About Last Night: March 15, 2017

It was a light night for the conferences we cover, but that all changes tomorrow! A quick look at some excellent CollegeInsider.com Tournament action.

CIT: UMBC 88, Fairfield 83

When the Runnin’ Stags meet the Sprintin’ Retrievers (our nickname, not theirs) it was bound to be an up-tempo affair. The game between two teams in the top third of college basketball in pace clocked in at a brisk 76 possessions. Tyler Nelson did his usual damage for the Stags, scoring 30 points with 7 assists and 7 rebounds. Matija Milin added 20 points and 8 rebounds for Fairfield.

UMBC was a bit more blaanced. Will Darley, the lone senior to see significant action in this game, scored 17 points and dished out 5 assists as he kept his collegiate career alive. Jarius Lyles led UMBC with 20 points. The Retrievers shot 59% on two-point attempts and 41% from beynod the arc in the victory. They also had assists on 77% of their baskets, well above their season average of 52%.

The win means Ryan Odom’s club will wait to see who their next opponent is and where the game will be played. Logical options include: Liberty, Samford or potentially one of Thursday’s winners. UMBC will be going for a 20-win season in that game, it would be just the second time the Retrievers won 20 games since moving from the NEC to America East before the 2003-04 season.

Quick notes: Belmont and Akron continued the trend of mid-majors making an absolute mess of the NIT bracket. … The Belmont victory means Georgia Tech, which lucked into a home game due to Indiana’s reticence to play in Bloomington, will get another game in Atlanta. … Syracuse crushed UNC Greensboro 90-77. … Former Siena player turned MEAC Player of the Year Patrick Cole scored 13 points on 15 shots as his North Carolina Central team lost in the First Four to UC Davis. … Both Loyola (MD) and Utah Valley won on the road in the CBI. The wins at George Mason and Georgia Southern respectively are quality road victories. … Former Columbia coach Kyle Smith saw his San Francisco squad fall in the first round of the CBI at Rice. … UT Arlington scored 105 points to take down BYU and earn a home game in the NIT. … All 3 NIT 1 seeds won their games after California lost on Tuesday (and then say their coach head to Missouri).

Graphic:  I was playing around with this chart of assists from each Princeton player with at least 100 minutes to their teammates. Not sure it’s quite there yet, but I wanted to share. The Tigers open up play today against Notre Dame.

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