Well, time for a quick look around some of the mid major conferences
America East - Vermont (19-6, 11-1 AE) scored a big big win on the road as they knocked off Albany (18-8, 11-3 AE) 67-63 yesterday. With the win, the Catamounts swept the season series from the Great Danes (Vermont won earlier in the year 75-66) and opened a 2 game lead in the loss column. Mike Trimboli led the Catamounts with 24 points. Jamar Wilson had 21 points for the Great Danes including his 2000th career point. The huge difference in the game was Vermont getting 31 free throw attempts to Albany's three attempts. Yes, three attempts. Remember, the America East is one of the few conferences where the championship game is played at the highest seed remaining's home court (the first round thru the semifinal round will be played in Boston at Boston U's Agannis Arena. Albany has a road Bracket Buster date with Boise State Friday night on ESPNU.
Big South - Winthrop's undefeated run thru the conference continued with an easy 77-58 win over Radford. Torrell Martin had 20 points as the Eagles (21-4, 11-0 Big South) shot over 50 percent from the field including 10 of 21 from the three point arc. Winthrop's next game is their Friday night Bracket Buster feature matchup vs Missouri State on ESPN2. Winthrop has a huge road win over ODU and close losses to Maryland, UNC, and Wisconsin (their other loss was against that somewhat ok Texas A&M squad).
Colonial - While Hofstra and George Mason slugged it out on the featured televised contest Saturday afternoon on ESPN, the big game in the Colonial was Old Dominion at home taking on VCU. The Monarchs (19-7, 12-3 CAA) downed the Rams (21-5, 13-2 CAA) 79-63 as Arnaud Dahi had 19 points to lead ODU. The final score was not indicative of how close the game was. The game was tied 60 all with 3:49 left but the Monarchs outscored the Rams 19-3 the rest of the way. Most telling stats; ODU outrebounded VCU 43-26 and outshot the Rams 46 percent to 33 percent. It was the Monarchs seventh win in a row.
The last team to beat the Monarchs, Hofstra (19-7, 12-3 CAA), held on in front of a national TV audience, beating George Mason (12-11, 7-8 CAA) 68-60 as the Pride won their third game in a row against the Patriots. It was not the prettiest of games as the Pride shot only 38 percent while the Patriots only shot 34 percent. Hofstra was up 63-50 with 1:15 left before GMU rattled off a 10-1 run in the next 35 seconds on a combination of three pointers, Hofstra turnovers and missed Hofstra free throws, until the Pride scored the last four points of the game to seal the win. Antoine Agudio led the way with 23 points. Folarin Campbell led the Patriots with 14. With the win, Hofstra clinched a first round bye in the CAA tournament as did VCU, ODU and Drexel as well, so the top four bye teams in the CAA are set.
Hofstra and Old Dominion square off for second place in the CAA tomorrow night.
Missouri Valley - In a battle for first place in the MVC, #20 Southern Illinois (21-5, 12-3 MVC) geared up for its Bracket Buster showdown at #12 Butler this Saturday by knocking off Creighton (17-8, 11-4 MVC) 72-68 to gain sole possession of first place in the conference. With the win, the Salukis swept the season series from the Blue Jays (Salukis knocked off the Bluejays in Omaha 58-57 earlier this year). Matt Shaw led the way for SIU with 25 points as the Salukis shot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field, including 8 of 11 from the three point line. The Blue Jays hung in by shooting 53 percent from the field against one of the best defensive teams in the country. Dane Watts and Nate Funk each had 17 for the Jays. Creighton has a home bracket buster game vs. CAA power Drexel on Saturday night.
Missouri State (19-7, 10-5 MVC) won a huge road game over Northern Iowa (16-10, 7-8 MVC) 62-58, very possibly ending an at large berth for the Panthers. Blake Ahern led the way for the Bears with 19 points. The Panthers were led by Jared Josten with 16 points. The Panthers, who have lost six of their last seven get rewarded by playing a Road Bracket buster game vs. #10 Nevada.
Tomorrow starts the Bracket Buster previews. With three teams in the top 25 playing in the bracket busters, plus an additional five teams in the top 50 of the RPI, this promises to be the best Bracket Buster weekend ever.