IT’S MARCH! Arguably the greatest month in sports, I would say it is, March is home to the greatest playoffs in any sport, March Madness. However, the teaser for March Madness is the conference tournaments. The big conferences start their tournaments next week but the teams that need the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament play this week. All that being said here’s a quick preview and prediction for the “lesser” conference tournaments that will/have started this week.
The Big South Tournament: March 3-8
Arguably one of the most irrelevant tournaments to those without a vested interest in the conference as the champion of the Big South is almost always a 16 seed, it’s still fun to watch the emotion of the kids making the tournament.
Radford and Winthrop come in as the clear favorites and the top and second seeds respectively so they will meet in the final in all likelihood. A team with a strangely low value is Gardner-Webb who is currently given 11-1 odds to win the tournament even though they’re the three seed. Radford is 10-18 and Winthrop is 10-15 to win the tournament. I would predict Winthrop to win the chance to get throttled by a number one seed in March. Go Eagles.
The Horizon League Tournament: March 3-10
I would say I have a bit more knowledge for this league as University of Detroit Mercy is in the league and with some of my good friends attending the school, I find myself following their games. Due to academic issues, UDM is actually banned from the tournament.
Wright State comes in as the favorite currently given 10-15 odds to win the tournament after winning the regular season title. It’s going to be hard to see them losing this tournament as they only have to play two games, with one being the final vs. Northern Kentucky in all likelihood. The Northern Kentucky Norse (2.3-1 to win tournament) lost both games to the Raiders of Wright State which makes me nervous, yet I will say that Wright State will win the third match up of the two teams. Go Raiders.
The Atlantic Sun Tournament: March 3-8
One of the tournaments where the home team hosts every game, homecourt advantage and winning the regular season title gives a huge leg up to the one seed, the Liberty Flames.
Given 1-3.5 odds, they are the undisputed best team coming into the tournament and could maybe even make the tournament without a win. It won’t matter though because they will win no matter what. The challengers, North Florida (3-1 to win tournament), and Lipscomb (22-1 to win tournament), pose almost no threat to the favored Flames who look to finish the season undefeated at home. Sorry to be boring and pick another favorite, but come on, they’re far and away the best team. Go Flames.