Monday, March 09, 2009

Conference Tourneys, Auto Bids on Line Monday

Four conference tournament finals will determine the same number of automatic bids tonight across the country. The Southern, Colonial, Metro Atlantic and West Coast conference finals conclude tonight as the bottoms of the brackets begin to fill.

In the Southern, Charleston 26-7 (Conf: 15-5) takes on Chattanooga 17-16 (Conf: 11-9) at 7:00 pm on the Mocs' home court in Chattanooga, TN.

George Mason 22-9 (Conf: 13-5) meets VCU 23-9 (Conf: 14-4) in Richmond at 7:00 pm for the Colonial title.

The Metro Atlantic Finals pits Niagara 26-7 (Conf: 14-4) against Siena 25-7 (Conf: 16-2) at 9:00 pm in Albany, NY and the west Coast conference will be settled when #12 Gonzaga 25-5 (Conf: 14-0) meets St. Mary's 25-5 (Conf: 10-4) at 9:00 pm in Las Vegas.

Gonzaga has won 16 of their last 17 games, including two wins over St. Mary's, though neither has been convincing. The Zags won at home, 69-62, and won again two seeks later at St. Mary's 72-70. The Gaels' star guard, Patrick Mills broke his hand in the first meeting, but is back and nearly 100%.

Chattanooga would be the most unlikely team to make the tournament. They lost their final three regular season games - one of those to Charleston (86-77), but bounced back in the tournament's first two rounds, beating Elon and Samford to advance to the finals. Charleston ousted Davidson and their star, Stephen Curry, 59-52, on Sunday, and have reeled off 8 straight wins.

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