Aggro Swag Previews All Your Conference Tournaments. All of ’em

msg

Goodbye, old friend.

This is a great week. It’s not blow your mind, over the top, do a cannonball off the high dive awesome like next week, but it’s pretty close. We’ve got small conference finals that offer that lone magical ticket to the Big Dance, we’ve got major conference bubble teams trying to squeeze out just one last win before Selection Sunday, and we’ve actually got entire tournaments that are fading into the sunset, hoping for one more moment of brilliance.

We here at Aggro Swag know how tough it may be to keep track of all the goings on this week, so we’ve made this handy guide for all your conference tournament needs.

Mountain West – Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas, NV – By Jeezy Sanchez

nm

Overview:

The Mountain West is the best conference you haven’t watched a single game of this season.  New Mexico had a reasonable case to be a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament until a loss to Air Force on the final weekend.  The Mountain West is so good, Air Force is now a formidable opponent.  Sudden basketball powerhouse Colorado State is a 2 seed.  Seriously, you should have been paying attention.  I think all the games were on NBC Sports Network at 2 a.m. this season. What’s your excuse?

Bubblers:

As we already mentioned, New Mexico and Colorado State, along with UNLV and San Diego State are locks to get to the Big Dance.  Boise State (yes, they play other sports besides football) is probably a first-round win over SDSU away from punching their ticket.  A win over the Aztecs and then the Lobos would erase any doubt.  Even with just one win, the Broncos still need to hope that a team like DeVry University doesn’t steal an automatic bid in the The Big Northeast Athletic 9 Conference tournament.  Hell, Air Force is in the conversation if they beat UNLV and CSU.

Potential Games to Watch:

The full slate of games kicks off Wednesday, with Air Force-UNLV and Boise State-SDSU being the marquee matchups.  Honestly, one can’t go wrong with any combination in the semifinals on Thursday.  If any of the top four seeds face each other, it’s going to be a game you want to keep an eye on.

Predicition:

Any of the top 4 teams have a legitimate shot to win the whole thing.  New Mexico has the easiest road, and they should be on a mission to impress the committee and get a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Take everything I just said with a grain of salt.  The only MWC team I watched played on a boat.

The Atlantic 10 – Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY – By Haggleman Mondays

sl

Overview:

The usual suspects VCU and Butler got most of the love early on this season, but it’s the Billikens of St. Louis who come into the Tournament as the 1-seed. This is a balanced team with four players averaging over 10 points a game and they enter the Tournament winners of 12 of their last 13. I really miss Rick Majerus though.

Bubblers:

St. Louis is a lock. VCU, Butler, and Temple appear to be safe, though each would be wise to win their first games so as not to be in sweat mode Sunday afternoon. The wildcards here are La Salle, and to a lesser extent, UMass and Xavier. La Salle likely will get an opportunity for a resume booster vs. Butler on Friday, assuming the Bulldogs get passed lowly Dayton. UMass and Xavier, well, these dudes gotta lot of work to do. Of the two, Xavier has the more premier wins, but they also lost to Wofford (more like WOOF-ord), Dayton, Vanderbilt, and Pacific? Xavier loses to oceans.

Potential Games to Watch:

Thursday is a big day for bubble purposes here. We could potentially be looking at Butler-La Salle, VCU-Xavier, and UMass-Temple. That’s three teams in desperate need of a win, and three looking to solidify their Tournament stock and bump their seed. Further on, we could have St. Louis-Butler, and a delightful final of St. Louis-VCU, with Aggro favorite Shaka and the Rams looking to exact revenge for a 14 point loss in St. Louis three weeks ago.

Prediction:

Look, I gotta tell you, I haven’t watched nearly enough A-10 basketball. I’m going with St. Louis because, seriously, I really miss Rick Majerus.

Pac-12 – MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV – By Jeezy Sanchez

PAC-12 (edit 2)_1

Overview:

The Pac-12 is a microcosm for college basketball this season.  Up is down.  Down is up.  Oregon began the season 18-2 and isn’t even a lock for the tournament.  UCLA and its highly regarded freshmen were picked to be great, sucked, were good again, then lost to the worst team in the league. If there is one certainty about the Pac-12 Tournament, it’s that nobody knows who the hell is going to win this thing.  Despite the Mountain West tourney being in Vegas, the Pac-12, who has all of California to choose from, picks Vegas to host too. That is so Pac-12.

Bubblers:

Bubble teams live in the Pac-12.  Despite being a 4 seed in its own tournament, Arizona is in the NCAAs alongside UCLA.  After that, all bets are off.  Colorado is on the right side of the bubble, but a humiliating loss to Oregon State on Saturday did them no favors.  Now, they have to play the Beavers again, and a second loss would be devastating.  Cal is another team that looks to be safe, but losing to Utah or USC would stain an already average resume.  Oregon finally got its best player, Dominic Artis, back for the final stretch, but haven’t looked good at all since the start of February.  Arizona State lost to DePaul so they would be out no matter their record.

Potential Games to Watch:

The best game of the tournament is going to happen in the semifinals on Friday, provided that UCLA and Shabazz Muhammad don’t derp in the quarters.  There, they should meet Arizona, in what I hope will be 2 hours of Bill Walton trolling Ben Howland’s squad.

Prediction:

I’m taking Arizona to win it all purely because I never know what UCLA team is going to show up.  The Cats are no prize either, but Xavier transfer and New Yorker (!) Mark Lyons is the best player in the field.  Watch Washington State win this whole thing and then I’m going to burn Aggro Swag to the ground.  Go home Pac-12, you’re drunk.

Big 12 – Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO – By Haggleman Mondays

big12

Overview:

Kansas. How? How did you lose to TCU? How could you do that and still win this conference? What is wrong with these other teams? For nine years now, Big 12 teams have been trying to climb Mount Big 12 (appropriately named by the Big 12), and Kansas has been playfully flicking them back down the slope as if they’re some kind of bug they enjoy torturing. It has to be degrading at some point for these other teams. Lost to TCU.

Bubblers:

Obviously, Kansas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State are getting in. But then, oh no, what have you done Oklahoma? You lost to TCU too. Goodness me, clean yourselves up. After that debacle, the Sooners have a quarterfinal matchup against Iowa State that’s essentially a play-in game for two teams that have almost the exact same resume. Baylor helped themselves with a big win over Kansas in the regular season finale, but there are no golden tickets to the Big Dance in the regular season, and the Bears are going to have to do some serious work to get a look from the Committee.

Potential Games to Watch:

The aforementioned Iowa State-Oklahoma game takes place Thursday morning. Should Iowa State sneak through there it would set up a rematch of a wild one from earlier this season, when the Cyclones took a gutting loss to Kansas 108-96 in OT at the Phog. Other than that, not a lot of excitement in this one. Besides MacGruber and Kansas State, there’s not much here to challenge the Jayhawks.

Prediction:

This conference is actually pretty bad. Kansas should walk to the championship and a 1 seed in the NCAAs, which means you should expect hysteria with Texas winning the whole damn thing because I’m terrible at this.

SEC – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN – By Jeezy Sanchez

sec

Overview:

[barfs] The SEC is stupid.  Missouri is far and away the 2nd best team, but earns a 6-seed in the tournament.  On the bright side, it’s still the SEC and everyone sucks. Florida is good, but not great.  Their best wins were in November.  The rest of the field is garbage.  I’d rather watch the SEC’s football teams play in a basketball tournament.  Roll Tide.

Bubblers:

The Gators and Tigers are in.  That’s it and that’s all.  Kentucky got embarrassed against Georgia, SportsCenter devotes an entire day to how much they suck, then they go out and beat Florida.  Calipari’s crew is in with a win. Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas all need to win at least two games to be in the conversation.  The SEC is poop.

Potential Games to Watch:

If given the choice of watching The Incredible Burt Wonderstone or take in any of the SEC Tournament, I’m picking a movie about magicians every time.

Predicition:

Florida will play Missouri in the finals.  Florida will win.  We will never speak of this again.

The ACC – Greensboro Coliseum – Greensboro, NC – By Haggleman Mondays

acc

Overview:

Though Miami faltered down the stretch (losing at Duke and at home to Georgia Tech) they won this conference by one game over the Blue Devils. Ryan Kelly’s schnoz took up first, second, and third team all conference. After those two, we’ve got some kind of a mess here, as the ACC continues to be the biggest underachieving conference in the land. Imagine being a Virginia Tech fan? That’s gotta be awful.

Bubblers:

Miami, Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State are in, despite the Wolfpack essentially pulling a Dwayne from Full House with a “whatever” regular season. That leaves Virginia and Maryland, who just had the world’s most televised game of teeter-totter. “No you take it”, said Virginia, handing Maryland a 13 point halftime lead. But then Maryland was like “No, please, we insist”, and allowed Virginia to come back and take it to overtime, where the Cavaliers would win 61-58. So now we’ve got Virginia needing a win over N.C. State in the quarters and Maryland basically needing to win the whole damn thing because man alive you guys suck.

Potential Games to Watch:

For the reasons above, any game Maryland plays is worth watching, especially if they end up getting by Wake Forest on Thursday setting up a matchup with Duke in the quarterfinals. With UNC and Duke in the bottom half, we could have Vitale call the Tobacco Road Rivalry Part 3: Shoot Yourself in the Face. Besides that, everyone wants to see a finale of Duke-Miami, and I’d be surprised should that not happen. After all, Miami is looking at either Boston College or Georgia Tech on Friday and N.C. State (whatever) or Virginia on Saturday. Yeah, they goin’ to the ship.

Prediction:

Sure, Duke hasn’t lost with Ryan Kelly on the floor, but they are still losers BECAUSE Ryan Kelly is on the floor. Know what I mean? I’ll pick Miami because I like to party in the city where the heat is on all night on the beach ‘til the break of dawn. I’M GOING WITH MIAMI.

Big East – Madison Square Garden – New York City – By Jeezy Sanchez

bigeast

Overview:

*Editor’s note: Please have the following video playing while you read the Big East Tournament Preview.

Well, it’s finally here.  The last Big East Tournament before half the league abandons ship and the Catholics get their grubby little hands on it (I’m Catholic, so we’re cool). Don’t worry, Tulane will be here next year, so there’s that.  What can we expect at the last GOOD Big East Tournament?  You’ll notice UConn is missing from the party.  Their invite got lost in the mail.  The Big East is rather top heavy this year, with both Georgetown and Louisville on the hunt for a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Marquette, Pitt and Notre Dame are playing for seed this week and Syracuse is playing a different sport, probably.  Most importantly, I’ll be there in person.  You can buy me a $10 beer if you’d like.

Bubblers:

Villanova is going to be hyped up as a THE bubble team this year, but the Wildcats should be safely in with wins against Syracuse, Louisville and Georgetown.  Nova did lose to Columbia (shout out Jessie Spano), but the bubble is so weak this year, they should be in even with a loss in the opening round to St. John’s.  Cincinnati is in for now, but a loss to Providence won’t look good to the committee.  The Bearcats don’t have a stellar resume but they don’t have any terrible losses either.  The Providence Friars are an intriguing team to pay attention to this week.  At 17-13 (9-9), the Friars are a prototypical NIT squad.  However, they’ve won 7 of their last 9 and a Cincy win followed by an upset of the #1 seeded Hoyas would plant them squarely on the bubble.  For now, their chances are as spotty as Ed Cooley’s hair.

Potential Games to Watch:

There’s only one game on Wednesday I can recommend and that’s Providence-Cincinnati.  Plus, you can watch that on your lunch break.  Thursday is the day you need to call in sick.  All four games are worth your time.  Georgetown vs. Cincinnati/Providence has upset alert written all over it.  Syracuse-Pittsburgh will be a brawl, quite literally, and Paul Harris wants this one more than anybody #ForPaul.  Villanova could very well take out Louisville for the 2nd time this season, and Marquette-Notre Dame is a toss-up.  If the bracket goes chalk to the finals, Louisville vs. Georgetown is my “Non-B1G Game of the Week.”

Predicition:

Louisville will close out the final Big East Tournament as back-to-back champions.  Rick Pitino just gets it done this time of year, and his team is even better this season.  After this, it’s off to the ACC, America 12 (?) and Big East (??) conferences.  Enjoy it while you can this week.  We’ll always have McNamara’s improbable run, Kemba’s five-day ass kicking, and the 6 Overtime Game.  Never forget.

If you don’t get chills watching this you’re on fire or something.

The B1G – United Center – Chicago, IL – By Haggleman Mondays

big-ten-logo-pentagram

Overview:

God bless you, B1G. Seriously, I know we’ve been rough on your crew in the past, and most of it was warranted, but you really brought the ruckus this year. Games like Indiana-Michigan, Indiana-Michigan State, Illinois-Indiana, and Michigan-Michigan State were among the most entertaining of the year. I expect this tournament to be nothing less than your fantastic regular season.

Indiana gets the 1-seed after they somehow stole a win in Ann Arbor on Sunday. The loss dropped the Wolverines all the way to the 5-seed, sooooo that’s the best 5-seed ever. Michigan State, Ohio State, and maybe even Wisconsin will be in the running here.

Bubblers:

Sometimes the bubble Gods slip a $20 in your pocket just because they’re cool like that. That’s what they’ve done this year by pitting Minnesota vs. Illinois in the 8/9 game at noon on Thursday. Minnesota fell face first into the mud to close the season (loss at Nebraska, loss at Purdue), but they hold the nations number two strength of schedule and beat Indiana, Michigan State, and Wisconsin this season, to go along with a few other top 50 wins. Illinois has wins over two 1-seeds in the NCAA Tournament (Gonzaga, Indiana), but an 8-10 record, even in the B1G, is underwhelming. Both should probably make it safely in, but the Committee stinks so you probably want to win this one, you guys. Don’t count out Iowa either. The Hawkeyes finished ahead of both Illinois and Minnesota in the standings but don’t have the wins of either of those two. They’ll need to get by Northwestern to set up a matchup with Tom Izzo’s Spartans to have any shot.

Potential Games to Watch: 

Just watch all of them.

I mean, look at this bracket. On Friday, you could have Indiana vs. the winner of Minnesota/Illinois, Wisconsin-Michigan, Ohio State-Purdue, and Michigan State-Iowa. THOSE ARE JUST QUARTERFINALS. The Big Ten Tournament may end up more memorable than the NCAA Tournament. I can’t thank them enough for this season.

Prediction:

I think Indiana is the best team in the country, but they could lose in the quarterfinals. Michigan has terrific guards but they’re a black hole inside. Derrick Nix is my favorite thing in college basketball. Watching him gives you a glimpse of what it’d be like if that Buffalo Wild Wings slow motion button really existed.

If I had to pick, I’ll cop-out with Indiana because I don’t think they’ll lose another game this season. But if you’re only going to watch one conference tournament, watch this one and thank us later.

Everybody go enjoy the tournaments and check back here daily for updates.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s