Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Saddle up: Three bids up for grabs
By Diamond Leung
Saddle Up is our semi-daily preview of the night's best basketball action.
Butler vs. Milwaukee, Horizon tournament championship, ESPN, 9 p.m. ET: s Milwaukee is the top seed in the tournament and playing on its home floor, but all eyes turn to Butler to see if the darlings of last year can grab an auto-bid. If the Bulldogs do that, it's likely one more spot for everybody else on the bubble. Butler knocked off Cleveland State in the semis and will continue to rely on Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack while having found success with Ronald Nored come off the bench. But don't sleep on Milwaukee, which won a share of the league title and has already beaten Butler twice. The Panthers have won 10 of 11 and are looking to dance for the first time since 2006.
Oral Roberts vs. Oakland, Summit tournament championship, ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET: Oakland center Keith Benson is the mid-major star to watch out for as he hopes to lead the team back to the NCAA tournament after withdrawing from the NBA draft last year. The Grizzlies only lost once in conference play, but Oral Roberts has shown it can put up a fight after only losing by three points on the road in the team's last meeting. The Golden Eagles are riding a 10-game winning streak and looking for their first NCAA tournament bid since 2008.
Arkansas-Little Rock vs. North Texas, Sun Belt tournament championship, ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET: North Texas might have only finished .500 in conference play, but the Mean Green has reeled off five wins in a row including three double-digit wins in the tournament in hopes of getting back to the NCAAs. But if you're looking for an underdog to watch tonight, Arkansas-Little Rock is only one win away from its first NCAA tournament bid since 1990.