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The Morning Dish – Friday, March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017 The Morning Dish No Comments

That hasn’t taken long.

Just a couple days into tournament season and two days into March, the carnage has already piled up in a number of conference tournaments. The Big South in particular was turned upside down, the Atlantic Sun had a surprise in the semifinals, and an old hand in the Ohio Valley is suddenly playing upstart.

Among the happenings:

Big South: Liberty, UNC Asheville and Winthrop staged an outstanding three-way race for the regular season title. Two of them are out of the conference tournament in the quarterfinals. No. 2 Liberty was stunned by No. 7 Campbell 81-79 after an all-time memorable postseason performance by Chris Clemons, who scored a school and Big South record 51 points to lead the Camels. Then, sixth-seeded Radford upset No. 3 Liberty 56-52, meaning the No. 6 and 7 seeds will meet in the tourney semifinals.

The bracket would appear to be opened up for top seed Winthrop-a 92-78 winner over Charleston Southern and the host for the quarterfinals and semifinals-but the Eagles face a dangerous fourth-seeded Gardner-Webb team that is coming off a 91-55 destruction of High Point in the fourth quarter on Friday.

Atlantic Sun: The first tournament final is set. No. 1 seed Florida Gulf Coast took care of Kennesaw State 74-62, but the Eagles will not get a third meeting with 2 seed Lipscomb. Instead, North Florida defeated the Bisons for the third time this season, its 91-85 victory paced by 16-for-24 three-point bombing. This one will match the past two A-Sun tourney champions.

OVC: Absolutely no one connected to this ancient conference would consider longtime power Murray State a plucky underdog, yet that’s exactly what the Racers are in this tourney after their second win as a lower seed in two days. Murray knocked off 3 seed Morehead State 75-69, with Jonathan Stark again lighting it up, this time with 37 points after scoring 41 the night before. The Racers are halfway to doing what Austin Peay did a year ago, winning four games in four days.

In addition to those tourneys, form held in the Patriot League, though not by much-three of the four games were decided by four, five and seven points. No. 2 Boston University (64-60 over Loyola Maryland), 3 seed Lehigh (77-72 over Colgate) and fourth-seeded Navy (49-42 over defending tourney champion Holy Cross) all won close ones, while the one team winning comfortably was top-seeded Bucknell, which handled Army 74-58.
Side Dishes:

  • We told you Iowa was just one game away from being a hot topic in the NCAA Tournament picture. Sure enough, the Hawkeyes rallied late to sting Wisconsin 59-57, moving to 17-13. Meanwhile, the Badgers have lost five of six.
  • Minnesota keeps winning. The Golden Gophers handled Nebraska 88-73 and keep looking like they’re going to be a high NCAA seed.
  • Cincinnati may well have finally cooked Houston’s NCAA tourney chances for good with a 65-47 shutdown. Also in the AAC, SMU hammered Tulsa 93-70 to move to 25-4.
  • Middle Tennessee State moved to 26-4 after a hideous start, falling behind Florida International 19-1 early before rallying to take the lead and then hold on 70-67.
  • The Big Sky and Southland races both got a whole lot more interesting. That’s because both league leaders lost on Thursday-at home-as Sacramento State shut down North Dakota 57-53 and SE Louisiana toppled New Orleans 63-58. Eastern Washington-a 91-75 winner over Southern Utah-is now tied with UND for first in the Big Sky, while UNO still holds a one-game lead over three teams tied for second at 11-6 in the SLC.
  • The MVC Tournament opened with first round games, including Evansville holding off Indiana State 83-72 and Bradley nudging past Drake 67-58. Here’s our piece on the Purple Aces’ win in the opener and their potential as a spoiler today.

Today’s Menu:

  • Arch Madness continues in St. Louis, starting with top seed Illinois State facing No. 8 Evansville in the first of four quarterfinals.
  • The OVC semifinals are hot on the docket, with top seed Belmont against Jacksonville State and Murray State facing No. 2 Tennessee-Martin. The Big South semis also will be held.
  • The Southern Conference opens with first round play, including The Citadel against Western Carolina.
  • The MAAC Tournament continues with the top two seeds playing their quarterfinals, led by Monmouth against Niagara and Canisius vs. St. Peter’s.
  • Outside of tournament play, Harvard is at Princeton in a big Ivy League game (5 p.m., ESPNU) and Iowa State goes to West Virginia for a big one in the Big 12 (7 p.m., ESPN2).

Enjoy your Friday and the weekend.

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Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

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"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
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"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
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