Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tourney time for CAA, Big South and MEAC

Six teams, six games, three different tournaments. Brace yourself for what, at least for us, amounts to the biggest day in the women's hoops postseason so far.

Friday's game (in order of scheduled tipoff time)

MEAC semifinal
Joel Coliseum, Winston-Salem, N.C.
No. 1 Hampton (23-6) vs. No. 5 Coppin State (13-16), noon
Tune into this one early, as if it's anything like the Lady Pirates' recent games, it could be over early. Hampton has opened its last three games with runs of 13-1, 10-2 and 16-4. Nine of the victories in their 11-game winning streak - 12 if you count the forfeit over Bethune-Cookman - have come by at least 13 points. While they're known for defense, the Lady Pirates have scored at least 74 points in 7 of their last 8 games. And they  won at Coppin State by 20 in the teams' lone regular-season meeting. We're not saying one can't make a case for Coppin here. We're just not sure what that case is. Hampton 77, Coppin State 53
Next up: The winner meets No. 6 Howard or No. 2 Morgan State in the MEAC final Saturday at 5 p.m.

Big South quarterfinal
Millis Center, High Point
No. 1 Liberty (20-9) vs. No. 8 Coastal Carolina (10-18), noon.
Thought Hampton had the numbers in their favor? Well, Liberty has won 35 straight against the Chanticleers - including two this season - and are 36-0 in Big South Tournament history when seeded higher than their opponents. So all Coastal needs to do is pull off what might go down as the biggest upset in tournament history. Liberty 62, Coastal Carolina 52
Next up: winner to play either No. 4 High Point or No. 5 Charleston Southern in the semis Saturday at 4 p.m.

CAA quarterfinal
Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro, Md.
No. 1 James Madison (23-7) vs. No. 9 Georgia State (12-18), noon.
When these teams met in Atlanta two weeks ago, the Dukes crushed the Panthers 93-45. No one should expect another cold-blooded execution like that, particularly in a building in which the Dukes have never played. But this should definitely be JMU's show, and the Dukes would dearly love to get control of this one as quickly as possible and manage the minutes of their starters, particularly Dawn Evans. JMU 72, Georgia State 55
Next up: winner to play either No. 4 VCU or No. 5 Hofstra in the semifinals Saturday at noon
Related: Sports Illustrated (it's about time, guys) weighs in on Dawn Evans.

Big South quarterfinal
No. 2 Radford (14-15) vs. No. 7 Winthrop (12-17), 5:30 p.m.
No team appreciated the pre-tournament break than the Highlanders, who went to overtime in 3 of their last 4 regular-season games. These teams split their regular-season series, with each winning on its home court. But Radford's win was more recent (Feb. 21) and considerably more impressive (69-47). This could be the final game for Winthrop coach Bud Childers, the former JMU head coach who has announced he will step down at season's end.  Radford 56, Winthrop 48
Next up: winner to play either No. 3 Gardner-Webb or No. 6 UNC Asheville in the semis Saturday at 6 p.m.

CAA quarterfinal
No. 4 VCU (18-10) vs. No. 5 Hofstra (19-11), 2:30 p.m.
Figures to be the most wide-open and entertaining matchup of the day, as the the Pride likes to go up and down and the Rams are comfortable in an uptempo game as well. Hofstra's inability to stay with VCU on the boards (54-33 Rams rebounding advantage) ultimately doomed the Pride in an 85-76 loss to VCU in the regular season, and we can't see any reason why that changes today. Still, it ought to be fun to watch. VCU 76, Hofstra 71
Next up: winner to play either No. 2 Old Dominion or No. 7 Delaware in the semis Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Related: The Richmond-Times Dispatch weighs in on VCU's Andrea Barbour.

CAA quarterfinal
No. 2 Old Dominion (20-9) vs. No. 7 Delaware (18-12), 5 p.m.
The Lady Monarchs played turned in one of their best efforts of the season in dispatching the Blue Hens by 9 on Feb. 27. But while ODU has won all five games between these teams the past two seasons, little has separated the two teams in all but that recent meeting. You got the sense Delaware was pacing itself Thursday against Delaware, saving its best bullets for today against ODU. We still think the senior-laden Lady Monarchs will find a way, but they're going to have to work their tails off for it. ODU 60, Delaware 58
Next up: winner to play either No. 3 UNC Wilmington or No. 6 Drexel in the semis Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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