Five days until Selection Sunday…with four area schools headed to the Big Dance regardless of how they perform in their conference tournaments, with a few others hopeful and still others delusional regarding March Madness hopes.

First to the in-crowd:

Virginia–#1 seed in the East, headed to Charlotte for the first weekend with a round of 64 matchup against the winner of Lafayette and North Florida (ESPN) or St. Francis-NY (CBS).  Of course American can bust that bracket with a win over the Leopards Wednesday in the Patriot League Finals.

Maryland–#3 seed in the East, headed to Pittsburgh and a matchup with Yale (ESPN) or Georgia State (CBS).  Does the committee realize that Lefty Driesell’s retired?

Georgetown–CBS has the Hoyas a #4 seed in the East, playing Central Michigan in Seattle while ESPN has Gtown a #6 seed in the East facing Oklahoma State in Pittsburgh.  Nothing like rekindling the magic of the Hoyas’ NCAA title 31 years later.

VCU–CBS sends the Rams to Pittsburgh as the #8 seed in the West Bracket, facing North Carolina State.  ESPN sends Shaka Smart’s team to Omaha as the #10 seed in the East where they will meet Iowa.  An A-10 flameout might push the one time lock right on the bubble, especially if a team like.

On the Outside Looking In–

American (17-15, 8-10 Patriot League) after wins over Lehigh and Colgate stands one more upset on the road away from a second straight NCAA Tournament bid.  Can they repeat the March Magic that got them to the dance during Mike Brennan’s first season with the Eagles?  The face a Lafayette team (19-12, 9-9) that’s ahead of them in the standings but one they swept during the regular season.  All eyes on Easton, PA, Wednesday night.

George Washington (20-11, 10-8 Atlantic 10) has to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament in a very top-heavy league:  VCU & Dayton are deemed “locks” by the “experts”, Davidson might be the most dangerous, Richmond could be the hottest and Rhode Island might be the best suited for March.

On the Outside Looking in the Opposite Direction–

George Mason (9-21, 4-14)–  Bummer the Patriots didn’t qualify for the A-10 Tourney.  What, there’s a double bye?  They have to play 40 more minutes–against a Fordham team they lost by 12 to in the regular season?  Not even the Green Machine can elevate this team to five wins in five days…

Howard (16-15, 10-6 MEAC)– can the miracle season continue for the Bison?  More on their quarterfinal matchup below…

Virginia Tech (10-21, 2-16 ACC)– At least it’s a relatively short drive from Blacksburg to Greensboro…

Bids locked up Monday–

CAA– Northeastern ended William & Mary’s dream, 72-61.  The Tribe missed a chance to make the Big Dance for the first time ever:  they’re one of 5 schools that have been a part of Division I since its inception in 1948 that haven’t reached the Mens Basketball Tournament (Army, The Citadel, Northwestern and St Francis-NY are the others).

Southern– Wofford holds off Furman, 67-64.  The Paladins almost advanced to the tourney despite a losing record.

MAAC– Manhattan upsets Iona, 79-69.  The Jaspers have busted brackets in the past, shocking Oklahoma in 1995 as a #13 seed and Florida as a #12 seed in 2004.  Pressure defense?  Three-point shooting?  I think having a name like the Jaspers is enough to throw anybody off-balance.

Elsewhere Monday–

Delaware State disposes of Savannah State 64-58, meaning that Howard will face the Hornets Friday in the MEAC Quarterfinals.  The Bison lost the only regular season game January 12th, 79-76 in DC.

On Tap Today–

3PM–ACC First Round–Virginia Tech faces Wake Forest in the famed #11-#14 game.  Somebody has to play Tuesday as long as they’re doing this double-bye bracket…it may as well be the team that’s gone 2-16 for the second straight year in conference play.  Five of the Hokies seven straight losses have come by double digits…and they lost the lone meeting with the Demon Deacons 73-70.  Buzz Williams Perspiration Factor: 8.563.