Thursday, March 12, 2009
Behind The Scoreboard
March Madness is becoming downright frightful for some NCAA hopefuls trying to avoid elimination prior to next Sunday’s final selection process.
Some feel as if they have been transported back in time and have somehow become a part of the cast in “Nightmare On Elm Street.” Then there are those trying just as hard not to make the “bubble team” list during this last week. The list contains those teams whose futures have been placed in “playoff limbo.”
If you recall last week’s column, it was reported just how fickle the “rating gods” can be during this period of the season. Connecticut had been number one before being replaced by Pittsburgh. Well, Pittsburgh, which had been relegated to number four, got a favorable swing of the pendulum and the Panthers are back at numero uno. This happened on Saturday in a basketball showdown of Big East powers. When the chaff was swept aside, UConn had fallen 70-60 to the Panthers, who are back in control. This flip-flopping just might not be over. The Big East Conference tournament runs from March 10-14 in New York. It is not a far stretch to imagine that these two will meet again.
As of Sunday night, there was a possibility that five more teams could have locked up an automatic invitation to the “Big Dance.” One team was already in on Friday. Cornell was the first team selected because the Ivy League does not have a season-ending tournament. The program winning out in the regular season receives the ticket.
It was affirmed that two more teams had gotten their invite on Saturday evening. The Atlantic Sun Conference’s representative is East Tennessee University and Radford (Radford?) of the Big South. The Missouri Valley (formerly the Gateway Athletic Conference) wrapped up its tourney on Saturday as did the Mid-Eastern Athletic. The Ohio Valley Conference was supposed to wrap up on Sunday. The teams vying for the championship were Moorhead State and Austin Peay. I’m not showing bias, but don’t expect any of these early arrivals to make the number one list.
The SEC Tournament will be staged in Tampa, Fla., March 12-15. The C-USA will be held in our own backyard (FedEx Forum), March 11-14. There was much drama in the former over the weekend, not to see who would be number one but who would be number three. Can you believe it?
All eyes were on the contest between Alabama and Tennessee. There was bedlam in the building when the Tide threw up the buzzer beater and upset the Vols. The number one seeds in the divisions are Vols in the East and Tigers (LSU) in the West. Keep in mind that “it ain’t over until it’s over.” The bid (automatic) to the “Big Dance” will come after the SEC Tournament.
So there is more drama left.
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