NCAA Conference Tournaments 2014: Predictions, Results for Saturday's Top Games

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2014

NCAA Conference Tournaments 2014: Predictions, Results for Saturday's Top Games

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    Associated Press

    Selection Sunday is fast approaching and the conference tournaments have officially gone crazy. We can't get enough.

    Saturday is a major player in determining NCAA tourney seeding, as five power conferences hold their title games and four others will set their finals for Sunday.

    Check out our predictions for the day, and come back throughout the day as we update with results and analysis of the battles between the big guns.


    All predictions by Lindsay Gibbs. 

AAC Tournament

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    (2) Louisville 71, (4) Connecticut 61

    Louisville completed its dominant run through the inaugural AAC tournament, jumping out to an early lead on Connecticut before cruising to the title and its fifth straight victory.

    The Cardinals (29-5), who have played their way into the discussion for a No. 1 seed, got 22 points and 11 rebounds from Montrezl Harrell while Russ Smith added 19 points.

    Louisville won its three AAC games by an average of 33.3 points.

    Connecticut (26-8) got 17 points from DeAndre Daniels and 16 from Shabazz Napier.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

ACC Tournament

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    Wesley Broome/Associated Press


    (1) Virginia 51, (5) Pittsburgh 48

    Virginia advanced to its first ACC title game since 1994, winning yet another hard-fought game over Pittsburgh and keeping its chances for a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed alive.

    The Cavaliers (27-6) never trailed after taking a 26-24 lead late in the first half, but after extending to 45-37 with 9:31 left had to withstand a late rally by the Panthers (25-9). Pitt had a shot to tie it in the final seconds, but James Robinson's three-point attempt was blocked by Justin Anderson.

    Pitt had 15 points apiece from Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna, while Virginia was led by Joe Harris' 12 points and 10 each from Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (3) Duke 75, (7) N.C. State 67

    Duke used a 13-2 run midway through the second half to pace its semifinal victory, setting up a Sunday battle with Virginia for the ACC title and possibly a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney.

    The Blue Devils (26-7) led 39-38 at the half but couldn't shake NC State (21-13). The Wolfpack tied it at 45 on a Ralston Turner three-pointer with 15:43 left before Duke broke away for an 11-point lead that hovered around 10 for most of the second half.

    Duke won despite making just 12 of 23 free throws.

    Jabari Parker had 20 points and Rasheed Sulaimon added 16 for Duke, while NC State got 21 from T.J. Warren.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


Atlantic 10 Tournament

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    Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport


    (4) St. Joseph's 67, (9) St. Bonaventure 48

    St. Joseph's advanced to its first conference final since 2008 as Halil Kanacevic put forth a dominant performance.

    Kanacevic had 26 points and 17 rebounds for the Hawks (23-9), who trailed 19-10 early before dominating the rest of the way. Friday's hero, Langston Galloway, added 18 points, while Ronald Roberts Jr. had 12.

    St. Bonaventure (18-15), which was playing for the third straight day and coming off the emotional upset of top-seeded Saint Louis in Friday's quarterfinals, got 10 from Charlon Kloof but shot only 25.4 percent as a team.

    St. Joseph's seeks its third A-10 conference title and first since 1997.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (2) VCU 74, (3) George Washington 55

    VCU will make its second straight trip to the A-10 final after using a late surge to get past George Washington for its sixth straight win.

    The Rams (26-7) went on a 21-5 run over the game's final 7:43, using its combination of havoc defense and fast-attacking offense to run away late.

    Treveon Graham had 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-6 on three-pointers, while Briante Weber added 16 points, six rebounds and eight assists for VCU.

    George Washington (24-8) got 15 points from Isaiah Armwood.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

Big Ten Tournament

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


    (1) Michigan 72, (5) Ohio State 69

    Michigan used a 7-1 run to end the game to reach Sunday's conference final and remain in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA tournament.

    The Wolverines (25-7) trailed 68-65 after OSU's Sam Thompson scored on a layup with 4:12 left, but a Nik Stauskas jumper 27 seconds later began the run. Two Glenn Robinson free throws put Michigan up with 2:55 left, and then Stauskas scored on a layup with 2:08 remaining.

    OSU (25-9), which trailed by double digits in the first half, missed all five of its field-goal attempts and made just one of four from the line in the final four minutes. Aaron Craft had a shot at a game-tying three after Spike Albrecht made one of two free throws with six seconds left, but the ball slipped out of his hands as he went up for the shot, and Michigan grabbed it.

    Michigan hasn't played for or won the Big Ten tourney title since 1998, the first year it was played.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (3) Michigan State 83, (2) Wisconsin 75

    Michigan State came flying out of the gates and never looked back, moving into a clash with rival Michigan for the Big Ten championship on Sunday.

    The Spartans (25-8) led 37-16 after 15 minutes of play, completely taking Wisconsin out of its game. The Badgers (26-7) chipped away at the lead, getting to within 66-58 with 7:45 left to play, but they couldn't slow MSU down to get any closer.

    Adreian Payne had 18 points for MSU, which had all five of its starters in double figures. Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while the rest of the Badgers made just 13 of 34 shots from the field.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

Big 12 Tournament

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    (7) Baylor 65, (4) Iowa State 74

    Having already knocked top-seeded Kansas out of the Big 12 tournament, Iowa State lived up to the uncharacteristic position of favorite by dispatching Baylor in the final.

    Conference Player of the Year Melvin Ejim did a little of everything (10 points, nine boards, three assists, three steals) to help the smaller Cyclones hold off the towering Bears.

    Cory Jefferson managed just five points for Baylor, squandering a 16-point night from PG Kenny Chery. His opposite number, DeAndre Kane, led everybody with 17 points (eight of them from the free-throw line).

    Update by Thad Novak

Big East Tournament

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    (4) Providence 65, (2) Creighton 58

    Upsets filled the first tournament for the new-look Big East, and the title game was no exception. Doug McDermott and Creighton, the high-powered No. 2 seed (and the 14th-ranked team in the nation), fell to unranked No. 4 seed Providence.

    Bryce Cotton played the nation’s leading scorer to a virtual standstill, tallying 23 points to McDermott’s 27. The Friars also held Blue Jays sniper Ethan Wragge (.484 from deep) to 1-of-7 three-point shooting.

    Update by Thad Novak

Mountain West Tournament

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    (2) New Mexico 64, (1) San Diego State 58

    The Mountain West final was every bit of a slugfest as expected, with New Mexico coming out on top for its third straight conference tournament title Saturday in Las Vegas.

    The Lobos (27-6) built a five-point halftime lead and then battled for every shot and loose ball to hold off the Aztecs (29-4), using a slight rebounding edge and slightly better shooting to come out on top.

    New Mexico got 17 points from Cameron Bairstow and 16 from Kendall Williams, while Xavier Thames led SDSU with 15 points.

    — Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

Pac-12 Tournament

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    (2) UCLA 75, (1) Arizona 71

    Jordan Adams' three-pointer with 43 seconds left broke a lengthy tie and paced UCLA to its first Pac-12 tournament title since 2008.

    Adams took a pass from Kyle Anderson off a screen and swished the 22-footer from the left side to break a 68-68 tie, ending a stretch where neither team scored for more than three minutes after UCLA (26-8) had hit a pair of free throws.

    Both teams turned the ball over numerous times down the stretch, and in the final minute Arizona (30-4) missed three potential game-tying three-pointers after hitting several early in the game.

    UCLA set a rapid pace to the game in the first half, leading 43-40 at the half as it appeared like neither team could miss. Arizona's defense slowed the game down in the second half, with the Wildcats taking a 61-60 lead on a T.J. McConnell three-pointer with 9:11 left.

    Anderson led the Bruins with 21 points and 15 rebounds, while Adams added 19 and Norman Powell had 15. The Wildcats got 22 points from Nick Johnson and 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from Aaron Gordon.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

SEC Tournament

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


    (1) Florida 56, (4) Tennessee 49

    The Gators survived an ugly game to advance to Sunday's conference final while winning for the 25th straight time.

    Tennessee (21-12) held a 35-28 halftime lead and did its best to keep the score down and the tempo slow, but the Volunteers lost their cool a few times in the second half to allow Florida (31-2) to take control.

    Jeronne Maymon was called for a technical with 4:39 left after committing a foul, and the four made free throws broke a 45-all tie. The Vols tied it again at 49, but a Patrick Young jumper with 2:23 remaining put the Gators up for good.

    Jordan McRae had 15 points for Tennessee, while Young led Florida with 16.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen


    (2) Kentucky 70, (3) Georgia 58

    A balanced offensive effort pushed Kentucky past a scrappy Georgia squad, setting up another clash with No. 1 Florida in Sunday's final.

    The Wildcats (24-9) never trailed, jumping out to a 17-7 lead and then keeping a comfortable margin on the Bulldogs (19-13) throughout behind 22 points from Aaron Harrison, 14 from James Young and 12 apiece from Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle.

    Kenny Gaines had 13 points for Georgia, while Charles Mann added 12.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen