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The Morning Dish – Monday, March 12, 2018

March 12, 2018 The Morning Dish No Comments

Well, it’s finally here. The NCAA Tournament field has been selected after weeks of debate about where one team or another will be in or not. As usual, some of it was easy to figure out, while some of it, not so much.

This year, the number one seeds was a relatively easy job. Bubble teams, on the other hand, were a very different story. Being on the Selection Committee is far from an easy job, but this year it might have been harder than most others.

We’ll start with the four number one seeds. They are Virginia (the unquestioned number one team in the country), Villanova, Xavier and Kansas. None of the number two seeds – Cincinnati, Duke, North Carolina and Purdue – really had convincing cases to capture one of the top seeds. In fact, North Carolina at first glance seems a very interesting choice there considering they have ten losses, but they have 11 top 50 wins including six top 25 wins. The former number is matched only by Virginia, while the latter number is matched or bested only by Virginia, Villanova and Kansas.

As we get to the bubble teams, however, the challenge greatly increased. A number of teams appeared to have a chance, but while each team had reasons to select them, each also had reasons not to. The last four teams in are Arizona State, St. Bonaventure, Syracuse and UCLA. The first four teams out – and subsequently, the four number one seeds in the NIT – are Baylor, Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and USC.

Among the bubble teams that were in were a few noteworthy ones. Alabama was comfortably in as the No. 9 seed in the East Region, as was Kansas State, the No. 9 seed in the South Region. The last four byes – at-large teams that are not in a play-in game – were Butler, Oklahoma, Providence and Texas.

Not helping out bubble teams was the emergence of two bid thieves in recent days. San Diego State was one, knocking off Nevada in the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament and subsequently beating New Mexico. Davidson then did likewise, knocking off Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 championship game.

So now the NCAA Tournament is in front of us, and while there is plenty of room to debate the selections and seedings, given the crazy season it has been, we would do well to enjoy this one. With what has transpired thus far, there is every reason to think there is more unexpected to come. And be sure to check out College Basketball Tonight, which returns this season, as we discuss the NCAA Tournament bracket and are joined by Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian in our second segment.

 

Side Dishes

Five conferences had their championship games on the day. The first was the Ivy League championship, where Penn held off Harvard 68-65. In the Atlantic 10 championship game, as noted Davidson edged Rhode Island 58-57 to snag an NCAA Tournament bid they would not have otherwise had. Kentucky won another SEC championship, beating Tennessee 77-72. Georgia State won the Sun Belt by pulling away from surging UT Arlington 74-61, and Cincinnati won the American Athletic Conference championship game by holding off Houston 56-55 in a game in which they won’t send a copy of the video to the Hall of Fame as the teams combined to shoot just 25 percent from the field in the second half.

Miami will be without Bruce Brown for the NCAA Tournament due to the foot injury that has kept him out of action since February. The sophomore guard is still in a walking boot, and is expected to need over a month of rehab even if he is cleared after being evaluated by doctors on Monday. In a comment to the Associated Press, head coach Jim Larranaga noted that Brown would certainly play hard, and that would add to the potential to re-injure the foot.

Another team who will be without a player, at least at first, is Missouri, as they have suspended Jordan Barnett for their opener after he was arrested for suspicion of DWI on Saturday morning. The senior forward is the Tigers’ second-leading scorer and would play if they advance past Florida State.

The NIT field was released and includes 12 automatic qualifiers – teams who won their regular season conference title but did not win their conference tournaments.

The College Basketball Invitational also released its 16-team field. What makes this tournament unique, of course, is a best-of-three championship matchup. It gets started with Eastern Washington at Utah Valley on Tuesday, then has seven more first round games a day later.

Last, but not least, the CollegeInsider.com Tournament released its field and will get started right away on Monday with four games noted below.

 

Tonight’s Menu

The CollegeInsider.com Tournament gets going right away with four classic games, all of them bearing a coach’s name and where the winner will go on to play one of four teams that have byes.

  • In the Hugh Durham Classic, Fort Wayne hosts Central Michigan (noon)
  • In the Lou Henson Classic, Abilene Christian travels to Drake (2 p.m.)
  • The Jim Phelan Classic features Liberty hosting North Carolina A&T (6 p.m.)
  • The Riley Wallace Classic has San Diego hosting Hartford (10 p.m.)

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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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