NCAA basketball news
March is approaching for the juniors from France

With almost all the conference regular season games finished, the NCAA basketball news is concentrating on the brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament which will see 64 universities (68 in the men's tournament) fight it out to become 2012 NCAA Champions.

However March Madness starts early for the French based players attending Aubern University, Davidson College, Duke University and Kent State.

In the American university system with the exception of the Ivy League all the conferences have either a play-off system or knock-out tournament after the regular season to determine the champions. The winners of all these tournaments will then participate in the NCAA Tournament. The remaining places to make up the 64-team tournament are selected by a committee.

The schools that do not qualify for the NCAA Big Dance can participate in other post-season events. The WNIT (Women's National Invitational Tournament) is the second big competition with a 64-team format.

For Najat Ouardad (no 3 in white) the regular season ended in dramatic fashion as they held off Ole Miss (46-43) to claim the 9th seed spot for the SEC Tournament.

Ouardad's free throw with 24 seconds to play gave her team the 3-point advantage as the game went right down to the wire. You can watch the highlight from this game which includes Ouardad's free throw that turned the game in their favour.

The SEC can have up to 8 bids for the NCAA tournament. However finishing in 9th place with a 13-16 record means that Auburn Tigers need to win the SEC Tournament starting on 1 March with a game against number 8 seeds Florida and hopefully end it on 4 March in the title game win.

If they fail to win the conference tournament they could still be offered a place in the WNIT if the winner from the top 8 seeds goes to the NCAA tournament.

Ouardad has played in all 29 games this season and has started in 17 of them while leading the team in assists with 52.

Historical season for the Davidson Wild Cats

The Davidson College women's basketball team are not often making basketball news headlines but with a 21-8 regular season and taking a share of first place in the SOCON conference, a first for the programme, for once the women's team are on centre stage with the men's team who are also conference champions.

Katrin Chiemeka (no. 12 in white) who has played all her club basketball in France and is a product of the French basketball development system is a member of the Davidson Wildcats. She has played in all 29 games this season starting in 27 of them.

Davidson plays in a conference that is only offered one place in the NCAA tournament so they must win the SOCON tournament starting on 3 March to qualify. If Davidson do not win the tournament they will continue the post season in the WNIT.

Duke and Allison Vernerey pick up another ACC title

Allison Vernerey picking up conference titles does not make basketball news these days. It is her third title and as number 1 seeds in the ACC, Duke have already booked their ticket for the NCAA Tournament.

Vernerey's role in the team has changed this year because of the arrival of Elizabeth Williams. Williams, a member of the USA team, is known in France because of her performance during the U17 FIBA World Championship for Women held in France in 2010 when her side beat France in the final.

Vernerey (no 43 in blue) has started just once this season but played in her 100th collegiate game of which you can watch the highlights.

Kent State must win Mac tournament for post season

Tamzin Barroilhet's regular season has not ended as Kent state still have one game to play. However with just 5 wins in conference play the only way the Golden Flashes can qualify for the Big Dance is to win the play-off series.

You can watch some highlights and post match comments from Barroilhet (no. 14 in yellow).

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Basketball news picture credits:

All the images and videos on this page are courtesy of the universities of their student athletes.

Date created: 28 February 2012

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