2013 NCAA Tournament — Louisville, Kansas and 11 Other Teams Win Titles, Reach NCAA Tourney
Fourth-ranked Louisville won the Big East tournament title with a second-half comeback on No. 19 Syracuse, 78-61, while No. 7 Kansas defeated in-state rival No. 11 Kansas State, 70-54. Both teams were among 13 schools to claim automatic bids to the 2013 NCAA tournament. Here's a recap of Saturday's conference championships:
Big East Conference Championship: (4) Louisville 78 — (19) Syracuse 61
Peyton Siva scored 11 points and dished out eight assists, and No. 4 Louisville used a 41-10 second-half surge to beat No. 19 Syracuse, 78-61, in the Big East Conference tournament championship in New York on Saturday night. The game was the conference's last before a major overhaul in members, including the eventual loss of both of this year's championship competitors to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Louisville (29-5) trailed by as much as 16 points early in the second half, but the Cardinals eventually pushed ahead for good. By winning the Big East title, Louisville received the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament. Syracuse (26-9) lost its last Big East game. The Orange will join the ACC next season. The Cardinals will follow them in 2014.
Big 12 Conference Championship: (7) Kansas 70 — (11) Kansas State 54
Jeff Withey scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and the seventh-ranked Kansas Jayhawks beat No. 11 Kansas State, 70-54, to win the Big 12 Conference tournament championship in Kansas City, Mo. on Saturday night. Kansas (29-5) clinched the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament and could be in line for a No. 1 regional seed. Rodney McGruder scored 18 points for Kansas State (27-7), which is a near certainty to make the 68-team NCAA field.
Pac-12 Conference Championship: Oregon 78 — (21) UCLA 69
Carlos Emory scored 20 points and Johnathan Loyd added 19, as Oregon beat No. 21 UCLA, 78-69, to win the Pac-12 Conference tournament championship in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Oregon (26-8) shot 7 of 14 from 3-point range en route to clinching the conference's automatic bid for the 2013 NCAA tournament. UCLA (25-9) played without freshman Jordan Adams, who broke his right foot on the last play of Friday's semifinal win over No. 18 Arizona.
Big West Conference Championship: Pacific 64 — UC Irvine 55
Tony Gill scored 19 points, and the University of the Pacific beat UC Irvine, 64-55, to win the Big West Conference tournament championship in Anaheim, Calif. on Saturday night. Pacific (22-12) won the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament. It's the school's first NCAA bid since 2006.
Western Athletic Conference Championship: New Mexico State 64 — Tex. Arlington 55
Sim Bhullar scored 16 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked five shots as New Mexico State beat Texas-Arlington, 64-55, to win the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship in Las Vegas on Saturday night. New Mexico State (24-10) pulled away in the second half to claim an automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Big Sky Conference Championship: Montana 67 — Weber State 64
Kareem Jamar scored 20 points, and Montana beat Weber State, 67-64, to win the Big Sky Conference tournament championship in Missoula, Mont. on Saturday night. By virtue of the win, Montana (25-6) secured the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Mountain West Conference Championship: (15) New Mexico 63 — UNLV 56
Tony Snell scored 21 points, including 13 straight at one point in the second half, and New Mexico beat UNLV, 63-56, to win the Mountain West Conference tournament championship in Las Vegas on Saturday. New Mexico (29-5) secured the conference's automatic berth into the 2013 NCAA tournament.
America East Conference Championship: Albany 53 — Vermont 49
Mike Black scored 14 points, and Albany rallied to beat Vermont, 53-49, in the America East Conference tournament championship at Burlington, Vt. on Saturday. The victory gave the Great Danes (24-10) their third-ever trip to the NCAA tournament. Vermont (21-11) defeated Albany twice in the regular season.
Conference USA Championship: (20) Memphis 91 — Southern Miss 79 (2 OT)
Chris Crawford scored 23 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the second overtime period, and No. 20 Memphis beat Southern Miss, 91-79, in the Conference USA tournament championship in Tulsa, Okla. on Saturday. It was the seventh title in the past eight years for Memphis (30-4), which claimed an automatic spot in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Southern Miss (25-9) may still receive an at-large bid.
Mid American Conference Championship: Akron 65 — Ohio 46
Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Akron beat Ohio, 65-46, to win the Mid-American Conference tournament championship in Cleveland on Saturday night. With the victory, Akron (26-6) clinched the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament without point guard Alex Abreu. Akron suspended Abreu after he was arrested on drug trafficking charges earlier this month.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship: North Carolina A&T 57 — Morgan State 54
Adrian Powell scored 14 points and blocked a potential game-tying 3-point shot, as North Carolina A&T beat Morgan State, 57-54, to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship in Norfolk, Va. on Saturday. North Carolina A&T (19-16) won its first conference title since 1995 and claimed an automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Southland Conference Championship: Northwestern State 68 — Stephen F. Austin 66
Shamir Davis scored 19 points, and Northwestern State beat Stephen F. Austin, 68-66, in the Southland Conference tournament championship in Katy, Tex. on Saturday night. DeQuan Hicks added 13 points and made a key steal for Northwestern State (23-8), which earned the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship: Southern 45 — Prairie View A&M 44
Derick Beltran had 13 points, including a layup on a steal to provide the eventual margin of victory, and Southern University beat Prairie View A&M, 45-44, in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship game in Garland, Tex. on Saturday. Southern (23-9) led by seven points after Beltran's layup and hung on to clinch the conference's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament. Prairie View's Jourdan DeMuynck nearly had a chance for a buzzer-beater, but he lost control of the ball as the game ended.
Great West Conference Championship: Chicago State 75 — Houston Baptist 60
Jeremy Robinson scored 17 points, and Chicago State beat Houston Baptist, 75-60, in the Great West Conference tournament championship in Chicago on Saturday night. Despite the victory, Chicago State (11-21) was not expected to receive a bid to the 2013 NCAA tournament. The five-member Great West Conference was not awarded an automatic NCAA tournament berth this season.