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Conference Tournament preview, March 6: Wyoming will look to continue its Cinderella run

Brace yourself for a Friday full of basketball.

Wyoming v Boise State Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

Here we go. Another thirteen hours of wall-to-wall basketball!

Arch Madness tips off the day, then the Big South, Mountain West and OVC will all set their championship games by the end of the night.

The oldest conference tournament in college basketball tips off in Asheville with the SoCon beginning its postseason.

And the Wyoming Cowboys are two wins away from the NCAA Tournament after winning only two games in conference play.

Here’s everything you need to know about Friday’s action. All times Eastern.


Big South

An intriguing and fun final four will fight for the right to make the conference finals. Both games will be at Radford University and streamed on ESPN+.

No. 3 Gardner-Webb vs No. 2 Winthrop, 6:00 p.m.
No. 5 Hampton at No. 1 Radford, approximately 8:30 p.m.

Gardner-Webb is currently on a four game winning streak, but they’ll face an even hotter Winthrop team who looked like themselves from the first month of Big South play. Both games between these two teams were fun ones, with the first going to Winthrop in triple overtime and the second going to Gardner-Webb by a score of 73-70.

In game two, Hampton and Radford will try to make their match up like every other one in their short Big South history, which have all been decided by four points or less. Carlik Jones against Jermaine Marrow is must see TV and points could be plentiful in this matchup.

Missouri Valley

One of the best things about conference tournament season is Missouri Valley Quarterfinal Friday. Arch Madness action tips off at 1:00 on Friday, and the games will be broadcast on either Fox Sports Midwest, CSN Chicago or ESPN+.

No. 8 Drake vs No. 1 Northern Iowa, 1:00 p.m.
No. 5 Southern Illinois vs No. 4 Bradley, approximately 3:30 p.m.
No. 7 Valparaiso vs No. 2 Loyola (IL), 7:00 p.m.
No. 6 Missouri State vs No. 3 Indiana State, approximately 9:30 p.m.

The 30th Arch Madness kicks into full gear Friday afternoon, and you should be pumped!

Northern Iowa killed Drake in both their match ups this season, but any rivalry game in the postseason is fun. If the Bulldogs can pull off the major upset, that’ll be the nail in the coffin for Northern Iowa’s at-large resume.

To end the opening session, two teams who have had interesting seasons will face off. SIU was picked dead last in the preseason, but a seven game winning streak in the middle of the year boosted them into the 5 seed spot. Bradley was last years tournament champion, and ended the year winning five of seven.

In the night session, Loyola (IL) will try to recapture some of their magic from two March’s ago and Indiana State will debut their new logo (which is bad).

Mountain West

Yesterday’s Quarterfinals were definitely something to remember. The Mountain West will try to make some more memories in Vegas on Friday night. Both games will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

No. 5 Boise State vs No. 1 San Diego State, 9:00 p.m.
No. 11 Wyoming vs No. 2 Utah State, approximately 11:30 p.m.

The Mountain West isn’t just about San Diego State anymore, it’s about the Wyoming Cowboys too! Early Friday morning (on the East Coast), Wyoming came back from down double digits in the second half to upset the No. 3 seed Nevada. Wyoming won a total of two games in conference play, but they’ve already matched that in two days in Vegas.

Wyoming’s opponent on Friday night cannot afford a loss. The Utah State Aggies are on the bubble, and a loss probably takes them out of the tournament. However, a win will pretty much do nothing to boost their chances.

The other three teams also had something of note happen to them on Thursday. San Diego State struggled against league bottom dweller Air Force for the second time this season. Utah State had to come from behind to beat always tough New Mexico, and Boise State upset UNLV on their home court.

San Diego State needs a win to help them stay in the mix for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio Valley

The stars are out in Evansville! Both games will be broadcast on ESPNU.

No. 4 Eastern Kentucky vs No. 1 Belmont, 8:00 p.m.
No. 3 Austin Peay vs No. 2 Murray State, approximately 10:30 p.m.

Eight of the 10 All-OVC First Team players will be in action in Friday’s semifinals, and you should expect some fun basketball!

In the opener, Eastern Kentucky will face a team they’ve had some struggles with. In mid-January, Belmont beat the Colonels by 31. In late February, it wasn’t as bad, but Belmont still won by 13. It’ll be hard for Jomaru Brown to do anything against Belmont’s big three of Adam Kunkel, Grayson Murphy, and Nick Muszynski.

In the nightcap, two of the best mid-major forwards in the country will face off when Terry Taylor of Austin Peay plays KJ Williams and the Murray State Racers. Expect a fun atmosphere and some aggressive ball on the court!

SoCon

Do you like points? If you do, these games will probably have loads for them. The oldest college basketball tournament will tip off in Asheville on Friday, and the games will be broadcast on ESPN+.

  • No. 9 VMI vs No. 8 Samford, 5:00 p.m.
  • No. 10 The Citadel vs No. 7 Wofford, approximately 7:30 p.m.

Nathan Hoover and Storm Murphy are still at Wofford, but the Terriers are without Fletcher Magee and Mike Young. They’re a solid team who’s over .500, but are nowhere close to the unbeaten SoCon squad from a year ago. They enter having lost seven straight games and will face The Citadel, who didn’t win a conference game this season.

In the other game, Samford’s Josh Sharkey is starting his final tournament for Scott Padgett and the Bulldogs. The senior is 4th in the country in assist rate and holds multiple school records. At the moment, he is the most decorated player in their Division I history.

WCC

Now that the pretenders are out, these teams will try to make a Cinderella run into the tournament. The action in Vegas will be broadcast on CSN California, BYUtv, Root Sports, AT&T Sports and WCC Network.

No. 8 Loyola Marymount vs No. 5 San Francisco, 9:00 p.m.
No. 7 Santa Clara vs No. 6 Pepperdine, approximately 11:30 p.m.

The Dons of San Francisco clinched another twenty-win season on Saturday. They don’t have real stars on this years team like Frankie Ferrari, but they have a pesky defense that fared well in WCC play. They’ll face off against Loyola Marymount on Friday night, who they beat by single digits twice this season.

In the other match up, Pepperdine will try to pick up their Cinderella run from last season. They beat Santa Clara twice during the regular season, but the Broncs have some potential to stop the likes of Kam Edwards and Colbey Ross. SCU shot right around 50% in their victory last night over Portland, and they have the 50th best eFG% in the country.

Expect both these games to be competitive.