March 16, 2013
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This is a huge weekend in college basketball as conference tournaments are wrapping up all across the nation and teams look to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament. Saturday and Sunday will be the semi-finals and finals for all the big conferences and with many of the teams that will be involved in these games likely already in, motivation becomes a huge factor in these games. So keep that in mind if you some teams that are projected to be on the bubble in these games. They will leave it all on the floor in these contests because one more quality win could easily be the difference between going dancing and being left on the sidelines.
Big 10 and ACC tournaments
There haven’t been too many surprises in either of these tournaments yet and some of the highest ranked teams in the country should take these tournaments down.
Indiana is the favorite in the Big 10 and with revenge on their minds against Wisconsin in the semi-finals, I like Indiana’s chances to make it to the finals and prevail. They have huge advantages over all the other remaining teams and the motivation is there because if they win this tournament the #1 overall seed will likely be theirs.
Over in the ACC it’s a bit more wide open at this point because if everything holds to form we could have another Duke/UNC game in the semi’s with the winner taking on the winner of Miami/NC State. If these are the four teams that go through, the final on Sunday will be a spectacular rivalry game that I think you’ve got to lean on taking the dog in.
Big East Tournament
This tournament is Louisville’s to lose as their defense is just relentless and it forces opponents to leave their comfort zone within minutes of the tip-off. The Cardinals could vault up to a #1 seed with a tournament win here and although they have a tough game tonight against Notre Dame, I envision Louisville moving on rather easily and then taking down the winner of the Syracuse/Georgetown game. The Orange and Hoyas have no love lost and with this being the 3rd meeting this year between these two, I believe the winner will just come out too exhausted to put up with Louisville’s ball pressure on Saturday’s final.
Other tournaments to keep an eye on:
The Big 12 tournament will have a great final no matter who makes it in as there are storylines everywhere with the final four. All four teams (Kansas, K-State, Ok State and Iowa St) are likely already in the NCAA tournament so it becomes a matter of settling old rivalries with who wants to go on and win this thing. Iowa State is the lone question mark in terms of getting into the dance but a win over Kansas in the semis would ensure that they’d be there. Look for their best effort in that one. On the other side though, a Kansas/K-State game would be a great spot to take the points with K-State as they are 0-2 SU vs. the Jayhawks this season and would hate themselves if they lost three in a row.