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Never-Made-the-NCAA-Tournament Club, March 9

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The rare Bethune-Cookman-Northern Colorado photo.
The rare Bethune-Cookman-Northern Colorado photo.

Because the higher powers of basketball dislike me and desire that I write as much as possible about  conference tournament action featuring historically unsuccessful college basketball teams, all three of our boys in action yesterday went hard and got their W's: Northern Colorado advanced to their conference finals (and didn't take an NIT bid from NU, as nine other schools have), but the game of the day was obviously Maryland-Eastern Shore's double overtime victory over Florida A&M. Hillary Haley, who is a dude, got his clutch on and hit a three to send the game into double overtime, and finished with 17 and 10.

That means mucho action today, including Northern Colorado's attempt at breaking out of the club, plus no bros to eulogize!

 

2 p.m., MEAC tournament: No. 11 Howard Bison (6-23, 4-12, kenpom ranking 339) vs. No. 6 Norfolk State Spartans (10-19, 8-8, kenpom ranking 296)

Our squad: Norfolk State

One of two no-tourney Spartans to take the court for the first time in their conference tournament at 2 p.m. central today. That's pretty specific.

Norfolk State's chances of winning today: 78.6 percent.

Norfolk State's chances of winning the conference tourney: 4.8 percent.

Something Norfolk State has going for them: Howard is awful. There are 345 teams in college basketball. Kenpom has them as the 339th best. At one point in the season, they lost 18 of 19. Norfolk State also swept the season series.

Something Norfolk State distinctly does not have going for them: They're not great either, boasting an 11-game losing streak of their own.

Reason to irrationally hate Howard: "Howard Bison" would be a really cool name. Also, the feeling that I can't actually say anything about Howard like I do about other schools because I get the feeling it could be misconstrued as racist because its the most prominent HBCU in the country. Jerks.

 

 

6 p.m., MEAC tournament: No. 9 South Carolina State Bulldogs (10-21, 5-11, kenpom ranking 325) vs. No. 1 Bethune-Cookman Bulldogs (20-11, 13-3, kenpom ranking 293)

Our squad: Bethune-Cookman

Yeah, our second team that could potentially lose and then take an NIT spot (aka No. 1 seed), Bethune-Cookman.

Bethune-Cookman's chances of winning today: 61.3 percent.

Bethune-Cookman's chances of winning the conference tourney: 17.5 percent. (Yikes. Not good for a No. 1 seed.)

Something Bethune-Cookman has going for them: They're on a seven-game win streak, including the second of their two regular season wins over South Carolina State. Also, SCSU (as I guess it would be abbreviated) had to beat Delaware State in the 8-9 game yesterday just to get into this matchup.

Something Bethune-Cookman distinctly does not have going for them: It appears there's a lot of parity in the MEAC, which means pretty much everybody is awful. Note that B-C is only three kenpom spots higher than No. 6 Norfolk State.

Reason to irrationally hate South Carolina State: For not having anything for me to hate about them. Harry Carson and Deacon Jones, if you hate defensive linemen.

 

8 p.m., Big Sky conference tournament FINALS, No. 2 Montana Grizzlies (21-9, 12-4, kenpom ranking 106) vs. No. 1 Northern Colorado Bears (20-10, 10-3, kenpom ranking 123)

Our squad: Northern Colorado.

So, the team with the most plausible chance of escaping this thing we call a club hits the hardwood tonight with that chance on the table: they can clinch a berth in their first NCAA tournament if they hold home court advantage and get the W. (They can also avoid going to the NIT and taking another damn spot from NIT.) They struggled yesterday, squeaking out a close one against Northern Arizona, but that's in the past.

Northern Colorado's chances of winning today: 61 percent.

Northern Colorado's chances of winning the conference tourney (calculated beforehand): 46.4 percent.

Something Northern Colorado has going for them: Home court advantage is huge in a conference finals. Also, they've won nine of ten including their last six.

Some things Northern Colorado distinctly does not have going for them: That one loss in their last ten: to Montana. Montana is actually the better team, according to Kenpom - a win over UCLA on the road will do that, so that's not good.

Reasons to distinctly hate Montana:Having five guys on the same basketball court counts as the biggest city in Montana.

 

8:30 p.m., MEAC tournament, No. 10 Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks (9-21, 5-11, kenpom ranking 333) vs. No. 2 Hampton Pirates (21-8, 11-5, kenpom ranking 231)

Our squad: Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Let's be honest: you can't get enough MEAC. MEAC and you, your momma and your cousin too. Eastern Shore was not the leastern shore yesterday, pulling out a double-OT W against Florida A&M, and they're back for more, where "more" means "losing to Hampton.

Maryland-Eastern Shore's chances of winning today: 12 percent.

Maryland-Eastern Shore's chances of winning the conference tourney (calculated beforehand): .2 percent

Something Maryland-Eastern Shore has going for them: Momentum! Two of Hamptons five conference losses came to Florida A&M, who the Hawks beat in overtime yesterday.

Something Maryland-Eastern Shore distinctly does not have going for them: They're not even competitive with Hampton, most likely. Kenpom does not like their chances. He does like Hampton's chances of winning the tournament.

Reason to irrationally hate Hampton: Their inns, the vibraphonist Lionel (who doesn't hate vibraphones), and the snobby people who summer out there like my rich friends who talked about their summer homes. (It would be really funny if pirates showed up on the beach out in the Hamptons and started marauding, by the way.)