It can always get worse.
We’re two days into the 2018 Never Made The Tournament Club experience, and we’re not off to a very good start.
Army was probably never going to beat Bucknell, who are an extremely good team. However, with a 10-point second half lead over a Loyola (MD) team that is largely forgettable, it felt like the Black Knights were a solid bet to make the next round.
The wheels fell off.
They even had a layup to tie the game with 15 seconds left. They missed. Then they had a wide open three to tie as the clock expired. Brick. The troops, the first Founding Father to open their 2018 conference tournament season, will be back for another run. Want to see a dead body?
That’s not how you close, Army!
Next we had the Presbyterian Blue Hose, who got totally whitewashed by Charleston Southern. Other than our obligatory mention of Presbyterian’s absurd and wonderful nickname, there’s not much to report there. Then, High Point, which usually is a much better basketball team than fellow Club member Longwood (7-25), got blown out at home by the Lancers. This is a family broadcast, so I will refrain from making any more jokes. High Point was just never in the game. The Panthers were down by 20+ early and never recovered. Longwood, the sole surviving NMTC member in the Big South, will get a somewhat surprising shot at glory against No. 2 seed Radford.
(4) LIU Brooklyn vs. (5) St. Francis Brooklyn - 7 p.m. EST, NEC First Row (31% chance of winning)
Eyyyyy, I’m playin’ basketball ova here. Today we have the battle for Brooklyn as LIU and St. Francis Brooklyn face off to decide who can wield the better New York accent. St. Francis beat LIU 84-79 in their last meeting on February 15th. Unfortunately, LIU defeated St. Francis 81-76 at home in the “Wellness Center.” St. Francis lost home court advantage due to a tiebreaker, which means this could be bad.
Look, I will die upon the hill that St. Francis is actually decent. The Terriers won 10 conference games, beat No. 1 seed Wagner at home. The Terriers also lost three overtime games, which means they got unlucky. Falling to the No. 5 seed was sub-optimal though, that really stinks.
I apologize for making a very nerdy reference in the NMTC column, wait, just kidding, I don’t, here’s a dumb video:
(5) Tennessee Tech vs. (8) SIU-Edwardsville - 6:30 p.m. EST, OVC Network (30% chance of winning)
It’s hard to remember that SIU-Edwardsville is in the NMTC, yet here we are. I have actually seen the Cougs play in person (this was two years ago) and it was not pretty. SIUE is No. 312 in KenPom and has done little to inspire confidence. At least this game is on a neutral site!
Teams returning for 2019
Bryant (missed NEC Tournament)
Grambling Tigers (Academically ineligible)
Sacred Heart (missed NEC Tournament)
UT-Martin (missed OVC Tournament)