Only one game yesterday, but we're back on track today, as the Big East - wait, I'm being told every team in the Big East has made the NCAA Tournament at least five times, except South Florida, who has only made it two times. Bummer, huh?
But it's getting going: two teams favored to win their tourneys by Kenpom hit the hardwood today - if only South Dakota State was stlll here to remember it.
5:30, MEAC Tournament: No. 10 Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (8-21, 5-11, kenpom ranking 333) vs. No. 7 Florida A&M Rattlers (12-19, 7-9, kenpom ranking 327)
Our squad: Maryland-Eastern Shore
Here we have a matchup of bottom-feeders from the nation's premier HBCU conference (not to be confused with the SWAC, the nation's worst HBCU conference), vying for the right to play Hampton in the next round.
Maryland-Eastern Shore's chances of winning today: 41.6 percent
Maryland-Eastern Shore's chances of winning the conference tourney: .2 percent
Something Maryland-Eastern Shore has going for them: Of those eight wins, one came in overtime against A&M, 86-81.
Something Maryland-Eastern Shore distinctly does not have going for them: They're very bad at basketball: they're ranked in the top 150 in only two kenpom categories (130 on offensive rebounding percentage, 146 in block percentage), didn't beat a team ranked higher than 268 (Navy) all year, and have the 338th worst defense in the country (out of 345.) They shoot 28.8 percent from three. Also, their leading scorer is named Hillary.
Reasons to irrationally hate Florida A&M: Jerome James. Who went to Florida A&M, but was not recruited to play basketball there despite being 7-foot-2, joining the team as a sophomore. He would later be paid $30 million by Isiah Thomas. None of this is a joke, and sadly, once again, I didn't have to look any of it up.
6 p.m., MAC Tournament: No. 9 Central Michigan Chippewas (10-20, 7-9 MAC, kenpom ranking 283) vs. No. 8 Buffalo Bulls (17-12, 8-8, kenpom ranking 107)
Our squad: Buffalo
For some reason, kenpom LOVES the Bulls. And despite them being a No. 8 seed, he has them WINNING the MAC tournament as the most likely projection in his log5. It's not often you see an 8-9 matchup where one team is 10-20 and the other is 17-12, so, maybe he's onto something.
Buffalo's chances of winning today: 92.6 percent.
Buffalo's chances of winning the conference tourney: 20.4 percent
Something Buffalo has going for them: Take it away, kenpom: "Throw out the seeds in this one. The conference that sent its nine-seed to the NCAA tournament last season to disembowel Georgetown in the first round produces the most unusual breakdown I’ve seen in five seasons of doing this. Much like in the Sun Belt, there’s plenty of parity at the top of the MAC. Unlike the Sun Belt, the MAC’s favorite is an eight-seed, closely followed by its six-seed. And there’s this: Eighth-seeded Buffalo has about a one-in-five chance of cutting down the nets at the Q, while ninth-seeded Central Michigan has a one-in-2000 chance of doing so."
Something Buffalo distinctly does not have going for them: As far as I can tell, kenpom has gone mad with power. They've also sputtered to a 3-6 record down the stretch.
Reason to irrationally hate Central Michigan: TDozer's comment from my Next on the Chopping Block post about CMU: "
5.) There is very little else of interest about Central Michigan. Seriously, when it comes to picking public universities in Michigan, we’re playing the least interesting one. Even Western Michigan has the Kalamazoo thing going for it. It’s much like Purdue in the impossible-to-get-worked-up-about-playing-them department. There’s pretty much nothing to hate, just a lot of meh".
I hate how unhateable they are.
9 p.m., Big Sky tournament, No. 4 Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (19-11, 9-7, kenpom ranking 130) vs. No. 1 Northern Colorado Bears (19-10, 13-3, kenpom ranking 122)
Our squad: Northern Colorado
A battle of the Northern extremities of two of the four corners states, we finally see the lone No. 1 seed amongst our happy few - the Bears - take the floor. To clarify, we REALLY need them to win so they don't take our damn NIT spots from us.
Northern Colorado's chances of winning today: 67 percent
Northern Colorado's chances of winning the conference tourney: 46.4 percent.
Something Northern Colorado has going for them: It's a home game against a team that had to scrap out a 65-62 win over Montana State in order to reach this game, while the Bears had a bye.
Something Northern Colorado distinctly does not have going for them: If there's one team they shouldn't feel comfortable playing, it's Northern Arizona: on the road, the Bears were felled PUN CITY by the Lumberjacks, 65-54, while they needed a 72-71 win to escape at home. after a lot of comfortable fare in the conference schedule, NAU made them work for it.
Reasons to irrationally hate Northern Arizona: They cut down trees, they skip and jump, they like to press wildflowers. They put on women's clothing, and hang around in bars.
Bros of yore:
South Dakota State Jackrabbits