Two days until Selection Sunday…with bubbles bursting across the nation as Texas can’t hold on to a double-digit lead and Miami can’t completing a miracle comeback against Notre Dame.  At 7pm this evening there will be an odd feel, as Maryland and Virginia will be playing conference tournament games at the same time for the first time ever.

The Insiders:

Virginia–#1 seed in the East, headed to Charlotte for the first weekend with a round of 64 matchup against the winner of Manhattan and Robert Morris (ESPN) or Montana (CBS).  Go about your business.

Maryland–#3 seed in the East, headed to Pittsburgh and a matchup with Northeastern (CBS).  An early exit in the Big Ten Tourney might slide a Terps team known for close wins down a slot.

Georgetown–CBS has the Hoyas a #4 seed in the Midwest, Yale in Jacksonville while ESPN has Gtown a #5 seed in the East facing Valparaiso in Seattle.  Credit the committee with pitting Princeton man JT3 against an Ivy.

VCU–CBS sends the Rams to Pittsburgh as the #9 seed in the East Bracket, facing Xavier.  ESPN sends Shaka Smart’s team to Omaha as the #10 seed in the Midwest where they will meet St. John’s.  After their escape against Fordham–they’re just happy to be playing.

 

On the Outside Looking In—

George Washington (21-11, 10-8 Atlantic 10) got a necessary win over Duquesne in the A-10 Quarterfinals–that is step one.  Step two against Rhode Island will be much tougher.

 

Over and Out–

Old Dominion (24-7, 13-5 Conference USA) — when you need to reach the finals just to be in the conversation, losing in your conference tournament quarterfinal is not ideal.  The Monarchs’ 59-52 loss to Middle Tennessee was crushing because they held the Blue Raiders to 38% from the field…but couldn’t muster the necessary the offense to reachg the semfinal round.  Jeff Jones’ team looks forward to the alphabet soup that is the NIT…CBI and CIT.

Howard (16-16, 10-6 MEAC)– the 65-60 loss to Delaware State was a tough way to end what was a turnaround year for a long-suffering program…as the Hornets close the game on a 14-6 run.  James Daniel closes out his sophomore season by scoring 25 points…while the other two members of the James Gang (Carlton and Miller) shoot a combined 3-of-14.  Hopefully there’s more talent headed to the Burr Gymnasium for coach Kevin Nickelberry…and this is merely a steppingstone.

Richmond (19-13, 12-6 Atlantic 10) was oh so close to reaching the A-10 Semifinals…but couldn’t withstand a 15-7 run by the Rams.  The toughest moment?  When Kendall Anthony slipped on the floor on a fast break with the Spiders trailing by one.    One tough bus-ride home…

 

On Tap Tonight–

6:30PM–Big Ten Quarterfinals–Maryland meets Indiana.  The two games were the classic “best of times, worst of times” vibe of the season.  The Terps lost 89-70 in Bloomington as the Hoosiers shot 60% from the field…before beating IU 68-66 in College Park when Yogi Ferrell’s three-pointer and then putback fell off the mark.  Can the Terrapins tame Ferrell (23.5 ppg in the two games) outside and Troy Wiliams (16.5ppg and 8.5rpg) inside when they meet on a neutral court?

7PM–ACC Semifinals–Virginia plays North Carolina.  Old school UVa fans will say they liked beating Maryland and enjoyed keeping Virginia Tech in their place–but their orange and blue souls fire up when they meet their neighbor to the south.  Both schools boast a bit of popped collar frenzy, as Kippy and Buffy will gossip about Meredith and Peyton (and vice versa).  The Cavaliers beat the Tar Heels by 11 in Chapel Hill–but they’re still working Justin Anderson back into the lineup after the junior missed eight games with injuries.  Despite the “go-kart governor on the UVa offense”, floor is high for Tony Bennett’s team:  UNC is capable of scoring 46 points at home in a loss to NC State.

930PM–Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals–George Washington faces Rhode Island– the Colonials lost to the Rams 59-55 in the lone regular season meeting between two schools.  Can GW build off last night’s victory over Duquesne?  And will the game actually begin at 9:30?

930PM–Big East Semifinals–Georgetown plays Xavier.  To put it mildly, the Musketeers are a matchup nightmare for the Hoyas–they lost by 17 in Cincinnati and by 13 in DC.  Taking care of the ball and poor 3-point shooting proved to be their undoing in both games:  they shot 2-13 and 6-22 from outside the arc while turning the ball over 16 and 17 times.  After avoiding a bullet from last-place Creighton, will the Hoyas be “pressure-free” as they face their recent nemesis?

 

 

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