The last eight conference championships that were do-or-die for both teams concluded Saturday and Akron (65-46 over Western Michigan for MAC) was the only easy winner. Seven other teams fought their way for an automatic bid; Albany (53-49 over Vermont for American East), Montana (67-64 over Weber State for Big Sky), New Mexico St. (64-55 over Texas Arlington for WAC), North Carolina A&T (57-54 over Morgan St. for MEAC), Northwestern St. (68-66 over Stephen F. Austin for Southland), Pacific (64-55 over UC Irvine for Big West), Southern (45-44 over Prairie View A&M for SWAC).
The ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Atlantic 10 championships tomorrow are all for seedings except for the outside chance that Mississippi could be eliminated with a loss.
In the last of the eight games of Saturday night, Texas Arlington rallied to cut the lead to 51-47, but then outside shooter Karon Gruszecki fouled out with just under eight minutes left.
Texas-Arlington cut it back to 55-53 after KC Ross-Miller fouled out in the final minutes, but freshman Terrel de Rouen stepped in for him hit a big three-pointer to make it 58-53. Texas Arlington threatened, but could never get closer than five points, and New Mexico State stretched the final to 64-55.