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Six days until Selection Sunday.  Shoe-ins will be worrying if their a high-3 or a low-2…while teams on the fringe will be wondering if that loss December 8th will come back to haunt them in March.  For many of us, Selection Sunday actually took place two months ago when we decided which Girl Scout Cookies to purchase.  Twelve flavors are in this year’s field;  the usual favorites and outliers are judged by strength of texture and  RPI which stands for “Re-eatable Possibility Interest”.

First–the ACC Tournament is in town!  I’m already full just thinking about the Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits available in the press room.  Other highlights this week will include the “9pm games” that don’t tip off before 9:45, UNC hoop fans who “just happen to root for Florida State football” and the Syracuse alums who still talk about winning the 2013 East Regional and meeting David Letterman’s mom (Indiana was the Regional Semifinal foe that year) in that building.

Flavor #12-Thanks A Lot.  Shortbread cookie dipped in fudge with a thank you message (although it should read, “You bought ME instead of Thin Mints or Tagalongs–are you NUTS?”.  The classic one-bid league cookie that will be down by 30 at the end of one half…or worse, headed to Dayton.  Even cookies aren’t fans of the First Four.

Locking up Bids-  Yale‘s 71-55 win over Columbia Saturday wraps up the Ivy League and sends the Eli to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1962.  Three schools wrapped up automatic berths Sunday:  Northern Iowa holds off a late Evansville rally to take the Missouri Valley Conference, UNC-Asheville surges past Winthrop in the Big South Finals and Florida Gulf Coast needs overtime to edge Stetson for the Atlantic Sun title.

Flavor #11- Cranberry Citrus Crisps- this whole-grain cookie with cranberry bits and citrus flavoring is almost too busy for its own good.  Provides matchup problems for the high-major cookies though.

Maryland (24-7, 12-6 Big Ten) lost at Indiana Sunday 80-62…the team’s fourth loss in six conference games since rising to #2 in the rankings.  After taking a 22-18 lead in Bloomington, the Terps shot 2-12 with three turnovers over the final 10:49 of the first half.  The express that looked as if it was Final Four Bound just one month ago is causing fans to wonder if “one and done” is a possibility–in the Big Ten Tournament as well as the NCAA’s.  ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi has the Terps #4 in the East, facing Yale in Providence for the first round.  CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm also has the Terrapins as the East’s #4, but facing Akron in Denver.  Next:  Friday in the Big Ten Quarterfinals against Wisconsin/Nebraska/Rutgers.

Flavor #10- Savannah Smiles.  My grandmother probably has multiple boxes of these lemon wedge cookies dusted with powdered sugar;  they’re a nice substitute for her orange marmalade on toast she enjoys with tea as she watches “As The World Turns”.  Sadly, ATWT hasn’t been on the air for some time and Savannah can’t even win the Lemon Cookie Conference.

Georgetown (14-17, 7-11 Big East) wrapped up the regular season with the thud of a sixth straight loss.  The 84-71 defeat at #3 Villanova saw the Hoyas fall behind 27-6 over the game’s first nine minutes…and there would be no comeback like the one against Creighton.  This team was already on shaky footing when center Bradley Hayes went down to injury…and they haven’t won since.  DVauntes Smith-Rivera gets at least one more game;  the senior shot 1-11 from the field against the Wildcats but notched 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the losing effort.  L.J. Peak looks to build off Saturday’s season high 31 points-it was the 13th straight game the sophomore guard had scored in double figures.  Next:  Wednesday at 7pm against St. John’s in the Big East First Round.

Flavor #9- Rah-Rah Raisins.  I like oatmeal raisin cookies as much as if not more than the next guy, but did we need Greek yogurt flavored chunks as well?  A rah-rah attitude is great, but it’s not going to necessarily beat superior cookies in a one-and-done format.

#4 Virginia (25-6,  13-5 ACC) didn’t win the regular season title as #7 North Carolina held off #17 Duke, but the Cavaliers posted one of their more impressive efforts in their 68-46 win over #11 Louisville.  Senior Mike Tobey notched 15 points and 20 rebounds while UVa held the Cardinals to 28% shooting in the their best defensive effort since…their January 30th 63-47 triumph over Louisville.  Sadly, they won’t have the Cardinals as a potential ACC Tournament opponent…as coach Rick Pitino’s team gave itself a postseason ban for 2015 (I’m sure that proactivity will convince the NCAA to go light…right).  If Tobey’s play wasn’t an isolated incident, that could be the difference in DC.  ESPN has the Cavaliers a #1 in the South facing Lehigh while CBS has them a #2 in the East playing Weber State, both in Raleigh.  Next:  Thursday at 7pm against Georgia Tech/Clemson winner in the ACC Quarterfinals.

Flavor #8- Toffee-tastic.  The gluten-free buttery treat with toffee bits is nice…just not as good as the other gluten-free option.  It still gets in as an at-large bid though, which is how I feel after consuming multiple boxes each March.

Virginia Tech (18-13, 10-8 ACC) beat Miami?  By 15?  This year’s Hurricanes, the team that was ranked 7th and playing for a share of the conference crown?  Coach Buzz Williams gets 19 points from Justin Bibbs (including 5-6 shooting from 3-point range) as the Hokies edged the Canes 77-62.  That makes it five straight victories and the first winning conference record in Blacksburg since 2011.  Moving Seth Allen from the starting lineup to a coming-off-the-bench role has paid dividends:  the junior’s averaging a team high 15 points a game during the winning streak.  Is there a way the Hokies could play themselves onto the NCAA bubble?  Next:  Wednesday at 9pm against Boston College-Florida State winner in the ACC Second Round.

Flavor #7- Trios.  Gluten free peanut butter cookies?  Great, but there’s more:  chocolate chips.  A potential upset waiting to happen…

George Washington (22-9, 11-7 Atlantic 10) lost for the second time in three games…87-80 at Davidson as the A-10’s leading scorer Jack Gibbs put 31 points on the board.  The loss doesn’t effect their seeding…but drags down their at-large hopes for the NCAA’s a little bit.  While a lot is expected of senior triumvirate Kevin Larsen, Patricio Garino and Joe McDonald…the key might be Tyler Cavanaugh on the glass.  In GW’s last four wins, the junior is averaging over 9 rebounds a game;  in their most recent four losses, he’s bringing down 5 boards a contest.  CBS has the Colonials among the first four out of the field while ESPN has them in the group after the first four out.  Next: Thursday at 2:30pm against George Mason-Saint Louis winner in the Atlantic 10 Second Round.

Flavor #6- Lemonades.  At this stage of the season it’s all about execution.  Lemon is great…and so is icing.  But lemon icing on this shortbread cookie?  Now we’re talking about an inside-out game that’s tough to match.

George Mason (11-20, 5-13 Atlantic 10) heads to Brooklyn fresh off an 83-73 win over Richmond where senior center Shevon Thompson notched 16 points and 17 rebounds.  It’s been a puzzling few weeks for the Patriots, who have beaten third place VCU and sixth place Davidson while falling to 10th place UMass, 12th place Saint Louis and 14th place La Salle.  Go figure.  Next: Wednesday at 6:30pm against Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 First Round.

Flavor # 5- Trefoils.  This shortbread original screams tradition like none other.  Fundamentals?  You bet.  Sadly the shot clock and three-pointer are foreign concepts to this Hickory disciple.  Beware the picket fence…

VCU (22-9, 14-4 Atlantic 10) lost 68-67 in overtime at Dayton….a defeat that costs the Rams the #1 seed in the upcoming A-10 tournament and hands it to the Flyers.  Missed free throws (14-27 from the line) cost Will Wade’s team while the Flyers were led by Scoochie Smith’s 29 points (the junior scored 26 points in a win over Richmond earlier in the week–and face it, his name is “Scootchie Smith”).  The Rams looked unbeatable in the league starting 9-0 but appeared flawed going 5-4 down the stretch.  Last year they lost six of their last 11 regular season games before winning four games in four days and scoring the automatic bid.  Both models have VCU seeded 10th in the East:  ESPN has them facing Seton Hall in Brooklyn while CBS sends them to Raleigh for a date with Texas Tech.  Next: Friday at 6:30 against UMass-Rhode Island winner in the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals.

Flavor #4 Do-Si-Dos.  Oatmeal exterior with peanut butter in the middle.  Think Purdue’s big lineup…just as effective on your taste buds as the Boilermakers’ bigs are in the post.  Problem is, their perimeter game leaves quite a bit to be desired.  This plodding cookie also has trouble defending in transition.

Richmond (15-15, 7-11 Atlantic 10) finished the season with five losses in six games…and their 83-73 loss to George Mason saw the Spiders get outrebounded 55-28.  That’s been a sore spot all season, as they’re ranked 13th in the A-10 in rebounding margin (6-foot-9 forward TJ Cline has had just one double-digit rebounding effort all year).  Next:  Thursday at noon against Fordham in the Atlantic 10 Second Round.

Flavor #3- Samoas.  Called “Caramel deLites” in some regions, infuriating me because a generation of young girls is being taught the wrong spelling of the word “delight” (it’s all about the kids).  This multi-optioned cookie offers caramel, toasted coconut and chocolatey stripes…and is very difficult to guard for the full 30-second shot clock.

American (12-19, 9-9 Patriot League) reluctantly gives up the title of HOTTEST TEAM INSIDE THE BELTWAY as the Eagles fall in the conference tournament semifinals at Lehigh 77-62.  The Mountain Hawks (I still wish they were called the Engineers) shot 57% from the field and advance to face 9th place Holy Cross for the title.   Jesse Reed scored 19 points in his final game for AU…but the play of Patriot League Rookie of the Year Delante Jones and fellow freshman James Washington gives hope for the future.

Flavor #2- Thin Mints.  You cannot stop this mint-flavored chocolate wafers, you can only hope to contain them.  The speed of which one of those sleeves can be consumed is highly unfair.

Howard (12-19, 6-10 MEAC) tries to wake up the echoes from their 4-1 league start…or better yet last year’s team that went 16-16. Could the week off give this beleaguered bunch the necessary clarity to rekindle what looked like it was going to be a special season?  Next: Tuesday at 7pm against North Carolina Central in the MEAC Semifinals.

Flavor #1- Tagalongs.  The combination of peanut butter and chocolate give this cookie versatility that can stay with the havoc that Thin Mints present while also upsetting the rhythm of the deliberate Samoas.  Refrigerated or room temperature, this is the cookie to beat.

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