Conference tournament viewing guide: 10 games to watch on Thursday
Although teams are dancing and some major conference tournaments got going on Wednesday, traditionally Thursday is the day when people start taking extra long lunches, reserving conference rooms for "secret meetings" and having a quick trigger finger on the minimize button on their laptops.
With so much hoops going on, it's tough to carve out your day. Never fret, we here at One And One did the work for you. Here are 10 intriguing games to watch on Thursday.
ACC Tournament: Florida State (18-12, 9-9 in conference) vs. Maryland (17-14, 9-9 in conference)
How to watch: 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Why you should watch: This is a big one for the bubble. Florida State (RPI: 58, KenPom: 39) has some pretty good wins on its résumé, and it compares well to teams like BYU and Pittsburgh, but it can't slip up against a Maryland team that just beat Virginia in its regular season finale. If the Seminoles can beat the Terrapins (playing in their final ACC tournament ever), they'll have a chance to make a huge statement against the top-seeded Cavaliers on Friday.
Big 12 Tournament: Kansas State (20-11, 10-8 in conference) vs. No. 16 Iowa State (23-7, 11-7 in conference)
How to watch: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Why you should watch: Because this will feature pretty good basketball between two teams that play very different styles. Both teams are pretty safely in the field at this point, but with the Big 12 tournament wide open, this game should be a good gauge for what to expect the rest of the weekend in Kansas City. Iowa State has a triumvirate (DeAndre Kane, Melvin Ejim, Georges Niang) this is good enough to help the Cyclones beat anybody in the country.
ACC Tournament: Wake Forest (17-15, 6-12 in conference) vs. Pittsburgh (23-8, 11-7 in conference)
How to watch: 2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Why you should watch: The computers like Pitt a lot (RPI: 43, KenPom: 21) but the quality wins just aren't there. The best non-conference win came against Stanford. The best conference wins are over Clemson or a sweep of Maryland. Compared to a lot of the other bubble teams, the Panthers can't afford a slip up. Wake Forest hasn't had much ACC tournament success over the past few seasons, but the Demon Deacons did beat UNC and Duke this year. The Pitt team that beat Wake 80-65 earlier this season needs to show up.
Big East Tournament: St. John's (20-11, 10-8 in conference) vs. Providence (20-11, 10-8 in conference)
How to watch: 2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
Why you should watch:
For love of the old Big East Because this is Bubble Fest '14. SI.com's Michael Beller has both teams "In The Mix" but currently on the outside looking in for an NCAA bid. One of these two will have to make a run, and it's pretty much a play-in game from here on out. This one should be pretty dang competitive.
Big 12 Tournament: Oklahoma State (20-11, 8-10 in conference) vs. Kansas (23-8, 14-4 in conference)
How to watch: 3:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Why you should watch: The selection committee will be watching Kansas closely in the Big 12 tournament. Will the Jayhawks be able to capture the title without Joel Embiid, or will they bow out early and give up a line or two in their seeding? As for Oklahoma State, Marcus Smart and Markel Brown are pretty much worth watching all the time, and the up-and-down Cowboys have been trending in the right direction since Smart returned from his suspension, including a win over KU less than two weeks ago.
Pac-12 Tournament: Colorado (22-10, 10-8 in conference) vs. California (19-12, 10-8 in conference)
How to watch: 5:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
Why you should watch: Outside of the St. John's-Providence game, this one is about as close to a play-in as you can get. While Colorado (RPI: 33, KenPom: 57) should be safe based on some good non-conference wins (Harvard, Kansas, Georgia) and no horrible losses, this one is critical. Should Cal (RPI: 51, KenPom: 70) pull it out and win another one in the conference tourney, the Golden Bears could steal someone's at-large bid.
ACC Tournament: Miami (17-15, 7-11 in conference) vs. N.C. State (19-12, 9-9 in conference)
How to watch: 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Why you should watch: Because T.J. Warren could go for 40. The conference's most explosive scorer has done it against just about everyone else in the ACC and he was named the league's player of the year by both the media and the coaches. The Wolfpack are likely NIT bound, but if they can string together a miracle run to the conference finals, they could join the bubble conversation.
AAC Tournament: No. 19 Memphis (23-8, 12-6 in conference) vs. No. 21 Connecticut (24-7, 12-6 in conference)
How to watch: 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Why you should watch: This has the potential to be the best game of the day. UConn's Shabazz Napier was the AAC Player of the Year, and if he can get any help from Ryan Boatright or DeAndre Daniels, the Huskies could put a charge into the Tigers. Memphis is a real wild card in the conference tournament as well as the NCAA tournament. It's impossible to expect which version of the team will show up, but given that this tourney is being played on their home floor, the Tigers will be even tougher than usual.
Big 12 Tournament: West Virginia (17-14, 9-9 in conference) vs. Texas (22-9, 11-7 in conference)
How to watch: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3
Why you should watch: Rick Barnes not only did enough to keep his job this season, but he also won Big 12 Coach of the Year and has the Longhorns back in NCAA tournament field (they'll be an at-large selection if they don't win the conference tourney). West Virginia is likely NIT bound, but the Mountaineers are just dangerous enough to screw up the whole Big 12. WVU has wins over Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas and is playing with house money. Win on Thursday and things could get fun for Bob Huggins' team.
Big East Tournament: Marquette (17-14, 9-9 in conference) vs. Xavier (20-11, 10-8 in conference)
How to watch: 9:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1 Why you should watch: Xavier is not really in any trouble of playing its way out of the NCAAs (RPI: 51, KenPom: 42), but the Musketeers would prefer it if they don't lose to Marquette. The Golden Eagles are a lot like West Virginia -- they play pretty good defense and won't back down easily but didn't quite string together enough regular season wins in an extremely difficult non-conference slate to earn an at-large bid this season.