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Champ Week live blog 3/4: We’re handing out 3 automatic bids today

The Big South, ASUN, and MVC all determine champions this afternoon.

NCAA Basketball: Radford at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: 9:28 p.m.

In the 4 vs 5 game in the Summit League Tournament, North Dakota State held a 49-31 lead over Fort Wayne at halftime. During the last minute of the game, the Mastodons had the made it a one possession game and were on the verge of completing a monumental comeback. In the second half alone, Fort Wayne went 18-29 from the floor, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

The Bison prevailed 86-82, setting up a matchup with top-seeded South Dakota State. The two teams are familiar with each other in this setting. One of the two have won each of the last six Summit League tournaments. The Jackrabbits swept the season series, but the Bison played them close in Fargo. They’ll need all hands on deck to slow down the potent Jackrabbit offense.

On the other side of the bracket, South Dakota awaits the winner of Oral Roberts and Denver. All signs are pointing to a rubber match between the South Dakota schools for a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

- Chris Schutte

UPDATE: 5:09 p.m.

The Patriot League semifinals concluded with none other than favorites Colgate and Bucknell on top. However, the games differed greatly. While the Raiders couldn’t pull away until only five minutes were left in the game, Bucknell cruised.

Colgate managed to put it all together, winning 62-55 thanks to free throws and rebounding, and, well, maybe a little help from Colgate’s football team, which was going crazy in the stands. The Raiders overcame a 32 percent field goal rate by out-rebounding Holy Cross 17-3 on the offensive side. Will Rayman led Colgate with 22 points on 7-8 shooting from the line. Also, Colgate only committed six turnovers, compared to Holy Cross’s 13. It wasn’t the most confidence-inducing performance by Colgate, but it got the job done.

Bucknell, on the other hand, absolutely obliterated Boston U by 31 points. The Bison shot nearly 60 percent from the field. Despite struggles from superstar Zach Thomas, Stephen Brown had a marvelous game with 26 points. Nathan Thomas elected to rest his starters with eight minutes remaining in the second half, and still, Nana Foulland and Kimbal Mackenzie combined for 25.

-Ellie Lieberman

UPDATE: 5:00 p.m.

Loyola is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985 and they are doing it as a ‘team’. They defeated Illinois State 65-49 as the tournament’s ‘Most Outstanding Player’ Donte Ingram scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds as 10 Ramblers registered points.

Valley ‘Player of the Year’ Clayton Custer struggled with his shot for the entire tournament and no Loyola player scored more than 13 points in any game, until today. Defense has been the Ramblers’ calling card all season and they held ISU under 32% shooting for the game. The Redbirds led the Valley in three point baskets this season, and Sunday they made just five of 25 long distance attempts.

Loyola (28-7) now awaits their March Madness assignment and Illinois State (18-15), who has already ruled out postseason play, unless it is in the National Invitation Tournament, waits to see if their hopes will be realized.

This is the third Valley championship game loss in the past four seasons for coach Dan Muller.

- Harry Schroeder

UPDATE: 3:55 p.m.

Lipscomb is playing as well as I have seen them play all season. In fact, Lipscomb is having as good of a first half as any team I have watched all season. They chose the right game to do it as well. The Bisons, who have never been to the NCAA Tournament, are well on their way to the big dance.

Just how dominant have the Bisons been? Well, for one thing they’re beating FGCU by a score of 60 to 31. Yep, 60 points IN THE FIRST HALF. Garrison Mathews has scored 26 points by himself in the first half. The Bisons have shot a whopping 66.7 percent from the floor as well. During the first few minutes of the first half, I thought that FGCU would make their way back into the game because there was no way Lipscomb could keep shooting at such an unbelievable pace. They have not slowed down, and barring the comeback of the season Lipscomb will go to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

-John Dales

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

In the second CAA quarterfinal of the day, Towson’s Zane Martin threw down one of the best dunks of the month. Down 41-32 to William & Mary, Martin attacked the Tribe defense and absolutely dropped the hammer on fellow All-CAA pick Nathan Knight. Check out the play here:

- Tommy Glasgow

UPDATE: 3:07 p.m.

At the half, Loyola Chicago looks to be in control. They lead 36-27, but it’s the way they have achieved the advantage that makes this game appear to be theirs to lose. The Rambler bench is significantly better (12 points to 5 for Illinois State) and their offensive sets create better shot options.

The regular season champions have connected on 46% of their shots, including six of 12 from long distance.

ISU survived a first half where leading scorer Milik Yarbrough played just nine minutes due to foul trouble, and they connected on just 32% of their shots. Phil Fayne leads the Redbirds with eight points, while Donte Ingram has nine to lead the Ramblers.

- Harry Schroeder

UPDATE: 3:01 p.m.


- Russell Steinberg

UPDATE: 2:53 p.m.

All-conference forward Milik Yarbrough is sitting with two fouls and the Illinois State Redbirds trail Loyola, 27-22. Donte Ingram and Valley Player of the Year Clayton Custer lead the Ramblers with six points each.

The Redbirds have been whistled for eight fouls, while the Ramblers have been called for just two.

Saturday hero Phil Fayne leads ISU with eight points. With 3:58 to go in the first half.

UPDATE: 2:21 p.m.

The top-seeded College of Charleston Cougars held off an upset from #8 Drexel, hanging on to win 66-59 in the first game of the CAA quarterfinals. Drexel, less than 24 hours after beating James Madison in Game 1, took a nine-point lead midway through the second half before CofC responded. Charleston CAA first-teamer Joe Chealey hit back-to-back threes to kickstart a 13-0 Cougar run and Drexel seemed to start running out of gas. Two late threes by Cam Johnson and Grant Riller secured a win for the home crowd. Charleston will play the winner of William & Mary/Towson tomorrow night.

- Tommy Glasgow

UPDATE: 2:03 p.m.

There is a decided Illinois State home feel here at Scottrade Center. Loyola’s fan base is small and Illinois State is two hours closer to St. Louis. There is a lot of red and white in the stands.

The Ramblers (27-5) saw their RPI improve to 27 late last night. Illinois State (18-14) is playing in their third Arch Madness final in the last four years. They have yet to secure a Sunday win and advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Loyola last participated in the NCAA Tournament in 1985, and Illinois State hasn’t competed in March Madness since Dan Muller was a player in 1998.

- Harry Schroeder

Murray State beat Belmont last night to earn the first automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The game and celebration were fun as hell, so let’s do that three more times today.

The Big South, ASUN, and Missouri Valley will all crown champions this afternoon, and you’ll want to stay tuned to Mid-Major Madness for the latest on everything. In addition, we have the Colonial quarterfinals, Patriot and SoCon semis, and more.

Check back here throughout the day for the latest updates, but for now, a quick primer on how to keep up (all times Eastern):

CAA Quarterfinals:

Time: Noon, 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 8:30 p.m.
Twitter: @King_Kresse

Patriot League Semifinals:

Time: Noon, 2 p.m.
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Twitter: @ellieliebs

Big South Final:

Time: 1 p.m.
Watch: ESPN
Twitter: @torrancex

Missouri Valley Final:

Time: 2 p.m.
Watch: CBS
Twitter: @FatherHarry1

ASUN Final:

Time: 3 p.m.
Watch: ESPN
Twitter: @JDales_1

Southern Semifinals:

Time: 4 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
Watch: ESPN3
Twitter: @SoConJohn22

Horizon Quarterfinals:

Time: 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Watch: ESPN3
Twitter: @andyevans16

MAAC Semifinals:

Time: 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
Watch: ESPN3
Twitter: @tristanjung0

Summit League Quarterfinals:

Time: 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
Watch: ESPN3
Twitter: @ChrisSchutte3