Gentlemen, start your engines. Conference tournaments have begun.
With the tip-off of conference tournaments tonight, postseason play has begun. Two conferences – the Horizon League and the Big South, open tournament play tonight. Four more – the Patriot League, Ohio Valley, America East and Atlantic Sun all start later this week. Dreams will be dashed beginning tonight.
In the Horizon League, all eyes are on Butler. The defending national runner-up is as on the bubble as you could be, and losing this tournament won’t do them any favors. With upsets inevitable in later tournaments, the Bulldogs’ only hope of repeating its magical run is to win the Horizon League title. As a #2 seed, they have the double bye , so two wins gets them back to the dance.
In the Big South, Coastal Carolina has made a legit case for an at-large spot should it not win the tournament, but there will be no guarantees. Traditionally only one team dances from this conference, so it will likely all be decided this week.
Do you know who came closest to beating Butler before Duke eventually did in 2010?
It was Murray State.
The Bulldogs escaped by two in a second-round matchup with the 13th seeded Racers in a game that had everybody’s heart racing. Murray State is back as the favorite to repeat in the Ohio Valley and make another run at taking down the big boys in March.
Sit back and enjoy. It’s going to be a great month.