Kentucky 78 Arkansas 63 - Kentucky completed its mission, as promised, to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated, their 34-0 record a gauntlet thrown down to 67 other teams. The Wildcats led right from the opening tip, starting with an 8-0 run to put the Razorbacks on their heels, and were never threatened. A 41-25 lead at the half as cut to nine by the Razorbacks but the Wildcats expanded it to as many as 21 points as Kentucky simply outplayed the hopelessly-overmatched Arkansas squad.
VCU 71 Dayton 65 - VCU got hot nearing the end of the first half and finished with a 9-2 run for a 33-26 lead at the break. Dayton battled back to tie the game at numerous points in the second half but could never wrest the lead away from the Rams, who engineered a four-point lead with under a minute to play and then proceeded to make eight straight free throws to secure the championship, their first, after reaching the final in each of the past two seasons.
Treveon Graham led all scorers with 20 points and ripped down a game-high 13 boards. Graham, who was 3-for-8 on three-pointers, also contributed four assists and a steal.
Georgia State 38 Georgia Southern 36 - In the lowest-scoring championship game this season, the Panthers outlasted the Eagles thanks to 18 points from Kevin Ware. Georgia State shot just 33% from the field, but it was enough to win, as Georgia Southern hit at merely a 23% rate (11-47).
Wisconsin 80 Michigan State 69 OT - With an automatic bid on the line and a possible #1 seed for Wisconsin at stake, the Spartans took the Badgers into overtime, but eventually came up short as Wisconsin fulfilled their season-long destiny of being the best team to come out of the Big Ten and shut out the Spartans in overtime, 11-0. Nigel Hayes had a huge game, leading all scorers with 25 points, including a perfect, 12-for-12 from the foul line.
SMU 62 Connecticut 54 - Rodney Purvis kept the Huskies alive with a game-high 29 points, but eventually, basketball is a team game and the balanced scoring of the Mustangs brought home the American Athletic conference title. Coach Larry Brown has yet another team in the NCAA tournament.
That's a wrap for now. On to the selection process, seedings and bracket madness. Full report later tonight and/or early Monday AM.
Conference Championship Scoreboard
|Date/Conf. Champ.||Champion (record, defeated, final score)|
|Ohio Valley||Belmont (22-10, Murray State, 88-87)|
|Big South||Coastal Carolina (24-9, Winthop, 81-70)|
|Missouri Valley||Northern Iowa (29-3, Illinois, St., 69-60)|
|Atlantic Sun||North Florida (23-11, USC Upstate, 63-57)|
|Colonial||Northeastern (23-11, William & Mary, 73-61)|
|Metro Atlantic||Manhattan (19-13, Iona, 79-69)|
|Southern||Wofford (28-6, Furman, 67-64)|
|Horizon||Valparaiso (28-5, Green Bay, 54-44)|
|Northeast||Robert Morris (19-14, St. Francis BRK, 66-63)|
|Summit League||N. Dakota St. (23-9, S. Dakota St., 57-56)|
|West Coast||Gonzaga (33-2, BYU, 91-75)|
|Patriot League||Lafayette (20-9, American, 65-63)|
|America East||Albany (24-8, Stony Brook, 51-50)|
|Conference USA||UAB (19-15, Middle Tenn., 73-60)|
|Ivy*||Harvard (22-7, Yale, 53-51)|
|Mid-Eastern||Hampton (16-17, Delaware St., 82-61)|
|Big 12||Iowa State (25-8, Kansas, 70-66)|
|Mountain West||Wyoming (25-9, San Diego St., 45-43)|
|Mid-American||Buffalo (23-9, Cent. Michigan, 89-84)|
|Southwest Athletic||Texas Southern (22-12, Southern U., 62-58)|
|Big East||Villanova (31-2, Xavier, 61-43)|
|ACC||Notre Dame (29-5, N. Carolina, 90-82)|
|Big Sky||E. Washington (26-8, Montana, 69-65)|
|Big West||UC Irvine (21-12, Hawaii, 67-58)|
|Southland||Stephen F. Austin (25-8, Sam Houston, 83-70)|
|PAC-12||Arizona (31-3, Oregon, 80-52)|
|Western Athletic||New Mexico St. (23-10, Seattle U., 80-61)|
|SEC||Kentucky (34-0, Arkansas, 78-63)|
|Atlantic 10||VCU (26-9, Dayton, 71-65)|
|Sun Belt||Georgia State (24-9, Georgia Southern, 38-36)|
|Big Ten||Wisconsin (31-3, Michigan State, 80-69)|
|American||SMU (27-6, Connecticut, 62-54)|