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Championship Week: Day 5 Preview


Mike Miller

Over the next 13 days, the brackets will start to take shape. Teams with no at-large aspirations will make one final push at the post-season. Teams on the bubble will look to assert themselves as worthy members of “The Big Dance”, and contenders will start priming their engines for a national Championship run. While “March Madness” officially begins following Selection Sunday, the real madness starts now.

Until Sunday, March 11, this will be your home for Championship Week recaps and previews. The players and teams are starting to prepare for March Madness, so you should too.

Game of the Night: Missouri State vs. Evansville
Want to know how evenly matched the Missouri Valley Conference is? Evansville is the No.3-seed and Missouri State the No.6-seed, yet both teams have the same conference record. In fact, five different teams finished the MVC season with a 9-9 record. Evansville swept the season series with Missouri State, but both games were decided in overtime, including the regular season finale just seven days ago. There is no doubt that this game will be hotly contested and probably decided in the final moments.

Game to Keep Track of: San Francisco vs. Loyola-Marymount

Both of these teams are legitimate threats to win the West Coast Conference Tournament. San Francisco has a win over Gonzaga and Loyola-Marymount has wins over St. Mary’s and BYU. Plus both of the regular season match-ups between these two were razor-close. The Lions won both meetings, but by a combined three points.

Player to Watch: Kevin Murphy, Tennessee Tech
Isaiah Canaan is the OVC’s most recognizable player and best shooter, but Murphy is arguably the conference’s best pure scorer. He leads the conference with 20.6ppg and was the only Division-I player to score 50 or more points in a single game this season. The six-foot-six guard has logged 16 games this season with 20 or more points. If Tennessee Tech is going to pull the upset, Murphy must lead the way.

Miscellaneous Madness: Keep watch of all the action going down in “The Valley”. The first full day of MVC tournament action begins, and the four best OVC teams square off in the semifinals. The three best mid-major teams in the country, Wichita State, Murray State and Creighton, are all in action. Bubble teams should be hoping they win with ease.

Friday Schedule

Atlantic Sun Semifinals
6:00PM - #4 East Tennessee State vs. #1 Belmont
8:00PM - #6 Florida Gulf Coast vs. #2 Mercer

Colonial Athletic Association First Round
12:00PM - #9 UNC-Wilmington vs. #8 James Madison
2:30PM - #12 Towson vs. #5 Delaware
6:00PM - #10 William & Mary vs. #7 Northeastern
8:30PM - #11 Hofstra vs. #6 Georgia State

Horizon League Quarterfinals
6:00PM - #6 Youngstown State vs. #3 Detroit
8:30PM - #5 Butler vs. #4 UW-Milwaukee

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference First Round
7:30PM - #9 Saint Peter’s vs. #8 Marist
9:30PM - #10 Canisius vs. #7 Niagara

Missouri Valley Conference Quarterfinals
12:05PM - #8 Indiana State vs. #1 Wichita State
2:35PM - #5 Northern Iowa vs. #4 Illinois State
6:05PM - #7 Drake vs. #2 Creighton
8:35PM - #6 Missouri State vs. #3 Evansville

Ohio Valley Conference Semifinals
6:00PM - #4 Tennessee Tech vs. #1 Murray State
8:00PM - #3 Morehead State vs. #2 Tennessee State

Southern Conference First Round
11:30AM - #5N Appalachian State vs. #4S Charleston
2:00PM - #6S The Citadel vs. #3N Western Carolina
6:00PM - #5S Furman vs. #4N Samford
8:30PM - #6N Chattanooga vs. #3S Georgia Southern

West Coast Conference Quarterfinals
9:00PM - #5 San Francisco vs. #4 Loyola-Marymount
11:00PM - #6 San Diego vs. #3 BYU