More Favorites Toppled

Upsets happen every year at conference tournaments, so it shouldn’t be too stunning to see favorites get bounced. Still, today has seen more than its share of surprises.

In Wilmington, N.C., defending Colonial Athletic Association champion and tournament host UNC Wilmington is headed home after going two and ‘cue. (Fortunately for the Seahawks, the barbecue is very good here in North Carolina. Small consolation, I suspect.) Top-seeded Old Dominion remained unbeaten in the CAA after doing in UNCW 13-3. With an RPI of 81, Wilmington’s season is almost certainly over.

The same goes for Central Michigan, which went two and out at the Mid-American Conference tournament. Top-seeded Eastern Michigan beating third-seeded Central Michigan isn’t really an upset, but the Chippewas did go 35-19 in the regular season and own the conference’s best RPI (76). That’s not going to be enough for an at-large bid, particularly in light of such a poor showing at the conference tourney.

Top seeds went down in the Atlantic Sun and Southland conference tournaments, but neither has been ousted from its double-elimination event. Heavily favored Stetson lost to Jacksonville 4-1 in the A-Sun, and Texas-San Antonio dropped a 9-6 decision to third-seeded Texas State in the Southland. If the Hatters get bounced, they are still very likely to receive an at-large regional bid, which could bump a bubble team from a power conference like Alabama, Wake Forest or California.

Finally, two conference tournaments are seeing serious scoring. At the Horizon League tournament in Chicago, 57 runs were scored in the first two games of the day–I’d hate to be a starter for Cleveland State or Illinois-Chicago in the late game. And in the Mid-Continent tourney in Macomb, Ill., 43 runs were scored in the day’s two games–and that’s with one team being shut out. Perennial league juggernaut Oral Roberts accounted for 20 of those runs while holding Centenary scoreless. I definitely wouldn’t want to be starting for Valparaiso tomorrow against ORU.

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