A look at Saturday for bubble teams looking for NCAA Tournament deals:
GAME OF THE DAY
No. 7 Duke takes on Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament title game. It’s a chance for retired Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski to win this event for a record 16th time, but it’s also a huge game for the Hokies, who may need the automatic bid to enter the tournament. NCAA.
Virginia Tech, seeded seventh in this tournament, is trying to become the second team to win it with four wins in four days. The Hokies (22-12) beat No. 25 North Carolina in the semifinals and won 12 of their last 14 games to put themselves in the mainstream conversation. A loss to Duke wouldn’t have a particularly negative effect on them. The question is whether they need this latest win to get in.
Virginia Tech was just 1-6 in Quadrant 1 games before beating the Tar Heels. Krzyzewski said the problem the ACC has had is that its non-conference performance has hurt teams’ league standings, and as a result, teams’ wins against each other since then don’t have as much value.
“Usually the ACC takes advantage of that because we usually have great (non-conference) so we can get nine, 10 teams in. Because wins against four or five different teams produce good numbers,” said the Duke trainer. “You’ve got to do well in the unconference, and we didn’t do well in the unconference and we’re paying the price. I just wish there was a little different way of looking at it all. .
TEAMS TO WATCH
Texas A&M: The bubble should take hold against Virginia Tech on Saturday, and against Texas A&M as well. The Aggies (22-11) have won seven of eight after defeating No. 4 Auburn in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament on Friday. Texas A&M would further bolster its NCAA tournament record with a win over No. 15 Arkansas in the semifinals.
Indiana: The Hoosiers’ bubble looked set to burst when they fell far behind Michigan on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament, but they rallied to win that game and then knocked out No. 16 Illinois in the quarterfinals final on Friday. Indiana (20-12) was a No. 12 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Friday morning in the Bracket Matrix composite projection, and the win over the Illini should make the Hoosiers feel a bit safer.
Davidson: The bubble teams should shoot for the Wildcats (26-5) to win the Atlantic 10 tournament, just to deny would-be bid robbers Richmond, Saint Louis and Dayton. Davidson faces St. Louis in the semifinals on Saturday.
RISE AND FALL
We’ve certainly seen that before at Michigan State (22-11) – a strong start to the season, followed by long stretches of angst, followed by a playoff resurgence. Tom Izzo’s side have reached the semifinals of their conference tournament and face No. 9 Purdue. … North Texas was ranked 39th in the NET rankings heading into Friday’s loss in the Conference USA tournament. The Mean Greens (24-6) can hope for a general offer, but they have put themselves in a difficult position. … SMU (23-7) continues to improve its profile. The Mustangs beat Tulsa on Friday and can add another big win if they beat Memphis (20-9) in the AAC Tournament semifinals.
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