So we’re here with 0 conference title games. However, conference tournament week is in full swing as we have a million games today and all the major tournaments really get going. So with that in mind I’ll give you my thoughts on the major tournaments an some picks, because, well, why not? Let’s have a day of sitting an watching hoops for 13 hours
Virginia -9/over 125.5
Iowa State -1.5
Duke/UNC over 163
Thoughts: Alright, thank you for doing your job UNC/Duke. I mean this is what we all wanted. We finally get to see Zion and Duke vs UNC. Sure, Marques Bolden isn’t playing, but we all wanted to see Zion go up against UNC. I think you’re going to see him and Duke try to make a statement today. Remember, a win locks up a No. 1 seed for them. They know that. Zion is going to attempt to make up for missing two games – especially since he could have returned in the 2nd game but was held out. Similar to what I said before the shoe broke, there’s a mismatch here. Luke Maye can’t really guard Zion and if UNC goes small, DeLaurier could struggle guarding Maye. I love the over in this one. As for the other game? Kyle Guy, man. The dude just gets buckets and pisses other teams off. Remember, Virginia kicked Florida State’s ass earlier this year until FSU started pressing when the scrubs were in.
What’s at Stake: Virginia (nothing/locked up 1 seed), FSU (top-3 seed), UNC/Duke (1 seed)
Thoughts: I talked about this before. But, Memphis getting a home court advantage by, well, playing at home makes no sense and is huge. Throw in Jeremiah Martin being the best scorer in the league and a top-5 player and you have an upset brewing. We finally get the top teams in play today. Wichita State has low key been playing great lately and Temple needs that win to stay on the bubble. That’s the game to watch along with Memphis/UCF.
What’s at Stake: Houston (top-3 seed), Temple (bubble team), Cincinnati (stay off 8/9 line), UCF (stay on 8/9 line)
Thoughts: Not a lot of thoughts here. It’s simple. Everyone is playing for the NCAA Tournament except VCU. That’s the only team that has an at-large bid opportunity. I’ll say this though. The A-10 has been entertaining so far. A bunch of close games. Davidson’s offense will always be beautiful to watch. Dayton/St. Louis should be a bit of a rock fight depending on tempo.
What’s at Stake: Literally everyone making the NCAA Tournament except VCU
Big 10 Tournament
Thoughts: Look at Tim Miles, man. The dude has no idea if he’ll be coaching next year and he comes from behind to beat Rutgers then beat the shit out of Maryland with a short bench. Now he gets to go up against Ethan Happ. This actually isn’t the worst matchup for him because Wisconsin will slow the game down and with it being game 3 in 3 days that slower tempo can help. I’m probably the most interested in that last game between Iowa/Michigan. Michigan sort of needs a good showing offensively. They haven’t looked right recently and they’ll have a chance against an Iowa team that’s average defensively. I want to see Simpson vs Bohannon and Cook vs those Michigan wings.
What’s at Stake: Ohio State (bubble team), Michigan State (No. 1 seed), Purdue/Michigan (top-2 seed), Minnesota (bubble team), Wisconsin (top-4 seed)
Big East Tournament
Thoughts: After expecting nothing but craziness in the Big East Tournament we got the exact opposite. So I guess that’s the unexpected here? We do have some intriguing matchups though. Marquette/Seton Hall gives us Howard vs Powell, just two walking buckets. I am curious to see how much Seton Hall tries to beat up Howard and make the game physical. In that first game, Xavier is one of the hotter teams in the conference and we saw them attack Creighton on the interior. Expect the same against Nova. Xavier likes to run the two big lineup to get Haskins/Jones touches inside. For Nova it will be can Cremo or Samuels or Gillespie consistently hit outside shots. If not, you can really sag and take away Booth/Paschall.
What’s at Stake: Xavier (Bubble team), Marquette/Villanova (top-4 seed), Seton Hall (get to 8/9 seed line)
Big 12 Tournament
Thougths: Bobby fucking Huggins! My man tapes himself popping out of a casket in 2000 and West Virginia beats Texas Tech. The real thing here though is Iowa State. A team I just can’t quit. They have all the pieces to be a Final Four team. They have the talent. The roster makeup is perfect. I just don’t think they actually enjoy playing with each other. I mean there were rumors of a fight at practice. We see them squabbling during the game. But, I’m all in on them. They get a Kansas State team without Dean Wade to get to the Big 12 Finals. It would be very Iowa State to win this. Almost as much as Kansas just winning this, because it’s Kansas. They get the draw of West Virginia in the semis.
What’s at Stake: Kansas/Iowa State/Kansas State (all top-4 seeds)
Thoughts: Well for as shitty as the Pac-12 is at least we have the 4 best teams advancing to the semifinals. It’s important for the Pac-12 for Washington to make the finals. That should guarantee them an at-large. Then you hope Arizona State gets there and you can send two teams in. That’s the ideal scenario for the Pac-12 most likely. That said, Washington is going to be challenged by a Colorado team playing really well right now. They have 2 NBA type guys in Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright. If they can attack that zone and hit shots, they got a real good chance.
What’s at Stake: Washington/Arizona State (bubble team)
Thoughts: Florida and Alabama getting wins means the SEC has a legit chance to get 8 or 9 teams in the NCAA Tournament. Huge advancement from where this conference was just a few years ago. Now, the story is how LSU ends up looking without Will Wade. They had the luck of playing at home with a title on the line when the story broke originally. Now they head to a conference tournament against a team on the bubble. I’m curious to see how LSU looks with Wade and LSU still fighting. Will Javonte Smart play? I still really like Auburn here. Then in the bottom of the brakcet, Kentucky gets a chance for revenge against Alabama. In that first game Herro/Washington went 8-22 and Mack went 6-for-8 from three for Bama. We’ll see if that happens again. I do think Alabama is a weird matchup for Kentucky. They slow it down. They have athletic bigs that can run. They can bother Kentucky. The other major storyline? What Tennessee defense shows up. Out of the top teams in the country, they are the worst defensive team by a large margin. They are ranked 29th in the country – everyone else is top-10. The last 3 games they’ve looked the part like they did last year though.
What’s at Stake: Florida/Alabama (bubble teams), Mississippi State (8/9 seed), Kentucky/Tennessee (No. 1 seeds), LSU (No. 2 seed)