By Rowan Shiell
There isn’t enough time in the day for the amount of basketball games over the last week and in the coming fortnight. Nevermind the NBA or any other league, it is all about college basketball right now.
It is weird that a season will be defined in only one week; Champions, runner up, NCAA underdogs, last in conference. That’s just some of the titles teams are seeking, though no one will want to be last in their conference, with everyone trying to go as deep as they can in their conference tournament.
The ultimate goal is the NCAA tournament, but only 68 teams are invited; nearly half of them will decide their own fate by winning their conference tournament. The others will just have to wait for their names to be called Hunger Games style on Selection Sunday.
Maybe a few of our British born players may get to experience this tournament. The great thing about conference tournaments is that everyone has a chance, some better than others, but it is still a chance.
Here is the final week of updates. Stay tuned as we will be naming our top five players of the season and crown one player the Hoopsfix player of the year, shortly.
Player of the Week
Andrew Lawrence averaged 18 points as he led College of Charleston to the Southern Conference tournament finals, which was a loss to Davidson.
He made 12-14 free throws, scoring 16 points, on Saturday to help Charleston defeat Western Carolina in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Lawrence was the team’s the leading scorer with 19 points in a victory over second seeded Elon.
On Monday they met Davidson. The Wildcats are 17-1 in conference and were too much for the Cougars on their way to a second consecutive Southern Conference title.
Lawrence scored 19 points in the loss. With a record of 24-10 and a quality win over Baylor one can only hope that they might be invited to the NIT or CBI tournament.
With their season on the brink, Ashley Hamilton and his team mates made one last push to save what can only be classed as a disappointing season. Last week the Londoner earned player of the week honors as he led his team to surprising victories in the first two rounds of the West Coast Conference.
Friday, the Lions continued the trend as they took down Santa Clara by a mere two points. Hamilton scored 13 points to go with nine rebounds.
Having won three games in three days, they earned the right to play, not only the top team in their conference, but the No.1 team in division one basketball, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who are having a historic season.
Despite being heavy underdogs, for the first half they gave Gonzaga all they had and were only a point down at the end. In the second half, Gonzaga’s frontcourt size was too much for LMU to overcome as the Bulldogs would go on to win by 18 points.
At 6’7” and 210 pounds Hamilton is more suited to a small forward role but as he plays power forward for the Lions, he had more than a handful defending the likes of Elias Harris (6’8”, 239 llbs), Kelly Olynyk (7’, 239 llbs) and Sam Dower (6’ 10” 255 llbs) hence he fouled out with only five points and five rebounds.
The West Coast Tournament was a nice silver lining for Loyola Marymount after they went 1-15 in conference play.
Conference Tournament Round Up
Charleston Southern was upset by Liberty in the Big South championship game. Liberty had a record of 15-20 and was 6-10 in conference play. Charleston Southern, on the other hand, was 19-12 overall and 12-4 in conference.
The underdogs,Liberty, won by 11. Londoner Allie Fullah only saw twelve minutes of action, missed his only shot and was zero for two on free throws however he led his team with seven rebounds. Liberty outrebounded Charleston Southern 38-29 so go figure.
Some say it is tough for the regular season conference winners to miss out on the conference tournament and they should be awarded the automatic entry into the NCAA tournament but they were given several advantages to get to the title game. Liberty had to play four games while Charleston Southern was given a bye in the first round.
Tough loss but championships are earned not given.
UALR lost to the eventual runner up of the Sun Belt tournament, Florida International, in the second round. Will Neighbour scored six points to go with 10 rebounds in the loss.
Fraser fouled out of Maine’s one point loss to Albany, on Saturday, in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament. Fraser scored only four points to go with three rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
Ali Mackay saw two minutes of action, for Davidson, in the championship game against College of Charleston. Mackay is a 6’11” sophomore from Scotland is the first British born player to make the NCAA tournament this season.
Western Illinois (22-8, 13-3 Summit) the top seed in the Summit League tournament lost in the Semifinals to North Dakota State. Michael Ochereobia had two points and four rebounds in the loss.
On Thursday, Southern Mississippi knocked UAB out of the Conference USA quarterfinals. Fahro Alihodzic scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds with three steals in the loss.
Aaron Geramipoor was held scoreless in eight minutes of action as Seton Hall bowed out of the Big East Tournament with a loss to Syracuse.
Lee Goldsbrough, of Providence, also saw his season come to an end (though they could be invited to the NIT) with a loss to Cincinnati in the Big East Tournament.
Both Geramipoor and Goldsbrough, both juniors, may be playing in an entirely different conferences next season as the Big East goes through some defections.
Senior Alex Marcotullio scored nine points in what appears to be his last college game for Northwestern. The game was a loss to Abodunrin Gabriel Olaseni’s Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Olaseni had 1 rebound in 8 minutes, however, in the Hawkeyes’ regular season finale had one of his more all around games of the season with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks on 2/2 shooting in just 17 minutes in a 14 point win over Nebraska.
What do you think? Anyone missing who deserves a mention? Who’s impressed you this season?
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