News & ToursApril 16, 2009

Conference championship previews, Part I

OK ... I'm going to take a little time off from the "This Week's Syllabus" format as the conference championship season begins in earnest. With that I'm going to be previewing the various postseason tournaments. Here is the first group. All of the events start between now and Sunday. (Teams in italic in the men's events DO NOT currently meet the ".500 rule" requirement to receive at-large berths to NCAA regionals.)__

____MEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad7173b01eefe207f6806f]|||ACC Championship men 2009 logo.jpg|||

__ACC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Old North State Club

New London, N.C.

April 17-19

Field: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Florida State (26-under 838) by three strokes over Duke; Wake Forest's Webb Simpson (14-under 202) by five strokes over North Carolina's Chase McFarland

Skinny: With its first win in three years coming at the U.S. Collegiate less than two weeks ago, Clemson has momentum and has to be the favorite.  Upstart would include Virginia and N.C. State, whose Matt Hill could solidify his national player of the year award bid with a individual win

Conference head-to-head records:

Wake Forest 17-12-1, .875

N.C. State 19-6-0, .760

Clemson 15-4-3, .750

Georgia Tech 12-4-2, .722

Duke 12-9-0, .571

Florida State 8-8-0, .500

Virginia 11-13-0, .458

Virginia Tech 7-12, .368

North Carolina 6-21, .222

Maryland 1-19-0, .050

Boston College 0-0-0, .000

SEC men's championship logo 2009.jpg

__SEC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Frederica GC

St. Simons Island, Ga.

April 17-19

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Alabama (11-under 853) by eight strokes over South Carolina; Alabama's Michael Thompson (eight-under 208) by four strokes over South Carolina's George Bryan IV and Alabama's Joseph Sykora

Skinny: Georgia returns all five players from last year's squad that finished third at Frederica. That experience, plus their talent, makes them my pick. Medalist race is wide open but I can't help but think Florida's Billy Horschel and Georgia's Brian Harman might finish up their senior seasons in style.

Conference head-to-head records:

Tennessee 18-4, .818

Georgia 16-5, .761

South Carolina 20-7, .740

Arkansas 7-3-1, .681

Florida 15-12, .555

Mississippi 18-16, .529

LSU 13-13-1, .500

Alabama 11-11, .500

Vanderbilt 8-14-2, .375

Kentucky 7-12, .368

Auburn 6-26-0, .187

Mississippi State 3-19-1, .152

CAA Championship logo 2009.jpg

Colonial Athletic Association Championship

(For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain, Ga.

April 17-19

Field: Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Towson, UNC Wilmington, VCU, William & Mary

Defending champion: Georgia State (nine-under 843) by 25 strokes over Old Dominion; Georgia State's Joel Sjoholm (12-under 201) by six strokes over William and Mary's Brent Paladino

Skinny: A year ago the Panthers had to win the conference title to get a bid to NCAA regionals and they came through. This time a high finish will do the trick (currently they're four wins shy in the hole for the .500 rule). How ironic would it be if former Georgia State/now UNC Wilmington coach Matt Clark knocks off his old school and keeps them from the postseason?

Big East Championship 2009 logo.jpg

__Big East Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Jovita G&CC

Dade City, Fla.

April 19-21

Field: Cincinnati, Connecticut, De Paul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John's, South Florida, Villanova

Defending champion: Marquette (10-over 874) by two strokes over Louisville; Marquette's Ted Gray (five-under 211) by five strokes over St. John's Keegan Bradley

Skinny: It would seem to be a two-team race between Louisville and Marquette this year; the Cardinals depth however gives them the edge in my mind (UofL is 3-0 versus Marquette head-to-head this season). The Golden Eagles will get to cheer when senior Mike Van Sickle win his fifth title of the season; he has won two wins and a third-place finish at Lake Jovita during his career.

Conf.-USA men's championship logo 2009.gif

__Conference USA Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Red Tail GC

Orlando

April 19-21

Field: UAB, UCF, East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, Tulsa

Defending champion: UAB (seven-under 857) by nine strokes over Southern Mississippi; UAB's Zack Sucher (nine-under 207) by two strokes over UAB's Brad Smith

Skinny: In a conference that has more talent than you might first think (four teams in top 80), UCF had the home-course edge and the most depth. Sucher, though, gives UAB its third straight individual conference winner.

Southern Conf. men's championship logo 2009.gif

__Southern Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

CC of South Carolina

Florence, S.C.

April 19-21

Field: Appalachian State, Charleston, Chattanooga, Davidson, Elon, Furman, Georgia Southern, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina, Wofford

Defending champion: Chattanooga (one-over 865) by eight strokes over Charleston; Western Carolina'a Matt Cook (five-under 211) by four strokes over Chattanooga's Ben Rickett and UNC Greensboro's Nathan Stamey

Skinny: Two-time reigning champion Chattanooga isn't having their best year of late, but they look to be getting hot at the right time. Don't sleep on Georgia Southern, however.

__WOMEN

__[#image: /photos/55ad7173add713143b422d55]|||Mountain West Conference women's championship logo 2009.jpeg|||

__Mountain West Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Bayonet and Blackhorse GC

Seaside, Calif.

April 16-18

Field: BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Wyoming

Defending champion: New Mexico (12-over 888) by 19 strokes over BYU; New Mexico's Jodi Ewart (even-par 219) by two strokes over New Mexico's Morgan Grantham and BYU's Natalia Jimenez

Skinny: The MWC teams will have their hands full with the Bayonet and Blackhorse course, considered one of the toughest tests in California. UNLV has the depth needed to win. Lobo junior Ewart makes it three-for-three with individual honors.

ACC women's championship logo 2009.jpg

__ACC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Sedgefield CC

Greensboro, N.C.

April 17-19

Field: Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Duke (seven-over 871) by one  stroke over Virginia; Duke's Amanda Blumenherst (four-under 212) by one stroke over Florida State's Caroline Westrup

Skinny: I think we're going to see a four-school fight (Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest) that could be as good as any conference showdown we'll see all month. My prediction is that Duke's 13-year run ... ends with Wake Forest taking the crown. I think Blumenherst, however, rises to the occasion and wins her fourth ACC individual title.

__Conference head-to-head records:

__Virginia 17-4-0, .809

North Carolina 16-5-2, .739

Duke 5-2, .714

Wake Forest 9-7-2, .555

Maryland 3-7, .300

N.C. State 5-14-1, .275

Miami (Fla.) 3-8, .272

Florida State 3-14-1, .194

Boston College  0-0, .000

Thumbnail image for SEC men's championship logo 2009.jpg

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Cobblestone Park

Blythewood, S.C.

April 17-19

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Florida (10-over 874) by 17 strokes over Arkansas; Arkansas' Stacy Lewis (two-under 214) by one stroke over Florida's Hannah Yun

Skinny: Auburn might be the favorite, but LSU has been impressive this spring as well. Quietly, though, Alabama has posted seven top-five finishes and a 107-31-1 overall head-to-head record (4-3 versus Auburn. I'm rolling with a Tide victory, and a Kathleen Ekey individual win.

Conference head-to-head records:

Auburn 29-7, .805

Alabama 28-9, .756

LSU 29-10-2, .731

Vanderbilt 11-6, .647

Georgia 19-12-1, .609

Mississippi 16-18-1, .471

Florida 8-11-1, .421

Arkansas 13-20, .393

Tennessee 9-18, .333

South Carolina 10-23-1, .308

Kentucky 8-20-2, .300

Mississippi State 2-28, .066

Thumbnail image for CAA Championship logo 2009.jpg

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain, Ga.

April 17-19

Field: Dayton, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Richmond, Towson, UNC Wilmington, William & Mary, Xavier

Defending champion: UNC Wilmington (15-over 879) by two strokes over Georgia State; Georgia State's Cathrine Madsen (five-under 211) by one stroke over UNC Wilmington's Ashley Tait

Skinny: Two years removed from their first CAA title, Georgia State looks ready to take the title back from two-time champion UNC Wilmington.

MVC championship women logo 2009.jpg

__Missouri Valley Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Panorama GC

Panora, Iowa

April 17-19

Field: Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Wichita State

Defending champion: Illinois State (96-over 948) by 15 strokes over Northern Iowa; Drake's Olivia Lansing (14-over 227) by three strokes over Northern Iowa's Molly Schemm

Skinny: Illinois State was the last MVC school to repeat (2004-05) and I think they'll repeat that feat this time around.

Thumbnail image for Big East Championship 2009 logo.jpg

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Jovita G&CC

Dade City, Fla.

April 19-21

Field: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John's, South Florida

Defending champion: Notre Dame (35-over 899) by nine strokes over Louisville; Notre Dame's Annie Brophy (six-over 222) by two strokes over Notre Dame's So-Hyun Park

Skinny: The Fighting Irish haven't been playing like last year's group, while Louisville has a real mission to avenge last year's loss. I think Cardinal senior Cindy LaCrosse win her second Big East individual title by five and helps UofL cruise to the team title.

Southern Conf. Championship women's logo 2009.gif

__Southern Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Moss Creek GC

Hilton Head Island, S.C.

April 19-21

Field: Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Charleston, The Citadel, Elon, Furman, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina, Wofford

Defending champion: Furman (37-over 901) by eight strokes over UNC Greensboro; Furman's Stefanie Kenoyer (two-over 218) by four strokes over Elon's Danielle Mills

Skinny: Furman's got the history but I like the spark Chattanooga is showing, so I'm going with the Mocs for the team title. As consolation, the Lady Paladins will see senior Blair Lamb win medalist honors for a second time in three years. OK ... for the rest of the conference championship season I'm going to be previewing the various tournaments. Here is the first group. All of the events start between now and Sunday.__

____MEN

__

__ACC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Old North State Club

New London, N.C.

April 17-19

Field: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Florida State (26-under 838) by three strokes over Duke; Wake Forest's Webb Simpson (14-under 202) by five strokes over North Carolina's Chase McFarland

Skinny: With its first win in three years coming at the U.S. Collegiate less than two weeks ago, Clemson has momentum and has to be the favorite.  Upstart would include Virginia and N.C. State, whose Matt Hill could solidify his national player of the year award bid with a individual win

Conference head-to-head records:

Wake Forest 17-12-1, .875

N.C. State 19-6-0, .760

Clemson 15-4-3, .750

Georgia Tech 12-4-2, .722

Duke 12-9-0, .571

Florida State 8-8-0, .500

Virginia 11-13-0, .458

Virginia Tech 7-12, .368

North Carolina 6-21, .222

Maryland 1-19-0, .050

Boston College 0-0-0, .000

__SEC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Frederica GC

St. Simons Island, Ga.

April 17-19

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Alabama (11-under 853) by eight strokes over South Carolina; Alabama's Michael Thompson (eight-under 208) by four strokes over South Carolina's George Bryan IV and Alabama's Joseph Sykora

Skinny: Georgia returns all five players from last year's squad that finished third at Frederica. That experience, plus their talent, makes them my pick. Medalist race is wide open but I can't help but think Florida's Billy Horschel and Georgia's Brian Harman might finish up their senior seasons in style.

Conference head-to-head records:

Tennessee 18-4, .818

Georgia 16-5, .761

South Carolina 20-7, .740

Arkansas 7-3-1, .681

Florida 15-12, .555

Mississippi 18-16, .529

LSU 13-13-1, .500

Alabama 11-11, .500

Vanderbilt 8-14-2, .375

Kentucky 7-12, .368

Auburn 6-26-0, .187

Mississippi State 3-19-1, .152

Colonial Athletic Association Championship

(For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain, Ga.

April 17-19

Field: Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Towson, UNC Wilmington, VCU, William & Mary

Defending champion: Georgia State (nine-under 843) by 25 strokes over Old Dominion; Georgia State's Joel Sjoholm (12-under 201) by six strokes over William and Mary's Brent Paladino

Skinny: A year ago the Panthers had to win the conference title to get a bid to NCAA regionals and they came through. This time a high finish will do the trick (currently they're four wins shy in the hole for the .500 rule). How ironic would it be if former Georgia State/now UNC Wilmington coach Matt Clark knocks off his old school and keeps them from the postseason?

__Big East Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Jovita G&CC

Dade City, Fla.

April 19-21

Field: Cincinnati, Connecticut, De Paul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, N0tre Dame, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John's, South Florida, Villanova

Defending champion: Marquette (10-over 874) by two strokes over Louisville; Marquette's Ted Gray (five-under 211) by five strokes over St. John's Keegan Bradley

Skinny: It would seem to be a two-team race between Louisville and Marquette this year; the Cardinals depth however gives them the edge in my mind (UofL is 3-0 versus Marquette head-to-head this season). The Golden Eagles will get to cheer when senior Mike Van Sickle win his fifth title of the season; he has won two wins and a third-place finish at Lake Jovita during his career.

__Conference USA Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Red Tail GC

Orlando

April 19-21

Field: UAB, UCF, East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Mississippi, UTEP, Tulsa

Defending champion: UAB (seven-under 857) by nine strokes over Southern Mississippi; UAB's Zack Sucher (nine-under 207) by two strokes over UAB's Brad Smith

Skinny: In a conference that has more talent than you might first think (four teams in top 80), UCF had the home-course edge and the most depth. Sucher, though, gives UAB its third straight individual conference winner.

__Southern Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

CC of South Carolina

Florence, S.C.

April 19-21

Field: Appalachian State, Charleston, Chattanooga, Davidson, Elon, Furman, Georgia Southern, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina, Wofford

Defending champion: Chattanooga (one-over 865) by eight strokes over Charleston; Western Carolina'a Matt Cook (five-under 211) by four strokes over Chattanooga's Ben Rickett and UNC Greensboro's Nathan Stamey

Skinny: Two-time reigning champion Chattanooga isn't having their best year of late, but they look to be getting hot at the right time. Don't sleep on Georgia Southern, however.

__WOMEN

Mountain West Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Bayonet and Blackhorse GC

Seaside, Calif.

April 16-18

Field: BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Wyoming

Defending champion: New Mexico (12-over 888) by 19 strokes over BYU; New Mexico's Jodi Ewart (even-par 219) by two strokes over New Mexico's Morgan Grantham and BYU's Natalia Jimenez

Skinny: The MWC teams will have their hands full with the Bayonet and Blackhorse course, considered one of the toughest tests in California. UNLV has the depth needed to win. Lobo junior Ewart makes it three-for-three with individual honors.

__ACC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Sedgefield CC

Greensboro, N.C.

April 17-19

Field: Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, Wake Forest

Defending champion: Duke (seven-over 871) by one  stroke over Virginia; Duke's Amanda Blumenherst (four-under 212) by one stroke over Florida State's Caroline Westrup

Skinny: I think we're going to see a four-school fight (Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest) that could be as good as any conference showdown we'll see all month. My prediction is that Duke's 13-year run ... ends with Wake Forest taking the crown. I think Blumenherst, however, rises to the occasion and wins her fourth ACC individual title.

__Conference head-to-head records:

__Virginia 17-4-0, .809

North Carolina 16-5-2, .739

Duke 5-2, .714

Wake Forest 9-7-2, .555

Maryland 3-7, .300

N.C. State 5-14-1, .275

Miami (Fla.) 3-8, .272

Florida State 3-14-1, .194

Boston College  0-0, .000

__SEC Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Cobblestone Park

Blythewood, S.C.

April 17-19

Field: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt

Defending champion: Florida (10-over 874) by 17 strokes over Arkansas; Arkansas' Stacy Lewis (two-under 214) by one stroke over Florida's Hannah Yun

Skinny: Auburn might be the favorite, but LSU has been impressive this spring as well. Quietly, though, Alabama has posted seven top-five finishes and a 107-31-1 overall head-to-head record (4-3 versus Auburn. I'm rolling with a Tide victory, and a Kathleen Ekey individual win.

Conference head-to-head records:

Auburn 29-7, .805

Alabama 28-9, .756

LSU 29-10-2, .731

Vanderbilt 11-6, .647

Georgia 19-12-1, .609

Mississippi 16-18-1, .471

Florida 8-11-1, .421

Arkansas 13-20, .393

Tennessee 9-18, .333

South Carolina 10-23-1, .308

Kentucky 8-20-2, .300

Mississippi State 2-28, .066

__Colonial Athletic Association Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Callaway Gardens

Pine Mountain, Ga.

April 17-19

Field: Dayton, Georgia State, Hofstra, James Madison, Old Dominion, Richmond, Towson, UNC Wilmington, William & Mary, Xavier

Defending champion: UNC Wilmington (15-over 879) by two strokes over Georgia State; Georgia State's Cathrine Madsen (five-under 211) by one stroke over UNC Wilmington's Ashley Tait

Skinny: Two years removed from their first CAA title, Georgia State looks ready to take the title back from two-time champion UNC Wilmington.

__Missouri Valley Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Panorama GC

Panora, Iowa

April 17-19

Field: Bradley, Creighton, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Wichita State

Defending champion: Illinois State (96-over 948) by 15 strokes over Northern Iowa; Drake's Olivia Lansing (14-over 227) by three strokes over Northern Iowa's Molly Schemm

Skinny: Illinois State was the last MVC school to repeat (2004-05) and I think they'll repeat that feat this time around.

__Big East Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Lake Jovita G&CC

Dade City, Fla.

April 19-21

Field: Cincinnati, Georgetown, Louisville, Notre Dame, Rutgers, St. John's, South Florida

Defending champion: Notre Dame (35-over 899) by nine strokes over Louisville; Notre Dame's Annie Brophy (six-over 222) by two strokes over Notre Dame's So-Hyun Park

Skinny: The Fighting Irish haven't been playing like last year's group, while Louisville has a real mission to avenge last year's loss. I think Cardinal senior Cindy LaCrosse win her second Big East individual title by five and helps UofL cruise to the team title.

__Southern Conference Championship

__    (For live scoring, click here to link to Golfstat)

Moss Creek GC

Hilton Head Island, S.C.

April 19-21

Field: Appalachian State, Chattanooga, Charleston, The Citadel, Elon, Furman, UNC Greensboro, Western Carolina, Wofford

Defending champion: Furman (37-over 901) by eight strokes over UNC Greensboro; Furman's Stefanie Kenoyer (two-over 218) by four strokes over Elon's Danielle Mills

Skinny: Furman's got the history but I like the spark Chattanooga is showing, so I'm going with the Mocs for the team title. As consolation, the Lady Paladins will see senior Blair Lamb win medalist honors for a second time in three years.

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