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Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Conference tournament viewing guide, from a Virginia Tech perspective

By Mark Giannotto

Just over a week ago following an upset of then-No. 1 Duke, it seemed the tension of championship week would be ratcheted down a notch for Hokies fans. There would be no nail biting over whether Virginia Tech hears its name called on Selection Sunday.

But as you're probably well aware of by now, Virginia Tech closed its regular season with two-straight losses and finds itself squarely on the tournament bubble once again. The Post's Eric Prisbell has Virginia Tech as one of his last four teams in the tournament as of Monday. But as many folks learned last year, that assertion is a fluid one, dependent on a couple factors.

Obviously the Hokies need to win at least one game -- and maybe two -- in the ACC tournament. But perhaps more importantly, they also need to hope the rest of the country's conference tournaments go according to plan, so that potential automatic bids don't go to teams that weren't garnering any tournament talk before this week.

On Sunday, for instance, Indiana State defeated No. 1 seed Missouri State to win the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Sycamores were 20-13 this season and weren't really in consideration for an at large berth. And though Missouri State has just three wins over the RPI top 100 this year, the Bears are ranked 42nd in the RPI and could now elicit some at large consideration.

After the jump I've put together a guide of what conference tournaments should pique Virginia Tech fans' interest -- starting with Monday's Colonial Athletic Association championship game between Old Dominion and VCU -- if only because the results could directly affect how many at large bids the selection committee can hand out to this year's soft bubble.

Colonial Athletic Association
Championship game: Old Dominion vs. VCU, Tues. at 7
Who VT fans should root for: Old Dominion
Potential bubble team(s): VCU (23-10 record; RPI 49; 3-4 vs. top 50; 8-7 vs. top 100)

Southern Conference
Championship game: College of Charleston vs. Furman, Tues. at 9
Who VT fans should root for: College of Charleston
Potential bubble team(s): College of Charleston (24-9; RPI 67; 1-1 vs. top 50; 3-5 vs. top 100)

Horizon League
Championship game: Wisconsin-Milwaukee vs. Butler, Wed. at 9
Who VT fans should root for: Butler
Potential bubble team(s): Butler (21-9; RPI 37; 4-3 vs. top 50; 6-6 vs. top 100)

Conference-USA
Championship game: TBD, Sat at 11:30 a.m.
Who VT fans should root for: UAB
Potential bubble team(s): UAB (22-7; RPI 28; 3-4 vs. top 50; 8-6 vs. top 100); Memphis (22-9; RPI 38; 3-4 vs. top 50; 9-6 vs. top 100); UTEP (22-8; RPI 58; 2-2 vs. top 50; 4-5 vs. top 100)

WAC
Championship game: TBD, Sat. at 7
Who VT fans should root for: Utah State
Potential bubble team(s): Utah State (27-3; RPI 17; 1-2 vs. top 50; 2-2 vs. top 100)

Pac-10
Championship game: TBD, Sat. at 6:15
Who VT fans should root for: Arizona or UCLA
Potential bubble team(s): Washington (20-10; RPI 47; 3-4 vs. top 50; 7-7 vs. top 100); USC (18-13; RPI 69; 5-4 vs. top 50; 7-7 vs. top 100)

Mountain West Conference
Championship game: TBD, Sat. at 7
Who VT fans should root for: BYU, San Diego State or UNLV
Potential bubble team(s): Colorado State (18-11; RPI 43; 1-6 vs. top 50; 4-8 vs. top 100)

Big 12
Championship game: TBD, Sat. at 4
Who VT fans should root for: Kansas, Texas, Kansas State, Texas A&M or Missouri
Potential bubble team(s): Colorado (18-12; RPI 76; 5-6 vs. top 50; 7-9 vs. top 100); Nebraska (19-11; RPI 78; 3-6 vs. top 50; 7-8 vs. top 100); Baylor (17-12; RPI 84; 2-6 vs. top 50; 5-9 vs. top 100)

Atlantic-10
Championship game: TBD, Sun. at 1
Who VT fans should root for: Xavier or Temple
Potential bubble team(s): Richmond (24-7; RPI 55; 2-3 vs. top 50; 5-6 vs. top 100)

SEC
Championship game: TBD, Sun. at 1
Who VT fans should root for: Florida, Kentucky or Vanderbilt
Potential bubble team(s): Georgia (20-10; RPI 39; 3-9 vs. top 50; 5-10 vs. top 100); Alabama (20-10; RPI 79; 3-3 vs. top 50; 4-6 vs. top 100)

Big Ten
Championship game: TBD, Sun. at 4
Who VT fans should root for: Ohio State, Purdue or Wisconsin
Potential bubble team(s): Illinois (19-12; RPI 40; 3-8 vs. top 50; 10-10 vs. top 100); Michigan (18-12; RPI 56; 3-8 vs. top 50; 9-11 vs. top 100); Michigan State (16-13; RPI 48; 3-9 vs. top 50; 3-12 vs. top 100); Penn State (16-13; RPI 54; 3-7 vs. top 50; 9-12 vs. top 100)

For comparisons sake, here is Virginia Tech's resume according to the above parameters: 20-9 record; RPI 64; 2-6 vs. top 50; 7-7 vs. top 100

By Mark Giannotto  | March 7, 2011; 1:54 PM ET
 
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