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March 9, 2010
Here's our daily NCAA tournament tracker.
Four NCAA bids were decided Monday and three more will be on the line tonight. In addition, tourney play begins in the Atlantic 10 and Big East, meaning some bubble hopes could come to an end.
We'll continue our tracker through the final days of the conference tournaments. We'll also update, as needed, the "NCAA locks" chart.
GAME OF THE DAY
Seton Hall vs. Providence, 7 p.m., ESPNU: This is a first-round game in the Big East tournament. If they were 2-2 instead of 0-4 in overtime games, Seton Hall probably would have an NCAA bid already locked up. Beating Providence won't get them in, but losing to the Friars certainly will keep them out. It's what Seton Hall can do in the second and third rounds that could get them in the NCAA tourney. These teams met once during the regular season -- Seton Hall won by 12 on Saturday at Providence, in the regular-season finale. Keep an eye on frontcourt players Herb Pope of Seton Hall and Jamine Peterson of Providence. It wouldn't be a surprise if each had a double-double.
OTHER GAMES OF INTEREST
Connecticut vs. St. John's, 2 p.m., ESPN2: This is another Big East first-rounder. Connecticut ended the regular season on a three-game losing streak, which dropped the Huskies' league record to 7-11. If they win this, they would face Marquette in the second round and Villanova in the quarterfinals. UConn needs to reach the semifinals to have a solid shot at an at-large bid.
Saint Joseph's at Rhode Island, 7 p.m.: This is a first-round game in the Atlantic 10 tourney. Rhode Island has lost five of its past seven and needs another "good' win to get back on the NCAA bubble. One problem: This wouldn't be a good one, and beating fourth-seeded Saint Louis -- which is 83rd in the RPI -- in the second round wouldn't be one, either. That means the Rams would need to beat Temple in the semifinals to have a legit at-large opportunity.
George Washington at Dayton, 7 p.m.: This is another first-round game in the Atlantic 10 tourney. The Flyers have lost five of seven and obviously are in desperation mode. They need to win this, then beat second-seeded Xavier in the second round to get back into the at-large discussion.
Massachusetts at Charlotte, 7 p.m.: This is yet another first-round game in the Atlantic 10 tourney, and we're listing Charlotte as a courtesy of sorts. The 49ers have the weakest case of the A-10 bubble teams, but a win in this one followed by wins over Richmond and either Dayton or Xavier would have them in the mix. But can the 49ers -- who have lost six of their past seven -- make any kind of run?
Sun Belt final, No. 1 seed Troy vs. No. 2 seed North Texas, in Hot Springs, Ark., 7 p.m., ESPN2: North Texas won the teams' only meeting this season, by three points at Troy. The Mean Green, perhaps the most athletic team in the league, head into the final having won 10 in a row. Troy has been known for its 3-point prowess, but the Trojans have seen a renewed emphasis on defense pay off the past two seasons. North Texas, which is coached by former LSU point guard Johnny Jones, is looking for its third NCAA bid; Troy is aiming for its second.
Horizon League final, No. 2 seed Wright State at No. 1 seed Butler, 9 p.m., ESPN: This will be a closely watched game by all the bubble teams. Butler is an NCAA lock, so if Wright State were to beat the Bulldogs -- who are 19-0 against league opponents this season -- on their home court, they would be "stealing" a bid that would've gone to a bubble team. Butler won both regular-season matchups with the Raiders by 12 points. Butler lost the Horizon tournament title game on its home court last season.
Summit League final, No. 1 seed Oakland vs. No. 2 seed IUPUI, in Sioux Falls, S.D., 9 p.m., ESPN2: These teams split their season series, with each team winning at home -- Oakland by three and IUPUI by 24. That was the only league loss of the season for Oakland, which played the sixth-toughest non-conference schedule in the nation. Both teams are looking for their second NCAA appearance.
Other conference tournaments: One other No. 1 seed will be in action tonight, with Weber State playing host to sixth-seeded Portland State (9 p.m., Altitude2) in a Big Sky semifinal.
Colonial final, Old Dominion 60, William & Mary 53: ODU followed up on its regular-season title in the CAA by downing the third-seeded Tribe in Richmond, Va. ODU, which won at Georgetown this season, looks as if it will be a No. 11 or 12 seed.
Metro Atlantic Athletic final, Siena 72, Fairfield 65 (OT): As with ODU, Siena doubled-up and won the tournament crown after also winning the regular-season title. The second-seeded Stags dominated the first half, but host Siena clawed back into it early in the second half. Siena, which won first-round games in each of the past two NCAA tournaments, probably will be a No. 12 or 13 seed. The Saints won two seasons ago as a No. 13 and as a No. 9 last season.
West Coast final, Saint Mary's 81, Gonzaga 62: Saint Mary's was left sitting on the bubble last season, but the second-seeded Gaels made sure they wouldn't sweat out Selection Sunday this season, rolling past the top-seeded Bulldogs in Las Vegas. Saint Mary's dominated the final 10 minutes, and their victory is causing great angst among the teams on this season's bubble. This will be the second time in three seasons that the WCC has had at least two teams in the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga is an NCAA lock and should be a No. 6 or 7 seed; Saint Mary's looks like a No. 9 or 10.
Southern final, Wofford 56, Appalachian State 51: Wofford was the third No. 1 seed to win on Monday night, downing the third-seeded Mountaineers in Charlotte. Wofford got out to an early 18-point lead, but Appalachian State -- though it never took the lead -- rallied to make it close. This will be the first NCAA appearance for Wofford, a school of about 1,500 in Spartanburg, S.C., and the Terriers can expect to be a No. 13 or 14 seed. Wofford assistant Mark Prosser is the son of former Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser. Wofford perhaps is best-known in some circles as being the training camp site for the NFL's Charlotte Panthers, which means the Terriers have great facilities for an FCS program.
Other conference tournaments: Two No. 1 seeds advanced to their tournament finals. Oakland battled past fifth-seeded IPFW 71-58 in a Summit League semifinal in Sioux Falls, S.C. Troy held off fourth-seeded Western Kentucky 54-48 to advance to the Sun Belt final in Hot Springs, Ark.
Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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