Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Bethune-Cookman knocked off undefeated Norfolk State and are just two games away from their first NCAA Tournament! Oh, and Northwestern's playing.
Sorry we skipped yesterday. I was super busy! Anyway, there's a lot of stuff going around, and there's some Never-Made-The-Tourney teams with good shots! Go Bethune! Go Cookman! Go Bethune-Cookman!
Past Never-Made-The-Tourney action
Buffalo needed overtime to beat Central Michigan, but the eighth seeded Bulls are into the semifinals after knocking off Ball State, 76-61, thanks to Will Regan, who drilled five threes and finished with 36 points. Buffalo had trailed by nine in the first half, and then it was Regan time.
Woooo! Bethune-Cookman! They were a No. 8 seed, meaning they had to play a game against Coppin State - who beat them in their regular season finale - just to play No. 1-seeded Norfolk State, who went 16-0 in conference after knocking off Mizzou last year. They did that, beating Coppin State 89-78 behind 28 from Adrien Coleman and 22 from Kevin Dukes.
Then came Norfolk State, who, as we noted, went 16-0 in the regular season. 16-0! Coleman scored the last five points of regulation to force overtime, finishing with 24 points and 13 rebounds, and the Wildcats won 70-68. Norfolk State was Never-Made-The-Tourney last year, so they were just being generous. Now, they've knocked off the best team in the bracket and they get to wait a day as the other quarterfinals matchups play.
I don't even care that fellow Never-Made-The-Tourney squad North Carolina Central - a 2 seed - lost to North Carolina A&T. Bethune-Cookman is two wins away from dancing for no apparent reason.
By the way, do any of you think its silly conference tournaments allow regular season champs to miss out on the tourney? Some guy who writes for the New York Times thought it was an interesting topic. (Oh, wait, that's me.)
Grambling put up a good fight, but they lost their 28th and final game of the year. On the plus side, they only lost by eight, their first loss by single digits of the year. Damn, Grambling. We were pulling for you.
We only had one team here - Central Arkansas - and the Bears are done after a 69-63 loss to Sam Houston State.
Thursday's Never-Made-The-Tourney action
YOU'RE DAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMNNN RIGHT.
5:30 p.m.: No. 3 Cal Poly vs. No. 6 UC-Davis: NOOOOO! Another Never-Made-The-Tourney death fight! I can't stand watching us massacre our own kind...
11:30 p.m.: No. 4 UC-Irvine vs. No. 5 Hawaii: The Anteaters take on the Rainbow Warriors, said somebody dropping acid. These two split the season series, with Hawaii's won understandably coming in Hawaii, where there's like a 14 hour time difference and they play in the sand on Waikiki beach while bikini-and-lei clad tropical women dance on the sidelines while ethereal slide guitar plays. My point is, it's a nice home-court advantage. This game is in scenic Anaheim, where it's pretty similar, except it's Minnie Mouse on the sidelines, which is just disturbing.
Big Sky Tournament
The North Dakota [REDACTED] are the team to watch here, since Sacramento State somehow didn't make the 7-team bracket out of a three-way tie for sixth. Whatever. Stop blocking Sacramento State's shine.
Aaaaaaanyway, No. 3 North Dakota takes on No. 6 Southern Utah at 7:30. There.
Buffalo keeps Bullin tonight, this time against No. 4 seed Kent State. Which won't be significantly easier than Ball State, especially since UB lost both regular season matchups, although the second should've been a win: Buffalo was up 60-49, but Kent State came back and won in overtime on a Chris Evans jumper. Game's at 6:30 on ESPN3 if you need a Northwestern pregame.
Denver is a No. 2 seed here! We heard about Joe Scott as a potential Bill Carmody replacement here - let's see if he can get this Never-Made-The-Tourney school over the hump. First up for the Pioneers is Texas State, a team Denver has beaten twice by double digits.