3 more conference tournaments start today. The Missouri Valley aka Arch Madness, and the slightly less mad Northeast and America East tournament. Here’s how each tourney will shape up.
America East: This should be a pretty exciting tournament, as the Harftord location is truly neutral for all of the contenders. One of Stony Brook, Vermont and Boston University should win the crown and end up dancing. The highest remaining seed hosts the championship game, and barring an upset of Stony Brook, the final will be on Long Island. Despite a capacity of only around 4,000, University Arena is one of the most electric home courts in the country. I think Stony Brook comes away as champions.
Northeast: Perhaps Wagner is a bit overrated in many circles. A December win at Pitt really put the Seahawks on the map. That game, however, was played without Tray Woodall. If they met again now, the result would most likely be much different. The real team to watch out for here is Long Island. Their junior forward Julian Boyd is 3rd in the country in Rebounds per 40 minutes. The real key will be keeping him out of foul trouble. A second round matchup with Quinnipiac could also prove tricky. Quinnipiac pulled an amazing 60 rebounds during their first meeting. I think in the end, Long Island will be too much and win the crown at home.
Missouri Valley: This is one of the few years where no Valley team is really on the bubble. Wichita State and Creighton are locks, and nobody else will be selected as an at-large. That being said, there always seems to be a team that makes a run to the finals in the Valley. Bubble teams everywhere are hoping that one of Wichita State or Creighton win this tourney, so as not to steal another bid. I personally thing a Wichita State/Creighton final would be great to watch. I have Wichita State as a 3 seed right now, and I think with a Valley championship, the Shockers may be able to make a case for a #2 seed. Against teams out of the RPI top 25, the Shockers are 23-1, with the only loss being a triple overtime defeat at Drake. Very, very impressive. I think they take the title this year.
We are in the full swing of things, and it is do or die for so many teams. This is the best time of year. March is finally here.