Conference tournament viewing guide: 10 games to watch on Friday
Thursday's conference tournament action had some doozies -- between Sterling Gibbs' buzzer-beater to give Seton Hall the shocking win over Villanova, FSU's dunk by Boris Bojanovsky to beat Maryland and the Kansas-Oklahoma State overtime thriller -- and Friday should be more of the same.
While it won't be the overwhelmingly daunting nightmare of game after game after game that Thursday presented, all this really does is filter the quality down to a menu with way too many things that just look so good. So in the grand tradition established all of a day ago, here's another viewing guide to make your life easier on Friday. Because everyone should help each other out as much as possible.
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ACC Tournament: Florida State (19-12, 9-9 in conference) vs. No. 6 Virginia (25-6, 16-2 in conference)
How to watch: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Why you should watch: The Seminoles moved on thanks to a dunk by the 7-foot-3 Bojanovsky with under a second to play, and they can erase all doubts about whether they deserve to be in the NCAA tournament with a win over the ACC regular season champ. This is a game fans of defense will savor, with Virginia's well-executed Pack Line squaring off against FSU's inside-out mix of guards and bigs.
SEC Tournament: Missouri (22-10, 9-9 in conference) vs. No. 1 Florida (29-2, 18-0 in conference)
How to watch: 1:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Why you should watch: Florida hasn't lost a game since the beginning of December, and it has long since locked up a No. 1 seed. But Missouri certainly has plenty to play for. Frank Haith's team is still probably out of the tournament field with a loss (non-conference wins over N.C. State, UCLA and West Virginia are good but not great), but surprising Florida? Then the Tigers would have our attention.
ACC Tournament: Pittsburgh (24-8, 11-7 in conference) vs. No. 15 North Carolina (23-8, 13-5 in conference)
How to watch: 2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Why you should watch: If Pitt's easy win over Wake Forest on Thursday was more about the Panthers playing well than the Demon Deacons mailing it in, then the Tar Heels should be on alert. Sure UNC will have a lot of fans in Greensboro, but every person not cheering for the baby blue will be pulling for the team playing the Heels. (It's an ACC tradition!) This could be the best overall game of the afternoon slate.
A-10 Tournament: Dayton (23-9, 10-6 in conference) vs. Saint Joseph's (21-9, 11-5 in conference)
How to watch: 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
Why you should watch: I want to believe both Dayton and Saint Joe's are in the tournament field regardless of who wins this one, but a case could be made this is do-or-die for both teams. KenPom likes the Flyers (51) a lot more than the Hawks (62), but they're practically neck and neck in RPI (Dayton: 39, Saint Joe's: 42). There's a lot to play for here either way.
SEC Tournament: South Carolina (14-19, 5-13 in conference) vs. Tennessee (20-11, 11-7 in conference)
How to watch: 3:25 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Why you should watch: South Carolina is knocking on the door and trying to make one of those fun little mini-runs in the SEC tourney, having already beaten Auburn and Arkansas. The last thing Tennessee wants is to play a hot team with nothing to lose, as the Volunteers are trying to lock up an at-large bid. SI.com's Michael Beller still thinks they need to win this one, writing "[this is] a game that can only hurt their tournament chances."
Big Ten Tournament: Minnesota vs. No. 12 Wisconsin
How to watch: 6:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Why you should watch: The Golden Gophers need this one or they're out. They beat Wisconsin earlier in the season and have a win over fellow bubble friend Florida State, but not enough other shiny wins. The Badgers, despite a loss to Nebraska in the regular season finale, had a very strong end to the year and have as good a shot as any to win the Big Ten title.
Big 12 Tournament: No. 16 Iowa State (24-7, 11-7 in conference) vs. No. 10 Kansas (24-8, 14-4 in conference)
How to watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Why you should watch: This one should be pretty obvious. Two teams with good odds to make the second weekend of the NCAA tournament who have lots of elite talent? Yes, please.
Pac-12 Tournament: Colorado (23-10, 10-8 in conference) vs. No. 4 Arizona (29-3, 15-3 in conference)
How to watch: 9:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Why you should watch: Colorado probably isn't going to beat Arizona. But maybe? And admit it: You haven't watched as much of the Pac-12 as you should have this year. Now is your chance to catch up a bit.
AAC Tournament: No. 21 Connecticut vs. No. 13 Cincinnati (27-5, 15-3 in conference)
How to watch: 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Why you should watch: Similar to the Iowa State-Kansas game a bit earlier in the night, get familiar with both of these teams, because regardless of who wins on Friday, they each have a chance to make some serious noise in the NCAA tournament. Cincinnati's physical defense and Sean Kilpatrick give the Bearcats an edge. And UConn has Shabazz Napier, which is enough to make things tough on anyone. Plus the last time the two teams played, Mick Cronin went crazy.
Big East Tournament: Xavier vs. No. 14 Creighton
How to watch: 9:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Why you should watch: Doug McDermott dropped 35 on Thursday against DePaul. How will he follow up that performance? With the other side of the bracket wide open now that Villanova is out, the Bluejays' chances at winning the Big East title in their first year in the league would be even better if they can get past Xavier. Honorable mentions: Baylor vs. Texas, N.C. State vs. Syracuse, VCU vs. Richmond, Seton Hall vs. Providence, Nebraska vs. Ohio State