Diamond's Gems by Sid Diamond | I’d like to start with the conference championships as they begin in earnest on Tuesday, March 11. Remember one factor – each league desires to send as many teams to the NCAA’s as possible and therefore the best team during the season doesn’t always win the tournament and in the smaller conferences they may opt to send both the regular season league champ as well as the tourney winners.
Horizon League: The best of the rest is Butler and they’ll surely get a bid, but Wright State and their defense may sneak in as they will probably hold opponents under 60 points each game of the tourney.
Ohio Valley: Austin Peay should breeze through and get their invite. This is a weak league with Murray State being the only other decent team.
Sunbelt: This conference is loaded in the East with S. Alabama a good over team and Western Kentucky a good team period, and 11 bad teams, so take your best shot.
Missouri Valley: This league is loaded with good teams and should get at least three NCAA bids, depending on who wins this tourney. Anybody can win this thing with Drake, Illinois State, So. Illinois, Creighton and Bradley all capable.
Colonial Athletic: George Mason has come out of this league in the past much to the surprise of many, but I don’t think they are that good this year as VCU looks like the class of the tourney.
West Coast: I’ve seen St. Mary’s play several times this season and I haven’t been disappointed once by their shotmaking and hustle. I really like this club, although Gonzaga will be a formidable opponent, and they both better not overlook homestanding San Diego who indeed could sneak in.
Southern: In the south division Davidson is outstanding but may have to get by Appalachian State, who were good enough to knock off Michigan. Oh wait! that was football. Davidson rules here and they are good enough to call their own score.
Metro Atlantic: I don’t know much about this conference, but they seem to be very high-scoring so I’ll play the over and hope they stay true to form. Does anybody remember a coach from Niagara named "Taps Gallagher"?
Here are a few selections for this week:
Golden State at Atlanta – OVER.
UNLV at New Mexico – Too tough on the visitor but fear not, New Mexico has to come to Vegas if they’re to win the conference tourney. New Mexico here, UNLV in the tourney.
Cavs at Knicks – Recent Cav trades will really begin to kick in here. CAVS.
Timberwolves at Jazz – Anything under 15 will be a steal here. JAZZ.
Duke at Virginia –It will rain 3’s in Virginia. OVER.
Iowa at Northwestern – This pace may put the referees to sleep. UNDER.
Arizona St at Oregon – Ducks are way better than Arizona State, who only has just one real good player.
Pistons at Knicks – Good parlay here; Detroit and UNDER.
Heat at Hawks – Roe v. Wade; no that’s wrong, it’s Bibby v. Wade … Bibby wins. HAWKS.
Louisville at G’town – Coach Pitino shows the world what a great team he has. LOUISVILLE.
Utah at UNLV – Rebels get back to work. UNLV.
S.Carolina at Tennessee – Spurrier loves to throw the long ball. OVER.
Blazers at Cavaliers – CAVS by a mile and a half.
Have a great week!