Set Your Tivo: 03.08.10Posted by THager on March 8th, 2010
***** – quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** – best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** – set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** – set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game
CAA Championship: Old Dominion vs. William & Mary – 7:00 pm on ESPN (****)
This neutral site game will feature two of the better mid-major teams in the country, but neither team is likely to make the Tournament without a win here. William & Mary was at one time the top ranked team in the RPI in the country, with early wins over Maryland, Wake Forest, and Richmond. Old Dominion is no slouch either, with OOC wins over Marshall, Georgetown, and Charlotte. The Monarchs feature a solid defense at #18 in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings. Their offense ranks only #83, though, and they are one of the only teams in the country that has just one scorer in the 10-15 PPG range. However, that offensive weapon, Gerald Lee, is coming off a 26-point performance against VCU in which he went 10-13 from the field. The Tribe, on the other hand, struggles at #187 on defense, but they make up for it with an offense that features three players who average in double figures. Their leading scorer, David Schneider, had only three points in his last game, and has shot only 7-29 in their two games against the Monarchs, but he’s shown an ability to step up in the clutch even when he’s not shooting well in general. If he doesn’t get back on track tonight, though, it could spell trouble for the Tribe as they seek their first NCAA Tournament bid in history.
MAAC Championship: Fairfield vs. Siena – 7:00 pm on ESPN2 (***)
Siena has put together a great season, but they may be on the outside looking in if they lose in the MAAC Championship tonight. They were 17-1 in the MAAC, and they are ranked #28 in the RPI, but the general consensus is that they need a win against Fairfield if they want to make the NCAAs for the third straight season. They have good losses against Temple, Georgia Tech, Northern Iowa and Butler, but they have failed to win any big OOC games the entire year. The Saints swept the season series between the two teams, but Fairfield was one of the only teams in the conference to play them close, and the Stags did so both times. On January 16, they trailed Siena by just one point at halftime, thanks to 50% shooting from beyond the arc. In their February 8 matchup, the Stags lost by just two points, and they outscored the Saints 39-33 in the second half. One of the most interesting elements of both teams is their lack of depth, as Siena played only three reserves in the first game, none of whom scored over three points, and Fairfield had only one bench player who scored. In the rematch, Fairfield’s bench scored six points, and Siena’s reserves scored two points. The Stags don’t rank in the top 100 in either offensive or defensive efficiency, but if they can shoot over 61% from inside the arc like they did in their rematch, they may steal a bid from a great Siena team.
WCC Championship: Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s – 9:00 pm on ESPN (****)
It is only fitting that the two best teams in the WCC should meet up at the end of the year. The Gaels almost capped a comeback against Gonzaga at home earlier in the year, but the Zags were able to cling to their four-point lead and escaped Moraga with a victory. Their matchup at the Kennel was a completely different story, as Gonzaga outscored SMC by 16 in the second half. Now on a neutral site in Las Vegas, it is Gonzaga’s game to lose. They are not only the most talented team in the conference, they have also played like the best team in the WCC for almost the entire season. However, are we going to see the team that outplayed Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Illinois, or are we going to see the team that failed to show up against Duke, San Francisco, and Loyola Marymount? Matt Bouldin, the WCC Player of the Year, had two of his best performances of the year against the Gaels, and if he is hot, look for Gonzaga to run away with this game. Freshman Elias Harris scored 31 points in their first game against St. Mary’s, but he has tailed off, and the Zags will need both players come tournament time.