Blog Entry

Today's Specials: Conference tourneys heat up

Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:50 am
Florida State and Virginia battle in what should be one of the defensive matchups of the season. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Thursday is a monster night for conference tournament action, with some of the most intriguing games taking place in the Big South. There’s also some bubble implications on the line.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 22 Florida State at No. 24 Virginia (7 p.m., ESPN2). Neither team is peaking right now, but this should be a tremendous defensive battle. Florida State has dropped two in a row to fall out of the ACC title race, while Virginia has lost four of its last seven. The Cavaliers should win this one on Thursday night just to feel safe about its NCAA tournament hopes as well. Florida State relies heavily on blocked shots and controlling the paint, while Virginia contests shots and doesn’t allow offensive rebounds.

Second-best game: No. 13 Michigan at Illinois (7 p.m., ESPN). Illinois was left for dead after its six-game losing streak, but the Fighting Illini finally got back on the right track with a win over Iowa. With win on Thursday night and then again on Sunday night at Wisconsin, and Illinois could get back in the mix. With that said, Illinois will have trouble stopping Michigan’s 3-point shooting and also need to knock down shots. Can the Wolverines win on the road?

Another one to watch: Colorado at Oregon (10:30 p.m., FSN affiliates). This is essentially an at-large elimination game if either team has a legitimate shot at receiving a bid. Moreover, both teams are still in the mix for the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. Colorado won the first meeting by one point on its homecourt, but Oregon is ahead in the at-large pecking order right now.

Guaranteed win: The only way No. 1 Kentucky really loses to Georgia on Thursday night (9 p.m., ESPN) is if it looks ahead to Florida on Sunday and completely forgets it’s actually playing a game. Georgia has been OK lately, beating Mississippi State and Florida in its past five games, but the Wildcats aren’t falling on Senior Night against the Bulldogs.

Potential upset: I’ll start this section with this: I don’t think this upset will actually happen. However, the top seed in the Big South, UNC-Asheville, will play No. 4 seed Charleston Southern (8 p.m., ESPNU) in a rematch of one of UNCA’s two conference losses this season. Asheville had trouble keeping Southern off the glass in the first meeting, and Kelvin Martin has been dominant on the inside lately. This will be close.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Plenty of conference tournament action on Thursday night. The Atlantic Sun, Big South, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley, America East and West Coast are all in play. Some of the more interesting games include VMI vs. Winthrop (6 p.m., ESPNU), Central Connecticut State vs. Wagner (7 p.m.), and SEMO vs. Tennessee Tech (7 p.m.).
  2. Mississippi Valley State goes for an 18-0 SWAC campaign against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8:30 p.m.).
  3. Some regular-season championship notes: Washington can clinch a share of the Pac-12 if it beats USC (10:30 p.m.), while Nevada gets the outright WAC title with a win over New Mexico State (11 p.m., ESPN2).
More College Basketball coverage
Category: NCAAB

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:52 pm

Today's Specials: Conference tourneys heat up

I think everyone looks at these RPI numbers as a judge of how good a team is, which can't be further from reality.  The fact is, there are sub 100 rpi teams that are better than a lot of top 100 teams.  To me, teams just need to perform and theat means more than you lose in conference and win more than you lose toward the end of the season.  A lot of teams get better throughout the year due to a number of factors and some get worse.  There are some very good teams with mediocre numbers and some mediocre teams with nice looking numbers.  We need to look at more than just numbers when comparing teams in my opinion.  I am a Pac 12 guy and Washington, Cal, AZ, Oregon, Stanford, Colorado, Oregon St and Wash St are better than their rpi and sos suggests.  Just as Cincy is better than their numbers reflect.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or