Among the 106 teams still alive (see table below) due to one of the 32 conference tournaments or a great regular season, Villanova and Creighton play on the biggest stage Saturday after both won in front of another Madison Square Garden sellout of 19,182 with the Daily News reporting earlier in the week the average ticket was going for $205 – a figure that can double for conference semifinals.
If the average cost of each semifinal ticket was just the tournament average, that comes to a tidy $3,932,310 paid for tickets. The figure could be quite a bit higher if the semis did average twice as expensive, but that does not mean the figure would hit $8 million in one night ticket sales because those who held their tickets at face value payed less. Several dozen tickets for Saturday’s final are list at more than $1,000 per ticket. For ACC games tickets averaged a little less – $185 – for a somewhat smaller arena in Brooklyn as Notre Dame and Duke advanced to the title game.
Both the defending national champion Villanova and Creighton advance to the championship on a late shot and then defensive stop.
So far bubble teams have been lucky as no teams have “stolen” spots by winning their tournament. The only remaining three threats seem to come from the Ivy, Atlantic 10 or SEC semifinals, where the “last team in” would lose their spot if; 1) Alabama upset Kentucky in the semifinal and then won the SEC title, 2) Princeton failed to win the first ever Ivy League semifinal and final and then still received a bid in addition to the Ivy League tournament champion, or 3) Davidson wins the Atlantic 10 after upsetting regular season champion Dayton, who will be invited.
Villanova is the only 1-seed in the top four conferences to make their title game as UNC fell to hated rival Duke in an ACC semifinal, Kansas was stunned by TCU in their Big 12 opener and Purdue lost to Michigan in the Big Ten semi.
Last year a similar thriller between Seton Hall and Villanova, with Seton Hall winning the game but Villanova the national title. After the game Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard told his players they could reverse the roles. Breitbart Sports caught up with Seton Hall defensive star Madison Jones after he helped hold Villanova’s high powered offense to only 5 of 19 shooting on three-pointers to just miss the upset.
Breitbart Sports: Madison, you shut down 3-point shooters for two nights, a lot of good 3-point shooters that you really dominated back-to-back nights (against the No. 1 three-point shooting team in the country Marquette and the No. 2 offense in the country Villanova). Do you feel at this time you can just force any team to beat you with tough twos, that it’s going to take a play like that at the end? (referring to National Player of the Year Josh Hart scoring on an offensive rebound as he was fouled in the final seconds).
Madison Jones, Seton Hall: That’s what we want to do. It’s tough twos. Especially a team like this, we’ve got to force them off their (3-point) line. And that’s what we did pretty much the entire game. We knew they were going to make some great shots – they have great players. Take your hat off to them.
In the Big Ten, Northwestern seems to have put themselves in the tournament with a 72-64 upset of Maryland only increasing the 70% of experts who believe they would make the tournament even without winning the conference. In the unfair system of regular season champions from small conferences needing to win their conference tournament as well to get a bid, WAC regular season champ Cal State Bakersfield took four overtimes to make their title game, while the Southland saw their No. 1 and No. 2 seed win semifinal games in the tournament that most rewards the top two regular season teams by giving them both double byes.
Here are the final 107 teams with a chance of making the tournament either by winning their conference tournament or being selected as an at-large, though some of the latter are given only a one percent chance.
Here is the list of teams still alive:
|Teams Alive||Conf||Next tour||At-Large if no auto||status|
|Rhode Island||A10||3/11 semi||44%||bubble|
|Notre Dame||ACC||3/11 final||100%||in|
|Florida Gulf Coast||ASun||auto||100%||in|
|Iowa St||B12||3/11 final||100%||in|
|West Virginia||B12||3/11 final||100%||in|
|North Dakota||BSky||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|Weber St||BSky||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|Cal St. Fullerton||BW||3/10 Semi||0%||bubble|
|Long Beach St||BW||out||0%||bubble|
|UC Davis||BW||3/10 Semi||0%||bubble|
|UC Irvine||BW||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|North Carolina Wilmington||CAA||auto||100%||in|
|Middle Tennessee||CUSA||3/11 final||100%||in|
|Kent St||MAC||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|Norfolk St||MEAC||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|North Carolina Central||MEAC||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|Colorado St||MWC||3/10 Semi||3%||bubble|
|San Diego St||MWC||3/10 Semi||0%||bubble|
|Mount St. Marys||NEC||auto||100%||in|
|Georgia St||SB||3/11 semi||0%||bubble|
|Texas St||SB||3/11 semi||0%||bubble|
|UT Arlington||SB||3/11 semi||30%||bubble|
|East Tennessee St||SC||auto||100%||in|
|South Carolina||SEC||3/10 Quar||99%||bubble|
|New Orleans||Slnd||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|Texas A&M Corpus Chris||Slnd||3/11 final||0%||bubble|
|South Dakota St||Sum||auto||100%||in|
|Grambling St||SWAC||3/10 Semi||0%||bubble|
|Texas Southern||SWAC||3/10 Semi||0%||bubble|
|Cal St. Bakersfield||WAC||3/11 final||1%||bubble|
|New Mexico St||WAC||3/10 Semi||0%||bubble|