USA TODAY Sports
Saturday features a Never-Made-The-Tourney team in FGCU going up for an at-large bid and a chance to break their curse. Unfortunately, Friday was a bit of a bloodbath.
Friday's Never-Made-The-Tourney action
Three out of four semifinalists in the A-Sun were never-made-the-tourney squads, and alas, we're down to one. No. 1 seed Mercer did not appreciate USC-Upstate hanging around, going on a 6-0 run after the score was tied at 57. 20 points from Bud Thomas and 18 from Langston Hall got the job done.
Meanwhile, a matchup of a No. 2 and a No. 3 - neither of whom has ever been dancing - went in Florida Gulf Coast's favor, as the Eagles dispatched Stetson, who will be forced to do all their hatting from home once again this March. Stetson couldn't connect from deep, going just 3-for-21, and 6'3 guard Bernard Thompson had a double-double with rebounds for Florida Gulf Coast. Go FGCU, though - they have a tourney to get to.
Youngstown State managed only 19 points in the first half, and Wright State coasted to a 66-59 win. Add this together with global warming and The Penguin's exclusion from the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy in favor of dudes without top hats like Ra's Al Ghul and the Scarecrow, and it hasn't been a good stretch for Youngstown State.
The Citadel is back for another year with us in the Original Five, we few, we miserable few who have never made it in 75 years: They were unceremoniously bounced behind 27 points from Western Carolina's Trey Sumler.
Saturday's Never-Made-The-Tourney action
12 p.m.: No. 2 FGCU vs. No. 1 Mercer: IT'S A CHANCE TO GO TO THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FOR A NEVER-MADE-THE-TOURNEY SCHOOL! You can actually read a relatively detailed preview I wrote on m'day job about, oh, 45 minutes ago before I went off shift by clicking that link up there. I think you'll like it, you weirdo! The game's on at noon, and I hope this thread is an open thread.
All four quarterfinals games feature Never-Made-The-Tourney teams. The one you need to watch is Stony Brook, the No. 1 seed, whose tourney it is to lose, as SB Nation's preview shows. However, this is a fun tourney to Never-Made-The-Tourney with: eight teams, four of whom have never been dancing, none of whom play each other in the first round. All four games are on ESPN3, if you're a weirdo.
12 p.m.: No. 7 New Hampshire vs. No. 2 Vermont: The Catamounts had their T.J. Sorrentine episode against Syracuse way back when. New Hampshire just settles for beating Northwestern in football. Hey what? GO WILDCATS!
2 p.m.: No. 3 Hartford vs. No. 6 UMBC: Although I wish the team here was UMBC - I want a yellow lab sooooo badly - it's actually Hartford. I know, I bet you thought Vin Baker went to the tournament at least once, right? Wait, you didn't think that? Oh, okay.
6 p.m.: No. 1 Stony Brook vs. No. 8 Binghamton: SUNYBRAWL!!!!!1! The Seawolves - WOLVES OF THE SEA! - are the favorite here, as Binghamton only won three games this year.
8 p.m.: No. 5 Maine vs. No. 4 Albany: I'm sure Mainiacs everywhere lament that their beloved black bears have never made the tournament, or at the very least noticed a basketball game one time while thinking about hockey, L.L. Bean clothes, and/or worrying about being attacked by actual black bears. Anyway, they're playing Albany, I guess is my point.
We're down to the semis here. This game is also on ESPN3, you stupid weirdo.
2 p.m.: No. 2 Gardner-Webb vs. No. 3 Liberty: The Runnin' Bulldogs have already felled Campbell for killing one of their Never-Made-The-Tourney brethren, and if their fellin' sword's still thirsty they have a chance to knock off Liberty after the Flames beat one-seeded High Point. Avenge their deaths, Gardner-Webb. Do it for Gardner. Webb, I'm sort of indifferent about. Screw that guy. Gardner-Webb won the first matchup between these two, 71-68, behind Tashan Newsome's 27 points. Two games away from the tourney for the Runnin' Bulldogs. RUN! RUN! LET YOUR SILLY JOWLS FLY IN THE WIND!
Another OG member of the never-made-the-tourney club kicks off tourney play today! Although they're kind of a low seed.
8:30 p.m.: No. 6 William and Mary vs. No. 3 James Madison: The first time this matchup played out, the coregency of William and Mary ended in 1694 after the death of Mary, leaving William to reign alone as king until 1702, almost 50 years before Madison was born, a decisive victory for the diminutive fourth president. The Tribe lost both regular season matchups against the Dukes, including a tight 69-67 loss in the season finale behind 37 points from JMU's AJ Davis and a pair of game-winning free throws from Devon Moore.
Another OG member of the never-made-the-tourney club! Three in a day! This one's on CBS College Sports.
5 p.m.: No. 4 Army vs. No. 1 Bucknell: Mike Muscala and the Bison are the real favorites here, but any time you have the Black Knights just two games away from their first NCAA Tournament, get pumped. Army only lost to Bucknell by two the second time around.
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
Youngstown State Penguins
The Citadel Bulldogs
Eulogies I've written are linked, getting around to the rest.