GAME OF THE DAY: Northern Iowa 56, Evansville 54
Wes Washpun’s jumper as time expired gave the Panthers the win in the Missouri Valley title game and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Ben Jacobson’s team, which despite big wins over the likes of North Carolina and Iowa State began Valley play 2-6, enters the tournament having won 12 of their last 13 games. And with experienced options such as Washpun, Matt Bohannon and Jeremy Morgan, this isn’t a team to be taken lightly when the 68-team field is revealed.
No. 12 Indiana 80, No. 14 Maryland 62: Tom Crean’s Hoosiers finished the regular season in style, as they ran away from the Terrapins in the second half in Bloomington. Yogi Ferrell was once again the leader, but it was Troy Williams who led the Hoosiers with 23 points. If Williams can carry his play in the last five games into postseason play, Indiana’s going to be a tough out in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
No. 4 UNC Asheville 77, No. 2 Winthrop 68: The four-seed in the Big South tournament completed its run to the title, with Dwayne Sutton leading the way with 25 points and 18 rebounds. Three other Bulldogs scored in double figures in the win, and Winthrop went just 5-for-33 from beyond the arc. Jimmy Gavin led the way for the Eagles with a game-high 31 points. UNC Asheville has five players averaging double figures, and their “small ball” nature can make them a tough matchup in the NCAA tournament.
No. 4 FGCU 80, No. 7 Stetson 78 (OT): The Eagles are back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013, as they beat the Hatters by two in the Atlantic Sun title game. Zach Johnson’s blocked shot in the final seconds of overtime preserved the win for FGCU, and he finished the game with 19 points. Antravious Simmons produced a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, to lead the way statistically for the Eagles. There will be mentions of “Dunk City” over the next week, but Joe Dooley’s team is different from the one that captured the imagination of America three years ago.
Dwayne Sutton, UNC Asheville: 25 points and 18 rebounds in the Bulldogs’ Big South title game win over Winthrop.
Antravious Simmons, FGCU: 21 points and 12 rebounds as FGCU beat Stetson in overtime to win the Atlantic Sun tournament.
Troy Williams, Indiana: 23 points and five rebounds in the Hoosiers’ win over No. 14 Maryland. Over his last five games Williams is averaging 16.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Malcolm Hill, Illinois: His team didn’t win, losing 86-79 at Penn State in double overtime, but Hill finished with 39 points and 13 rebounds.
Winthrop: The Eagles shot just 5-for-33 from three in their 77-68 loss to UNC Asheville in the Big South title game.
Tanner Plomb, Army West Point: Plomb finished the Black Knights’ loss to Holy Cross with 11 points and nine rebounds, but he scored those points on 3-for-15 shooting.
Jordan Pickett and Marcellus Barksdale, IUPUI: Pickett and Barksdale combined to score ten points on 2-for-15 shooting in the Jaguars’ 60-45 loss to North Dakota State.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 15 Purdue closed out its regular season schedule with a 91-80 win over Wisconsin in West Lafayette. Caleb Swanigan scored 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and P.J. Thompson added a career-high 22 points as the Boilermakers grabbed the four-seed in the Big Ten tournament. Wisconsin will be the six-seed in Indianapolis.
- Cincinnati added a much-needed quality win to its résumé, beating SMU 61-54 in the Mustangs’ final game of the season. Mick Cronin’s Bearcats will be the four-seed at the American Athletic Conference tournament, where they’ll play five-seed UConn in the quarterfinals.
- The top two seeds advanced to the CAA title game, with No. 1 Hofstra edging out No. 5 William & Mary 70-67 and No. 2 UNCW holding off No. 6 Northeastern 73-70. Both winners avenged losses in last year’s semifinal round, and Monday’s title game can be seen on NBCSN at 7:00 p.m. The road team won both regular season meetings.
- The Horizon League tournament has been all chalk, and Sunday the three and four seeds advanced to the semifinal round. No. 3 Wright State took care of No. 6 Detroit 82-72, and they’ll take on No. 2 Oakland on Monday. In the other semifinal No. 1 Valparaiso will play No. 4 Green Bay, which beat No. 5 Milwaukee 70-61.
- The MAAC title game Monday night will match the conference’s top two teams, as No. 1 Monmouth and No. 2 Iona took care of business in Sunday’s semifinals. The Hawks beat No. 5 Fairfield 76-63, and the Gaels took care of No. 3 Siena (the tournament hosts) 81-70. Monmouth and Iona split their two meetings, with the road team winning both.
- No. 2 Lehigh will host the Patriot League title game, as they beat No. 6 American 78-62. The Mountain Hawks’ opponent will be No. 9 Holy Cross which won its third straight road game, 60-38 at Army West Point.
- SoCon top seed Chattanooga advanced to Monday’s title game, surviving an upset bid from No. 5 Western Carolina by the final score of 73-69. Also advancing was No. 2 ETSU, which beat No. 3 Furman 84-76 in the other semifinal.
- After the top two seeds won their quarterfinal match-ups at the Summit League tournament Saturday, the three and four seeds weren’t as fortunate Sunday. No. 3 Omaha lost to No. 6 Denver 78-70, and No. 4 IUPUI was eliminated by North Dakota State, 60-45. Monday’s semifinals will match No. 1 IPFW and NDSU, and No. 2 South Dakota State and Denver.
OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES
- Temple wrapped up the outright American Athletic Conference regular season title with a 64-56 win at Tulane. Fran Dunphy’s Owls had already locked up the top seed in the conference tournament, with SMU ineligible for postseason play.
- Also in the American, UConn avoided a bad loss by taking care of UCF 67-46 in Storrs. As mentioned above, the Huskies will take on Cincinnati in the quarterfinals.
- Brandon Taylor scored 21 points and grabbed 11 boards as Penn State beat Illinois 86-79 in overtime. The Nittany Lions will be the ten-seed in the Big Ten tournament, drawing No. 7 Ohio State in the second round. Illinois, the 12-seed, will play No. 13 Minnesota in the first round Wednesday night.
- Northwestern beat Nebraska 64-55, dropping the Huskers into the 11-seed in the Big Ten tournament. Nebraska will open play No. 14 Rutgers in the first round, while No. 9 Northwestern gets No. 8 Michigan in Thursday’s second round.