Written for your enjoyment by: Raff
But really only one matters....so let's start there with a little more in depth look at the 1st round games
#1 Quinnipiac hosts #8 Monmouth
The Hawks really fell hard and just got into the field. I don't think this is a real good matchup for them either. They lost by nearly 20 in this same spot a week ago - after beating QU earlier this season. Monmouth has been one of the more inconsistent teams this season - as they have posted some good wins over Wyoming - Texas A&M-CC and over the Bobcats. But having lost 6 of 8 and 8 of 11 makes them hard to recommend.
#2 Robert Morris hosts #7 Central Connecticut
If there is going to be a first-round upset logic might say its here. Howie Dickenman is a good coach and he got his team to win three straight down the stretch to get in. But RMU handled CCSU in New Britain - and the Devils have struggled against the top teams in the league - losing all four games to the top three. Still we'll have to see how the Colonials respond to letting one get away and costing them the overall title. They have limped to the line, but maybe they are ready to refresh.
#3 Mt St. Mary's hosts #6 St. Francis PA
The preseason favorite has won 10 in a row - and is a clear favorite here - and if they didn't have to play the top two teams on the road - might be a favorite in the whole tournament. The addition of Raven Barber - and the return of Will Holland from injury has helped the resurgence. Devin Sweetney will try to help the improving Red Flash into the second round, but he and his teammates have a huge mount(ain) to climb.
#4 Long Island hosts #5 Fairleigh Dickinson
I don't think many thought the Knights would be in this spot. But they have a chance in this one against an inconsistent LIU bunch. The Blackbirds have the talent to beat anyone is this league, but also the inexperience and inconsistency to lose any time out. LIU won by 6 at home in the only meeting. I think they'll advance tonight.
They call this one ARCH Madness. Because its played in St. Louis - has nothing to do with McDonald's. Kinda clever - and the Valley is always some of the better basketball being played this time of year. Northern Iowa is probably a clear cut favorite, but something tells me they aren't going to win it. Just a hunch. If there is a dark horse - it has to be Missouri State. The Bears were one of the last teams in the nation without a loss - so they could get it going again. But winning out of the 7 hole isn't easy. They'll play an extra game tonight in the 7-10 showdown with Evansville. I think I'll take the 3rd seeded Illinois State Redbirds. Just a guess.
This would be worth spending four days in Charlotte for. They get started with four games today and then the big boys join in tomorrow. I've liked Wofford all year - so I'm picking them. They are the favorite - and will be tough to beat. But teams like Appalachian State, College of Charleston and Western Carolina might make it difficult. And of course folks like East Tennessee State, Davidson and The Citadel are talented enough to pull a surprise or two.
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