Lopresti on conference tournaments
by Mike Lopresti, USA TODAY Sports
This college basketball season just keeps getting more and more like a raft ride down the Colorado River. By Monday, six No. 1 seeds had lost in their conference tournaments, and the big-guy leagues hadn’t even started yet.
But now they will. Here’s who could keep the intrigue-o-meter ticking the rest of the week.
The Wildcats upset Florida and all is well in Big Blue Nation. Or at least better. But Kentucky hasn’t beaten a team away from Rupp Arena in five weeks, and what happens if the Wildcats lay a dinosaur-sized egg against Arkansas or Vanderbilt in their SEC tournament opener? They don’t want to give the NCAA selection committee too much to think about.
The Big Ten
After a brutal winter, the conference teams have to be absolutely, positively tired of seeing each other. But how about one more dose of Indiana vs. Michigan, after Sunday’s contest teetered on the rim? Hoosier coach Tom Crean apologized Monday for turning the post-game handshake with Wolverines assistant Jeff Meyer into the Jerry Springer Show, but it would make a juicy subplot should they meet in the Saturday semifinals.
Ohio State is surging, while Minnesota will be a human ink blot test for the selection committee. (Will they see the win against Indiana or the loss at Nebraska?) What does it say about the Big Ten this season that Michigan could be ranked No. 1 at one point, beat three top 10 opponents and still be seeded fourth in this conference tournament?
The Big East
The end of the empire. Madison Square Garden is the perfect location for this conference tournament, as it sits atop a train station, and so many faces in the league are packed and ready to go their separate ways. But before that, Syracuse will try to fix what’s ailing it, Villanova will try to get off the bubble and Louisville and Georgetown still have No. 1 seed arguments to push. However this tournament ends, Taps should then be played.