In most cases, the cream of the crop has risen to the top in college basketball’s conference tournaments – except for No. 1 Kansas. It’s another very busy day of action Friday around the country. Teddy Covers and Pauly Howard give their takes on the SportsBIT show in previewing some of the day’s most interesting games.
Tobacco Road Rubber Match
It might be a bit overhyped thanks to ESPN, but college basketball’s best rivalry is renewed on Friday when No. 14 Duke faces No. 6 North Carolina in one ACC Tournament semifinal in Brooklyn. The Tobacco Road neighbors split their two regular-season meetings, each winning at home. Since 2000, the ACC Tournament has been dominated by Duke, which has won it nine times — but not since 2011. UNC is the defending ACC Tournament champion and looking to repeat for the first time since 1997-98. Neither Teddy nor Pauly expected the Blue Devils or Tar Heels to win this tournament. One will have a shot.
Rock Chalk, So Long Jayhawk
The biggest surprise of Thursday was Associated Press No. 1 Kansas losing in the Big 12 Tournament to TCU, which still likely needs to win the tournament to reach the Big Dance. It was TCU’s first-ever win in seven games against the AP No. 1-ranked team. The Horned Frogs were 0-22 against teams ranked in the top four. KU clearly missed freshman star Josh Jackson, who was suspended for the game. The Frogs now face No. 23 Iowa State on Friday in Kansas City. The Cyclones advanced with a 92-83 win over Oklahoma State. ISU won this tournament in 2014 & ’15. Iowa State’s excellent senior trio of Monte Morris, Matt Thomas and Naz Mitrou-Long is 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 ATS in this tourney in their careers. ISU and TCU split in the regular season.
Nova Looks For Final Payback
Seton Hall and AP No. 2 Villanova face off in the Big East Tournament semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Teddy & Pauly featured were all over Villanova in both Wildcats-Pirates matchups in the regular season, reminding bettors that Villanova had some unfinished business against Seton Hall after losing to the Hall in the 2016 Big East Tournament title game. The Wildcats easily covered in two blowouts of Seton Hall, but the Pirates are 5-0 since that last loss.
Ivy League Has A What?
March Madness has even hit the Ivy League as it stages its first-ever conference tournament starting Friday. The top four teams – Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Penn – will gather in Philadelphia’s Palestra this weekend for the inaugural event. The semifinals tip off Saturday. Princeton would already be planning for the NCAA Tournament in past years as it won the Ivy League’s regular-season title at 14-0, four games ahead of second-place Harvard, and will face Penn on Saturday. The only other team nationally to be unbeaten in regular-season conference play was Vermont in the America East.