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Championship Week: Day 6 Preview

Isaiah Canaan, Kellen Thornton

Murray State guard Isaiah Canaan (3) shoots over Tennessee State forward Kellen Thornton (21) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Canaan scored 24 points as Murray State defeated Tennessee State 80-62. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)


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: Tennessee State vs. Murray State

Tennessee State is the only team in the country to hold a win over Murray State this season, and a win in the OVC title game would mean one less bubble team makes March Madness. If TSU is going to pull off the upset, it’s going to be on the shoulders of Robert Covington. The junior forward has scored in doubled-fires in all but one game this season and is a difficult match-up for Murray State.

Player to Watch: Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga

The freshman guard is an assassin from beyond the arc, but has yet to play well against the cougars this season. In the two previous meetings, the Ontario-native is 5-of-16 from the field and 2-8 from beyond the arc. A solid performance from Pangos, and a win, would certainly help solidify the Bulldogs tournament aspirations.

Miscellaneous Madness: There are a host of must-watch games on the tube today. No.7-seed VMI has a chance to spoil UNC-Asheville’s party in the Big South finals, and Creighton and Wichita State can lock up at-large bids with wins in the MVC semifinals. Plus, both Horzion League semifinals will be hotly contested, and the WCC semifinals will provide for an excellent night-cap.

Saturday Schedule:

American East Quarterfinals
12:05PM - #9 Binghamton vs. #1 Stony Brook
2:15PM - #5 New Hampshire vs. #4 Albany
6:05PM - #7 Maine vs. #2 Vermont
8:15PM - #6 Hartford vs. #3 Boston

Atlantic Sun Finals
7:00PM - #6 Florida Gulf Coast vs. #1 Belmont - ESPN2

Big Sky Quarterfinals
5:00PM - #5 Idaho State at #4 Eastern Washington
10:00PM - #6 Montana State at #3 Portland State

Big South Finals
12:00PM - #7 VMI vs. #1 UNC-Asheville - ESPN2

Colonial Athletic Association Quarterfinals
12:00PM - #9 UNC-Wilmington vs. #1 Drexel
2:30PM - #5 Delaware vs. #4 Old Dominion
6:00PM - #7 Northeastern vs. #2 Virginia Commonwealth
8:30PM - #6 Georgia State vs. #3 George Mason

Horizon League Semifinals
6:00PM - #3 Detroit vs. #2 Cleveland State
8:30PM - #4 Butler at #1 Valparaiso

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
2:30PM - #5 Rider vs. #4 Fairfield
4:30PM - #9 Marist vs. #1 Iona
7:30PM - #7 Niagara vs. #2 Loyola (Md.)
9:30PM - #6 Siena vs. #3 Manhattan

Missouri Valley Conference Semifinals
1:35PM - #4 Illinois State vs. #1 Wichita State
4:05PM - #3 Evansville vs. #2 Creighton

Ohio Valley Conference Finals
1:00PM - #2 Tennessee State vs. Murray State - ESPN2

Patriot League Semifinals
2:00PM - #5 Lafayette at #1 Bucknell
4:30PM - #3 American at #2 Lehigh

Southern Conference Quarterfinals
12:00PM - #5N Appalachian State vs. #1N UNC-Greensboro
2:30PM - #3N Western Carolina vs. #2S Wofford
6:00PM - #5S Furman vs. #1S Davidson
8:30PM - #3S Georgia Southern vs. #2N Elon

Summit League Quarterfinals
8:00PM - #8 IPFW vs. #1 Oral Roberts
10:30PM - #7 IUPUI vs. #2 South Dakota State

Sun Belt First Round
6:00PM - #11 Troy vs. #6 South Alabama
6:15PM - #9 Arkansas State vs. #8 Florida Atlantic
8:20PM - #10 Florida International vs. #7 Western Kentucky

West Coast Conference Semifinals
9:00PM - #5 San Francisco vs. #1 Saint Mary’s - ESPN2
11:00PM - #3 BYU vs. #2 Gonzaga - ESPN2