 and ensured WKU's NCAA tournament streak will stop at two.
Performance I hope you witnessed: The West Coast Conference was probably going to be a two-bid league regardless, but Mickey McConnell ensured as much with a 26-point effort that keyed Saint Mary's 81-62 victory over Gonzaga in Monday's WCC tournament title game. McConnell hit 10 of 17 shots -- including four of seven 3-point attempts -- and helped the Gaels prevent Gonzaga from winning this event for the 11th time in 13 seasons.
Performance I hope you missed: David Schneider hit a big shot to lift William & Mary to the title game of the Colonial tournament, but missed pretty much every shot in said title game. He was 2-of-13 from the field in Monday's 60-53 loss to Old Dominion, 3-of-22 from the field in his past two games.
Three random notes
1. The Big East tournament starts Tuesday with four games. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for St. John's to beat Connecticut, for DePaul to beat South Florida, and for Providence to beat Seton Hall.
2. The Horizon League title game is Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. If you're a fan of a bubble team, you should root for Butler to beat Wright State because the alternative outcome would turn the Horizon into a two-bid league, which would effectively shrink the field by one.
3. The Oregonian newspaper reported late Monday that P.J. Carlesimo is a serious candidate to replace Ernie Kent at Oregon. Kent is expected to be officially fired at the conclusion of the Pac-10 tournament.
Final thought: Nothing in the Top 25 (and one) got folks fired up like Purdue down at No. 11.
But I don't understand the argument.
I mean, where do you think Purdue belongs?
No question, the Boilermakers were on their way to the No.1 seed in the NCAA tournament three weeks ago. But everything changed when Robbie Hummel tore his ACL, and this clearly isn't the same team. They looked average in a home loss to Michigan State, then backed that with a couple of wins over bad Big Ten teams, and I honestly think placing Purdue 11th is pretty darn generous.
It's unfortunate, but the fact remains that Hummel is gone.
So we'll never know what the Boilermakers might've otherwise been.
But I think I know what they are right now.
And that's something slightly less than a top 10 team.