Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:35 pm
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What-to-know conference previews: MEAC

Savannah State didn't waste any time making its presence felt in the MEAC. The Tigers went 14-2 in the league and earned the regular-season title, meaning they're the No. 1 seed in this week's tournament and thus the favorite to earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Yes, that'll probably lead to an appearance in a play-in game and then, if the Tigers are a lucky, a 30-point loss to a No. 1 seed in the Round of 64. But it would still be a nice accomplshment for Horace Broadnax, the former Georgetown guard now in his seventh season at Savannah State.

Broadnax went 2-28 in his first season.

Now he's a few wins away from the NCAA Tournament.

Savannah State is taking a 13-game winning streak into the event.

In an unrelated note, North Carolina Central's Dominique Sutton is a name below who might register with you. He is indeed that Dominique Sutton -- the one who used to play at Kansas State. He averaged 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds this season for the Eagles.

****

Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Title game: Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN2

BEST PLAYERS  

  • Tony Gallo (Coppin State)
  • Kyle O'Quinn (Norfolk State)
  • Darrion Pellum (Hampton)
  • Dominique Sutton (North Carolina Central)
  • Jay Threat (Delaware State)

Conference RPI: 30

KenPom.com rating: 30

Sagarin rating: 30

NCAA tournament locks: None

NCAA tournament bubble teams: None

Last NCAA tournament appearances

  • Bethune-Cookman: Never
  • Coppin State: 2008
  • Delaware State: 2005
  • Florida A&M: 2007
  • Hampton: 2011
  • Howard: 1992
  • Maryland-Eastern Shore: Never
  • Morgan State: 2010
  • North Carolina A&T: 1995
  • North Carolina Central
  • Norfolk State: Never
  • Savannah State: Never
  • South Carolina State: 2003
-- Gary Parrish
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:51 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:04 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: Pac-12

It's time to examine another mid-major conference tournament here on the site. The Pac-12, formerly the Pac-10, is in its first year as a 12-team league. In making the switch from 10 to 12 programs across all sports, the conference decided to also adopt a style of play in basketball similar to a West Coast Conference or Horizon League. It's been an interesting tactic. The league's received the same amount of attention this year as many from seasons' past, but all of the talk has about about the decrepit basketball.

Larry Scott, commissioner of the league, is seen as a visionary, but taking this sort of approach is certainly next-level. Dumbing down the play to test how the Selection Committee will treat your teams despite the Big Conference label? It's a daring, inquisitive, unorthodox approach, even if eye doctors along the West Coast have had an uptick in patient treatment since November. Almost any slick college hoops fan knows that if the Pac-12 was billed as the WAC, and if it wore New Mexico State and Nevada jerseys instead of Washington and Cal ones, this would pretty certainly be a one-bid league.

Instead, we've got Washington, Cal and Arizona fans still believing they're in the conversation and should be considered in the field, or in Arizona's case, maybe just out. If Washington and Cal fail to reach the Pac-12 tournament game and both teams still wind up in the NCAAs, we're going to have one really interesting conversation after the bracket is released -- especially if teams like Drexel or VCU, Oral Roberts or Harvard are left out.

It's been a long, long time since we had a conference tournament like this, where every round's outcome is completely unpredictable and the league is probably worse off for that.

Will this be one of the last Pac-12 tournaments in L.A.? Some have discussed a move to Las Vegas. (AP)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Stanford (7) vs. Arizona State (10): I saw Stanford up close when it played at Madison Square Garden in November. The team was better then. But, and this is a theme you'll catch on to here in no time, I think the Cardinal can win this tournament. Seven seed? Bah. Might as well be a No. 2 in this bracket. The Cardinal get Arizona State -- putrid -- in the first game, then have Cal, who they just beat 75-70 Sunday afternoon. In this comedy of errors that will be the Pac-12 tournament, Stanford stands a chance because it's one of the best rebounding teams on both ends in the country, and it is No. 1 in efficiency defense. Plus, we need Andrew Zimmerman to remain on television for as long as possible.

Colorado (6) vs. Utah (11): Tad Boyle for Pac-12 Coach of the Year? I think he should get it. I spoke with Boyle last July about this team and his prospects for the upcoming season. He was cautious. There was no way he thought finishing in the top half of the league was in his future. But he managed to make it happen with a roster that most other coaches would've struggled to get 15 wins out of. Boyle got 19. And he gets Utah, a team that was once so bad this year, we were asking if any BCS conference team was rated so low. Buffaloes should advance. Should.

Washington State (8) vs. Oregon State (9): A year from now, I think Oregon State's the No. 4 seed in this tournament with a chance at an at-large bid if it gets two wins. Just a broad prediction. This year, the team faltered after getting a win over Texas and then losing by just two to Vanderbilt in November. What could have been! Now it plays Wazzu, which swept the Beavers this season. Oregon State's Jared Cunningham owes us at least one more eye-popping dunk before his season ends.

UCLA (5) vs. USC (12): How the Trojans have dodged getting mocked this year is a bit of a mystery. The team's only conference win came at home to the second-worst team, Utah, and so USC finished 1-17. I mean, DePaul is laughing at that. And now Kevin O'Neill has to coach his team against its rival to start the tournament off. Speaking of UCLA, anyone else feeling a Pac-12 championship game run for the Bruins? After that Sports Illustrated piece came out, UCLA hasn't lost, and wouldn't it be something if they ripped through the bracket here. They'd get Arizona with a win over USC Wednesday.

-- Matt Norlander
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:52 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: C-USA

Conference USA employs a one-bye system for the leagues top four teams, meaning No. 1 Memphis, No. 2 Southern Miss, No. 3 Tulsa and No. 4 Central Florida will not play until Thursday.

Memphis is clearly the league favorite -- again. The 23-8, 13-3 Tigers have dominated this conference ever since Marquette, DePaul, Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida abandoned their brethren for the Big East seven years ago. The Tigers are also the league's only team that's safely in the field even with one loss. Will Barton is not only the league's Player of the Year, he should be a Second Team All-America selection. So, yeah, Memphis is in good shape again and Josh Pastner's been getting a lot of love for the job he's done. The Tigers are feeling good and looking better.

Southern Miss? Different story. When you look at the Golden Eagles' profile, it doesn't stack up as well as it did two weeks ago. Winning at least one game is mandatory, and two would likely get USM into the NCAAs, should it lose in the C-USA final. Tulsa and Central Florida can both be spoilers here. Last season, Memphis played with urgency, knowing if it didn't win the league title, a bid was shaky. This year, that's not the case, and so will we see C-USA be a two- or even a three-bid league? If we had a scenario where Central Florida beat Southern Miss in Saturday's championship game, that would likely be the case. You've heard a lot about bid thieves coming from other brackets, but C-USA, to me, seems like the one with the greatest chance of having that happen.

The Tigers are again a No. 1 seed. If they won the league tournament, a five seed would be likely. (Getty Images)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Rice (7) vs. East Carolina (10): Arsalan Kazemi is maybe the best player in the league who doesn't wear a Memphis uniform. Rice needs him to have a huge tournament if it can reach the semis. Kazemi's only a junior, but he's also got NBA potential. Will this be his last game? East Carolina is in its second year under former Auburn head coach Jeff Lebo. The team is almost identical to the one it was last season.

Marshall (6) vs. SMU (11): Once considered a fringe bubble team (we're talking like, on Jan. 15 that this was the case) Marshall's season has been one big swing to the next. Every time the team lose one game, another follows -- it never followed up an isolated loss with a win all year long. That trend will end now, unless Marshall wins the C-USA tournament. Possible, by the way, but just a large task since the Thundering Herd doesn't force a lot of turnovers and is weak in the paint. SMU shouldn't prove to be too tough, though.

UTEP (8) vs. Houston (9): It's two 7-9 teams on Memphis' side of the bracket. One of these lambs will be done by Thursday. Tim Floyd's UTEP team enters the tournament stumbling, losers of three straight. For Houston, it's just the opposite: three straight Ws leading up to this one. The teams split the season series. Houston's defense has issues. UTEP has the advantage, but barely.

UAB (5) vs. Tulane (12):  The only reason UAB's been relevant this season is because it had a player who couldn't play thanks to a hazy grudge held by Phil Martelli. Who knows what Todd O'Brien would've brought to the Blazers, but they've managed to tread water in the league without him. Tulane's a team that's small around the rim. The Blazers aren't. UAB should cruise to this one.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:50 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: SWAC

The SWAC. All so often its the forgotten conference, because normally it performs so miserably in the NCAA tournament. Its representative is guaranteed to be a 16 seed year in and year out.

This does feel like a year where the SWAC could have a team that's not only more than pesky, but interesting and likely to miss the First Four. Yes, the league is rated as the worst by every mainstream metric, but the team on top is decent, relatively speaking. Mississippi Valley State went 17-1 in the league and is one of the fastest teams in hoops, averaging 71 possessions per game. The team is coached by Sean Woods, who played on Kentucky's championship team in 1996. Woods could've taken other jobs via Pitino, but he chose to take the scenic, longer route, and now he's running a program with little fanfare and almost zero national attention. You should read his story

MSVU is defensive-minded, and they're not such a bad offensive-rebounding team, either. That's how they'll get their Ws in the conference tournament. In fact, that's how most SWAC teams tally up wins.

If the Delta Devils don't win, you'd be wise to pick Texas Southern as the team to upset them. Texas Southern has the league's best defense, holding opponents to exactly one point per possession. It's the No. 3 seed, behind Southern, who is a good interior team. But the takeaway is, if the SWAC wants the best representation of a team with a chance to make noise, Mississippi Valley State needs to break through the league bracket this season.

Mississippi Valley State's Terrence Joyner should lead the Delta Devils to their fifth NCAA tournament. (US Presswire)

****

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday

Title game: Saturday, March 10, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)

BEST PLAYERS  

  1. Quincy Roberts, Grambling
  2. Kelsey Howard, Jackson State
  3. Savalace Townsend, Texas Southern
  4. Quinton Doggett, Southern
  5. Terrence Joyner, Mississippi Valley State

Conference RPI: 32

KenPom.com rating: 33

Sagarin rating: 33

NCAA tournament locks: None

NCAA tournament bubble teams: None

Last NCAA tournament appearances

  • Alabama A&M: 2005. Lost in the play-in game to Oakland, 79-69.
  • Alabama State: 2011. Lost in the play-in game to Tennessee-San Antonio, 70-61.
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 2010. Beat Winthrop in the play-in game, lost to Duke in the first round, 73-44.
  • Jackson State: 2007. Lost to Florida in the first round, 112-69.
  • Grambling: 0 NCAA appearances. 
  • Mississippi Valley State: 2008. Lost to UCLA in the first round, 70-29. 
  • Prairie View: 1998. Lost to Kansas in the first round, 110-52.
  • Texas Southern: 2003. Lost in the play-in game to UNC-Asheville, 92-84, in overtime. 
-- Matt Norlander
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:47 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 12:49 pm
 

What-to-know conference previews: Atlantic 10

The Atlantic 10 has a chance to be one of the more intriguing conference tournaments this week. Throughout the season, it was extremely competitive and no one team really dominated and forced its will on the rest of the league. Even the two teams that didn’t reach the tournament – Fordham and Rhode Island – pulled off wins over Saint Louis, Dayton, Massachusetts and La Salle within the conference this season. Eight of the 12 teams finished on the right side of .500 in league play.

In addition to the high level of competition in Atlantic City this week, there is also a lot on the line in terms of at-large bids. Temple is a lock, Saint Louis is in pretty good shape despite a fairly barren profile, but there are at least three other teams looking for a bid. Xavier has been up and down for the last three months, but the Musketeers are in the mix. Dayton has a strange profile, but the Flyers still have a shot, as does Saint Joseph’s.

Four teams get a bye in the quarterfinals, including a St. Bonaventure team that surprised its way to 10 conference wins. Atlantic City is always fun, but it’s going to take on some extra excitement this week. (Note: The first-round games take place at campus sites.)

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

No. 8 Massachusetts vs. No. 9 Duquesne:
Massachusetts was in the mix for a regular-season title until dropping four of its final six games to end the season. With that said, the Minutemen are difficult to play due to their extremely fast pace and aggressive defense. It will be interesting to see if Duquesne can take care of the ball; we know the Dukes like to run too.

No. 5 Saint Joseph’s vs. No. 12 Charlotte: Saint Joseph’s was making a run at an at-large bid, but the Hawks lost at home to Richmond two weeks ago, and then followed up a win over Temple with a road loss at St. Bonaventure in double overtime. Short of a trip to the title game, and Phil Martelli’s crew might be in the NIT. Charlotte has lost five of its last six games.

No. 6 Dayton vs. No. 11 George Washington: Despite getting little publicity from bracketology types, Dayton is still in the hunt for an at-large bid. The Flyers have wins over Temple, Saint Louis, Alabama, Xavier and Ole Miss, with an 8-7 record against the top 100. However, they also have four sub-100 losses. George Washington has lost nine of its last 11 heading into the tourney.

No. 7 La Salle vs. No. 10 Richmond: La Salle was one of the bigger surprises in the conference this season, getting out to a 6-2 record in the first half of the season. Losses in five of six games in February ended the Explorers’ chance at a regular-season championship, but they are very solid at both ends of the floor. Richmond has won three of four, including wins over Saint Joseph’s and Dayton.

-- Jeff Borzello

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 12:39 pm
 

Winthop Fires Randy Peele

By Jeff Goodman

Winthrop has parted ways with Randy Peele. 

Peele took over five years ago after Gregg Marshall left for Wichita State. He was 77-82 in his tenure. 

“We are certainly very appreciative of the hard work and dedication shown by Coach Peele on behalf of this university over the past nine years, first as an assistant and then as head coach of our men's basketball program,” Winthrop athletic director Tom Hickman said. 

The Eagles were 25-39 in the last two seasons and 12-20 this year. It was Winthrop's first 20-loss campaign since 1997-98. 

Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:22 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 12:24 pm
 

Brown fires head coach Jesse Agel

By Jeff Goodman

Brown has fired coach Jesse Agel. 

Agel was 39-79 in four years at the helm - including a 14-42 mark in the Ivy league. Brown was 8-23 this past season and 2-12 in league play. 

The school announced the decision on Monday afternoon. 

Agel was previously an assistant under Tom Brennan at Vermont and helped the Catamounts get to three NCAA tournaments. Associate head coach T.J. Sorrentine will take over on an interim basis. 

For a look at each of the firings and hirings so far this season, go to our "coaching changes" page.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:02 pm
 

What-to-know tourney previews: Big 12

Everyone counted Kansas out prior to the season, but the Jayhawks won yet another Big 12 regular-season title despite being painfully thin and relying heavily on National Player of the Year candidate Thomas Robinson. Now it's time to see if they can win the conference tourney as well. A number one overall seed could be at stake for Kansas if Bill Self's group can reel off three more wins. Missouri also has an outside shot at earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if the Tigers win the league tourney.

Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State are all likely locks for the Big Dance, but also could use momentum -- none more so than Scott Drew and the Bears. This was a team that was regarded as a Final Four caliber club just a month or so ago, but now everyone questions Baylor's toughness -- and that of Perry Jones III in particular. Baylor will face Kansas State in a terrific matchup on Thursday afternoon. Third-seeded Iowa State will play a Texas team that is squarely on the bubble in the nightcap.

Rick Barnes' young Longhorns are the only team that is likely playing for an NCAA tournament berth this week in Kansas City. Kansas plays the Oklahoma-Texas Texas A&M winner and Missouri gets the winner of the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech matchup.

The Big 12 tourney has intrigue because Baylor stands to still earn a two seed, and KU/Mizzou chase a No. 1 (AP)

Oklahoma (8) vs. (9) Texas A&M. The Sooners did just about what was expected of them in Lon Kruger's first season in Norman. The Aggies? Not so much. It's been a rough year for rookie A&M coach Billy Kennedy, who has dealt with personal health issues and also multiple injuries to his bestplayer, Khris Middleton.

Oklahoma State (7) vs. (10) Texas Tech. Travis Ford's team has been a disappointment. There's just no way of sugarcoating it. The Cowboys have dealt with plenty of injuries and it's still unclear whether talented freshman Le'Bryan Nash will play against the Red Raiders due to a fractured left hand. Billy Clyde Gillispie's Texas Tech team is dismal -- with just one league victory all year long.

-- Jeff Goodman
Category: NCAAB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com