Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Three of the four semifinalists in the Atlantic Sun are never-made-the-tourney squads. Can two make it out of today's semis? Plus, Youngstown State gets the awwwwws and The Citadel kicks into action.
Thursday's never-made-the-tourney action
It's always sunny, y'all! Both never-made-the-tourney teams in the A-Sun stayed alive, with Stetson coming back from down three against ETSU at the half to win by 21, thanks to Joel Naburgs, who scored all 16 of his points in the second half. And USC Upstate just did bad things to Jacksonville, winning 76-62.
We lost some brothers outchea. Sure, Gardner-Webb stayed true to their No. 2 seed by winning 71-57 over Campbell - WHERE ARE YOUR FATTY HUMP DEPOSITS NOW, CAMELS - but the other two matchups ended in despair.
Longwood couldn't keep their fun run alive, and although Michael Kessens had a career-high 36 in a spirited comeback after trailing at the half, the Lancers turned the ball over trailing by three in the game's final seconds. Goodbye, Lancers. Heh. They're still called "Longwood."
And High Point, a No. 1 seed, lost 61-60 to Liberty. They trailed by 17 at the break, but fought back and couldn't take the lead after a harried final seconds. That's no fun. For the records, I'm officially pro-liberty (the concept) and anti-Liberty (the college).
Friday's never-made-the-tourney action
Atlantic Sun Tournament
More A-Sun! Isn't it a little bit missed up some of the teams got to play their first-round games two days ago and now they play against the teams that played yesterday? But whatever. I don't run the Atlantic Sun Tournament. We're now in the semifinals, and three of the teams left are never-made-the-tourney squads. Both games are on ESPN3, if you're a weirdo.
5:30 p.m., No. 5 USC-Upstate vs. No. 1 Mercer: Mercer, you may recall, already ended one teams never-made-the-tourney fates by rocking Lipscomb. Kenpom gives the Spartans a decent chance, giving a 71 percent win probability to the Bears. They lost both regular season matchups, so maybe not so good.
8 p.m., No. 3 Stetson vs. No. 2 Florida-Gulf Coast: Never-made-the-tourney on never-made-the-tourney here. To be honest, I'm siding with Stetson, because a) Hatters! and b) the Gulf Coast of Florida isn't where its at. But whoever wins, we're cool. Stetson got the lone regular season matchup, 70-61.
This is the first round, where teams are playing for the right to play one of the top four seeds in a quarterfinal. These games are also on ESPN3, if you're a weirdo.
8:30 p.m., No. 11 The Citadel vs. No. 5, Western Carolina: At Kenpom No. 328, the Bulldogs were never going to be the most likely of the five OG never-made-the-tourney squads to make it. Right now, they're probably third, ahead of Northwestern in the murderous Big Ten and St. Francis, who are already eliminated. The Catamounts - who no longer feature Harouna Mutombo, sadly - are 84 percent favorites here.
We're at the quarterfinals here, with our webbed-footed heroes Youngstown State looking to keep it moving after beating Loyola-Chicago This is also on ESPN3, although you're less of a weirdo now.
6 p.m., No. 6 Youngstown State vs. No. 3 Wright State: The good news for the Penguins is that they split the season series against Wright State, whose nickname I forget. (YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I KNEW WESTERN CAROLINA WERE THE CATAMOUNTS FROM MEMORY). The bad news is the second game was their season finale, so, like, last week, and they lost 72-45. Kenpom gives this 69 percent to Wright State. More like WRONG state if you ask me ya hear. The other good news for Youngstown State is that they are still penguins.
Back next year
Chicago State Cougars
Texas Pan-American Broncs
Utah Valley Wolverines
Presbyterian Blue Hose
Cal-State Bakersfield Roadrunners
Kennesaw State Owls
Sacred Heart Pioneers
Jacksonville State Gamecocks
North Florida Ospreys
St. Francis (NY) Terriers
High Point Panthers
Eulogies coming for all as I get around to them.