A lot of entertaining games yesterday involving mid major teams. Quick thoughts from them.
Don't underestimate George Mason's chances against VCU tonight. The Rams played flawed teams in Georgia State and ODU. ODU especially has no guards that can hit from the outside and eventually when VCU clamped down on the inside play of the Monarchs, it was all she wrote. The Patriots have much better outside shooting guards in Cam Long, Jon Vaughan and yes even Dre Smith. I still like Mason to win tonight. And kudos to Towson for really putting in a great effort in the tournament. One question. Where was this all year???
Niagara and Rider was a very exciting game. One wonders how much is left in the Purple Eagles' tank for the championship game after a double overtime win last night. Combine that with the fact that Siena sat their starters at the end of a rout of Fairfield last night and tonight might not be a fair indicator of how close the teams are.
I sure hope College of Charleston wins tonight. But they have an extremely tough task beating Chattanooga on their home court. Remember, I had a major problem in Saturday's column about the seedings of the SoCon tournament and the divisions. The Cougars again shut down Stephen Curry and the Wildcats in the second half. The Cougars are a good team.
Nice work by Northern Iowa surviving regulation against Illinois State and winning in overtime. Osiris Eldridge was having such a nice game and such a great tournament until that ridiculous shot that he chucked up and missed that forced overtime. Oguchi missing that easy layup that he usually hits also hurt.
Patty Mills was rusty but St Mary's beat Portland 71-61 early this morning to face Gonzaga in the finals tonight. Gonzaga pasted Santa Clara in the first game. Even though Mills only shot 3 of 12, his mere presence on the court and his ability to distribute the ball make such a huge difference. Should be a great game tonight.
Finally, kudos to Tony Bozzella's Lady Gaels. They lost a tough game to Marist in the MAAC semifinals. Marist would go on to win the championship game yesterday when they beat Canisius. Bo's team kept the score close, but they couldn't any closer than six points at the end. He basically returns his entire team including two medical redshirts. Look for great things from the Lady Gaels next season. I have a hunch that the Marist Red Foxes' reign ends next season.
Lots of good championship games tonight. Enjoy.