Something I've learned as a Northwestern fan: you don't just casually go decade upon decade without making the NCAA Tournament. 68 of 351 teams -- and similarly favorable fractions in seasons past -- go dancing every year. You have to get screwed-over twice: by yourselves, and by fate.
I don't believe in any higher power, except maybe those Greek lady-gods with the fate-strings. You know, the ones who make sure that because you did something wrong, your grandchildren's grandchildren will have lives that are horrible in incredibly ironic ways, and that every attempt those grandchildren's grandchildren take to avoid their destiny will end with them dying in an even more painful fashion than previously determined.
I also don't believe those ladies exist in the real world -- where good things happen to bad people all the time -- but I believe they exist in sports. If you don't believe me, check out yesterday's game-winner.
One of the Original Five Never-Made-The-Tourney bros, St. Francis (NY), spent most of Wednesday's game crushing Mount Saint Mary's. The Terriers were up 19 with ten minutes left. Then they were up 10 with 1:30 left. Then eight with a minute to go. I switched away from the game at some point, figuring they couldn't blow the lead.
They did. They lost, 72-71, on a buzzer-beating three by Rasheed Whack. The Terriers will not be in this year's NCAA Tournament, and we will write about them again next year.
So, the question arises: How does a team blow a 10-point lead in 1:29?
So, it's simple, really. Just completely fail to operate against a full-court press and turn the ball over three times. Also struggle like crazy at the foul line, missing four times. Cap it off with some dumb decisions -- say, an intentional foul, or a foul on a three-point shooter.
But most importantly, you lose because you have angered fate by attempting to subvert it. St. Francis lost, and their greatest sin was thinking they could win. The lady-gods hate that.
This would've won the Onions! Shoddily Filmed Buzzer Beater Of The Week award almost every week all season long.
Also, props to Mount St. Mary's coach Jamion Christian on the baby-enhanced presser:
Whack finished with 28. HE'S TIRED OF YOUR JOKES.
We are truly blessed
I got too excited to hold it for Onions!, but this happened:
I really don't have anything else to say.
We're gonna keep taking a peek around every day. You can also find more low-major results here, but I will tell you what's IMPORTANT.
Did you know there are two St. Francises? Well, if you didn't, one is located in Pennsylvania and still playing, and the other one is in Brooklyn and isn't. The sixth-seeded Red Flash busted out a 10-0 run to top third-seeded Bryant, holding the Bulldogs' leading scorer Alex Francis to seven points. Last Francis standing, y'all. Other than that, it's chalk. With Bryant and St. Francis (NY) out, no first-timers from this league in the tourney.
Army beat Bucknell by scoring nine of the game's last ten points. Two games away from that first NCAA Tournament, y'all!
But this league really seems like it's going to come down to Boston University and American, both of whom mostly romped. 91-54 win for BU over Lafayette, and American held Colgate to 15 points in the first half before a relatively close 59-50 win.
Technically, Charleston Southern beating Campbell was an upset, but we told you it would happen, so listen to us. RIP potential first-timers Presbyterian and Longwood.
We talked briefly yesterday about how there was a SCOT ON SCOT matchup between the Radford Highlanders and the Presbyterian Blue Hose, which got us wondering: why hasn't anybody picked Radford to win the NCAA Tournament? A lot of mascots are violent/strong/scary, but only Radford has one that is actually unkillable. There can only be one.
The two higher-seeded teams, Tennessee Tech and Southeast Missouri, topped SIU-Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois, earning them... the right to play higher-seeded teams that got to rest yesterday. Bummer. SIU-E won't dance for the first time.
Onions consumption guide
Wednesday got us all excited for the advent of mid-day college hoops, and then today, we have to wait until FIVE O'CLOCK for hoops. What the hell?
Anyway, three new tournaments start up today, but all of them are in the "hey, let's just get our bracket down to eight teams" mode. So we'll start off with the teams that are two games away from the tourney:
Atlantic Sun Tournament (both games on ESPN3)
I looked it up: Pacific Sun is an airline that flies to Fiji.
No. 4 East Tennessee State Buccaneers vs. No. 1 FGCU Eagles, 6:30 p.m.: FGCU easily flew past Stetson, while East Tennessee needed a miracle comeback, two overtimes and a sad mental mistake to get past Lipscomb. Advantage Eagles.
No. 3 USC Upstate Spartans vs. No. 2 Mercer Bears, 8:30 p.m.: As James Pennington noted, the Bears are the best team in the A-Sun per Kenpom, and it isn't particularly close. But if there's a matchup they don't want, it's USC Upstate: Mercer shoots a lot and well from deep, and the Spartans have one of the top 15 three-point defenses in the country per Kenpom. Mercer needed OT to beat Upstate at home and lost by 19 on the road, with Torrey Craig putting up 25 for the Spartans.
MVC Tournament (Games on ESPN3)
IT'S A LEAGUE PEOPLE CARE ABOUT! IT'S A LEAGUE PEOPLE CARE ABOUT! Arch Madness is underway.
No. 8 Drake Bulldogs vs. No. 9 Evansville Aces, 7:05 p.m.: Good news, guys! Winner gets to play Wichita State! It's been about four years, and I still find this joke I have where Drake's basketball team is just Drake, the rapper, to be extremely funny.
WCC Tournament (games are on BYUtv, which I think streams? Maybe it's only streaming?)
BYU figured it out: join a league whose tournament is in Las Vegas. Every player and coach on every other team leaves the hotel to drink, gamble, kiss near-strangers and consume caffeinated beverages, and the Cougars just chill out and do the same things they do in every city. Perfect scheme.
No. 7 Portland Pilots vs. No. 10 Loyola Marymount Lions, 9 p.m. ET: The Pilots have lofty ambitions, having beaten both Gonzaga and BYU in conference play. I am a big fan of Loyola Marymount and any team that decides to give the entirety of their responsibility of their offense to a 5'10 man, namely Anthony Ireland, but it doesn't often go well.
No. 8 Pacific vs. No. 9 Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m: I can't recommend 8-9 games at neutral sites enough, although there's very little chance anything good happens to these teams in the long run. Steve Nash and Michael Olowokandi bet $10,000 on this game. Michael Olowokandi really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really needs a win, here.
MAAC Tournament (Games on the MAAC website)
I'm a big fan of the MAAC -- a lot of fast-paced, high-scoring teams. Whoever comes out of this league is in that "wow, this team could maybe get an upset" range of teams. I do wish the league wasn't insistent people refer to the tournament, held in Springfield, Mass, as "#MAACachussetts," but that's neither here nor there.
No. 8 Rider Broncs vs. No. 9 Monmouth Hawks, 5:30 p.m.: Even matchups! These guys went to OT the one tie they played in the regular season. Rider is No. 7 in the nation in three-point percentage, and Monmouth, coached by former UNC star/awesome name haver King Rice, are a modest defensive team.
No. 7 St. Peter's Peacocks vs. No. 10 Fairfield Hawks, 7:30 p.m.: I saw one St. Peter's game this year. It ended with Desi Washington hitting a game-winning three-pointer in overtime against Seton Hall. He finished with 34 points.
Here is how the first game between Fairfield and St. Peter's ended:
Here is how the second game between Fairfield and St. Peter's ended:
St. Peter's has 13 wins. Three of them have come on Desi Washington game-winning three-pointers, and two of those were against Fairfield. He is the most clutch man in the universe, but only in the rare situations St. Peter's actually has to win, with those situations disproportionately involving Fairfield. I tip my hat to Desi Washington.
No. 6 Marist Red Foxes vs. No. 11 Niagara Purple Eagles, 9 p.m.: Let us take a moment to salute Antoine Mason, son of Anthony Mason -- no, not Anthony Mason Jr., who played for St. John's. Mason averaged 25.2 points per game this year, second in the country behind only Doug McDermott. It doesn't make much of a difference: He's very obviously the Purple Eagles' only option, and they went 3-17 this year in conference play. Of course, one of those three was against Marist.
OVC Tournament (Games on the OVC website)
We're down to the quarterfinals, meaning these teams only have one more game to play before Belmont and Murray State, the teams that actually matter, start playing. Ladder bracket!
No. 5 Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles vs. No. 4 Morehead State Eagles, 7 p.m.: Eagles vs. Golden Eagles! EAGLES VS. GOLDEN EAGLES! I'd probably side with the animal that isn't gilded and therefore can fly.
Anyway, this is your chance to get to know Chad Posthumus, the zombie who plays for Morehead State and is the best rebounder in the nation, He's third in pure rebounds with 11.3 per game, but No. 2 in offensive rebound percentage and No. 1 in defensive rebounding percentage. He's just a 6'11, 265-pound hunk of person that gets to every missed shot. He grabs 19.5 percent of his OWN team's misses -- think about that! -- and 31.5 percent of the other team's. And all this while being dead!
No. 6 SE Missouri State Redhawks vs. No. 3 Eastern Kentucky Colonels, 8 p.m.: The only game between these two ended on a three by EKU's Glenn Cosey. BTW, SE Missouri's coach is still named DICKEY NUTT, and that's still the way I'm going to end this story.