In part five of six of the Lesser Conference Tournament Predictions and Previews, we have the Big Sky, C-USA, and the Southland Conferences. With March Madness becoming less and less likely, the NBA suspended, man this is getting scary. Wash your hands, try and not touch your face, and pray we find a cure not just for sports, but for people worldwide. Seven more days…?
The Big Sky Conference Tournament: March 11-14
As a Midwesterner who lives in New York, I would know nothing of the Big Sky if it wasn’t for Michigan drawing Montana in back-to-back March Madness’s. This time around it will be harder to make it three in a row, with Eastern Washington looking to win it this year after losing to Montana both times in 2018 and 2019.
While Eastern Washington is the #1 seed entering the tournament, they have the second-best odds (2.5-1) to win. The #2 Northern Colorado Bears are pegged at 1.7-1 favorites to win the Big Sky after finishing only one game back of the Eagles, even though they lost both games against them. For that reason and that the Eagles have championship game experience, I predict Eastern Washington to win it. Watch out for the #3 Montana Grizzlies who went 2-0 against EWU and are given 3.5-1 odds at a three-peat. Go Eagles.
The Southland Conference Tournament: March 11-14
The Southland Conference or known better as the “conference that gives us Stephen F. Austin as a 11-15 seed every March” was won again by Stephen F. Austin. Only eight of the thirteen teams get in, and the top two games get double byes, meaning the Lumberjacks only have to win two games to secure their berth.
The pick is Stephen F. Austin and if you’re picking against them, you’re crazy. After going 28-3 overall and beating freaking Duke on the road, they were a lock to win the Southland. Their three losses come at the hands of Rutgers, Alabama, and in conference foe, Texas A&M-CC. After that loss, the Lumberjacks have carried their 15-game win streak into their tournament where they’re likely to face #4 Sam Houston State, then #2 Abilene Christian in the title game where they will cruise to yet another appearance in March Madness. Go Lumberjacks.
The Conference USA Tournament: March 11-14
This year’s Conference USA Tournament is playing out similarly to last year’s where the title game already appears to be set. Last year the C-USA gave us Old Dominion who put up a good fight against Carsen Edwards and Purdue, will they be able to get another 14 seed? Probably.
In a two as opposed to three horse race conference, the C-USA is led by the North Texas Mean Green and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. They each have 1.75-1 odds to get the C- USA berth to March Madness, and after splitting the season series with the combined score being 132-133 in favor of LA Tech, it will be one closely contested game. I think that Louisiana Tech will be able to get the job done in this third matchup and clinch a March Madness game. Go Bulldogs.