Guys, you’re never going to believe this.
On Wednesday, The Rutgers Invitational (aka the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament) kicked off with Rutgers starting off as the 14th and worst team in the Big Ten this season. The Scarlet Knights defeated Minnesota in the first round, 65-54.
The door is officially open to Rutgers going from dead last in the regular season to an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. I am 100% on board for this insanity.
By the way, you’re never going to believe this, but attendance for The Rutgers Invitational sucked.
Tipoff. Wonder if Jim Delany can find a seat. B1G pic.twitter.com/PNQcxA00vD— Lee Barfknecht (@leebeeowh) February 28, 2018
When you really wanna go see Rutgers-Minnesota but none of your friends will pay for tickets pic.twitter.com/rbgQgTiIDe— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) March 1, 2018
Now, the Big Ten will try to claim that this was a success because of the all-session tickets that were sold, resulting in this being the announced attendance:
The Wednesday session attendance for the 2018 Big Ten Tournament at Madison Square Garden was listed at 14,681.— Jeff Rabjohns (@JeffRabjohns) March 1, 2018
So: yay money for the B1G, but they had to take allllll of the jokes to get there.
We got two more upsets in the NEC quarterfinals yesterday as the #2 seed and #3 seeds were knocked out by losing on their home courts. Mount St. Mary’s was the #2 seed, so that’s a teensy tiny bummer for Marquette’s RPI. On the flip side, a minor upset in the OVC tournament benefits MU, as #7 seed Eastern Illinois pulled a 73-71 stunner over #6 seed Tennessee State.
Today, we return to action in the Atlantic Sun, Big South, and Patriot League. We also get continuing action out of the Ohio Valley and The Rutgers Invitational. Thanks to the Big South and The Rutgers Invitational, we get DAYTIME BASKETBALL today, and perhaps even more importantly, their start times are staggered. Things really get wild this evening as the MAAC and the Missouri Valley tournaments get underway.
ATLANTIC SUN SEMIFINALS (WatchESPN)
6pm: #5 North Florida at #1 Florida Gulf Coast
7pm: #3 Jacksonville at #2 Lipscomb
BIG SOUTH QUARTERFINALS (WatchESPN)
Noon: #2 Radford vs #10 Longwood
2:30pm: #3 Winthrop vs #6 Gardner-Webb
6pm: #1 UNC-Asheville vs #8 Charleston Southern
8:30pm: #4 Campbell vs #5 Liberty
THE RUTGERS INVITATIONAL SECOND ROUND (Big Ten Network)
11am: #8 Maryland vs #9 Wisconsin
1:30pm: #5 Michigan vs #12 Iowa
5:30pm: #7 Penn State vs #10 Northwestern
8pm: #6 Indiana vs #14 Rutgers
MAAC FIRST ROUND (WatchESPN)
4pm: #8 Monmouth vs #9 Saint Peter’s
6:30pm: #7 Quinnipiac vs #10 Siena
9pm: #6 Fairfield vs #11 Marist
MISSOURI VALLEY FIRST ROUND (Watch ESPN & Fox Sports Go)
6pm: #8 Evansville vs #9 Northern Iowa
8:30pm: #7 Missouri State vs #10 Valparaiso
OHIO VALLEY QUARTERFINALS (OVC Digital Network)
6:30pm: #4 Jacksonville State vs #5 Tennessee Tech
9pm: #3 Austin Peay vs #7 Eastern Illinois
PATRIOT LEAGUE QUARTERFINALS (Patriot League Network/Stadium)
6pm: #8 Loyola-Maryland at #1 Bucknell
6pm: #5 Boston University at #4 Lehigh
6pm: #7 Lafayette at #2 Colgate
6pm: #6 Holy Cross at #3 Navy