Excitement from early rounds of conference tournament action
The madness begins well before the NCAA Tournament kicks off as the individual conference matchups are underway. With multiple leagues starting their tournaments this week, we get to breakdown the early upsets in bracket play.
Oregon State is no longer a team that will just squeak into the tournament, but a dangerous double-digit seed that no one wants to see in the first round. The Beavers have now won five straight, three times against ranked opponents (Oregon x2, UCLA), which solidifies their spot in the field.
More from NCAA
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, April 6: Stanford defeats Arizona in a tightly contested matchup to win the national title
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 30: UConn and Baylor deliver a classic battle of storied programs
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 26: Louisville and Texas A&M survive and advance
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 23: Highlights from the first round of the NCAA Tournament
- Your Day in Women’s Basketball, March 16: Tournament bracket released
Oregon, on the other hand, has lost 5 of their last 6 games and exits the Pac 12 tournament earlier than expected. The Ducks will fall to a shockingly low seed after the pre-season expectations for the team. Could this mean they have upset potential toward a Sweet 16 run? Maybe, but they need to right the ship soon.
The top three seeds of Stanford, UCLA and Arizona all won comfortably to set up exciting semifinal matchups.
With a top player in the country in Chelsea Dungee and a cast of fantastic role players, I was all aboard the Arkansas train after winning eight of their last nine, including UConn’s lone loss of the season. Naturally, that was a perfect scenario for the Razorbacks to be caught off guard, as Ole Miss knocked them out of the SEC tournament. Arkansas will be a difficult team to seed with their marquee wins but inexplicable losses.
With Mississippi State losing to LSU in the 8/9 matchup, the Bulldogs will have to hope that their NET rating can save them from an unimpressive resume of wins, with my guess being they fall out of the tourney for good with no more chances to prove themselves.
The Next’s Russell Steinberg had Notre Dame on the bubble heading into ACC tournament play. After their fourth quarter collapse against Clemson, they are unfortunately no longer on the bubble. The Fighting Irish came into the game as the 6-seed, but have had trouble with the 11-seeded Tigers all season, and Clemson effectively ended their season barring the committee throwing out the NET. Clemson looks to further a Cinderella run against Georgia Tech tonight.
Regular Season Finales
Some conferences are still finishing up their regular conference play as they tune up for tournament play. #8 Maryland demolished #12 Michigan, solidifying their 2-seed unless the Terrapins get upset during the Big 10 tourney.
Over in the American Athletic Conference, UCF upset #15 South Florida. It was the second of back-to-back games for the two teams, with South Florida winning the first. Both teams will be looking to meet for a third time, as they are the 1 and 2 seeds in the AAC tournament next week.