ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
47°
Cloudy
H 70° L 38°
  • cloudy-day
    47°
    Current Conditions
    Cloudy. H 70° L 38°
  • cloudy-day
    47°
    Afternoon
    Cloudy. H 70° L 38°
  • cloudy-day
    45°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 51° L 31°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Journey to NCAA tournament starts this week in far-flung places

Conference tournament schedule

A look at the 30 leagues that have postseason play, with each conference’s RPI rank, the conference leader and number of potential NCAA bids:

League;Dates;Site;RPI;Leader;Bids

America East;March 8-10, 16;Albany, N.Y.;22; Stony Brook (23-6, 14-2);1

Atlantic 10;March 14-17;Brooklyn, N.Y.;7;St. Louis (23-5, 12-2);4-6

Atlantic Coast;March 14-17;Greensboro, N.C.;4;Miami (23-5, 14-2);4-6

Atlantic Sun;March 6-9;Macon, Ga.;26;Mercer (21-10, 14-4);1

Big 12;March 13-16;Kansas City, Mo.;5;Kansas (25-4, 13-3);4-6

Big East;March 12-16;New York;3;Georgetown (23-4, 13-3);6-8

Big Sky;March 14-16;Higher seeds;28;Montana (20-6, 16-1);1

Big South;March 5, 7, 9-10;Conway, S.C.;30;Charleston So. (17-11, 12-4);1

Big Ten;March 14-17;Chicago;2;Indiana (25-4, 13-3);7-8

Big West;March 14-16;Anaheim, Calif.;21;Long Beach (17-11, 13-3);1

Colonial;March 9-11;Richmond, Va.;24;Northeastern (19-11, 14-4);1

Conference USA;March 13-16;Tulsa, Okla.;11;Memphis (25-4, 14-0);1-2

Horizon;March 5, 8-9, 12;Higher seeds;12;Valparaiso (24-7, 13-3);1

Metro Atlantic;March 7-11;Springfield, Mass.;14;Niagara (18-12, 13-5);1

Mid-American;March 11, 13-16;Cleveland;17;Akron (23-5, 13-1);1-2

Mid-Eastern;March 11-16;Norfolk, Va.;29;Norfolk State (19-10, 14-0);1

Missouri Valley;March 7-10;St. Louis;9;Creighton (24-7, 13-5);2-3

Mountain West;March 12-16;Las Vegas;1;New Mexico (25-4, 12-2);4-6

Northeast;March 6, 9, 12;Higher seeds;20;Robert Morris (22-9, 14-4);1

Ohio Valley;March 6-9;Nashville, Tenn.;16;Belmont (24-6, 14-2);1-2

Pacific 12;March 13-16;Las Vegas;6;Oregon (23-6, 12-4);4-6

Patriot;March 6, 9, 13;Higher seeds;18;Bucknell (25-5, 12-2);1

Southeastern;March 13-17;Nashville, Tenn.;8;Florida (23-5, 13-3);2-5

Southern;March 8-11;Asheville, N.C.;27;Davidson (23-7, 17-1);1

Southland;March 13-16;Katy;25;Stephen F. Austin (24-3, 14-2);1

Summit;March 9-12;Sioux Falls, S.D.;19;South Dakota St. (22-9, 13-3);1

Sun Belt;March 9-12;Hot Springs, Ark.;15;Middle Tennessee (27-4, 19-1);1-2

SWAC;March 12-16;Garland;32;Southern (21-9, 15-3);1

Western Athletic;March 12, 14-16;Las Vegas;13;Louisiana Tech (26-3, 16-0);1-2

West Coast;March 6-9, 11;Las Vegas;10;Gonzaga (29-2, 16-0);2-3

It must be March

Sorting out this month’s college basketball madness:

March 5-11: Mid-major tournaments begin

March 13-16: Big 12 tournament

March 17: Selection Sunday

March 19-20: NCAA First Four

March 21-24: NCAA second- and third-round games, including matchups in Austin.

March 28-31: Sweet 16, including games in Arlington.

When Winthrop and Radford roll out the ball Tuesday morning at the Big South tournament in Conway, S.C. — just a stone’s throw from Myrtle Beach — the postseason march will begin, complete with stops in Austin, Arlington and, ultimately, Atlanta.

The beauty, and curse, of college basketball is that no matter how badly a team’s season has gone, it can be salvaged by lighting it up for one week in March. Win your conference tournament, and you earn an automatic bid to the Big Dance, which visits the Erwin Center for second- and third-round games.

There are 347 NCAA Division I teams, and approximately 300 of them will be part of a title-elimination process that starts this week, when low-major and mid-major conference tournaments tip off.

“We’re always talking about opening the NCAA tournament to everybody, but with the exception of the Ivy League, it already is open to everybody,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “Regardless of what kind of year you had, you have a chance to play your way into the NCAAs.”

The only teams that don’t have this last-gasp chance are from the Ivy, which has no postseason tournament; the Great West, a newer conference not yet awarded an NCAA invite; about a dozen schools that are academically ineligible; and a handful of independents.

For everybody else, whether you are 3-26 Binghamton, 8-23 Presbyterian or 13-16 Texas, which has a No. 122 RPI, there is a sliver of hope. A tiny sliver.

Texas, for instance, is given a 0.73 percent chance — about 1 in 135 — of winning the Big 12 tournament, according to teamrankings.com. Hey, it beats no chance at all.

“The conference tournaments always give you new life,” Barnes said. “Some roads are more difficult than others, but it’s been proven a long shot can get in if it gets hot at the right time.”

The flip side for low-majors and mid-majors is that teams that had great regular seasons have to prove it all over again.

“The stakes are really high there because they know their league is only going to get one NCAA bid,” Barnes said. “Imagine the pressure, the intensity, but it makes their tournaments really exciting because it’s winner-take-all.”

Yes, in this sport, the sprint can be more important than the marathon.

Valparaiso (24-7, 13-3) won the Horizon League with the kind of team that could scare, possibly even beat, one of the big boys in a few weeks. Unless the Crusaders win their tournament, though, they won’t be dancing.

Bucknell (25-5, 12-2) faces the same heat in the Patriot League. The Bison, who have a possible NBA draft pick in 6-foot-11-inch center Mike Muscala, are projected as a 13th seed if they make the NCAA tournament.

Fortunately for Valpo and Bucknell, their leagues do all they can to protect their regular-season champs by giving them a home-court advantage for the conference tournaments.

Last year, only 11 of 30 regular-season champs also won their league tourneys.

Of the 14 conference tournaments on tap this week, just three leagues have legitimate chances to earn multiple NCAA bids:

  • West Coast, which starts Wednesday and is fronted by new national No. 1 Gonzaga (29-2). St. Mary’s (26-5) is a decent bet to earn an at-large, and if another team, say BYU (21-10), wins the tourney, then the WCC could pick up three bids.
  • Missouri Valley, which opens Thursday, holds its popular “Arch Madness” in St. Louis, averaging more than 10,000 fans per session. It has two teams — Creighton (24-7) and Wichita State (24-7) — that should make the NCAA cut.
  • Ohio Valley, which tips Wednesday, is the league that gave you Murray State last year. This time newcomer Belmont (24-6, 25 RPI) is so accomplished the Bruins will be a strong NCAA candidate even if they don’t win the OVC tourney. Belmont has the nation’s No. 2 nonconference strength of schedule.

 

“I’ve always thought if you’re in a smaller league, you should play the hardest nonconference schedule you can to give yourself a better at-large chance,” Barnes said. “Anybody can get knocked off in a conference tourney.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Lawmakers in Congress on Sunday failed to reach a deal on plan to fund the federal government, meaning the work week will being with furloughs for hundreds of thousands of federal workers across the nation, but there was a hint of progress as a Senate vote on a temporary funding measure was delayed until noon on Monday, with Republican leaders offering a plan which would guarantee a Senate debate on immigration matters in February, in hopes that Democrats would then help to fund the government in the meantime. “Let’s step back from the brink,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor late on Sunday evening, as he urged Democrats to allow the government to re-open, and continue negotiations on a host of issues, including immigration. “The shutdown should stop today,” McConnell added. McConnell outlined a plan to fund operations of the government through February 8, and said that if by that date no agreement had been reached on how to deal with DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in the United States, then he would agree to bring the issue up on the Senate floor for debate and votes. That immediately won the support of two Republicans who have been trying to broker a deal on the issue. “The Senate should act like the Senate,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who endorsed the idea of regular order on the Senate floor on immigration. “This is more than a reasonable proposal by the Majority Leader,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who spent much of the last three days shuttling between McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, and a host of Senators in both parties, in search of common ground. I'm very pleased to hear Majority Leader McConnell commit to the Senate that if we do not make a breakthrough on immigration by February 8th, the Senate will take the issue up under regular order. This is a more than reasonable proposal by the Majority Leader. — Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 22, 2018 “It would be my intention to resolve these issues as soon as possible, so we can move on to other issues important to our country,” McConnell added. But Senate Democrats were not ready to accept, as Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer objected to McConnell’s attempt to hold a vote Sunday night on the plan for a temporary budget that would last until February 8, which is just 18 days away. Still – Senate observers saw that as a positive, as neither McConnell nor Schumer engaged in any scorched earth exchanges, unlike earlier in the day. To some, that may mean a deal is in the works. Supporting notion that shifting 1a vote to Noon Monday indicates deal is attainable: McConnell/Schumer floor remarks were short and generally absent political grandstanding and attacks. Theoretically, a positive sign. — David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) January 22, 2018 Originally, the Senate was to have voted at 1 am on Monday morning, but that vote was delayed until noon, as Republicans hope Democrats will re-think their opposition, and allow a funding measure to go through the Congress.
  • A 42-year-old man is dead following an auto-pedestrian collision Saturday night in Sand Springs. The fatality crash happened around 7:49 p.m. on Highway 97.  “Driver of the car that struck him, a 2002 Kia, along with witnesses reported that the pedestrian darted out in front of him going east through the intersection,” police said.   “The driver of the Kia was southbound in the inside lane and he had no time to react.” Police add 42-year-old Kevin Myers was pronounced dead at the scene.  No word on why he was trying to cross the road.  
  • There is good and bad news for your outdoor activities today. National Weather Service Meteorologist Ray Sundag says temperatures will be well above normal, but we could also get wet. “It will become party cloudy,” Sundag said.  “We will see a chance of showers and even thunderstorms as we move into the late afternoon hours.” The high will be right around 70 degrees.  For reference, the normal high for this time of year is near 47 degrees.   Temperatures will drop quite a bit Sunday night.  NWS is reporting mostly clear skies and a low close to 39 degrees.  
  • With no signs of any deal to restore funding for the federal government, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be back for a rare Sunday session, with no real signs of an agreement to end the first government shutdown since 2013, as both parties continued to point the finger of blame at each other. The main stumbling block continues to be immigration, and what to do about hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant Dreamers in the United States, who were protected under the Obama Administration’s DACA program, which was ended by the Trump Administration in October. Republicans made clear – there is no deadline on DACA until March – as they said those negotiations should simply continue while the government is funded and operating. “I hope Senator Schumer comes to his senses and ends this shutdown madness sooner rather than later,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, taking aim at the Senate Democratic Leader. But for Democrats, they worry that the GOP will never deal on immigration and DACA, as their leaders have decided now is the time to press for action. During Saturday’s House and Senate sessions – where no obvious progress was made – Democrats continued to argue that Republicans were the problem, since the GOP is in charge of the House, Senate and White House. “Americans know Republicans own the Trump Shutdown,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY). “Anyone claiming otherwise should double check who has control in Congress.” Instead of signs of compromise, Saturday was mainly filled with tough rhetoric from both parties. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s grade for his first year in office was a “big fat failure F.” With no evidence of any deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set a procedural vote for just after 1 am on Monday morning, trying to force action on a plan to extend government funding until February 8, as he again blamed Democrats for the impasse. If Democrats hold together as they did late on Friday night, then that motion would not get the needed 60 votes to end debate, meaning the shutdown would hit government offices on Monday morning. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “Congress has a lot of work to do” but it is being 'delayed by the Democrat’s filibuster' https://t.co/IU5LKpcVoB — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 20, 2018 Various federal agencies were still making their plans for Monday; one federal worker that I saw on Saturday evening said his office had been told to come in for four hours on Monday, and then they would likely be sent home if there was no funding plan approved by the Congress.
  • Hours after funding lapsed for the federal government at midnight, lawmakers in both parties returned for an unusual Saturday session of the House and Senate, as both parties quickly launched themselves into finger pointing over who is to blame for the first government shutdown since 2013, with few signs that a deal was near on the major spending and immigration issues that brought about the standoff. “Get it together,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi bluntly said to Republicans in a morning speech on the House floor, as she led a chorus from her party in blaming the President for the budgetary impasse. “The Trump travesty continues, as it has for the last twelve months,” said Pelosi’s top lieutenant, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). But Republicans were having none of that. “We’re about nine hours into the Schumer shutdown,” said Rep. Greg LaMalfa (R-CA) as the House convened, “which is basically Senate Democrats holding the United States, 320 million people, hostage.” Greetings from the Capitol this Saturday morning, where we have evidence of the shutdown: Capitol tours are suspended. pic.twitter.com/rfPAlLLlIQ — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) January 20, 2018 “There is no excuse for this,” said Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA). “Democrats shut down the govt to protect illegals this week,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). Behind the scenes, lawmakers in both parties were still hoping to cut a deal that would have the government fully open by Monday – but there was little evidence of a possible breakthrough on the broader budget and immigration issues which led to this stalemate. Negotiations have centered on reaching a two year agreement on spending levels for the budget – as President Trump wants a sizable increase in the military’s budget – and on DACA, where Democrats were still hoping to get an agreement that would protect some 700,000 illegal immigrant “Dreamers” from being deported. As the clock ticked toward midnight on Friday night, there were a flurry of talks on the Senate floor between Senators of both parties – not really about the specifics of the budget or DACA – but mainly about the length of any temporary funding plan for the government, and plans to vote on that hot button immigration topic. “Since there were discussions here in earnest, in a bipartisan way, we ought to give those discussions a chance to bear fruit,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). “We should stay and work,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Senator McConnell chose to shut the government down,” referring to the GOP leader in the Senate. But the underlying issues remain fraught with political problems, especially on immigration, where many Republicans see no direct link between funding the government and a deal on DACA and illegal immigrant “Dreamers.” “This Schumer Shutdown is absolutely ridiculous,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “It is totally irresponsible for the Democrats to use government funding as a bargaining chip.” At the White House, there was no sign that the President was going to cave on Democratic demands on immigration, as officials accused Democrats of doing all they could to slow political momentum from a big GOP tax cut plan that was signed into law in December. One year into the Trump presidency, Democrats can't shut down the booming Trump economy so they shut down the government instead. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. Do your job Democrats: fund our military and reopen our government #SchumerShutdown — Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 20, 2018 Democrats said they thought they were close to a deal with the President on Friday over DACA and other immigration issues, but that Mr. Trump backed off, again emphasizing the uncertainty that surrounds talks with the White House on major legislative issues. Even if the Senate were to approve a bill which combined provisions on DACA and the Dreamers, along with other items on border security, most Republicans say that would have little chance in the House, where GOP lawmakers favor a much tougher approach. One obvious difference between this shutdown and the one in 2013, is seen right here in Washington, D.C., where outdoor memorials and the Smithsonian museums were still open. Those were shut down by the Obama Administration last time, in what Republicans said was an effort to punish the GOP for a shutdown battle. FYI for anyone visiting DC this weekend: The @smithsonian museums WILL be open Saturday and Sunday. I was told they are not sure if they'll have to close Monday, though. They were waiting for guidance. — Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) January 20, 2018