Big Red Freshness Lasts Right Through It. Cornell 95, Brown 76. It probably took a little longer than the nervous Big Red faithful hoped to put away the pesky Brown Bears tonight, but in the end, it was simply a formality because Cornell players were so narrowly focused on winning their third straight Ivy League title and NCAA bid that there was no way they were going to lose this game tonight. How focused were they? Try a season-best 57% shooting and an utterly ridonkulous 20-30 from deep tonight. At one point during the conflagration of shot-making by the Big Red, they hit eight treys in a row en route to an 11-13 first half. But it was the second half where Cornell exhibited its dominance, using a 14-4 run early to take control of the game and ensure another title coming to Ithaca this season. All five starters reached double figures, but it was lesser-known forward Jon Jaques who took the scoring honors with 20/7 tonight (including six threes). In all, four players had four or more threes, which we figure has to be some kind of a record for versatile and voluminous shooting! Cornell will now wait to see where their NCAA seed lies, but the smart money is on a #12 seed when the brackets are released. Anyone up for a #12/#5 upset this year?
- Wichita State 73, Missouri State 63. On Quarterfinal Friday in St. Louis, top seed Northern Iowa defeated Drake, Bradley upset Creighton and Illinois State won the nightcap. And in the game you followed here on RTC Live, Wichita State held off Missouri State, 73-63. A close, hard-fought and well-played game, the Shockers were paced by Garrett Stutz, whose play in the paint helped them overcome hot outside shooting of the Bears. Stutz finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds, and converted on back-to-back possessions during a key stretch of the second half to help them pull away. The Shockers advance to play the Redbirds of Illinois State tomorrow afternoon here in St. Louis.
Conference Tourneys. Eight conference tourneys tonight, and a ridiculous thirteen tomorrow. Let’s see what was interesting…
- Ohio Valley. The top two teams — Murray State and Morehead State — both advanced tonight to the finals on Saturday. Murray has put together a phenomenal 29-win season, so it’d be a shame to see them miss out on the NCAAs, but Morehead is the only OVC team to have beaten the Racers this year. It was Morehead tonight, though, not Murray, who had the comfortable win in the semis. Should be a great one on Saturday for the auto-bid.
- Atlantic Sun. #6 seed Mercer continues to use its home court advantage to knock off higher-seeded teams with tonight’s victory over #2 Jacksonville. #5 East Tennessee State was able to get by #8 Kennesaw State whom had knocked off top seed Belmont last night. So it’ll be Mercer vs. ETSU for the automatic bid. The Bucs will be playing in their third A-Sun title game in four years, and will be looking to win back-t0-back NCAA bids despite having not finished first in the regular season in either of the last two years.
- Horizon. In the Horizon second round tonight, #7 Detroit continues to turn heads with another upset win behind Eli Holman’s dub-dub (16/11), while #4 Milwaukee earned the pleasure of facing #1 Butler in the semifinals on Saturday by defeating #5 Cleveland State. The Titans will play #2 Wright State in the other semifinal — neither of the top two seeds have played yet in this tournament, while Detroit has already played two games and Milwaukee one.