All posts by Kevin McGhee

2016 College Basketball Invitational Advances to Semifinals

The 2016 College Basketball Invitational quarterfinals wrapped up late Monday night. With four games on the docket, the bracket keeps getting smaller and smaller, as the CBI moves on to the semifinals. We have a recap of all of Monday night’s action below.

Duquesne vs. Morehead State

Morehead State led for most of their match against Duquesne as the Eagles defeated the Dukes, 82-72. Brent Arrington had 17 points for Morehead State, including a midcourt shot at the buzzer to put them up, 43-36, at the half. Morehead State never trailed in the second half and never saw their lead get below nine points as they soundly defeated Duquesne. Morehead State moves on to face Ohio on Wednesday.

UNCG vs. Ohio

Ohio rallied back from a 15 point deficit with 7:45 left to play to defeat UNCG, 72-67, on Monday night. Ohio closed the game off with a 25-5 run as UNCG had no answer for Jordan Dartis and Jaaron Simmons in the second half. Dartis and Simmons ended the game with 14 points and 19 points and eight assists respectively. Ohio advances to face Morehead State on Wednesday.

Eastern Washington vs. Nevada

Tyron Criswell and Cameron Oliver scored more than half of Nevada’s 85 points as they lead the Wolfpack to an 85-70 win over Eastern Washington. The Eagles was without star player Venky Jois, who injured his knee in their previous game. Nevada will host Vermont on Wednesday night.

Vermont vs. Seattle

For the second year in a row, the Catamounts will play in the CBI semifinals. In a 73-54 win over Seattle that saw Kurt Steidl lead all scorers with 17 points, Vermont had no problems handling Seattle in this match. The Catamounts never trailed at all in the game and closed it out with a second half scoring surge that included a 12-0 run. Vermont will play Nevada on Wednesday.

The semifinals for the College Basketball Invitational begin on March 23rd at 7:00pm. The rest of the bracket is listed below.

cbi schedule

Bracket courtesy of Gazelle Group

Email Kevin at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @kmcgheee.

College Basketball Invitational Moves to Quarterfinals

The College Basketball Invitational first round action wrapped up last night, with seven games being played. We have a recap of all of the action, starting with Morehead State vs. Siena on March 15.

Morehead State vs. Siena

In their first postseason victory since upsetting Louisville in the NCAA Tournament in 2011, Morehead State defeated Siena, 84-80, in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational. Senior Lyonell Gaines had a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds and junior Xavier Moon scored 17 points as the Eagles hit 7-of-8 free throw attempts to seal the victory in the closing moments. Morehead State will host Duquesne on Monday night.

Nebraska-Omaha vs. Duquesne

In a game where defense was optional, Duquesne defeated Omaha120-112 on Wednesday night. Both teams broke the CBI single-game scoring record set by Creighton and Davidson in 2011. Derrick Colter scored a career-high 28 points for Duquesne as his Dukes move on to face Morehead State on Monday.

Albany vs. Ohio

Ohio redshirt senior forward Treg Setty recorded a career high 30 points to go with 10 rebounds to lift Ohio to a 94-90 win in overtime on Wednesday night. Setty hit a corner three with a hand in the face to give the Bobcats an 87-86 lead with 1:34 left in the game. After an Albany miss, Setty grabbed the rebound and hit a clutch layup to give Ohio an 89-86 lead they would not lose. Ohio moves on to face UNCG on Monday night.

Houston Baptist vs. UNCG

The UNCG men’s basketball team earned their first-ever postseason tournament victory on Wednesday as UNCG fought out a 69-65 victory over Houston Baptist. UNCG rallied from a six-point second half deficit before going on a 20-2 second half run to take the lead for good. UNCG will face Ohio in the quarterfinals on Monday night.

Western Carolina vs. Vermont

Kurt Steidl scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his 100th career game as Vermont beat Western Carolina, 79-74 on Wednesday night. Vermont led the entire game until a 15-0 run tied the game at 39 with 16:43 left to play.  Vermont used a 10-2 run to take the lead for the rest of the game and move on in the tournament. They face Seattle in the quarterfinals on Monday.

Pepperdine vs. Eastern Washington

Eastern Washington earned their first victory in a national tournament as a member of NCAA Division I by defeating Pepperdine, 79-72 on Wednesday night. The victory came as a gift for head coach Jim Hayford, who coached in his 500th career game as a collegiate head coach. Eastern Washington will face Nevada in Reno on Monday night.

Montana vs. Nevada

Nevada rallied back from a 12 point deficit with just over 15 minutes to play to defeat Montana, 79-75 on Wednesday. Junior guard D.J. Fenner scored eight consecutive points to tie the game at 56-56, but the Grizzlies took control of the game and lead 63-57 with 4:50 left. It took a three pointer by Lindsey Drew to put the Wolf Pack up for good at 70-68. Six free throws and a three pointer for the Pack made the final score 79-75. Nevada will host Eastern Washington on Monday night.

Idaho vs. Seattle

Seattle used a balanced game of offense and defense to defeat the University of Idaho, 68-63 on Wednesday night. In a game that featured 11 lead changes, it look two three pointers by Zack Moore and Brendan Westendorf to put Seattle up for good at 43-42. Westerndorf shot 8-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three as he lead the Redhawks with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. Seattle will face Vermont on Monday night.

 

The rest of the tournament bracket is listed below. The rest of the CBI action kicks of on Monday night with the quarterfinals.

tournament bracket
Bracket courtesy of Gazelle Group.

Bracket Set as 2016 MAC Tournament Moves to Cleveland

Monday night’s first round matchups in the MAC tournament saw some upsets as No. 11 Miami (OH) and No. 12 Bowling Green moved on to the quarterfinals on March 10th at Quicken Loans Arena.

In Monday evening’s first match, No. 5 Kent State was matched up with No. 12 Bowling Green in a game that saw BGSU trailing at the half, 39-32. The Falcons opened the second half on a 11-0 run but the game ultimately ran close until Antown Lillard, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half, hit a jumpshot with 3:10 left to play to put the Falcons up for good. In a game that saw eight lead changes and five ties, the Falcons came out on top 70-60 over the Golden Flashes. Bowling Green moves on to face number four Central Michigan in the quarterfinals.

In the second upset of the night, No. 6 Ball State faced off with No. 11 Miami (OH). In a game that saw Miami lead by as many as 10, they never trailed in this game and were a force to be reckoned with in the paint. Eric Washington had 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists and hit the game-winning free throws as Miami advances to face number Buffalo.

No. 8 Eastern Michigan got it done against No. 9 Toledo, winning 69-60 in a pretty sloppy game by both sides. Eastern Michigan came away with 17 steals in the game, and that ultimately did Toledo in as they coughed the ball up on three straight possessions with under two minutes to go. A layup, a three-point play, and two free throws off of those steals iced the game for Eastern Michigan in the final moments. Eastern Michigan will face number one Akron in the next round.

In a close game throughout, No. 7 Northern Illinois defeated No. 10 Western Michigan 56-50 Monday night at the NIU Convocation Center. It took a three-point play by Tucker Haymond to tie it up for Western Michigan with under six minutes to go. Travon Baker hit two three-pointers on the next two possessions and the Huskies did not trail for the rest of the game. Western Michigan gave them a scare at the end, cutting the lead to two points, but Northern Illinois took advantage of the free throw opportunities, making seven of eight in the last 33 seconds. Northern Illinois goes on to face number two Ohio on Thursday.

The rest of the tournament will take place in Cleveland, Ohio at Quicken Loans Arena. Every team will be fighting for that top spot as the MAC is expected to produce one tournament bid. The quarterfinal schedule is listed below.

March 10th Quarterfinal

  1. No. 8 Eastern Michigan vs No. 1 Akron – 12 p.m. EST
  2. No. 12 Bowling Green vs No. 4 Central Michigan – Time TBA
  3. No. 7 Northern Illinois vs No. 2 Ohio – 6:30 p.m. EST
  4. No. 11 Miami vs No. 3 Buffalo – Time TBA

Kent State Looks to Fend Off Buffalo as Season Ends

Coming off two tough losses at the hands of Buffalo and Miami, Kent State is looking to close out their 2015-2016 regular season with wins against Bowling Green and Akron.

The Golden Flashes could hypothetically claim the second spot in their division when it is all said and done, but right now the focus should be fending off the Bulls in the standings.

Buffalo is coming off a shaky five-game stretch that saw them lose three in a row and go 2-3 overall. The Bulls are led by sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden, who leads the team in scoring at 13.5 PPG. Buffalo won both of their match-ups against Kent State this season, which means they win the tiebreaker if it comes down to it. The Bulls plays the two worst teams in the MAC East to close out the season, while the Flashes faces the top-seeded Zips in the last match of the season.

Kent State had a chance for this to not even be a topic of discussion. They trailed by three at the half in their game against Buffalo on February 23rd, letting Buffalo go on a 14-0 run in the second half and ultimately watching them pull away.

Kent State has struggled to score at times during the season, relying largely on their high offensive rebounding margin to score them some second chance points to make up for it. They will have to bring their A game against Akron, a team that is a top five scoring offense and defense in the MAC.

The Flashes did beat the Zips in their first match-up of the season, using an inside scoring effort to match Akron’s outside shooting. Kent State outscored Akron 48-34 in the paint.

Whether or not the Golden Flashes keeps their place in the standings, they will be a tough out in the MAC tournament next month. They are an elite rebounding team in the MAC and prowl the perimeter on defense, making any match-up with them very tough. They have bigs that can run the floor and guards that can block shots. This unusual dynamic has proved successful for Kent State and will make them a fun show to watch for the coming years.

E-mail Kevin at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @kmcgheee.

Photo courtesy of Stadiumandarenavisits.com

The University of Akron – An Example of MAConsistency

The Akron Zips, mired in a school year that has seen significant backlash towards school president Scott Scarborough and funding cuts almost entirely across the board in athletics, has somehow stayed the course this season and is on the verge of closing out another successful run at the Mid-American Conference East’s top spot. Since Keith Dambrot took over in 2004, the Zips have never lost more than fourteen games in the regular season and have made the NCAA tournament three times. Four regular season titles and three MAC championships aren’t bad, either.

The key to their consistency has been steady defense.  A Dambrot coached defense has never given up more than 70 PA/G in any of his twelve seasons at the helm of Akron’s program. They play a grind it out type of basketball that sees them inching away a lot of close victories. For the 2015-2016, they have a DRtg of 98.3, compared to a ORtg of 111.4.  That is a huge margin of difference. Their grind it out style of basketball that sees them relying on their defense has seen success in a Mid-American Conference that sees all but one of its teams averaging more than 70 PPG in the 2015-2016 season.

Offense has played a huge role as well, to its credit. As stated before, they have an ORtg of 111.4. Their closest two competitors in the conference to that stat? Toledo and Central Michigan, both having an ORtg of 109.28 and 109.34, respectively. But to that point, Toledo and Central Michigan both have a DRtg of 102.43 and 108.20, respectively. What this shows in any case is that Akron is incredibly good at controlling the pace on offense. While we are on the topic of pace, Akron has only had three games this season where they have registered less than ten assists. They are 1-2 in those games. Akron succeeds when they pass the ball effectively, as does any good team.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Akron this season, though. Akron will need to shore up it’s rebounding effort for the upcoming MAC Tournament in March. Their leading rebounder is Isaiah Johnson, who averages 7.4 rebounds per game. Their second leading rebounder? Kwan Cheatham Jr with 4.8 rebounds per game. They are 9th in their conference in rebounds per game overall, a stat that won’t bode well against teams like Toledo and Kent State in the tournament.

Will Akron have a cakewalk to a division title this year? Not necessarily, as Akron at 10-4 only leads Kent State and Ohio by one game in the conference and Buffalo by two games in the conference. It will be a photo finish to end the MAC East’s regular season, one that will almost certainly see Akron succeeding in some capacity yet again.