Monday, March 7, 2005

Monday Championship Previews

Old Dominion vs. Virginia Commonwealth: Top-seeded Old Dominion needed a dominant second half to beat Hofstra in the semi-finals, while #2 Virginia Commonwealth also pulled away in the second period against UNC-Greensboro. ODU has a nice inside-outside combo in Alex Loughton and Isaiah Hunter. VCU counters with a solid forward duo of Nick George and Michael Doles. Prediction: Virginia Commonwealth by 3

Rider at Niagara: These two split the regular season meetings, both high-scoring battles that were tight all the way through. Each of these squads won close contests in the semi-finals to get to the championship. Juan Mendez will carry the Purple Eagles, while Rider is going to have to find a way to stop him with Edwin Muniz. Niagara is fifth in the nation in offense, and will outscore Rider on the way to an automatic bid. Prediction: Niagara by 2

Southwest Missouri State at Creighton: Neither of the top 2 seeds are in the finals, both getting knocked out in the semi-finals. SMS is going to steal a bid from a bubble team if it wins tonight, while Creighton clinched a bid with its 3rd win over Wichita State. The momentum and the shooting of the Blue Jays is tough to stop, although SMS has the best field goal percentage defense in the league. Prediction: Creighton by 5

Gonzaga vs. St. Mary's: The rubber match of the top two conference teams. Both will be getting a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but this is still a big game. Gonzaga's frontline of Adam Morrison, Ronny Turiaf, and JP Batista is one of the best in the country, but St. Mary's may have the talent to counter that with Daniel Kickert and Frederic Adjiwanou on the inside and Paul Marigney on the perimeter. Prediction: Gonzaga by 3

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