I love small conference D1 basketball. The stories seem endless and yet intertwine with the "big" names. The Big South Conference has locked up a three year contract with visitMyrtleBeach.com to host the tournament at Coastal Carolina's HTC Center(even though the Chanticleers play 8 miles west of Myrtle in Conway). Somewhat of a weird angle television viewing angle and I thought of Temple. Wouldn't ya know it but during the commercial I flip over to CBS and Temple was hosting VCU. The Liacouras Center has without question the worst angle for television viewing. Back to the game. The Liberty Flames who opened the season 0-8 and all the bad losses found their way in the championship game against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers, who incidentally have the nations smallest home court capacity at about 880. The game was close in the first half but Libery busted out in the second half. Liberty took its largest lead of 14, 68-54, with 5:28 left. Charleston Southern got within eight points in the waning minutes but had to foul at the end which proved boring and ineffective, leading to Liberty's third tournament championship and the 87-76 victory. Some creamy nougs:
The Flames' .429 winning percentage (15-20) is the lowest for an NCAA tournament team since Oakland (Michigan) had a 12-18 record (.400) in 2005.
Liberty opened the season with eight straight losses and had never won more than three in a row until this week.
Dale Laney, Liberty Head Coach took Colorado State to the NCAA's in 2003. Colorado State, last night set a school record 24 wins last night beating Nevada, despite depriving the Moby Arena crazies of a proper senior sendoff, which I thought was mismanaged by Eustachy. Come on Larr.
The A10, MVC, MWC, CUSA and WCC will be blogged and monitored because they're bigger than a Mid-Major but not as big as a Big 6 conference.
The Missouri Valley Conference championship game, affectionately referred to as Arch Madness saw the Creighton Bluejays, the one seed play the Wichita State Wheat Shockers two seed. Played at the Kiehl Center in St. Louis the place seemed to be rocking pregame. Brando/Raftery doing the game, even better. Wheat Shockers shut down McDermott in the 1st half but not the 2nd. The dude is alright. Even though the Bluejays went missing the final three minutes and I have NO clue why WSU left 2 timeouts in their pocket, played on to take a horrible 3 at the end of regulation, Creighton is the better team. I didn't want to see them win but am happy for them because, sigh, it is good for college basketball. Ya got the father/son dynamic, a few transfers and a legit national player of the year candidate in Doug McDermott. Also shoutout to Rutgers transfer Greg Echenique. Had a double double and got a raw deal at RU. Rosario(Florida) left too. Plus I know the Smith's, owners of MacMurphy's in Ridgewood love the kid and was happy to see him reach the NCAA's, something that you won't be doing at Rutgers anytime soon. The Wheat Shockers are funny. They play decent defense, have no real offensive go to guy even though Armstead went off for 28 but will make the tournament as an at-large. Tell you this much, it IS all matchups and "draws" but I don't wanna see the Wheat Shockers opening weekend. Raft shared with the audienece that while at LaSalle, he gave up 30something and 20something to Paul Silas. There ya go butters.
Harvard gets in again. Whop-dee-do. Good job by Amaker I guess??? I appreciate the Ivy for its tradition for not having a conferemce tournament. Only saw one game this year in the Ivy(Dartmouth at Harvard) and it was real tough. NBCsports network is simply horrible. Why doesn't the Ivy have its own channel already?
Tough loss for Mason Nation. Caddied for Coach Hewitt this past labor day and was rooting for him. Real tough loss for his bunch. I won't get into that mess.
Badgers beat Penn State at the buzzer. Take that Penn State.
Tomorrow there will be 5 conference champions crowned. Put a jersey on.