Tag Archives: March Madness

March Madness Notebook: Previewing Three New England Matchups

NS March Madness 2019

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

The March Madness field is set after the conclusion of last nights ‘first four’ contests.

In case you missed it Farleigh Dickinson, Belmont, Arizona State, and North Dakota State punched tickets to the big dance.

The tournament will start today with Louisville and Minnesota tipping-off in Des Moines, Iowa at 12:15 p.m.

Looking around New England there are three teams with high hopes to be one of the Cinderella teams. Here’s a close up look at the three teams and the first round matchups.


No. 3 LSU vs. No. 14 Yale: Yale picked up the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a decisive 97-85 win over arch rival Harvard in the conference championship final last weekend.

The Bulldogs are the real deal and could cause problems for LSU with a veteran lineup and an explosive offense led by Ivy League Player of Year Miye Oni, who enters today’s contest averaging 17.6 points per game. Oni is projected by many to be a second-round NBA draft pick and if the dynamic point guard is allowed to control tempo this game could result in a win for the Blue and White.

LSU is one of the country’s most athletic and talented squads and most deserving of the third seed, as well. However, there are questions and controversy surrounding the Tigers because they had a first-round flameout in the SEC tournament and their head coach Will Wade is embroiled in an FBI recruiting investigation.

LSU and Yale will meet in Jacksonville, Florida this afternoon where the Bulldogs will attempt to improve to 2-0 in the Sunshine State after rallying to beat Miami last December at the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena.


No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 13 Vermont: Gotta love the Catamounts who play in basketball-crazy Burlington, Vermont.

UVM is led by junior Anthony Lamb, who averages 21.4 points per game – expect Lamb to be a factor in his team’s early afternoon clash, as well as the team’s lockdown defense which may give the ‘Noles trouble in the opening minutes.

Florida State is playing excellent basketball having defeated Virginia is the ACC tournament before losing to Duke in the title game.

Many feel Leonard Hamilton’s squad has the length, athleticism, and skill to go all the way but will patience or lack thereof cause them to stumble under tournament pressure? Either way, I like the ‘Noles to win this contest but it won’t be easy.


No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 13 Northeastern: Bill Cohen‘s Huskies punched their ticket to the big dance with a solid 82-74 takedown over Hofstra in the CAA title game last week.

Northeastern’s explosive point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points on seven three-pointers. The Huskies are one of the country’s top three-point shooting teams and if they can adjust to the change in elevation in Salt Lake City then it may cause the Jayhawks some trouble.

This past season hasn’t been one of Bill Self’s better teams which saw its record of 14 Big 12 Conference regular-season titles come to an end. Injuries have plagued Kansas and as a result, Self has been forced to play a bunch of first-year players.

The Huskies with Pusica at the controls will make life difficult for one of college basketball’s elite programs but in the end, I like Kansas.


Stay connected with our Noontime Sports New England basketball coverage on Twitter @Noontime_Hoops 

Noontime Hoops Notebook: Whitney’s March Madness Primer

Noontime Hoops Notebook

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob 

Well, it’s time to get the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament underway after Sunday’s selection committee announced the top seeds and brackets for the 68 team field.

There were no surprises at the top with Duke receiving the top seed along with Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans made a very impressive last-second push for consideration but it was too little – too late. Izzo is a master at preparing his team for March and the Spartans enter the tournament playing some of the best basketball in the country.

Realistically, Michigan State is one of seven or eight teams with a shot to claim the 2019 crown in Minneapolis.

Tennessee and Kentucky were in the conversation but their season-long body of work fell a tad short when compared to Duke, Virginia, Carolina and the Zags.

John Beilein’s Michigan Wolverines, who were the runner up to Villanova in 2018, would be the other squad with a legitimate chance at advancing to the championship game.

The tournament gets started this evening in Dayton, Ohio with ‘first four’ action featuring Farleigh Dickinson (20-13) versus Prairie View A&M (22-12) followed by Belmont (26-5) and Temple (23-9).

The other ‘first four’ concludes on Wednesday with NC Central (18-15) versus ND State (18-15) followed by Arizona State (22-10) against St. John’s (21-12).

The Belmont/Temple matchup is perhaps the most interesting of all the ‘first four’ games. Belmont could be this year’s Cinderella team in the tournament. Temple enters with plenty of emotion on its side as coach Fran Dunphy prepares to write the final chapter on what is likely to be a Hall of Fame coaching career.

Here is an early look at some of the key matchups in each region, exciting players to watch, potential Cinderella teams, and much more.

East Region Preview: Duke, with a healthy Zion Williamson, is the odds-on favorite to win the region, however, Michigan State and Virginia Tech (the Hokies outstanding point guard Justin Robinson is expected back for the tournament) just might get in the way of the Blue Devils bid for Coach K’s sixth national title.

If Duke has an Achilles heel it would be outside shooting.

Two first-round games to watch would be Mississippi State/ Liberty and LSU/Yale.

Liberty under coach Richie Mackay (and a former assistant under Tony Bennett at UVA) sport a stingy defense that could pose problems for Mississippi State. Controversy surrounds a very athletic and talented LSU squad with coach Will Wade embroiled in a recruiting scandal.

Ivy League tournament champ Yale is the real deal so this game is on the upset watch list.

If Belmont gets by Temple they could be a team to watch along with Louisville who has surprised most in the ACC under first-year Coach Chris Mack.

Whitney’s Prediction: Duke and Michigan State will meet in the east final.

West Region Preview: Gonzaga is the top seed with Michigan close behind in a region where most teams enter the tournament with more questions than answers.

Florida State has the talent to advance to the regional final, particularly after they raised a few eyebrows by easily defeating Virginia in the ACC tournament semifinals. But the ‘Noles have been inconsistent and will be challenged to raise their level of play, especially shooting from beyond the arc. The Buffalo Bulls, with an experienced senior-laden lineup, could be the surprise team in the region.

A first-round matchup to keep your eye on would be Marquette/Murray State. The contest pits two of the most explosive players in the country in Marquette’s Markus Howard and Murray State’s Ja Morant. Both are capable of going for 40 points on any given night. Morant has been tabbed a mini Zion Williamson so get ready to hold your breath as these two go head-to-head on Thursday in Hartford.

Whitney’s Prediction: Florida State and Michigan will advance to the west final.

South Region Preview: Top-seeded Virginia is front and center as the Hoos seek to erase the stain from last’s first-round flameout to UMBC.

On paper, this region appears to be stacked in Virginia’s favor as most of the contenders play a slower, defensive-oriented style which is right up Virginia’s alley.

Kansas State may pose a mild challenge to the Hoos but the road to the regional final is wide open for Virginia’s redemption tour bus. If you haven’t seen him catch a peek at Virginia’s All American guard Kyle Guy, who can drain three’s with his eyes closed.

Tennessee and Purdue should battle it out for the chance to face Virginia in the final with a possible challenge from Mitch Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be Virginia and Purdue in the south final.

Midwest Region Preview: This region could have the most drama and surprises of all the four regions.

I like Carolina and I also believe that this is one of Roy Williams best coaching jobs in his Hall of Fame career. The Tar Heels have the horsepower to get to Minneapolis provided they continue to defend at a high level and eliminate costly turnovers. Many are looking ahead to a Carolina/Kansas battle of blue blood programs, but the Jayhawks have been playing poorly and may not get past a first-round date against Billy Coen’s Northeastern Huskies.

Auburn is coming off a spectacular run in the SEC tournament. The knock on the Tigers is that they often play with far less energy than their coach exudes on the sidelines.
Kentucky and Houston should compete for the chance to face Carolina in the final.

Wofford and Seton Hall should be an intriguing first round battle. Both teams are capable of beating anyone in the country and the winner could derail Kentucky’ shot in the region.

Whitney’s Prediction: It will be a Carolina and Houston final.


Stay connected with Bob Whitney throughout the NCAA Tournament by following @WhitneyBob on Twitter! 

NCAA D3 Tournament: Opening Round Roundup

NS NCAA TOURN ROUNDUP

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

Welcome to the official start of ‘March Madness!’

The NCAA Division III basketball tournament commenced today with some pretty exciting outcomes as St. Joseph’s (Maine) and Hamilton College each began the day with opening round wins. The Monks scored an exciting five-point (61-56) victory over UMass Boston women’s basketball team in Amherst, while the Continentals defeated Nazareth, 86-72, thanks to a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds from Kena Gilmour.

The Monks of St. Joseph’s played some impressive defense down the stretch, holding the Beacons just nine points in the third and fourth quarters. Julia Champagne led the Monks with 16 points – she also stuffed the stat sheet with six caroms, three steals and one one assist.

Joining the Monks in the second round of the women’s tournament is Amherst CollegeBowdoin College and Tufts University. The Jumbos scored an opening round win over Westfield State, thanks to 17 points off the bench from Cailin Harrington, along with 15 points from Jac Knapp and Melissa Baptista.

On the men’s side: MIT scored an opening round win as the Engineers defeated Brockport, 81-67. Tim Roberts recorded his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Middlebury College topped Lebanon Valley, 83-63, behind a triple-double of 13 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists from Jack Daly.

Joining MIT and Middlebury in the second round is Springfield CollegeWesleyan UniversityEastern Connecticut and Williams College. The Pride scored an exciting opening round win as they edged Albright, 88-86, thanks to a pair of freebies from Jake Ross, along with a late free throw from Heath Post.

Bobby Casey helped the Ephs break-open a one-point (21-20) lead at the break to defeat the Bears of Bridgewater State, 56-45. James Heskett concluded the game with 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.  


Saturday’s Schedule | Round Two 

  • Women’s Basketball: St. Joseph’s (Maine) at Amherst College, 6 p.m.
  • Women’s Basketball: FDU-Florham at Bowdoin College, 7 p.m.
  • Women’s Basketball: Ithaca at Tufts University, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball: Ramapo at Williams College, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball: Middlebury College at Eastern Connecticut St., 7 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball: MIT at Johns Hopkins, 8 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball: Hamilton College at York (Pa), 7 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball: Swarthmore at Wesleyan, 7 p.m.
  • Men’s Basketball: Springfield at Cabrini, 7 p.m.

Mass. College Hoops: No. 6 UMass Falls To No. 11 Tennesse, 86-67

By NoontimeSports.com 

The UMass men’s basketball season concluded this afternoon as 11th seeded Tennessee earned an 86-67 victory over the Minutemen in the second round of the NCAA Division 1 March Madness Tournament. With the loss, UMass concludes its season with a 24-9 overall mark.

Chaz Williams and Maxi Esho each led the Minutemen with 12 points, while Derrick Gordon registered 10 points, three rebounds and one assist.

Jarnell Stokes led the Volunteers and all scorers with 26 points. Stokes also recorded 14 rebounds, two assists and one steal. Jordan McRae netted 21 points, while Jeronne Maymon finished with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.

UMass converted 28 of 66 shots, including 3 of 11 triples. As a team, they converted 8 of 11 free throws. Tennessee 30 of 56 attempts and was 24 of 31 from the stripe.

The Volunteers earned a 41-22 lead at the break and never looked back. Tennessee will return to the hardwood on Sunday when they take on Mercer, who defeated Duke University prior to the Volunteers’ win over UMass.

March Madness: No. 12 Harvard Tops No. 5 Cincinnati, 61-57 (Game Summary)

By Matt Noonan 

The Harvard University men’s basketball team extended its season to Saturday as the Crimson defeated the fifth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats, 61-57.

Wesley Saunders stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points (team-high), four assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Siyani Chambers and Laurent Rivard each netted 11 points.

Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick led all scores with 18 points, while Justin Jackson finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 boards.

The Crimson, who entered the tournament as a 12th seed, converted 19 of 44 shots from the field, including 6 of 17 attempts from beyond the arc. As a team, they went 17 of 28 from the stripe.

The Bearcats finished 21 of 57 from the field. They out rebounded the Crimson, 34-33. However, Harvard won the battle on the defensive end, pulling down 24 defensive caroms.

Harvard led Cincinnati at the break, 36-29, but the Bearcats outscored their opponent in the second session, 28-25.

Titus Rubles brought the Bearcats within two points at 13:52 in the second half with a layup, but Harvard answered with back-to-back layups by Saunders and Evan Cummins that stretched the Crimson’s lead to seven points.

Both teams traded free throws down the stretch. Chambers and Saunders each recorded a pair at the charity stripe, which sealed the win and punched Harvard’s ticket to the third round.

Harvard (27-4) will play the winner of Michigan State-Delaware on Saturday. No time has been announced for the third round contest. Cincinnati concludes its season a 27-7 mark.

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