The Gospel has been suffering from the February Fever which often precedes March Madness. The only cure for this is more college basketball. I had a chance to take in the VCU - George Mason game on Tuesday night and boy it was an outstanding game to watch. It's ironic how much life is different when you are a mid major. The atmospheres are sometimes better because the kids care more and the stakes are higher. You'll never hear this from the conference commissioners, but parity stinks. The bottom feeders need to stay bottom feeders and leave the big boys alone because upsets only hurt the conference.
The CAA for the most part has held to form and it's a chance for that conference to potentially get three teams in although that scenario took a hit with the Rams loss. George Mason and Old Dominion have probably done enough to gain at-large bids so it would actually behoove the CAA to somehow grease the wheels and get VCU in too. Of course, this will never happen, nor am I advocating it, but you know it's a thought.
This could be the season that the mid-major conference rises up a bit. The bigger conferences are down for the most part and some of their better teams are ripe for the picking. This could be the year a Vermont, Belmont or Coastal Carolina does some damage. The Cinderella is one of the many reasons we watch the NCAA Tournament. The finality of it too makes it so intriguing. There is no five or seven game series. There's just one shot...One Shining Moment...when any team is capable of stepping up and knocking off another. Granted, the 16 has never beaten the 1 seed, but you know what, when they take that 2-0 lead off the tip, we all get behind them.
It's just a few weeks away...embrace the madness and catch the fever. Before then, take some winners.
St. Bonaventure -3.5 -- The Bonnies look to extend St. Louis' three game losing streak on Wednesday when they host the Billikens. SLU has won just one true road game this season at Fordham who has yet to pick up a conference victory. The Billikens have been close, but they still have lost five of their last six. One of the problems could be their offense which puts up only 61.8 points per game. St. Louis doesn't have a single scorer averaging more then 10 points per game which is one of the reasons they are 8-16 this season. St. Bonaventure is 13-10 this season and they have multiple options to turn to. They are led by Andrew Nicholson (20.5 ppg), Michael Davenport (12.9 ppg), Ogo Adegboye (10.8 ppg) and Demetrius Conger (10.5 ppg). The Bonnies problem is that they aren't too deep and have struggled on the defensive end from time to time allowing nearly 70 points per game. They have won two straight at home handing Duquesne their first conference loss of the season. SBU has won four of their last six games after losing three straight. St. Bonaventure should be able to roll over the Billikens who have one foot ready for the offseason.
Detroit -11 -- It's been a long season so far for Youngstown State as they look for their 3rd win in the Horizon Conference. It'll be hard to come by in Detroit who is their next opponent on Wednesday. The first time these two teams met, the Titans won 73-69 on January 22nd. The road has been a different story for the Penguins who have lost by 10 at Cleveland State, 22 at Illinois Chicago, 13 at Loyola-Chicago, 24 at Valpo and 17 at NC State. Those havent been the only double digit losses for them on the road this season. They have one double digit scorer in Vytas Sulskis (13.4 ppg). The Titans have five double digit scorers and another player, Jason Calliste, who averages nine points per game. They will enjoy playing at home after two tough losses at Valpo and Butler. Detroit has taken care of business at home beating UIC by 14, Loyola (Ill) by 10 and Green Bay by 23. This one could get ugly as the Titans have too many weapons for YSU.