We are inching closer to conference tournament time in the world of college basketball.
The ACC holds their championship from March 6th to March 10th while the A10 runs its tournament from March 7th through the 11th.
The Big South has an opening day on Feb 27th then runs from March 1st through the 4th. Conference USA is March 7th through the 10th. The CAA holds its tournament March 3rd through 6th.
Here are the Top Five games this week featuring local schools from those conferences. Games are ranked based off how important it is for the local team.
Number 5: UVA @ Miami (Tuesday 9pm ESPN)
This one isn’t crucial for the Cavs, but you never want to go on a slide when you’ve been as dominant as Virginia has been this year.
The standings show UVA on top at 12-1 but Clemson is hanging around at 9-3 and Tony Bennett will tell you that no lead in the standings is safe in the ACC.
Miami likely won’t be ranked after losing to Boston College.Jim Larranaga did not coach in that loss and had to take IV fluids in the locker room before the game.
Virginia should get back to their defensive style of play after allowing a season high 33 points in the first half to Virginia Tech.
Number 4: Richmond @ Rhode Island (Tuesday 830 CBS Sports Net plus on radio on all of our stations)
The Spiders really have two games that could fill this slot, although when you still haven’t hit the 10 win overall total, the game you play next is always the most important.
UofR is tied for fourth in the A10 and if they want to gurantee a top four seed in the conference tournament will need to win out but realistically could still achieve that goal by winning four out of their final six.
A road trip to league leading Rhode Island is a tall order, but Richmond has recently played well when little is expected of them.
If they lose this game on Tuesday then simply insert Saturday’s contest at home against St. Louis into this spot. SLU is currently 7-6 in the league while UR is 7-5.
Number 3: Davidson @ VCU (Wednesday 7PM CBS Sports Net)
The Wildcats are tied for 2nd place in the Atlantic 10. VCU is tied for fourth. If the season ended today both teams would get a bye.
The Rams gave Justin Tillman the ball late in their win versus an average Dayton team and he won them the game.
Will they make moves to climb the standings or will they hover where they are?
Momentum and confidence are always key in sports, but particularly for this team that has the pieces but just hasn’t figured out how to use them consistently.
If they can beat Davidson and build off of that, then they could be in a good place to end this week.
Number 2: William and Mary @ Northeastern (Saturday at 4pm)
Like Richmond, William and Mary has two games this week that can be inserted into these rankings. They play at Hofstra on Thursday at 6 in a battle of the 3 and the 4 seeds in the CAA. The Tribe have the edge so if they lose they would simply be tied with Hofstra.
On the other hand, if they beat Hofstra they would have a chance to then beat Northeastern and move into a tie for second. That would be monumental for a team that has never made the NCAA tournament.
The top six seeds are the only teams that get a bye in the CAA. But at the very least, W&M needs a split this week to ensure they don’t fall out of the top four, which would make their road all the more challenging.
Number 1: Virginia Tech @ Duke (Wednesday at 7pm on ESPN 2)
The Hokies are riding high after taking down rival UVA with ESPN’s College Gameday in Charlottesville. Virginia brought out Super Bowl champ Chris Long, they made another half-court shot on TV, and all was right in Wahoo-land until the final buzzer sounded.
VT must forget about all that and win another tough game in the Atlantic Coast Conference if they want to be a legitimate threat to win it all in Brooklyn. The Hokies must certainly finish in the top 9 to earn a bye to have a chance, but if they want to have a true shot at surviving the ACC’s best they need to find a way into the top 4.
It starts with Duke who is the 3 seed right now.
Tech is sitting in the thick of it all at 7-5 and could use another RPI boosting win against a top team like Duke.
Justin Robinson has been the best chance to earn a national player of the year nomination VT hoops has seen in a long while.