The last of the mid-major conference tournaments wrapped up Sunday and another interesting assortment of mid-major teams have emerged to take their places on the main stage that is the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, the seeds assigned by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, the match-ups between each team and its opponents and the sites at which the games will be played are all factors that will play significant roles in how each team fares. But as we await the Monday's announcement of the actual pairings, here are some of the teams to watch out for.
The anatomy of the biggest upset in the history of the women’s Pac-12 tournament starts in the spring of 2007 when June Daugherty was let go by the University of Washington after 11 seasons. Athletic Director Todd Turner felt Daugherty’s run had hit its plateau a few years back and he cited slipping attendance figures as the biggest reason for releasing Daugherty. So despite six NCAA appearances and a share of one Pac-10 title Daugherty was released because her program had a “lack of buzz.”
The last three mid-major conferences tournaments are due to tip off on Thursday and Friday, as the Colonial, Big Sky and Big South join the 20 others whose championship tournaments are either underway or already completed. Including the three "newcomers" a total of 15 mid-major conference tournament titles will be settled on the court this Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday, two more mid-major conferences-- the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Horizon league -- join the 12 others whose conference tournaments have already gotten underway. Still others have wrapped theirs up over the weekend as Florida Gulf Coast University (Atlantic Sun Conference) and Tennessee Martin (Ohio Valley Conference) joined the list of teams whose NCAA tournament fates are now known, thanks to winning their conferences tournament championships and with them, automatic bids to the NCAA tourney.
It was everything you could ask in a tournament title game.
Two blue-collar teams, each with solid coaching, no swagger and a ton of heart, duked it out for 50 minutes, matching each other blow for blow and taking two overtimes to decide the Big Ten Conference Tournament championship.
In the end, No. 6 seed Nebraska was edged by No. 4 seed Purdue, 74-70.
Given that -- for the first time since 1992 -- none of the North Carolina teams was playing in the final, the crowd at today's ACC Women's Basketball Tournament championship game was surprisingly large and noisy. Maryland brought along a fairly large group of fans, but most of those in attendance simply seemed to be fans of ACC basketball in general.
In today’s SEC Championship the basketball world will witness an historic match up between legendary Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt and former Lady Vol Nikki Caldwell, now the head coach at rival LSU and one of the rising young stars in women's basketball coaching.
As the league's elite make their appearances in the Big East Championship Tournament after enjoying double byes for the opening rounds, most eyes will be focused on Notre Dame, the league's regular-season champion and tournament top seed. Ranked No. 3 in both major polls, the Irish defeated national No. 4 (and tournament three-seed) Connecticut, 72-59, last Monday, stealing the regular-season Big East title from the Huskies for the first time in five years.