Follow Kent, Marist, FIU

February 26, 2002 7:33 AM
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The real season is here.

The madness begins Tuesday in the Ohio Valley Conference, where Tennessee Tech won the regular season title with a 15-1 mark that included a perfect 12-0 home record.

The Southern Conference opens Thursday, followed by the Colonial, Sun Belt, Horizon (aka Midwestern Collegiate Conference), Missouri Valley and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, West Coast and Mid-American.

Here’s a quick glimpse from a gaming perspective.

OVC: Morehead State is No. 10 in the Spread Beaters poll. The Eagles were 11-5 in the league and along with Murray State (10-6) appear the only teams capable of knocking off Tennessee Tech.

Southern: No clear choice. UNC-Greensboro, ETSU and Davidson shared the North title at 11-5. College of Charleston, Georgia Southern and UT-Chattanooga were 9-7 in the South. ETSU is 13-6-1 ATS.

Colonial: UNC-Wilmington won the regular season title at 14-4. Wiseguys should follow Drexel, 16-8 ATS on the plus side, and Hofstra 8-16 ATS on the minus side.

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky, with a 25-3 overall record, won the league and should be a lock for the NCAAs. Watch UL-Lafayette and New Mexico State, each 11-4 SU in league play, along with FIU (14-5-1 ATS).

Horizon: Butler finished regular season play 25-4 and  was 14-2 on the road in the league. Youngstown State was 0-15 SU on the road.

MVC: Southern Illinois and Creighton are the league’s elite. At 23-6, Southern Illinois might get in with just a finals berth. Creighton, the league champ at 14-3, is more of a bubble team at 19-7. However, the Blue Jays probably make the Big Dance.

MAAC: The tourney should boil down to Marist, Rider, Manhattan and Niagara. Marist, at 17-7, is ranked No. 5 in the Spread Beaters poll. One game separated those four schools in conference play.

WCC: Gonzaga and rival Pepperdine are each assured of bids to the NCAA, but seedings will come down to how they fare in league title game. It’s highly doubtful any other team can threaten the Zags or Waves. Don’t bet against them.

MAC: Kent State, No. 1 in the Spread Beaters at 18-6-1 ATS, figures to make the NCAAs. The Golden Flashes, 21-5 SU, were 15-1 at home. Central Michigan, fourth in the Dirty Dozen at 5-16-1 ATS, should be an early casualty.

SPREAD BEATERS

  

ATS  

CON

1Kent St  

18-6-1  

mac

2Texas Tech  

18-6-0  

b12 

3USC  

17-7-1  

p10

4Hawaii  

15-5-1  

wac

5Marist  

17-7-0  

maa 

6Tulsa  

15-6-0  

wac

7Ohio St  

16-6-0  

b10

8Air Force  

14-5-1  

mtw

9Yale  

12-3-1  

ivy

10Morehead St  

15-6-0  

ovc 

11Pittsburgh  

14-6-1  

bgE

12Florida Intl  

14-5-1  

sBlt

Honorable mentions:
Memphis (17-9), Georgia (16-8),Drexel (16-8), Kansas (14-7), LaSalle (16-9), UNLV (15-9)

Dirty Dozen

  

ATS  

CON

1Purdue  

5-19-1  

b10

2N. Carolina  

4-16-1  

acc

3Iowa  

7-19-0  

b10

4C. Michigan  

5-16-1  

mac 

5Virginia  

5-14-2  

acc 

6Florida St  

6-14-0  

acc

7Bradley  

6-15-1  

mvc 

8S. Alabama  

6-14-0  

p10

9St. Joseph’s  

7-15-2  

a10

10Wash St  

7-15-0  

p10

11Oregon St  

7-15-0  

sec 

12Providence  

8-16-0  

bgE

Honorable mentions: DePaul (8-16), UAB (8-16),

Hofstra (8-16), UCLA (9-17)