Four Days until Selection Sunday.  The dreaded double bye bracket gives fans fabled 12th vs 13th showdowns… 11-14 duels and in the ACC (unless a school takes the poison pill of banning itself from postseason play), the 10 vs 15 “why are we here?” game.  Simply the cost of doing business in a league with more than 12 schools… as if fewer home and home series, schools nowhere near each other geographically or dishonest names (Big Ten has 12 members, Atlantic Coast Conference has a schools on the Ohio River coast) wasn’t enough of a motivation to further bloat a conference.

First to the in-crowd:

Virginia– ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi has the Cavaliers as a #1 in the South facing Wright State, while CBSSports.com’s Jerry Palm has them a #2 in the South playing Weber State.  Raleigh remains the first weekend destination.  Angus Barn, here we come…

Maryland– ESPN seeds the Terps 5th in the West with a first round meeting against Yale in Providence…while CBS has them in Denver as the #4 in the East facing Northern Iowa.

VCU– the Rams are 10th in the South:  ESPN has them facing Notre Dame in Oklahoma City while CBS has Will Wade’s team playing Texas Tech in Raleigh.

On the Outside Looking In-

George Washington (22-9, 11-7 Atlantic 10) was less than thrilled by losses from bubblicious teams Monmouth and Valparaiso…instead of automatic bids the Hawks and Crusaders are now in line with the Colonials.  Coach Mike Lonergan feels three wins this weekend should get them in…but they can ill afford another at-large team with more wins or a better RPI in the same room.

Virginia Tech (18-13, 10-8 ACC).  These are the Hokies…right?  The #87 RPI means they’re scaling the underbelly of the bubble-even with five straight wins and six wins in their last ten.  Moving guard Seth Allen to his role coming off the bench has paid off dividends down the stretch;  in his last ACC Tournament game (for Maryland against Florida State two years ago) he tallied 18 points.

On the Outside Not Knowing Where to Look-

Georgetown (14-17, 7-11 Big East) barring a miracle won’t be going to the NCAA or NIT.  It will be the first time since 2004…when they lost 8 straight to end the tenure of Craig Esherick.  This program has talent…but for some reason never gelled behind senior DVauntes Smith-Rivera.  It didn’t help they lost their best post presence (Bradley Hayes) to injury (Hoyas are 0-6 without the senior center).

George Mason (11-20, 5-13 Atlantic 10) won five times over two months in league play;  they need five wins in five days in order to stay alive.  Could senior center Shevon Thompson be the answer here?  The Jamaican big man has seven double-doubles in his last ten games…and while he’s no longer leading the conference in field goal percentage (5th at 58.5%) he paces the A-10 in rebounding.

Over and Out–

Howard (12-20, 6-10 MEAC). The Bisons winter of discontent ends with a 68-66 loss to North Carolina Central in the First Round, despite 22 points from James Daniel III and 16 points with 18 rebounds from Marcel Boyd.  After a breakthrough 2014-15 campaign, coach Kevin Nickelberry’s program takes a step back.  But they’ll have Daniel and Boyd back for their senior years next season.

Bids Claimed Tuesday–

Northeast Conference– Fairleigh Dickinson defeats Wagner 87-79 for their fifth trip to the NCAA’s; each time they’ve made the big dance they’ve been given a #16 seed. Somehow Dayton enters the mind this March…

Horizon– Green Bay beats Wright State 78-69;  after settling for the NIT each of hte last two seasons the Phoenix reach their first NCAA Tournament since 1996 (when they were called Wisconsin-Green Bay).

Summit League– South Dakota State defeats North Dakota State 67-59;  the Jackrabbits crushed the Bison on the boards 39-26 and enter the Big Dance having won 12 of 14.

West Coast Conference– Gonzaga gets by Saint Mary’s 85-75 as the Bulldogs hit 61% of their shots to return Bing Crosby’s alma mater to the NCAA’s for the 18th straight time.

Today’s games:

6:30pm–Atlantic 10 First Round- George Mason plays Saint Louis (10-20, 5-13).  GW coach Mike Lonergan and staff will have all eyes on this one as the winner faces the Colonials one day later.  These two teams split their regular season series, each winning on the road.  Mason ranks 12th in the A-10 in scoring and 13th in shooting…while the Billikens are 13th in scoring and 12th in shooting.  These are the first round matchups I warned you about earlier…

7pm– Big East First Round- Georgetown plays DePaul  (9-21, 3-15).  The Blue Demons were the only team to lose to St. John’s this winter…and the Hoyas swept both teams.  Meaning against the seven teams in their league that weren’t dumpster fires, Gtown was 3-11.  Two years ago they lost to DePaul in the First Round-sentencing a bubble team to the NIT.  A loss this year would bring a postseason of silence to the district.

9pm–ACC Second Round- Virginia Tech faces Florida State (19-12, 8-10).  The Hokies won their February 20th meeting in Blacksburg by 10…a game where Seth Allen scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half to help the Hokies rally from 8 points down at intermission.   That game started a five game winning streak for coach Buzz Williams’ team, and occurred during the middle of a five game losing streak by FSU.  Since then the Seminoles have beaten Notre Dame and Syracuse…and are fresh off a victory over Boston College.

 

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