Beltway Basketball Beat: Bracket Racket I — Towson and Navy among those playing for March

Seven days until Selection Sunday.

Somehow, lost in the shuffle of Duke losing to North Carolina in Coach K’s final game at Cameron, the first automatic bid of 2022 was handed out Saturday night when No. 22 Murray State beat Morehead State 71-67 to win the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game. Thirty-one more automatic berths will be earned over the next week.

There will be upsets and there will be heartbreak. There will be bubble teams twisting in the wind. Let’s go …

Today’s Bids: At noon top-seed Longwood faces No. 2 Winthrop in the Big South Championship Game, as the Farmville, VA school is one win away from its first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. At 2 p.m. defending champ and No. 4 seed Loyola-Chicago faces No. 3 Drake for the Missouri Valley Conference championship. The Ramblers will be departing the MVC for the Atlantic 10 (giving the school 15 members) next fall.

Today’s Games

Colonial Athletic Association Quarterfinals: Top-seed Towson (24-7) plays No. 9 Northeastern (9-21) at noon in Southeast Washington at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in SE Washington. The Tigers are coming off their first regular season title since joining the CAA while the Huskies beat William & Mary 68-63 in overtime Saturday. Northeastern won just two conference games, but one of them was a 58-53 victory over Towson Feb. 5 when they held the Tigers to 1-15 from three-point range. Towson led the CAA in scoring defense and rebounding margin, while Northeastern finished ninth in scoring and last in turnover margin.

Patriot League Semifinals: No. 2 seed Navy (20-10) faces No. 3 Boston University (21-11) at 4 p.m. in Annapolis. The Midshipmen beat the Terriers twice during the regular season, outscoring them in one game (shooting 57% and 11-19 from three Jan. 4) and shutting them down in the other (held BU to 45% and 2-11 from three Jan. 16). They’re also coming off of their first 70+ point game since Jan. 26. They’ll have their hands full with Terriers forward Sukmail Mathon, who averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds against the Mids during the regular season.

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Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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