Previously appearing on WTOP.com…

Give college football credit.  Despite having the most bloated and misguided postseason, they wrap up the regular season in fine fashion.  The final weeks of November boast the biggest rivalries in each league-and even when Alabama-Auburn, Michigan-Ohio State or UCLA-USC doesn’t have national ramifications, they’re great spectacle.  This weekend we have Duke-North Carolina, but what else?  Okay, Georgetown-Villanova has the potential to be as big as the Hoyas and Syracuse was in Big East 1.0…and we’ve been robbed of Maryland-Virginia.  But why is Indiana playing Maryland instead of Purdue?  Why isn’t George Washington playing George Mason on the final day of the season?  VCU-Davidson is a nice matchup, but doesn’t warrant what a game with Richmond would bring on the final weekend.  One of the reasons why North Carolina-Duke has the status as the best college basketball rivalry today is that they’re geographically close, historically great and play every year to wrap up the regular season.  There’s no reason why other league’s can’t take that cue.  Until then, bring me Virginia-Louisville.

OH NO– one game remains for the three Division I schools winless in their respective conferences.  Boston College (0-17 ACC) is at the bottom of the league in shooting and rebounding margin-a deadly combination-and hosts a Clemson team that’s dropped three straight to slide off the NCAA bubble.  Rutgers (0-17 Big Ten) has dropped 15 of its league games by double digits (and a 16th came by nine points) and faces suddenly lukewarm Minnesota (2-15 after an 0-13 start in conference play).  Chicago State (0-13 WAC) gets double-takes from people who still think that BYU, Air Force and Hawaii play in that league and faces 7th place Missouri-Kansas City (on the bright side, the WAC is one of few leagues not to have 14+ members-so 7th is actually second to last place in their antiquated world).

 

Saturday’s Games-

Noon- Georgetown (14-16, 7-10 Big East) at #3 Villanova (26-4, 15-2), FOX.  Hoyas lost in DC by 5 to the Wildcats, who are seeking a second straight number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.   Getting a #1 isn’t the same as capitalizing on a top seed;  as Jay Wright’s team learned last year when they were bounced in the first weekend by NC State.  For the Hoyas, a win plus a Marquette loss means they play St. John’s instead of DePaul in the Big East Tournament.  Both teams are awful, but the Red Storm are at a Kelvin Absolute Zero awful level.  Either way, the Hoyas are headed to the first day of play at MSG.

3:30pm-

George Washington (22-8, 11-6 Atlantic 10) at Davidson (17-11, 9-8), NBC Sports Network.  The Wildcats’ Wednesday loss wrapped up the #5 seed in the A-10 Tournament for GW…but the Colonials’ non-conference profile can ill-afford another loss.  Conventional wisdom says GW also needs to reach at least the conference semifinals-if not the finals-in order to sew up a bid.  They won by 10 in Foggy Bottom earlier this winter…despite 25 points from the Wildcats’ Jack Gibbs.  The Atlantic 10’s leading scorer does that a lot (he averages 25).  Colonials also have to watch out for 6-foot-7 forward Peyton Aldridge…who is a slightly smaller matchup nightmare version of Tyler Cavanaugh.

4pm–

Virginia Tech (17-13, 9-8 ACC) vs #7 Miami (24-5, 13-4), Raycom/WDCA 20.  The Hokies are officially the hottest team in the ACC with four straight wins.  A victory would give them 10 conference triumphs…equalling their total from the previous four years under three different coaches.  Their last loss?  A 65-49 stinker at…Miami.  While Buzz Williams’ bunch is playing with house money, the Hurricanes are playing for at least a share of the ACC regular season.  It’s theirs with a victory plus a North Carolina loss to Duke…if the Canes and the Heels both win UNC takes the #1 seed next week in DC.

6pm–

Richmond (15-14, 7-10 Atlantic 10) at George Mason (10-20, 4-13).  The Patriots beat the Spiders on the road earlier this year (UR a rough 3-6 at home in league play) on a night where Jaire Grayer scored 20 points;  he was the only one of coach Dave Paulsen’s players to reach double figures in the loss at George Washington.  The Spiders are already assured of playing in the 8-9 game next week regardless of the outcome.  The Patriots could finish anywhere from 12th to 14th, depending on how Saint Louis and La Salle fare.

8pm–

VCU (22-8, 14-3 Atlantic 10) at Dayton (23-6, 13-4), CBS Sports Network.  The Rams lock up the #1 seed in the A-10 with a victory while Dayton would take the top spot with a win plus losses by St Joes and St Bonaventure.  HAVOC goes on the road this weekend:  the Rams lead the Atlantic 10 in steals per game…while the Flyers rank 11th in turnover margin.  At one point it appeared as though Archie Miller’s team would cruise into the NCAA’s…but they’ve lost 3 of 5 and the wins have been one-possession affairs with Saint Louis and Richmond.

830pm–

#4 Virginia (23-6, 12-5 ACC) vs #11 Louisville (23-7, 12-5), ESPN.  Not the same as Cavaliers-Maryland or even Cardinals-Memphis, eh?  But this is in that “let’s have a rivalry game” final weekend.  UVa went into the KFC Yum! Center and crushed coach Rick Pitino’s team 63-47 last month…reducing the Cardinal offense to a trickle in the first half.  Could this be Pitino’s final game at U of L?  The school banned itself from postseason play in the aftermath of the recruiting scandal…and one wonders if the NCAA will pile on more penalties. Fans of both schools will be scoreboard watching, as the winner gets a share of the ACC title IF North Carolina slips at Duke (a definite possibility) and Miami slips at Virginia Tech (less likely).

Sunday-

2pm–

Patriot League Semifinals:  American (12-18, 9-9 Patriot League) at Lehigh (16-14, 13-5).  Let the record show that with their second five game winning streak the Eagles are once again the HOTTEST TEAM INSIDE THE BELTWAY.  Let the record also show that with ten straight wins, Lehigh is the HOTTEST TEAM IN THE PATRIOT LEAGUE.  They’re also the lone school with a winning conference record to reach the semifinals (so much for home court advantage).  AU lost both of their regular season games to the Mountain Hawks by double figures…but that was the same case with Boston University.  They can’t combine poor shooting (31% and 37% from the field in the two games) with lackluster rebounding (-8 and -10) again if they hope to advance to the championship game.

430pm–

#14 Maryland (24-6, 12-5 Big Ten) at #12 Indiana (24-6, 14-3), CBS.  The Hoosiers win at Iowa locks up the Big Ten regular season title…their first since 2013.  That year they celebrated  Senior Night by cutting down the nets after their game with Michigan.  Problem was, they lost to the Wolverines-making the moment even more awkward.  The Terps are coming off an impressive win over Illinois–until you realize that four of the Illini’s five conference wins have come against cellar-dwellers Minnesota and Rutgers.  Yogi Ferrell was a freshman on the team that cut down the nets–the senior leads the Hoosiers with 17 points and 6 assists a game.  Can the Terps contain him like they did Illinois’ backcourt?

Advertisements