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The Final Stretch: Title race reset

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
Middle Tennessee could be the first team to clinch an outright title if it wins on Thursday night. (USATSI)

On Wednesday, we finally got our first conference champions, as Northeastern (CAA), Davidson (Southern) and Long Beach State (Big West) each clinched at least a share of the regular-season title. Northeastern and Davidson each have two-game leads in the loss column with only two games left, and Long Beach State is up three in the loss column with three games left.

No team has clinched an outright championship yet, but where does each league stand?

America East: Stony Brook has a 1.5-game lead on both Vermont and Boston University. The Seawolves still have three games left in the regular season, while Vermont and Boston only have two. Stony Brook's visit to Boston next Thursday could be a key game.

ACC: At 13-0, it's not surprising that Miami (Fla.) is the heavy favorite down the stretch. The Hurricanes own a three-game lead in the loss column with five games left. Duke is second.

Atlantic Sun: This one will likely come down to next week's matchup between Florida Gulf Coast and Mercer. Mercer is up by a half-game right now, but the Bears still have to visit FGCU.

Atlantic 10: This one is tough to figure out. Five teams are within 1.5 games of each other at the top of the standings. Saint Louis has a half-game lead on VCU and Butler, but the Billikens have to visit Butler on Friday.

Big East: There is a three-way tie for first place between Syracuse, Georgetown and Marquette, with Louisville only one game back. There is still plenty left in this race, with each of those teams having five games remaining.

Big Sky: Montana's blowout loss to Weber State last week opened the door a bit at the top of the standings. The Grizzlies are still in first place, but Weber is only one game back with four league games left.

Big South: UNC-Asheville's three-game losing streak has rendered this race a two-team battle between Charleston Southern and High Point. They are tied in the loss column, although High Point has a half-game lead. Charleston Southern owns the tiebreaker, beating High Point back in January.

Big Ten: Indiana's win at Michigan State was a major victory, as it puts the Hoosiers up one game on the Spartans, with Wisconsin and Michigan chasing. The Hoosiers also have the easiest remaining schedule.

Big 12: Kansas's win at Oklahoma State put the Jayhawks in a tie with Kansas State at the top of the standings. Kansas swept the Wildcats this season, meaning the Jayhawks have the edge here.

Big West: Long Beach State owns a three-game lead in the loss column over Pacific with three games left. The two face off in the season finale.

Northeastern is on verge of first title. (USATSI)

CAA: As we mentioned, Northeastern has clinched at least a share of the regular-season title. The Huskies are up two games in the loss column on Delaware and Towson with two games left in the regular season. The Blue Hens (four games remaining) can forge a tie as they split the two regular-season meetings, while Northeastern owns the tiebreaker against Towson (three games remaining).

Conference USA: Memphis hasn't lost since mid-December, but the Tigers haven't clinched the title yet. They are up two games on Southern Mississippi with four left. A win over the Golden Eagles on Saturday would clinch at least a share.

Great West: NJIT is up two games in the loss column with two regular-season games left.

Horizon: Valparaiso's loss to Detroit last weekend gave the Titans an opening in the league race. Valpo is still up one game with two left. The teams split the two regular-season meetings. An interesting note: Detroit still plays at Wichita State and Temple.

Ivy: Harvard has the edge after beating Princeton last week. There is still plenty of time left in this one, as the Crimson have six games remaining and Princeton has seven. Harvard is up 1.5 games.

MAAC: This is going to be a wide-open conference tournament, but Niagara is up one game in the standings with two left. Loyola (Md.) is chasing, sitting one game back.

MAC: Akron is rolling through the MAC at 12-0, but the Zips are only one game ahead of Ohio in the standings. The two play next Wednesday; Akron won the first meeting. Each has four MAC games remaining.

MEAC: North Carolina Central lost its first game over the weekend, meaning Norfolk State is the lone unbeaten in the MEAC. Norfolk has a one-game lead with four games left. The two main contenders don't play each other this season.

Missouri Valley: Wichita State is up one game on Creighton with two games remaining. This one could come down to the season finale, when the Shockers visit Creighton.

Mountain West: Colorado State missed a chance to forge a tie with New Mexico with its loss to UNLV on Wednesday night, but the Rams do host the Lobos this weekend. New Mexico won the first meeting. Each team still has five regular-season games left.

Northeast: Bryant's two-game losing streak has given Robert Morris and LIU Brooklyn a half-game lead in the standings. This one isn't decided yet, as RMU and LIU (and 9-5 Wagner) each have four games left, while Bryant has five.

Ohio Valley: Although Belmont has been the heavy favorite for much of conference play, the Bruins are only up one game on Eastern Kentucky. There are two games left in the OVC; Belmont has both at home, while EKU heads on the road. Belmont swept the two head-to-head meetings.

Pac-12: Lots of time left in this one. Oregon is up one game in the loss column on Arizona and UCLA, and Arizona State is within striking distance as well. The Ducks still have five league games left.

Patriot: Bucknell's road win at Lehigh this week put the Bison one game up on the Mountain Hawks with three games left. The Bison have the easier remaining schedule.

SEC: Florida has 11 league wins by at least 14 points, but the Gators are only up one game on Alabama. Each team still has five games left, but Florida does host Alabama on March 2.

Davidson is primed to wrap up the Southern. (USATSI)

Southern: Davidson only has two games left in the regular season, and the Wildcats own a two-game lead in the loss column over Elon, which has four games left on the schedule. This one could be clinched next Wednesday, when Davidson visits Elon.

Southland: This one is going to be fun. Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State are tied at 13-2, while Oral Roberts is one game back -- with three left. SFA faces Northwestern State next Saturday, which could decide the title. NSU won the first meeting.

SWAC: Another tight race at the top. Southern is 13-2; Texas Southern is 12-2; and Arkansas-Pine Bluff is 12-3. Southern and UAPB have three games left, and TSU has four. Southern does visit Texas Southern next week.

Summit: South Dakota State has won 10 of 11 in the Summit since starting 2-2, putting the 12-3 Jackrabbits ahead of 11-3 Western Illinois and 11-4 North Dakota State. SDSU only has one league game remaining, while Western Illinois has two. If it comes down to it, the Jackrabbits swept the season series.

Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee could clinch an outright title on Thursday night, when South Alabama visits. MTSU is up three games on USA with four games left; a win gives the Blue Raiders the title.

WCC: Gonzaga is running roughshod over the league, and the Bulldogs have a two-game lead on Saint Mary's with three left.

WAC: Louisiana Tech is 14-0 in the WAC, with a two-game lead in the loss column on Denver. Tech still has to go to New Mexico State and Denver, so this one isn't over with four games left in the season.

For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello

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