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Conference tournament viewers guide for March 10th

We take a look at some games being played in conference tournaments tonight, including odds, spread, and tv schedule

Saint Mary’s Gaels guard Jordan Ford celebrates against the BYU Cougars after the semifinal game in the WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena.  Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Road to the Final Four starts Tuesday evening, as four leagues begin their conference tournaments. 32 conferences will help set the field for the NCAA Tournament with the bracket finalized on March 15th during Selection Sunday.

We’ll take a look at the matchup and spreads for each game tonight, and give you a bit of context for each game. We’ll be eliminating teams each day for the next week, so join us!

The good games

West Coast Conference Championship

No. 3 Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs

Spread: Gonzaga -13
O/U: 152
TV: ESPN
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET

The ‘Zags are a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament no matter what happens tonight, but this is a rematch of the 2019 WCC final, and Gonzaga seeks revenge. There might be a rust concern as they haven’t played in nine days thanks to the double-bye format of the WCC Tournament, as well as an added off day for the women’s tournament on the same floor, but it shouldn’t be much of an issue for a team that lost this event in the final last year.

Both these teams should be in safely, with the Gaels on a 7-line or so after last night’s win over BYU.

Colonial Athletic Association Championship

No. 6 Northeastern Huskies vs. No. 1 Hofstra Pride

Spread: Hofstra -2
O/U: 137.5
TV: ESPN
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET

It’s been a terrific run to the final for the Huskies, who knocked off No. 3 seed Towson before handling Elon last night. The parity in this league has been high this season, with Hofstra beating Northeastern twice by a combined total of six points. Bolden Brace will need to be huge for Northeastern if they’re going to pull the upset. Hofstra did beat UCLA this season, but are an NIT team with a loss here.

Northeast Conference Championship

No. 2 Saint Francis (PA) Red Flash vs. No. 1 Robert Morris Colonials

Spread: Saint Francis -1.5
O/U: 144.5
TV: ESPN2
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

These teams are both pretty good, and were in the hunt for some Q1 wins this year before falling short. Isaiah Blackmon for SFU was the league MVP this season, while the Colonials didn’t even place a player first-team all conference. The talent gap is why the higher-seeded team is still a favorite on the road.

These teams split and each won by double digits at home during the regular season, and only Michigan State registers an assist on a greater percentage of their field goals than “Bobby Mo,” who are by far the most interesting team from Pittsburgh playing in a tournament game tonight.

The Sleeper Games

Summit League Final

No. 6 North Dakota Fighting Hawks vs. No. 1 North Dakota State Bison

Spread: North Dakota State -6
O/U: 143.5
TV: ESPN2
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET

If this was a hockey, you’d pick the team formerly known as the Sioux. If it was football, of course you’d take the team that’s dominated FCS this decade in the Bison. But in basketball, yellow and gold will be favored, but the rivalry is closer.

Tyson Ward and Vinnie Shahid will need to be big for NDSU tonight, and they’ll want to get Tyree Eady back as well who didn’t play last night. The Hawks had lost three of four entering the tournament, but stunned No. 3 seed and de facto home team South Dakota in the quarters before beating fellow underdog IPFW in the semis.

If you’re not from a Dakota, you might not understand the enmity between these two teams. It’s pure hatred, and there will be a lot of folks from Grand Forks and Fargo coming down I-29 to watch it if they don’t run each other off the road first.

Horizon League Final

No. 4 UIC Flames vs. No. 2 Northern Kentucky Colonels

Spread: Northern Kentucky -4.5
O/U: 126
TV: ESPN
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Beware the double-bye, as No. 1 seed Wright State hadn’t played a game since February 28 until last night, when UIC ran them off the floor 73-56. Northern Kentucky hung on to beat No. 3 Green Bay last night, but the double-bye means UIC has had to win three games to get here, to just one for NKU.

Neither of these teams put a player on an all-conference team, but are playing for the NCAA Tournament tonight anyway. Jalen Tate of the Colonels is the best defender in the league, who are elite at stopping perimeter teams but can struggle on the post. The Flames might want a heavy dose of Braelen Bridges inside.

The Rest of The Slate

Viewers Guide March 10

Teams Spread Total Time/TV Location
Teams Spread Total Time/TV Location
Pittsburgh vs. Wake Forest ACC Opening Round Wake -1 136 4:30 pm ACC Network Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Manhattan vs. Fairfield MAAC Opening 5:00 PM Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
Maryland Eastern Shore vs. Delaware St. MEAC Opening Del. State -1 144 6:00 PM Norfolk, VA Norfolk Scope Arena
Alabama A&M at Prairie View A&M SWAC Quarterfinal Prairie View -13 132 6:30 PM Prairie View, TX William Nicks Center
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech ACC Opening North Carolina -3.5 142 7:00 pm ACC Network Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
Northeastern vs. Hofstra CAA Final 7:00 pm CBS Sports Network Washington, DC Entertainment & Sports Arena
St. Francis PA at Robert Morris NEC Final Saint Francis PA -1.5 144.5 7:00 pm ESPN2 Moon Township, PA UPMC Events Center
Illinois Chicago vs. Northern Kentucky Horizon Final 7:00 pm ESPN Indianapolis, IN Indiana Farmers Coliseum
Hartford at Stony Brook AE Semifinal Stony Brook -7.5 132.5 7:00 PM Stony Brook, NY Island Federal Credit Union Ar
Canisius vs. Iona MAAC Opening 7:00 PM Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
UMBC at Vermont AE Semifinal Vermont -16 130 7:00 pm ESPN Plus Burlington, VT Roy L Patrick Gymnasium
Howard vs. South Carolina St. MEAC Opening South Carolina St. -6 146 8:00 PM Norfolk, VA Norfolk Scope Arena
Alabama St. at Southern SWAC Quarterfinal Southern -9.5 130 8:30 PM Baton Rouge, LA F.G. Clark Center
Grambling St. at Texas Southern SWAC-T Texas Southern -4 147 8:30 PM Houston, TX Health & PE Center
Marist vs. Niagara MAAC Opening 9:00 PM Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
Alcorn St. at Jackson St. SWAC Quarterfinal Jackson State -6.5 140 9:00 PM Jackson, MS Williams Center
North Dakota vs. North Dakota St. Summit Final 9:00 pm ESPN2 Sioux Falls, SD Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
Saint Mary's vs. Gonzaga WCC Final 9:00 pm ESPN Las Vegas, NV Orleans Arena

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