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Thursday, March 10, 2011

What to watch Thursday

You know how Saturday at a golf tournament is moving day? Well Thursday of championship week should be called that too. There’s going to be a ton of movement on the bubble today, and a bit more on Friday. Saturday and Sunday just tend to be for arguing.

Today, obviously the most important game for Georgia is its own. If it doesn’t beat Auburn it will plummet down and maybe all the way off the at-large list. But with a win it would at least hold steady – and possibly improve its position if things fall right elsewhere.

But I continue to resist the notion that a Friday matchup with Alabama would set up as an elimination game. So does analyst Jerry Palm.

“Not a play in game for Georgia-Alabama,” Palm, the and bracket analyst, said on Wednesday night. “Bama out for sure if they lose. Georgia might still make it if they lose. Bama not in by winning.”

But let’s focus on Thursday, or moving day as I will unsuccessfully try to coin it. Here are the other games to watch, with the bubble teams listed first:

12:30 p.m.: Oklahoma State vs. Kansas: The Cowboys eliminated Nebraska on Wednesday, but a loss to the Jayhawks may eliminate them too.

1 p.m.: UAB vs. East Carolina: Nobody from Conference USA is assured an at-large spot, so Georgia would prefer UAB, which it beat in December, get the nod. But the Bulldogs don't get to choose.

2 p.m.: Boston College vs. Wake Forest: BC is in very similar position to Georgia. It has nothing to gain in this ACC first-round game, but everything to lose.

3 p.m.: Colorado vs. Kansas State: Forget that Georgia beat Colorado. The NCAA isn't going to put the Bulldogs in ahead of the Buffaloes just because of head-to-head. Georgia needs Colorado to lose this game.

3 p.m.: Southern California vs. California: USC (RPI rank of 71) is starting to inch into the discussion. It would inch out with a loss here.

4 p.m.: Memphis vs. Southern Miss: Memphis is the next Conference USA at-large candidate to play today.

4:55 p.m.: Michigan State vs. Iowa: Wait, the Spartans (16-13, RPI of 47) are still alive? Yup, they are.

5:30 p.m.: Colorado State vs. New Mexico: CSU (RPI of 43) needs a few wins in the Mountain West tournament, starting here.

7:30 p.m.: Tennessee vs. Arkansas: A lot of people will tell you the Vols aren’t in any danger of missing out. I’m not so sure, if they don’t open play in Atlanta with a win.

7:30 p.m.: Penn State vs. Indiana: The fact the Nittany Lions (16-13, RPI of 56) are still in contention speaks for how weak the bubble is this year.

7:30 p.m.: UTEP vs. Marshall: An elimination game in the Conference USA tournament.

9 p.m.: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech: Root for the arch-rival Yellow Jackets? It might be wise, considering the Hokies are a direct threat for a bid.

11:30 p.m.: Washington vs. Washington State: They’re both bubble teams, so .. root for a tie.


Steve said...

Thanks as always for the great basketball coverage.

Brian said...

What Steve said