More than 10% of Division 1 teams have now been eliminated from national championship contention as a further 11 teams saw their hopes evaporate yesterday. Four tournaments were in action and we saw a little bit of clarity in the MAC race as well as America East field get set.
Tuesday, February 27
We start our tour of Tuesday’s eliminations in the MAC.
Western Michigan entered Tuesday needing a win and a lot of help. Instead they lost at home 62-77 leaving them three games behind the MAC cutline with 1 to play. At 4-23 (3-14), the Broncos have no hope of an at-large bid. At least first year head coach Dwayne Stephens didn’t lose to a D2 school like last year’s squad did. Western Michigan’s tournament drought reaches 9 years. They’ll play their final game of the season on Friday.
The rest of the MAC teams facing elimination on Tuesday (Miami OH, Central Michigan, and Bowling Green) needed to either win or see Bowling Green defeat Eastern Michigan. Miami beat Western Michigan putting their fate in their own hands on Friday. Central Michigan lost, but a Bowling Green win over Eastern Michigan keeps Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, and Miami all in the conversation for the last spot in the MAC tournament field.
In the America East conference, Albany needed a win over Vermont and a NJIT loss. While NJIT lost a close one to New Hampshire 58-59, Albany was unable to fulfill their half of the bargain and fell to Vermont 61-79. The loss drops the Great Danes record to just 6-23 (3-13). They finish in 9th place in the America East and outside of the top 8 positions which participate in the conference tournament. This marks the 9th season in a row that Albany has failed to reach the NCAA tournament.
Conference tournament play yesterday included the opening rounds of the Sun Belt, Patriot, and Horizon in addition to the quarterfinals of the ASUN.
No surprises in the Horizon as the Green Bay Phoenix were crushed 57-77 by Wright State. Down 8 at the half, Green Bay never really challenged Wright State for the lead in the 2nd. Green Bay’s record drops to 3-29 (2-18) and they find themselves in search of a new coach as Will Ryan has already been let go.
IUPUI didn’t roll over. Down 14 at the half, the Jaguars scored 44 points in the second half and tied the game at 64 all with 10 seconds to go. The comeback was all for not though as Robert Morris hit a three pointer with 2 seconds left to win the game and eliminate IUPUI. The Jaguars record against D1 teams falls to 3-27 (2-18).
Purdue Fort Wayne has sacrificed themselves at the altar of Antoine Davis’s record seeking. The 20 point performance of senior Bobby Planutis was not enough as the Mastodons fell to Detroit Mercy 68-81. Detroit Mercy star Antoine Davis scored 38 against them and put himself in decent position to surpass Pistol Pete’s all time scoring record in his next game. Purdue Fort Wayne’s record moves to 15-15. With a NET ranking greater than 200 though, they don’t have a realistic chance of an at-large bid. The Mastodons will remain in the never made the tournament club at least one more year.
Bucknell entered the Patriot tournament as the 10 seed. Down just one point with a minute to go Bucknell was unable to pull off the upset against American and lost 59-64. The Bison’s record stands at 11-20 (5-13). They last made the NCAA tournament in 2018.
The classic 8/9 matchup in the Patriot tournament featured Holy Cross v. Loyola MD. Holy Cross never led in this game, but cut it to within one possession several times late in the game before losing 69-73. The Crusaders finish their season at 8-22 (7-11). They are our first former NCAA tournament champion (1947) to be eliminated and have not made the tournament since 2016.
The ASUN tournament saw both of its ineligible teams lose in the quarterfinals as Queens and Bellarmine fell to Kennesaw State and Liberty.
North Alabama was eliminated in a blowout 48-73 loss to Eastern Kentucky. This game got off to a lopsided 2-14 start and North Alabama was never in it. At 16-14 (10-8), the Lions have a NET ranking in the 200s. As a result, they will not be receiving an at-large bid. This marked the first year North Alabama was eligible to compete in the NCAA postseason.
It is with great regret that I have to inform you that the Stetson Hatters also fell in the quarterfinals of the ASUN tournament. In a 70-83 loss to Lipscomb, the owners of one of the best team names in college athletics have continued their tournament-less history. Stetson sits at 15-13 (12-6) but a NET ranking of 150. Sophomore Jalen Blackmon (younger brother of former Hoosier James) did his best to stave off the upset with a 33 point game. Hopefully Jalen can lead the Hatters to their first tournament appearance next season.
In the Sun Belt, Coastal Carolina dropped their 1st round game to Arkansas State 69-86. The Chanticleers record goes to 7-20 (5-13). Their tournament drought reaches 8 seasons.
In the other 1st round game, Georgia State fell to Texas State 76-81. The Panthers first year head coach Jonas Hayes has taken them from an NCAA tournament bid to last place in the conference and a 1st round Sun Belt loss. Georgia State sits at 7-21 (5-13).
Teams eliminated Tuesday, February 28:
- Western Michigan Broncos
- Albany Great Danes
- Green Bay Phoenix
- IUPUI Jaguars
- Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons
- Bucknell Bison
- Holy Cross Crusaders
- North Alabama Lions
- Stetson Hatters
- Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
- Georgia State Panthers
That brings the numbers to...
Number of Teams Eligible for Auto Bids - 325 (89.53%)
Number of Teams Eliminated - 38 (10.47%)
Number of Teams Eliminated since Yesterday - 11 (3.03%)
Teams Under Consideration for At Large Bids Only - 0
The day ahead
Ohio Valley Round 1 - games at 730/10PM Eastern
Win or be eliminated mode
#5 Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (13-16, 10-8) v. #8 Lindenwood Lions (8-20, 6-12, ineligible)
#6 SIU-Edwardsville Cougars (15-13, 9-9) v. #7 Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles (13-15, 9-9, ineligible)
Big South Round 1 - games at 6/8PM Eastern
Win or be eliminated mode
#8 High Point Panthers (12-16, 6-12) v. #9 Charleston Southern Buccaneers (7-20, 5-13)
#7 Campbell Camels (11-17, 8-10) v. #10 Presbyterian Blue Hose (3-26, 1-17)
Northeast Round 1 - all games at 7PM Eastern
Win or be eliminated mode
#8 Long Island Sharks (1-25, 1-15) v. #1 Merrimack Warriors (13-16, 12-4, ineligible)
#2 Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (15-14, 10-6) v. #7 St. Francis NY Terriers (12-15, 7-9)
#3 St. Francis PA Red Flash (10-17, 9-7) v. #6 Central Connecticut Blue Devils (10-21, 7-9)
#4 Sacred Heart Pioneers (14-16, 8-8) v. Wagner Seahawks (13-12, 8-8)
The Southland Conference takes only the top 8 of their 10 teams into their conference tournament. Incarnate Word currently holds a 1 game lead over both Lamar and McNeese State as play wraps up tonight. Since the three all split their season series against each other, tiebreakers get messy.
If Incarnate Word wins, they advance while Lamar and McNeese State are eliminated. Although they can still advance with a loss, it requires at least one of the other two teams in the running to lose in addition to help elsewhere.
If Incarnate Word loses, Lamar can advance with a win and a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi win as they would be the only team of the three with a win over the 1st place team. This is the only scenario in which Lamar can advance as they lose all other tiebreakers.
McNeese State can advance with an Incarnate Word loss, a McNeese State win, and EITHER a Lamar loss + a Southeast Louisiana win OR a Lamar win + a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi loss.
Other conference races
SWAC play resumes Thursday. Two teams still need to be eliminated.
MAC play finishes on Friday. Three teams still need to be eliminated.
Ivy League play wraps up on Saturday. One team still needs to be eliminated.
I’ll cover each of these races on the day that they resume play.
How many teams get eliminated today?
This poll is closed
8 SEMO, SIUE, and LUI all advance
11 - Southern Indiana, Merrimack, and Lindenwood all advance