NEW YORK (AP) — It’s conference tournament time and bids are getting doled out for the NCAA Tournament.
While all of the power conferences will get multiple bids to the NCAAs, the only way to go dancing for most mid-major programs is to win their conference tournament title.
Teams like Montana State, Radford, UC Davis, New Hampshire and Quinnipiac have all had wonderful seasons already. Yet all five schools most likely will need to bring home the conference tournament crown to make the field of 64.
Then we get to Penn. The Ivy League decided this year to host a postseason tournament, for the first time denying their regular season champion the automatic bid to the NCAAs. The move definitely created more buzz at the end of the regular season with teams vying for seeding and the fourth and final spot in the Ivy Tournament. If Penn, which is 12-1 with one game left against rival Princeton on Tuesday, does get upset next weekend, the Quakers and their fans will be extremely disappointed.
“I was definitely for the tournament when we voted on it,” Penn coach Mike McLaughlin said. “If I knew where we would be right now, sure it doesn’t help us, but it’s what’s best for the league. If you look at the excitement you’ve seen the last few weekends for so many of the schools, it’s better in the bigger picture.”
McLaughlin just has to look across the basketball office to see the benefits. The men’s team qualified for the postseason tournament, which will be played at the Palestra, on the final night when it beat Harvard to get the fourth bid.
“It was amazing what they did and now they have a chance to get a NCAA bid still. If there was no tournament they would have just been playing for pride this past weekend,” he added.
Other things that happened this week:
HELPING HAND: Notre Dame guard Lindsay Allen had 33 assists to help the Irish win the ACC Tournament and earn MVP honors. She had 13 assists in the championship game against Duke and set the school and conference record for career assists in the opening win Friday night.
“It’s a great thing when I can get other people points with my passes,” Allen said. “It’s a team game and if I’m helping my teammates get good looks and baskets it’s a great thing.”
UNDEFEATED BULLDOGS: Drake capped off the first-ever unbeaten run through the Missouri Valley Conference with a 105-89 win over Wichita State on Saturday. No MVC team had ever gone through the conference schedule without a blemish. Drake also went 13-0 this year at home — a first for the program since the 1978-79 season.
RECORD BREAKER: Columbia’s Camille Zimmerman set the school’s all-time single-season scoring record when she finished the year with 608 points. She passed Ellen Bossert’s mark of 598 points set in the 1985-86 season. The junior forward’s 608 points this year is the sixth highest total ever in the Ivy League, one point ahead of Penn’s Diana Caramanico (2000-01).
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