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: Connecticut 71, West Virginia 69
he Huskies to their 13th straight postseason win thanks to huge performances from Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb. Napier finished with a game-high 26 points and was the driving force behind the Huskies’ furious second-half comeback that saw them erase an eleven point deficit. But when Napier fouled out of the game in overtime, Lamb stepped up and hit the eventual game-winning 3-pointer with under two minutes left. Kevin Jones finished with 25 points and ten rebounds for the Mountaineers and Dominique Rutledge chipped in with six points, 11 rebounds and three assists.
Player of the Night: Damian Lillard, Weber State
With more than 16 NBA scouts on hand to watch him play, Damian Lillard put on one heckuva performance in his final collegiate game. Although his team fell short in the Big Sky finals, the superstar guard finished with 29 points, ten rebounds and seven assists. Lillard is projected to be a first round draft pick despite playing in the seldom-discussed Big Sky Conference. But right now, he probably cares very little about his draft stock and a probably cares a lot about not being able to finish his college career in the NCAA Tournament.
Team of the Night: UT-Arlington Mavericks
The No.1-seed Mavericks lost only one regular season game this year.. But it happened to be the very last game of the season. They must have been really pissed off for screwing up and perfect season and clearly decided to take it out on Nicholls State, who they defeated 96-48 in the first round of the Southlands Conference. The 48-point margin was the largest in tournament history. Eleven differnt players scored for the Mavericks and four of them scored in double-figures.
Big East Conference Second Round
#9 Connecticut 71, #8 West Virginia 67 OT
#5 Georgetown 64, #13 Pittsburgh 52
#7 Louisville 61, #10 Seton Hall 55
#6 South Florida 56, #14 Villanova 47
Big-XII Conference First Round
#9 Texas A&M 62 #8 Oklahoma 53
#7 Oklahoma State 76, #10 Texas Tech 60
Conference-USA First Round
#10 East Carolina 68, #7 Rice 66
#8 UTEP 67, #9 Houston 62 OT
#6 Marshall 74, #11 Southern Methodist 56
#5 UAB 72, #12 Tulane 64
Mid-American Conference Second Round
#8 Western Michigan 71, #12 Northern Illinois 54
#7 Toledo 75, #11 Central Michigan 72
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#8 Hampton 59 #1 Savannah State 46
#2 Norfolk State 71, #10 Howard 61
#1 Long Island 90, #3 Robert Morris 73
Pac-12 Conference First Round
#9 Oregon State 69, #8 Washington State 64
#7 Stanford 85, #10 Arizona State 65
#6 Colorado 53, #11 Utah 41
#5 UCLA 55, #12 Southern California 40
Patriot League Finals
#2 Lehigh 82 #1 Bucknell 77
Southland Conference Quarterfinals
#4 McNeese State 78, #5 Texas- San Antonio 74
#3 Lamar 76, #6 Northwestern State 69
#2 Stephen F. Austin 68, #7 Sam Houston State 46
#1 UT Arlington 96, #8 Nicholls State 48
Southwestern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
#2 Texas Southern 75, #7 Alabama A&M 62
#1 Mississippi Valley State 63, #8 Jackson State 60
Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.