>> Monday, March 8, 2010
While we're waiting on the main entree of the big boy conference tournaments, we're being treated to an appetizer that wets the palette better than Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and their sweet potato casserole.
We've already seen five teams punch their ticket to the big dance (Murray State, ETSU, Cornell, Winthrop & UNI), and there are several more bids on the plate tonight. Four teams will be dancing following double headers on both ESPN and the Deuce in a night that should be filled with plenty of excitement.
William and Mary and Old Dominion will start off the action on ESPN in the Colonial Athletic Association championship game in a game between two teams with tournament savvy resumes. ODU, the regular season champion, possesses a (25-8) record and dominated the regular season with fifteen victories. The Monarchs played several big name programs to the brink this season and are team poised to pull a 12-5 upset during the opening weekend of the tournament. The Tribe of William & Mary have long been a pushover, but they started this season with a bang and possess victories over Richmond, Wake Forest and Maryland. The PMB expects a well played game and predicts a Monarch Victory.
Siena has proven time and time again that they are not an easy out when The Big Dance comes calling, and noone expects this season to be any different. Siena had another strong showing during the MAAC regular season with 17 wins, and while they don't appear to be as dangerous as previous seasons, they will still be a tough draw, if they manage to get past Fairfield tonight on ESPN 2 at 7:00. Fairfield has played Siena within a couple of points both times this season, but the Saints always seem to crank it up when the lights shine the brightest. The PMB will take the Saints by 12.
The Southern Conference has seen its fair share of success within the NCAA tournament, and most recently had an elite 8 showing by Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats. While Davidson is absent from this season's final, Wofford and Appalachian State should provide plenty of entertainment. Wofford has knocked off two SEC opponents this season (UGA & USC) and have the talent needed to win a first round game in the NCAA tournament. Appy State appears to be peaking at the right time, winning 6 in a row, and knocked off College of Charleston by an absurd 23 points in the Southern semifinals. Yes, the same College of Charleston that defeated UNC earlier this season. Wofford knocked off the Mountaineers in a nail-biter earlier this season, and The PMB expects nothing short of a great game tonight. We'll take ASU knocking off Wofford in an upset tonight and expect Wofford to do great things in the NIT.
The Gael's from St. Mary's have quietly put together a great season (25-5), but their declination of a bracket buster game has dealt a hard blow to their at large hopes. The Gaels lack any quality wins and were swept by The Zags this season and need a victory tonight to alleviate any tension regarding their tourney hopes. The Gaels are lead by Omar Samhan and his 21.3 points and 11 rebounds a game. Gonzaga has been a mainstay in the public eye for well over a decade and are now a constant within the top 25. Mark Few reloads, he doesn't rebuild. The Zags are playing to pad their tournament seeding and The PMB expects them to do that tonight. Mark Few, Matt Bouldin and Elias Harris will beat the Gaels by ten or more and send St. Mary's to the NIT.