Because of ESPNU, which is more or less the greatest thing ever, I actually got to watch the frantic final minutes of the Radford-UNC Ashville semifinal in the Big South. Radford hung on to earn a finals matchup with VMI, which walloped Liberty earlier in the day, and thus the first of our brackets comes into focus.
The Big South final is scheduled for Sunday. If VMI wins it, Jon (who has picked all six Big South games correctly so far) would max out with 11 points and be our Big South winner. Sal, Nino, Yohan, Ed and Greg also picked VMI and would get credit toward the prize for most champions picked correctly, but Jon would have the most total Big South points and win the first $1 prize.
If Radford wins Sunday, Chris and Steve would each have 10 points and would split the $1 prize. Mark also picked Radford, but would only have seven points because of his fondness for first-round loser Coastal Carolina.
Elsewhere on Friday, we saw first-round action in the Atlantic Sun (where Belmont nipped Mercer at the buzzer and Lipscomb walloped Campbell by 30), the Missouri Valley (where Indiana State took out a Drake team that eight people had picked to win the game and Jim had picked all the way to the final, and Wichita State took care of business against Missouri State as all 12 of us predicted) and the Northeast Conference (where the winners were the 1, 2, 3 and 5 seeds and therefore there is no need to re-seed -- Ed, Chris, Rob, Jim and Greg correctly picked all four first-round winners in the NEC).
The overall points standings, through Thursday, March 5, are as follows:
Steve Politi: 30
Sal Sabatino: 28
Chris Sabatino: 27
Jon: Graziano: 27
Greg Lester: 27
Ed Price: 27
Yohan Sengamalay: 26
Rob Biro: 25
Paul "Nino" Canino: 23
Dan Graziano: 23
Jim Graziano: 23
Mark Feinsand: 21
Today, we have a ton of action.
We have first-round games in the America East, Colonial, Metro Atlantic, Southern and West Coast Conferences (Jon and Greg, get your picks in by noon!).
We have second round-action in the Missouri Valley:
(1) Northern Iowa vs. (9) Indiana State
(2) Creighton vs. (7) Wichita State
(3) Illinois State vs. (6) Evansville
(4) Bradley vs. (5) Southern Illinois
We have second-round action in the Horizon:
(3) Cleveland State vs. (7) Illinois-Chicago
(4) Wright State vs. (5) Wisconsin-Milwaukee
We have semifinals in the Ohio Valley:
(1) UT-Martin vs. (4) Morehead State
(2) Austin Peay vs. (3) Murray State
And we have semifinals in the Atlantic Sun:
(1) Jacksonville vs. (4) Lipscomb
(2) East Tennessee State vs. (3) Belmont
Lots and lots and lots of points on the board, and if you think that's something, wait till tomorrow, when we have TWELVE tournaments in action including finals in the Big South, A-Sun and OVC.
Friday afternoon Cardinal news and notes
16 hours ago