Today represents the 2010-2011 NCAA basketball regular season finale for a lot of teams. Conference tournaments began this week for smaller conferences and bigger conferences start their conference tournaments next week. For a school like the St. Mary’s Gaels that has bunkered in on the NCAA tournament bubble watch, they can only sit and watch other teams go at it. Tomorrow evening Saint Mary’s kick off their campaign to win the WCC postseason tournament for the second straight season. In the meantime they’ll be able to keep an eye on the scoreboard.
Given that today represents season finales for the power conferences and higher mid-majors, it also represents the last chance to make a serious bid for inclusion in the NCAA tournament. The conference tournament provides an opportunity as well, but losing today will put some teams in a position of having to run the table in their conference tournament. As we did on Wednesday, we’ve put together a rooting guide for St. Mary’s fans. The Gaels are on the bubble and losses by other bubble teams can only help them if they can’t win the WCC tournament this weekend.
Virginia Tech Hokies @ Clemson Tigers: This would seem to be an elimination game. Right now SB Nation’s Bubble Watch has the Tigers as one of the last four in and the Hokies as the next four in. The Hokies win over Duke seemed to secure their tournament spot even with an RPI of 63. I’d say root for Virginia Tech just to knock Clemson as far out of this thing as possible.
Duquesne Dukes @ Richmond Spiders: The Spiders sit with an RPI of 60 that has them as part of the last four in courtesy of a big win over Purdue. However, a home loss to Duquesne could easily submarine that cause. The Spiders might still win the conference tournament, but a loss today could sink their at-large chances. Go Dukes!
Michigan State Spartans @ Michigan Wolverines: SB Nation has Michigan as last four in and MIchigan State as next four in. Michigan has made a run towards the tournament lately and win would allow them to have closed the regular season 8-3. I don’t know if a loss completely sinks their chances, but it would put them in a bad way. Go Michigan State!
There are several other games today with more modest bubble implications but I’d argue these three but I’d argue these are the three most significant. We’ll be back with a look at the results later today.