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College Notebook by Micah Roberts |

Lots of hopes ride on league tournaments

Teams that have just barely made the grade but will need great conference tournaments to ensure their place in the Madness: Virginia Tech (21-7), Saint Mary’s (24-5), Mississippi State (21-8) and San Diego State (20-8).

Teams that need lots of help and can help their own cause by doing well in their tournaments: Notre Dame (19-10), Minnesota (17-11), Rhode Island (20-7), Dayton (19-9), Mississippi (19-9), Seton Hall (16-11), Cincinnati (16-12) and Memphis (21-8).

Top Conferences

The Big East looks to have up to eight teams make the tournament this season which would be the most in the nation followed by seven from the ACC and Big 12. Next in line is the SEC and Big 10 with five each.

All indications from experts everywhere is that San Diego State is in from the Mountain West which gives them four teams including UNLV, New Mexico and BYU.

The Atlantic-10 conference which has been held in high regards the last few weeks with as many as five or six teams being touted as making it are being looked at now as having three or possibly four teams making it.

The Pac-10 looks to have only one team make it, especially if that team is California. Should another team like ASU or Washington win the Pac-10 tournament at the Staples Center next week, it will be interesting to see what happens because Cal does deserve to go based on their RPI strength of schedule which has them No. 3 in the nation.

Should that scenario unfold with the Pac-10, it may have an affect on Saint Mary’s or San Diego State, and quite possibly UNLV if they should struggle early in their own tournament.

We can all get a peak at Saint Mary’s this week at the Orleans Arena as they play in the WCC basketball tournament. No. 14 Gonzaga is the favorite to win, but don’t be surprised to see Portland or Loyola-Marymount come up with an upset and bust the bracket.

Saints Mary’s and Gonzaga will escape exposure in the tournament as they will have byes in the first two rounds and will only have the chance of losing two times, in the semi’s or final. I like how the conference protects their top teams, increasing their chances of making the big dance by decreasing their chances of losing.

These next three weeks of college basketball are the most fun stretches of the entire year to be in a Las Vegas sports book where every game is on TV and there is constant action throughout the day.

Next week we’ll preview some of the conference tournaments and all the contests going on around town for March Madness.

Game of the Week:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 – 5pm (PT) TV: ESPN PPV Pkg.

No. 5 Kansas State (24-4) at No. 2 Kansas (27-2): The last time these two teams met, Kansas won an overtime thriller in Manhattan 81-79. Since that loss, K-State has gone on a roll winning seven games in a row. Kansas had kept winning from that point until being beat soundly at Oklahoma State. Look for a close game early, but for Kansas to take control late in the game winning comfortably.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts

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