America East, NEC, and Ohio Valley Tournaments tip off

All games on ESPN3 and the Watch ESPN app.

Also helpful to check out each individual school’s radio broadcast just in case.

America East Conference

First Round, at campus sites

  1. Stony Brook vs. 8 UMBC, Maryland-Baltimore County, 7 p.m.

4. New Hampshire vs. 5 Binghamton, 7:30 p.m.

3. Vermont vs. 6 Maine, 7:30 p.m.

2. Albany vs. 7 Hartford, 7 p.m.

Semifinals on Monday, March 7

Championship game on Saturday, March 12 on ESPN2

Skinny:  Albany looks to repeat, but Stony Brook looks to finally break through similar to what the former “America’s Team” in the Dallas Cowboys did in the early years of the Super Bowl’s existence.  Dallas needed six chances to win its’ first Super Bowl, and with a 23-6 overall record (14-2 in conference play) and an overall RPI of 62, the Seawolves are hoping to ride on the shoulders of senior Jameel Warney.  He was voted by the conference coaches three times as their Player of the Year and twice has been voted Defensive Player of the Year.

Warney is one special talent, as he has already set career numbers as the school’s all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks and games played.  And no player during the past 19 seasons of college basketball has hit career milestones of 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 250 blocks, 200 assists and 100 steals.

Will he finally get his team to the Big Dance since Stony Brook has never been there before?  Stick around and find out.

Northeast Conference

All games in First Round at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Check conference website and ESPN for broadcast information.

  1. Wagner vs. 8. Robert Morris

4. St. Francis (New York) vs. Mount St. Mary’s, 9 p.m.

3. Sacred Heart vs. 6. LIU-Brooklyn

2. Farleigh Dickinson vs. 7. St. Francis (Pennsylvania)

Skinny:  None of the top four seeds have qualified for the Big Dance in the last decade.  If I was a betting man, either Fairleigh Dickinson or Wagner, led by 32 year old Head Coach Bashir Mason (second youngest coach in the college game behind Dana Ford at Tennessee State) should be dancing next week.

Semifinals on Saturday, March 5

Championship game on Tuesday, March 8 on ESPN2

Ohio Valley Conference, all games in Nashville

First Round

5. Tennessee Tech vs. 8. Austin Peay, 7 p.m.

6. Murray State vs. 7. Eastern Illinois, 9 p.m.

Quarterfinals on Thursday, March 3

5/8 winner to play against 4. Tennessee State

6/7 winner to play against 3. Morehead State

Semifinals on Friday, March 4

  1. Belmont plays the top bracket winner
  2. Tennessee-Martin plays the bottom bracket winner

Championship game on Saturday, March 5 on ESPN2

Skinny:  For many years, this was where the Murray State Racers dominated.  However, I like Belmont to repeat, since they successfully manage to eliminate their former long standing stigma as the OVC’s best kept secret.  They play a brand of basketball that is both respected and enjoyable to watch.  If there was a separate office pool on the nation’s hottest shooter, Evan Bradds would most certainly fit the bill–currently hitting on just over 70 percent of his field goal attempts.

Also, Belmont has advanced to the Big Dance in seven of the last 10 years.  Hopefully, the Bruins won’t have to go through those similar hair-raising finishes pulling victories out of the hat in both 2013 and 2015.  Tennessee State beat Belmont in their last meeting by 15 points, but that game means little this time of year.  Even though Belmont has lost four of their last eight contests, I expect them to flip on the switch and turn up the defensive pressure to another OVC title.

Tomorrow, action begins at the always entertaining Big South, MAAC, and “Arch Madness” starts up in St. Louis at the Missouri Valley Tournament.

Is this the end of the run for Wichita State?  Most experts say no, but Northern Iowa and Evansville may have something to say before they crown a champion on CBS this Sunday afternoon.






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