Previewing the First Two Days of Conference Tournaments

3 Mar

Conference tournaments are now upon us.  Here is a quick primer of what is on tap over the next couple of days.

Monday March 3

Patriot League-Opening Round

#7 Colgate (12-17, 6-12) vs. #10 Navy (9-20, 4-14) 7pm

The winner of this tilt gets to travel to #2 American for the quarterfinals.  The two teams split the season series each winning at home. Colgate dominated in a 63-41 win while Navy exacted some revenge 71-61 on Feb. 15.  Both teams are led by forwards; Colgate’s Murphy Burnatowski averages 14.5 points and 4.3 rebounds.  He likes to play on the perimeter with nearly half his field goal attempts coming from behind the line.  Navy’s Worth Smith leads his team in scoring and rebounding at 11.9 and 5.5 respectively.

#8 Loyola Maryland (11-18, 6-12) vs. #9 Lafayette (10-19, 6-12) 7:30pm

The winner of this game plays top-seeded Boston University in the quarterfinals.  Like the other match up, these teams split the season series, each winning at home.  Both of these teams have guards that lead them in both scoring and rebounding.  Lafayette’s Seth Hinrichs is a 6-7 shooting guard who averages 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds.   He isn’t a volume shooter but is very efficient shooting over 48% from the field.  For the Greyhounds of Loyola Maryland 6-3 Dylon Cormier is there go-to guy.  He nets 21.2 points and 5.8 rebounds leading coach G.G. Smith’s squad.

March 4

Atlantic Sun-Quarterfinals

All four match ups are at 7pm and are hosted by the higher seed.

#2 Mercer (23-8, 14-4) vs. # Jacksonville (12-17, 8-10)

Ironically Mercer began and ended its Atlantic Sun season by playing the Dolphins and winning both games handily by an average of 25.5 points.  Senior point guard Langston Hall leads the team with 14.9 points and 5.5 assists while over have his shot attempts come from behind the arc.  Jacksonville, who can score, averaging 75.4 points per game have a hard time defending giving up 79.7 points.  For the Dolphins to have a chance they need a big game from Jarvis Haywood who averages a team-leading 16.6 points per game.

#1 Florida Gulf Coast (20-11, 14-4) vs. #8 Stetson (7-23, 5-13)

The darlings of last season’s NCAA Tournament are back as the A-Sun’s top seed and Dunk City is looking to repeat.  The Eagles swept both games from Stetson and return many of the names from last season.  Senior Chase Fieler and his 13.8 points and 7.4 rebounds is helped by three juniors; Bernard Thompson, Eric McKnight and Brett Comer who add 36.5 points, 12.2 rebounds and 7.1 assists.   On the other end of the floor the Hatters are balanced with 10 guys averaging double-figure minutes but just senior forward Willie Green is in double figures in points with 13.6

#3 South Carolina-Upstate (18-13, 11-7) vs. #6 North Florida (16-15, 10-8)

The Spartans won both games over North Florida with a pair of 11-point wins.  They are led by reigning conference Player of the Year senior Torrey Craig he averages 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists.  This year Craig has a little more help than in years past with senior Ricardo Glenn (13.2 pts, 8.0 rebs) and junior Ty Greene (14.6 pts, 3.0 rebs, 3.6 asts) having great seasons.  The Ospreys are led by a senior Travis Wallace who scores 12.3 points and grabs 7.4 rebounds and a freshman guard Dallas Moore who leads the team in scoring at 12.5 per game.

#4 East Tennessee State (17-14, 10-8) vs. #5 Lipscomb (15-14, 10-8)

As is to be expected in a 4/5 match up each team won close games at home.  Lipscomb won 82-80 and ETSU earned a 96-88 victory.  For a team that is top-50 in the nation in scoring they are balanced with five players in double figures led by Rahawn Rembert’s 16.8 and another at 9.2.  The Bison of Lipscomb are led by junior brothers Martin and Malcolm Smith who pour in 29.1 points between them and sophomore guard J.C. Hampton adds 14.7 points.

Horizon League-First Round (Hosted by higher seeds)

#5 Milwaukee (17-13, 7-9) vs. #8 Detroit (13-18, 6-10) 7pm

The teams split the season series with each team earning a road win.  Detroit won at Milwaukee by 19 then the Panthers returned the favor by winning by six at Detroit.  6-9 senior forward Kyle Kelm is a key guy for Milwaukee as he is 2nd on the team in both scoring (12.4) and rebounding (5.1) with fellow senior Aaron Jordan leading the team in scoring at 14.2 points.  The Titans are led by a pair of forwards. A familiar name, Juwan Howard, Jr. leads the team with 18.2 points and grabs 5.5 rebounds per game and Evan Bruinsma is 2nd with 12.5 points and leads the team in rebounding at 7.7.

#4 Valparaiso (17-14, 9-7) vs. #9 Illinois-Chicago (6-24, 1-15) 8:05pm

Valparaiso handled UIC easily during the season by sweeping the series by nearly 20 points per game.  The Crusaders are led by senior Lavonte Dority and his 16.2 points per game.  The only other player in double figures for Bryce Drew’s team is freshman Alec Peters who pours in 12 a contest.  Purdue transfer Kelsey Barlow is the player to watch for Detroit.  The senior leads the team in points (14.9) and assists (4.0).

#6 Oakland (12-19, 7-9) vs. #7 Youngstown State (15-16, 6-10) 7pm

The winner of this game will play #3 Wright State in the 2nd round.  The Golden Grizzlies swept Youngstown State and has the NCAA’s all-time leader in three-point field goals and attempts, senior Travis Bader.  Bader leads the team with 20.1 points and junior center Corey Petros averages 13.4 points and 8.2 rebounds.  The Penguins average over 76 points per game led by senior guard Kendrick Perry and his 20.9 points.  The diminutive 6-0 guard also dishes out 4.3 assists and his 4.2 rebounds is just outside the team’s top two.




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