Circle of March, Vol. I

Posted by rtmsf on March 3rd, 2014

In this, our third annual Circle of March, we’re going to spend the next five weeks until post-championship Tuesday counting down and eliminating the entirety of Division I basketball until we get to a single, solitary name. The Patriot League Tournament gets under way this evening, and a total of 12 other conference tourneys will tip off this week after that. According to the NCAA, 11 of this season’s 351 Division I schools are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament because of APR scores or because they’re still transitioning up. We have removed those names from the CoM and wish them the best of luck in future seasons — the other 340 schools are represented in the CoM’s inaugural 2014 edition. Because we want every eligible team to get at least one day of run on the Circle, though, we have chosen not to formally remove any of the other already-eliminated schools until Tuesday. Bubble teams also won’t be removed until they’re officially disregarded by the NCAA Selection Committee in two weeks. It just seems nicer this way.

Last year you might recall we added a bit of a game component to the debut CoM. This year’s version is no different, but instead of asking readers to find like groupings of school logos, we’ve added a crossword puzzle element to this one. See if you can locate at least 10 of the NCAA Tournament-related words hidden within the Circle (note: make sure to click on the image for a larger and clearer view). The first 15 people who tweet at us (@rushthecourt) or e-mail us (rushthecourt@yahoo.com) with 10 or more of the correct hidden words will receive a free RTC t-shirt. We’ll also give a t-shirt prize to every 10th person who gets that many right after that. For the first person who identifies all of the hidden words, we’ll have a grand prize. Please, everyone, feel free to SHARE AWAY!

Here is 2014 Circle of March. Welcome to March Madness.

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Teams Eliminated From National Title Contention (03.03.14)

  • Abilene Christian (D-I transition)
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff (APR)
  • FIU (APR)
  • Grambling State (APR)
  • Grand Canyon (D-I transition)
  • Incarnate Word (D-I transition)
  • Mississippi Valley State (APR)
  • Nebraska-Omaha (D-I transition)
  • New Orleans (APR)
  • Southern (APR)
  • UMass-Lowell (D-I transition)
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Welcome to Championship Fortnight: 14 Days of Elimination Basketball

Posted by rtmsf on February 27th, 2012

Unbelievably, even though the calendar reads February 27 and March is still a full 60 hours away, Championship Fortnight begins tonight in Lexington, Virginia, and High Point, North Carolina. The Big South Tournament opening round tips off this evening with two games hosted at VMI and High Point versus Radford and Gardner-Webb, respectively. Tomorrow night the Horizon League Tournament will tip off with games at Butler, Detroit, Youngstown State, and Milwaukee. In all, 16 different conferences will begin their tournaments this week, but only four will crown their champions by next Sunday — the Big South, the OVC, the Atlantic Sun, and the Missouri Valley. The full schedule of each round through next Sunday is below.

If you buy into the theory that (almost) every team has a shot to win it all through its conference tournament’s automatic bid, over the next 14 days we’ll whittle down roughly 321 contenders to the ballyhooed 31 AQs along with the chosen 37 at-larges. Even if you don’t care about that, it’s still worth noting that we start elimination-style, win-or-g0-home basketball as of tonight. No matter the month, that’s always a good thing.

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