Editor’s Note: Believe it or not, Selection Sunday is just two days away!!! The final stretch of Championship Week concludes today and tomorrow, so here’s a handful of games to watch out for this weekend.
No. 9 Miami vs. North Carolina State – 1pm (ESPN)
Maryland vs. North Carolina – 3pm (ESPN)
Sunday- 1pm (ESPN)
This N.C. State team has been playing exceptionally as of late. They’ve won eight of its last 10 and it teams like the Wolfpack are finally playing to their potential . So much talent on that squad, it’ll be fun to see if they can upend the Hurricanes. Either way, both teams are heading to the NCAAs. The real question mark is whether or not Maryland can keep the magic rolling. The Terps sit squarely on the bubble and could really use a win over UNC to go dancing.
ATLANTIC 10 SEMIFINALS
Butler vs. No. 16 St. Louis – 1:30 (CBS Sports Network)
UMass vs. No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth – 4 pm (CBS Sports Network)
ATLANTIC 10 CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday – 1 pm (CBS)
For starters, the Butler/St. Louis game should be a thriller. Both these teams are heading to the NCAAs, so here’s your chance to get a sneak peak of two teams who could make a sleeper run to the Sweet 16. However, the Dumpster has its eyes focused on UMass. Can the Minutemen upset VCU en route to the A-10 title game? VCU is a lock to go to the Big Dance, but UMass is literally playing for its season. A loss to the Rams will surely spell NIT.
BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 19 Syracuse vs. No. 4 Louisville – 8:30 pm (ESPN)
This is it for the Big East as we know it. For over 30 years, this was the cream of the crop when it came to college basketball. It’s sad to see it fade away. I’ll go on record as saying that the “New Big East” will be fucking awesome, especially since those 10 teams will be focusing all of its efforts on basketball, not football. But there is a sense of nostalgia tied into the current Big East and all of its great rivalries and history. This is must-see TV, nevermind the fact that it’s a sick matchup. The Dumpster likes the Orange to win this thing AND make a run to the Final Four. Mark it down.
BIG TEN SEMIFINALS
No. 22 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Indiana – 1:40 pm (CBS)
No. 8 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Ohio State – 4 pm (CBS)
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday – 2:30 (CBS)
All of these teams are locked into the NCAA Tournament, so these squads are basically playing for bragging rights and positioning in the Big Dance. That being said, the semifinals alone will certainly be worth the watch, especially that Michigan State/Ohio State matchup. And watch out for the pesky Badgers of Wisconsin. I’m sure Bo Ryan and company would love to end Indiana’s weekend a little early.
BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 11 Kansas State vs. No. 7 Kansas – 6 pm (ESPN)
In-state rivals. Top 15 teams. Conference tournament championship. Those are keywords you want to look for when trying to find the best basketball on television. Well, this game features all of that. Keep an eye on the Jayhawks, after that three-game losing streak a few weeks ago, this group seems hungrier than ever.
Ohio vs. Akron – 6:30 pm (ESPN2)
I had to throw in some solid mid-major basketball for good measure. Akron has been one of the most efficient, consistent teams in the nation this year, but their best player was just arrested on major drug charges and is nowhere to be found for the Zips with their NCAA Tournament hopes on the line. Dude, if you’re gonna get five pounds of weed mailed to your apartment, wait until after the season.
MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP
UNLV vs. No. 15 New Mexico – 6 pm (CBS)
Led by potential Mountain West Player of the Year Kendall Williams, New Mexico has lost just twice since the calendar turned to 2013. One of those two losses came at the hands of UNLV, who has won seven of its last eight and is really hitting its stride. Both teams are going dancing as it is, but this game should be a lot of fun to watch regardless.
PAC 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
Oregon vs. No. 21 UCLA – 11 pm (ESPN)
Late-night hoops action in Las Vegas!!! On the one hand, you have Oregon, who continues to overachieve and is playing way better than anyone ever would have expected this season. Then you have mighty UCLA, who is FINALLY playing up to its potential after spending a couple of years in the doldrums of their conference. This might be the most talented roster in college basketball, it was just a matter of time before Ben Howland’s squad put it together. The Bruins might also be a bit too young to make a run in the NCAAs, but they are still an exciting team to watch.
Alabama vs. No. 13 Florida – 1 pm (ABC)
Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss – 3 pm (ABC)
Sunday – 1 pm (ABC)
This is really the one conference tournament remaining that has serious NCAA Tournament implications. Florida is going dancing no matter what, but Ole Miss and Alabama are definitely on the bubble. Both teams need to win the whole thing to assure that they’ll avoid the NIT, but could sneak in if they at least advance to the title game on Sunday. But if Vanderbilt takes this whole thing, that would certainly be the biggest surprise of all the conference tournament champions. The Commodores have just been awful this year. To make a long story short, you better believe every bubble team in the country is praying that the Gators win the SEC and not anyone else.