SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — The Final Four in San Antonio, TX is under two months away, but the anticipation is already building for the dunk contest, powered by College SLAM.
This week, the bracket for the Dark Horse Dunker was released, featuring 16 of the top dunkers from across the country. Eight of the players hail from Division I institutions, while the other eight come from the ranks of Division II, JUCO, and other levels.
LONDON, Ont. — Move over football, it’s college basketball’s time to shine!
With Super Bowl 52 now a thing of the past, the attention in the sporting world shifts to college basketball and the March to Madness. With the conference races heating up all across the country, teams are starting to separate themselves from the pack as they look to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
As we all know from history, not all things go according to plan. Teams atop the conferences right now aren’t guaranteed of a spot in the field of 68, as anything can happen come late-February and early March.
Every year, there are teams that come from the middle of conference standings to make a run at their respective conference tournament title. It will happen again this year, without question, and we will see a few surprise entrants in the bracket come Selection Sunday as conference champions.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
For the Canisius Golden Griffins, that was the case on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Griffins were able to overcome a slow start in the first half, and they pulled away in the second frame for a 94-79 win over the Monmouth Hawks to improve to 5-1 in MAAC play.
With the brief exception of a pair of two-point leads in the first four-plus minutes, Canisius trailed for the majority of the first half. Monmouth used a 13-0 run to push their lead to double-figures, and they would lead by as many as 13 points in the first half, which they did on two occasions.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — All eyes will be on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference on Sunday.
Sunday afternoon kicks off with a pair of 4-1 teams squaring off, as the Rider Broncs take on the Iona Gaels in a match-up of two teams tied atop the conference standings. The team that wins will have a leg up on the other, and it could go a long way in determining the eventual regular season champion.
Then, in Buffalo, the Canisius Golden Griffins welcome the Monmouth Hawks to town in another intriguing match-up. Canisius is the third team sitting at 4-1 in MAAC play, while the Hawks find themselves in unfamiliar territory this season after a strong previous two seasons.
Canisius will look to keep pace with both Iona and Rider atop the conference standings, as a win would keep them in a two-way tie for top spot. Monmouth will be looking to get back on the right track, so you can bet that they’ll throw everything they have at the Golden Griffins on their home floor.
NIAGARA FALLS, NY. — After the Christmas break, college basketball is once again in full swing. Conference play is officially upon us, and more conferences get underway on Friday as the 2017 calendar year continues to wind down.
For our Game of the Day, we could have gone several different routes. First, there are the easy choices. Friday’s slate features match-ups like the Louisville Cardinals taking on the Kentucky Wildcats, or a top 25 battle between the Baylor Bears and Texas Red Raiders. Teams from the Patriot League also begin conference play, and there are some intriguing non-conference games on tap as well.
Instead of taking the easy way out, we turned our focus to the MAAC, where a pair of top contenders square off in what promises to be a great game from both sides.
Many have projected the Niagara Purple Eagles to be a top contending team in the conference after a down year in 2016-17. A veteran back court duo and a pair of emerging star forwards have expectations around the Purple Eagles high this season. On the flip side, the Iona Gaels are considered a front-runner yet again in 2017-18, especially after loading up on talent via the transfer market in the off-season.
Friday’s game will be a good indicator as to where both teams stand as 2017 comes to an end, and as the grind of conference play gets underway.
SOUTH BEND, In. — After a three point loss to the Indiana Hoosiers, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will have to shift gears quickly to Dartmouth, as the Big Green are traveling to South Bend for a Tuesday night match-up inside Purcell Pavilion.
This will be the sixth meeting between the Irish and the Big Green, with Notre Dame holding a 5-0 lead. These two teams last met back in 2011, when the Irish rolled past the Big Green, 65-47.
Per ESPN, Notre Dame has a 97% chance to win this game against Dartmouth, but the Fighting Irish cannot afford to take the Ivy League school lightly. The Irish should have blown out Indiana, as they were the better team, but they continued to let them back in it. Notre Dame can’t afford to let any of their opponents back in it, regardless of how weak they may seem.
After the struggles they have had in their last few non-conference games, Notre Dame must give the same attention to the Big Green as they would teams like the Duke Blue Devils.