Three more tickets punched with three close-shave finishes

Congratulations to Delaware, Manhattan, and Wofford for reaching the Big Dance on Monday night.

Each school had to survive a last-second shot that would have forced overtime in the MAAC and Southern Conferences, or would have given the CAA crown to William & Mary for the very first time.  The 75-74 final in Baltimore was a thrilling game, to say the least.

As it is, Delaware is going for the first time (fifth overall) since 1995, Manhattan for the first time since 2004 (seventh trip overall), and Wofford for the third time in program history (the others coming in 2010 and 2011) since joining Division I in 1995-96.

In the other conference tournaments:

WCC, Gonzaga blew out St. Mary’s and awaits the winner of the late game between BYU and San Francisco.

MAC, all higher seeds won–but Northern Illinois needed overtime to skate by Bowling Green, which forced overtime with a game-tying three point shot with 1.3 seconds left.

MEAC (with no real conference site to speak of?), the higher seeds both won with ease.

Summit League ($4.95 for limited time access, what is that?) had North Dakota State making mincemeat out of Denver 83-48 and the IPFW Matadons got revenge after losing 9 of their last 11 encounters with the Jackrabbits and survive the third seed in South Dakota State 64-60 and a mostly hostile crowd of 6,769 fans.  IPFW achieved a school record 24th win against 9 losses.

Joel Embiid back injury could hurt Kansas in the long run

The Kansas center went to see a back specialist in Los Angeles stemming from a back injury that he suffered during the Oklahoma State loss on March 1.  He will be out starting the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City and most of the NCAA Tournament.  Head Coach Bill Self hopes to have him back if Kansas reaches the Final Four if the Jayhawks make it that far.  But what a blow this could be, similar to 1993 when Cincinnati was a stone cold, lead pipe lock as a number 1 seed before Kenyon Martin injured himself in the old Conference USA Tournament.  The Bearcats did not receive the number 1 seed and subsequently lost in the first weekend at the Big Dance.

Tuesday will have a few more automatic bids in the West Coast Conference, along with the Summit League as mentioned above.  There will also be an automatic bid handed out in the Horizon League, as the fifth seed in Wisconsin-Milwaukee will take on the third seed of Wright State on the campus of Wisconsin-Green Bay.  The fourth and final bid up for grabs on Tuesday will be in the Northeast Conference, as top seed Robert Morris will square off against the 4 seed Mount St. Mary’s who upset Wagner on the road on March 8 the day after their miracle comeback victory over St. Francis of New York.

Other tournaments starting up include the SWAC (please pay attention to the first article I posted on March 1 concerning who might get the automatic bid there) and the newly realigned Conference USA.  Again, please check the Clip/Print and Save blog for all of the key details on tip times and where you can find the games online.

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