Championship Week is upon us. In fact, it has been to two days now, so that means it's time for our first Never Made The Tourney Club update of 2016. If you missed the primer, or don't understand the whole premise behind the Club, you can check it out here. But let's get right to it:
A full schedule for all 31 conference tournaments can be found here.
Tuesday's Never Made The Tourney Club action
The Atlantic Sun featured a battle between two NMTC teams on Monday in a 2 vs. 7 matchup between NJIT and Stetson. Unfortunately, Stetson is ineligible for the NCAA Tournament this season, but that did not deter Stetson from pulling off a huge upset and handily defeating NJIT 82-67. NJIT was given an 84 percent chance of winning the game on KenPom, but was unable to muster much offense against Stetson even though the game was at NJIT. Clearly, Stetson did not realize that it was crushing NJIT’s dreams once again, but perhaps it wanted to preserve the NMTC brotherhood.
Also, Stetson's nickname is the "Hatters". The Hatters owe a fedora to each of NJIT's players, even if it technically is not HAT week.
However, Lipscomb triumphed 92-89 in a dramatic overtime contest against Jacksonville that drew seven viewers on ESPN3 (that’s just a guess, it was a great game though). Kennesaw State faced former tournament darlings Florida Gulf Coast and lost 74-64. South Carolina Upstate was overwhelmed by No. 1 seed North Florida and lost 92-69. That leaves Stetson and Lipscomb as the sole remaining members, and of course they play each other Thursday night at 6 p.m. CT.
Army plays Colgate tonight at 6 p.m. CT. Army, as you might recall, is one of the five Founding Fathers of the NMTC.
In other news, Bill Carmody’s Holy Cross upset Loyola (Md.) 72-67 on Monday.
Wednesday's Never Made The Tourney Club action
We start with terrible news from the first round of the NEC Tuesday night. Two NMTC teams suffered crushing upsets. St. Francis Brooklyn lost to lower-seeded Mount St. Mary’s 60-51. St. Francis is another Founding Father.
Sacred Heart, a team featuring Tevin Falzon, the brother of Northwestern’s Aaron Falzon, entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed but was upset by No. 6 seed LIU Brooklyn. Not a good day. Both teams were mentioned as possibilities to make the Tournament for the first time prior to Tuesday, but will spend another year as NMTC members.
Tennessee-Martin is the No. 2 seed and plays the winner of Morehead State/Murray State in Friday's semifinal game. Murray State defeated Morehead State yesterday to advance to the next round. Tennessee-Martin would probably rather play Murray State as Morehead State is the highest-ranked team in the conference on KenPom.
There is a very good chance a team breaks through from the America East. Half the teams in the tournament are also in the club. Stony Brook is the No. 1 seed and won comfortably against UMBC. No. 7 Hartford picked up a huge 68-59 upset over No. 2 seed Albany. Albany entered the game 24-7 and had made the last three NCAA Tournaments before losing to a 9-22 Hartford team. New Hampshire defeated SUNY Binghamton 56-51. Maine was the only NMTC team to not make the next round, losing to Vermont 99-82.
The America East has decided to reseed the bracket for some strange reason, which means Stony Brook will play Hartford and Vermont will play New Hampshire.
Thursday's Never Made The Tourney Club schedule
No. 8 Longwood (53% KenPom) vs. No. 9 Charleston Southern — 1:00 p.m.
No. 7 Radford vs. No. 10 Presbyterian (22% KenPom) — 3:30 p.m. CST
No. 6 Gardner-Webb (51% KenPom) vs. No. 11 Campbell — 6:00 p.m. CST
No. 8 Rider vs. No. 9 Quinnipiac (30% KP) — 4:00 p.m. CST
No. 6 Lipscomb (69% KP) vs. No. 7 Stetson — 6:00 p.m. CST on ESPN3
No. 4 Army vs. No. 5 Colgate — 8:00 p.m. CST on ESPN3
Never Made The Tourney Club
South Carolina Upstate
Grand Canyon (ineligible)
Northern Kentucky (ineligible)
UMass Lowell (ineligible)
St. Francis (NY)
Rattle off a cannon shot or mournful glass of your favorite beverage for the latest members, or something.