CALGARY, Alta. — Conference tournaments officially get underway on Monday, which means the 2017 NCAA Tournament is just around the corner.
Selection Sunday is less than two weeks away, which means it’s also time to get looking at some teams who could be surprise entrants into the field of 68 as conference champions.
Every year, teams get hot down the stretch and ride the positive momentum into the NCAA Tournament, and that will be the case again this season. It’s inevitable.
Cinderellas make their first appearance in the two weeks prior to the Big Dance, rolling to unexpected conference tournament titles as lower seeds and ‘stealing’ a bid from the top teams in their respective conferences. As college basketball fanatics, we love the drama that comes with March.
Some prefer to see the best teams from each conference go to battle in March. But, if teams earn the right to be in the field, we’d much rather see that. Plus, who doesn’t love the underdogs?
This is the first edition of the ‘Trifecta’, where we will focus on groups of three players, teams, or events that will affect March Madness.
With the first semester now firmly in the rearview mirror, one thing is for certain.
Something special is happening down in Lake Worth, FL.
The Palm Beach State Panthers closed out the first half of their season with a sparkling 13-1 record, and are currently the 17th-ranked team in the NJCAA Rankings. They have been on quite the roll since the 2016-17 season began, and show no signs of slowing down.
Palm Beach State won both games in the Battle by the Beach Classic to open the season, and followed that up with a pair of wins at the IRSC Classic a couple of weeks later. Their lone loss came at the hands of the Tallahassee Eagles as a part of the Florida JUCO Shootout, 84-69.
So, after a year in which the Panthers went a combined 24-8, and were ranked #3 in the country, how has Palm Beach State been able to continue the momentum generated last season?
Balance, depth, and a whole lot of talent.
With a roster that is decorated with talented players from across the country, and one from north of the border, the Panthers have several players who can step up on any given night and lead the team to a victory.
With the 2016-17 season set to kick off on Remembrance Day / Veteran’s Day, the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks will have a new identity, both in terms of their brand and on-court personnel.
During the off-season following the 2015-16 campaign, the Hawks underwent several changes. For starters, they switched from Russell to Nike for their athletic apparel.
Then, they went through a re-brand for the entire athletics department. According to Shawn Yonker, the Assistant Director of Athletics for Marketing and Media Relations, the department wanted to move away from the ‘UMES’ acronym for various reasons.
With that, the new-look Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks were born. On their basketball jerseys, ‘Eastern Shore’ is featured prominently across the chest, with ‘Hawks’ down both sides of the shorts.
Are you shaking with excitement like we are? Everyone should be excited for the season that is finally upon us.
The Ivy League has proved its significance in the college basketball landscape and is considered one of the better mid-major leagues. With the new development of the 4-team play-off, the League’s crown is up for grabs.