Sunday, March 15, 2015

Treveon Graham Leads VCU to Atlantic 10 Title; All Conference Champions Crowned, It's Time to Choose At-Large Teams

Conference Champions and College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 15, 2015

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.

Atlantic 10
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.

Sun Belt
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).

Big Ten
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)
March 7
Ohio Valley Belmont (22-10, Murray State, 88-87)

March 8
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)

March 9
Colonial Northeastern (23-11, William & Mary, 73-61)
Metro Atlantic Manhattan (19-13, Iona, 79-69)
Southern Wofford (28-6, Furman, 67-64)

March 10
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)

March 11
Patriot League Lafayette (20-9, American, 65-63)

March 14
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)

March 15
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)

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