Last night's first game of never-made-the-tourney action was, well, not much of a doozy, as High Point killed their fellow never-made-the-tourney brethren, Gardner-Webb 68-58 - hyphens - proooooooobably somewhat on account of the Runnin' Bulldogs shooting 5-for-32 from three. Much respect due to Gardner-Webb's Tashan Newsome, who led G-W in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with 21, 9, 3 and 3. Can't do it all himself, boys.
Anyway, only one game on the slate tonight, so let's get to it.
(all probabilities per Kenpom)
6:05 p.m. CST, Youngstown, OH, Horizon League Tournament: No. 6 Youngstown State Penguins (15-14, 10-8, kenpom ranking 168) vs. No. 7 Green Bay Phoenix (15-14, 10-8, kenpom ranking 173)
Our squad: Youngstown State
Youngstown State's chances of winning today: 66 percent
Youngstown State's chances of winning the tourney: 2.4 percent
Something Youngstown State has going for them: This is a preposterously close game - look, same conference record, same overall record, only separated by five on Kenpom ranks - but the Horizon League goes to home sites for the first round, and YSU won the tiebreaker. They split the season series, but I'd assume they won the tiebreak by virtue of their win was a 20-point blowout and their loss was by five.
Something Youngstown State has going against them: Since beating YSU on Valentine's Day, the Phoenix haven't - hasn't? - lost, rattling off five straight to enter the tourney after a 3-8 start to the conference season. In fact, they've won eight of their last ten after starting 1-7. Also, one of my books in an English class last quarter had a sticker telling me that it was from Youngstown State's student union bookstore and that I should resell it there, and it had a penguin on it, which I assume means Youngstown State has a massive issue with people buying books from their student union bookstore and reselling them for better prices at student bookstores across the midwest, leaving the Penguins bookless. They should look into this.
Reason to irrationally hate UW-Green Bay: Ummm.... the... Packers?
And now, a tribute to our fallen brethren:
Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs
Club members since: 2003
Felled by: High Point, 68-58, first round, Big South Tournament
Why they will be missed: Hyphens, sweet hyphens, the Runnin' Bulldogs ran directly into our hearts. They did both Gardner and Webb proud.
Great moments in Gardner-Webb basketball history: As pointed out yesterday in the comments, GDub - who I will not refer to as "GW" to avoid confusion with George Washington is most famous in basketball for upsetting Kentucky in 2007 and putting an early dark cloud over the Billy Gillispie era at UK. They're also known for a 2002 scandal where the president of the school removed an F from his star player's transcript just a few years before the transition to DI. I give them an A for effort.
The list is after the jump.
Northwestern Wildcats, Big Ten
High Point Panthers, Big South
Youngstown State Penguins, Horizon
UC-Davis Aggies, Big West
Cal Poly Mustangs, Big West
UC-Irvine Anteaters, Big West
Sacramento State Hornets, Big West
Grambling State Tigers, SWAC
Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks, MEAC
Norfolk State Spartans, MEAC
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, MEAC
NC Central Eagles, MEAC
Savannah State Tigers, MEAC
Buffalo Bulls, MAC
San Jose State Spartans WAC
Army Black Knights, Patriot League,
The Citadel Bulldogs, Southern Conference
Maine Black Bears, America East
New Hampshire Wildcats, America East
Stony Brook Seawolves, America East
Hartford Hawks, America East
Denver Pioneers, Sun Belt
Jacksonville State Gamecocks, OVC
Central Arkansas Bears, Southland
Elon Phoenix, Southern,
North Florida Ospreys, Atlantic Sun
Stetson Hatters, Atlantic Sun
Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, Atlantic Sun
USC Upstate Spartans, Atlantic Sun
IPFW Mastodons, Summit
South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Summit
Western Illinois Leathernecks, Summit
South Dakota Coyotes, Summit
Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs, Big South
Texas Pan-American Broncs Great West NJIT HIghlanders, Great West North Dakota Fighting Sioux , Great West Chicago State Cougars, Great West Longwood Lancers , Independent Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners, Independent