by Jerry Palm
This is the last weekend of the regular season in which just about everybody is in action. At least four conferences will decide their automatic qualifiers, and a lot of bubble teams will be trying to help their cause.
The Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley all play their conference tournament championship games today, and the Missour Valley finishes up tomorrow. The Ivy League could also be decided today when Princeton goes to Harvard. If the Tigers win, they are the league champions, but if not, they must beat Penn next week to force a one-game playoff with the Crimson to be played next weekend.
This is also a very bubblicious weekend. Is "bubblicious" a word?
In the ACC, Virginia Tech is at Clemson. The Hokies are trying to bounce back from the loss at home to Boston College. The Tigers have done most of their damage at home, so it's important for them to continue to defend the home floor. ACC tournament seeding is at stake as well. The winner earns the 4-seed and gets a bye.
Texas has another opportunity to help play a middle of the road Big 12 team into the field when it goes to Baylor today. Among the trio trying to squeeze in (Baylor, Colorado, Nebraska), the Bears have the best road win (at Texas A&M) and the least embarassing non-conference schedule, although that isn't saying much. Colorado and Nebraska play each other today in Boulder.
Marquette picked up arguably its worst loss of the season the other day at home against Cincinnati. Now they travel to Seton Hall for a very important game for their tournament hopes. If they lose again, they are 18-13 entering the Big East tournament and on a two-game skid.
There is a huge bubble game in the Big Ten as well. Michigan State travels to Michigan trying to avenge its home loss to the Wolverines a month ago. The winner isn't guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the loser is in a world of hurt.
Colorado State can go a long way to securing a spot by winning at new league favorite San Diego State. The Rams have a win at UNLV, but that probably isn't going to be enough by itself to claim an at-large berth. A road win over a team like the Aztecs would look really nice on the tournament resume.
Washington State will be without star Klay Thompson when it hosts UCLA today in a vital game for its at-large chances. Thompson has been suspended after a marijuana arrest this week.
Georgia can put the final nail in Alabama's coffin with a win in Tuscaloosa today. The Tide have lost two in a row and would still only have very slim at-large hopes with a win. The best thing about Georgia's tournament profile is that it has no losses outside the RPI top 50. A win today keeps that intact.
See complete Bracketology coverage here.
Last Big Weekend
Posted on: March 5, 2011 9:37 am
Edited on: March 5, 2011 10:12 am