It's A Bay Area Monday

By Jeff Lippman - March 10, 2008

Eight teams are already firmly ensconced in the field of 64. Monday, that total rises to 11 as three more conferences play their championship games.

The Atlantic 10, Southern and Pac-10 are all down to their final two participants, while the Big East is a final four that fails to include one team that played in last year's actual Final Four in Cleveland.

Two conferences, the Sun Belt and the Summit League, are in their semifinals as well and two others, the Horizon and the Mid-American, will be completing just their opening rounds.

Here is all of Monday's action:

Pac-10 Championship

Our analyst West of the Mississippi, Lara Boyko, is in San Jose to blog what is sure to be the game of the day on Monday.

This entire Pac-10 season, the league's title never really left the Bay Area, as the two seed, Cal, and the top seed, Stanford, were far and away the class of the league.

While only three teams will most likely make the Big Dance out of the league (Arizona State being the other), the Pac-10's elite, the Cardinal and Bears, are two of the nation's top teams and both will earn seedings inside the top three.

With that said, Stanford has owned the Bears this season. Of Cal's three conference losses, two came at the hands of Candice Wiggins and their biggest rival.

I'll let Miss Boyko preview this one for you, but I will say this: Wiggins will show, once again, that she is the most dominating force the Pac-10 has to offer. The Bears' stars are all juniors, they have another year to shine. Wiggins is in her last and she is hungry for another Pac-10 title.

This is the last season the Pac-10 Tournament will be played in the Bay Area, so Cal and Stanford will definitely send it out in style.

Atlantic 10 Championship

The A-10 is an interesting conference, with four possible tournament teams. George Washington was the class of the league all season, spending it ranked inside the AP Top 25, but it was top-seeded Temple who earned the tie-breaker and took the conference's top spot.

The Colonials were tripped up by the No. 3 Musketeers in yesterday's semifinal matchup, but should still receive a four seed in the Big Dance, while No. 1 Temple handled No. 5 Dayton in their semifinal.

The Owls are a tournament team as well at 21-11, but a win today over Xavier - a tourney team in their own right at 23-8 - would significantly better their seeding.

Southern Championship

Unfortunately for Western Carolina, 25 wins probably won't be enough to gain at-large acceptance into the field of 64. So they must defeat No. 1 Chattanooga in today's final to reach their ultimate goal.

At 28-3 and undefeated in conference play, the Mocs are probably a lock for the Big Dance, meaning a loss today would severely screw another bubble team's chances. Chattanooga has simply been crushing people, however, and I don't see their reign of terror atop the Southern standings to end today.

Big East Semifinals
No. 5 Pittsburgh vs. No. 1 Connecticut (6 p.m.)
No. 7 Louisville vs. No. 3 West Virginia (8 p.m.)

Don't see Rutgers in that grouping? That's because the Scarlet Knights bit the big one yesterday against the Cardinals of Louisville.

All four of these teams are making the NCAA Tournament, but I've got a secret for you. Whichever team wins that Louisville-West Virginia game will significantly improve their seeding, but earn the right to be crushed in the finals on Tuesday against UConn.

For Pitt, it was a nice run, but this is the end of the road. See you in the NCAAs, you aren't beating the Huskies. Connecticut will not pull a Rutgers today.

Sun Belt Semifinals
No. 1 Western Kentucky vs. No. 4 Arkansas State (12:30 p.m.)
No. 2 UALR vs. No. 3 Middle Tennessee (3 p.m.)

Five teams from the Sun Belt have 20-win seasons going this year, but only one team will make the NCAA Tournament. This is Western Kentucky's tourney to lose and I am going out on a limb when I predict that Tuesday's final will be the Hilltoppers vs. Middle Tennessee State.

Summit Semifinals
No. 1 Oakland vs. No. 4 Oral Roberts (1 p.m.)
No. 7 UMKC vs. No. 3 IUPUI (3:30 p.m.)

Mid-American First Round
No. 4 Buffalo vs. West No. 5 Toledo (noon)
No. 4 Northern Illinois vs. East No. 5 Kent State (2:30 p.m.)

This tournament is confusingly broken into East and West regions. Let me just say this, only one team from this conference is making the Big Dance, and it is going to be Bowling Green.

Horizon First Round
No. 8 UIC vs. No. 9 Loyola
No. 7 Youngstown State vs. No. 10 Detroit

The big girls of the Horizon League don't get started play until Wednesday.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:14 PM on March 10, 2008
Comments (1)


nice work, brother

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