Saturday, March 08, 2008

Semifinal Eve

Just sitting here thinking how all those countdown clocks are overrated. But I'm thinking that its just 18 hours until the Mount takes on Robert Morris at the Sewell Center on Fox Sports Pittsburgh for a berth in the NEC championship.

I have a lot of respect for what the Colonials have been able to accomplish. Yet I have sense of confidence that the Mount can persevere tomorrow. I mean based on what I saw down the stretch this year, Mt. St. Mary's would be the team I wouldn't want to play if I were anyone else in the Northeast Conference. Still, the Colonials handled that Mountie team twice in the final five weeks or so of the season. So they've go to have a confidence that they can do it again.

This has been a good rivalry the last several seasons. Each team has won NEC playoff games on the opponents court. The Mount got a big win in the first round of the postseason last year in Pittsburgh, while RMU upset the Mount at the ARCC on Jeremy Chappell's three-pointer from the corner the year before.

We expect that we might see as much excitement tomorrow.

The chances of Mount alum Cliff Warren getting his Jacksonville Dolphins to the tournament seem pretty slim. JU had a bad first half and Belmont is in control and up 20 or so at the intermission in the Atlantic Sun final.

Meanwhile, the Mount is 1-0 against NCAA qualifiers. Early season victim Winthrop captured the Big South crown today at UNC-Asheville and is in the Dance for the fourth straight season. You may recall that the Eagles beat Notre Dame in last year's first round. The Mount beat them with some key execution down the stretch in Emmitsburg earlier this year.

Austin Peay also qualified today so we officially have three teams of the 65 set. Expect Belmont to add its name later on. But we're still hoping for JU to rally.

On the bubble, Villanova is playing at Providence right now in an absolute must win situation for the Wildcats. The Cats are in the lead at the moment.

Syracuse as we told you earlier had a huge day. It turned into a huge win. And right about now, I think they are probably in the field. Certainly, had they won last Saturday instead of blowing the 11-point lead against Pittsburgh with 3:30 left the ticket would be just about secure. But now they probably need one win in the Big East tournament depending on outcomes elsewhere.

Most teams on the bubble won today. St. Joseph's did lose, but at the expense of Dayton, which may very well be playing its way back into the situation.

The other bubble team to lose was UAB. The Blazers loss certainly excusable at Memphis. But the Blazers were never in it and it will be interesting to see how the Committee looks at that blowout. I had the Blazers in the field entering the day.

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