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Your Championship “Week” Update: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

There are FIVE title games tonight. That’s a lot. Get your remote clicking fingers warmed up.

NCAA Basketball: Hofstra at Villanova
Hofstra and Desure Buie are looking for their first NCAA bid since 2001.
Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

It looked a little rough there in the early going for East Tennessee State, as they gave up a 13-2 run to Wofford in the middle of the first half and only led by five at the half. A 12-2 early in the second half tipped the game, though, and the Buccaneers won the Southern Conference title game in last night’s only tournament championship game.

We did not get an upset yesterday to set up today’s CAA title game. Northeastern might be the #6 seed, but they were favored over #7 Elon in their 68-60 win. They’ll face top seeded Hofstra with an NCAA bid on the line.

Same thing goes for the Summit League semifinals last night. Things got wild in the quarterfinals, but #6 North Dakota knocked off #7 Purdue Fort Wayne, while #1 North Dakota State got past #4 Oral Roberts.

The Horizon League saw top seeded Wright State go out last night, 73-56, to UIC. That’s pretty wild! The Flames had an early 11-0 run to seize control and Tarkus Ferguson had 25 points, three rebounds, and three assists to get UIC into a title game with #2 seed Northern Kentucky.

Officially, #3 Saint Mary’s taking out #2 BYU in the WCC semifinals is an upset, but it’s not exactly a surprising upset. In any case, that gives us a third Gonzaga/SMC game on the season, and that’s not terrible, especially with an NCAA bid on the line for the Gaels.

The final title game of the day comes at us out of the NEC. That one was set up with the top two seeds winning on Saturday. Robert Morris is hosting St. Francis (PA) in that one, but let’s not forget that first year D1 squad Merrimack won the league but was ineligible for the tournament.

As far as scheduling goes, you’re going to need to be quick on the remote tonight. Three of the five title games have 6pm Central starts, while the other two start at 8pm. Not too much reason to worry about missing the start of those late ones, but keeping track of which of the three on at the same time needs your attention most at any given moment might be a scramble.

In non-semifinal action yesterday, the Sun Belt went chalk, while three of the four first round games in the MAC tournament also went chalk. The lone dissenter? #12 Miami (OH), taking out #5 Buffalo, 85-79. The two teams traded big runs at the end of the first half and at the start of the second half, but it was the RedHawks pulling away late to secure the win and continue onwards.

In addition to the title games on the board for the day, we get the first day of action in the ACC, MAAC, and MEAC tournaments, as well as the return of the America East tourney. They’re in the semifinal round today, with all of the top four seeds advancing to this point.

NIT Automatic Bids

Northern Iowa (MVC)
Radford (Big South)
Wright State (Horizon League)

NCAA Tournament Automatic Bids

Belmont (OVC)
Bradley (Missouri Valley)
East Tennessee State (Southern)
Liberty (ASun)
Utah State (Mountain West)
Winthrop (Big South)

Here’s your schedule for the day, with all times Central as always.

AMERICA EAST SEMIFINALS (ESPN+)

6pm: #4 UMBC (16-16) at #1 Vermont (25-7)
6pm: #3 Hartford (17-15) at #2 Stony Brook (20-12)

ACC FIRST ROUND (ACC Network)

3:30pm: #12 Wake Forest (13-17) vs #13 Pittsburgh (15-16)
6pm: #11 Virginia Tech (16-13) vs #14 North Carolina (13-18)

CAA CHAMPIONSHIP (CBS Sports Network)

6pm: #1 Hofstra (25-8) vs #6 Northeastern (17-15)

HORIZON LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN)

6pm: #2 Northern Kentucky (22-9) vs #4 UIChicago (18-16)

MAAC FIRST ROUND (WatchESPN)

4pm: #8 Fairfield (12-19) vs #9 Manhattan (12-17)
6:30pm: #7 Iona (11-16) vs #10 Canisius (12-19)
9pm: #6 Niagara (11-20) vs #11 Marist (7-22)

MEAC FIRST ROUND (FloHoops)

5pm: #8 Delaware State (5-25) vs #9 Maryland Eastern Shore (5-26)
7:30pm: #7 South Carolina State (11-17) vs #10 Howard (3-28)

NEC CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN2)

6pm: #2 St. Francis PA (22-9) at #1 Robert Morris (19-14)

SWAC QUARTERFINALS

5:30pm: #8 Alabama A&M (8-21) at #1 Prairie View A&M (18-13)
7:30pm: #7 Alabama State (8-23) at #2 Southern (16-15)
7:30pm: #6 Grambling State (17-14) at #3 Texas Southern (15-16)
8pm: #5 Alcorn State (15-14) at #4 Jackson State (14-17)

SUMMIT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN2)

8pm: #1 North Dakota State (24-8) vs #6 North Dakota (15-17)

WEST COAST CHAMPIONSHIP (ESPN)

8pm: #1 Gonzaga (30-2) vs #3 Saint Mary’s-CA (26-7)