The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee says it takes a key player's injury status into consideration when determining a team's fate on getting into the Big Dance or what its seeding will be. So I'll be curious what happens to bubble team Virginia Tech now that one of its best players, Chris Clarke, is done for the season. He was hurt in Sunday's upset of Virginia, and early this week an MRI revealed a torn ACL in his left knee. Clarke is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game, and leads the Hokies in rebounding at 7.3 per game. He also leads the team in steals with 30 and is second in assists with 79.
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No. 11 Wisconsin at Michigan (+1.5)
Big Ten game at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Wisconsin acted all uppity after being ignored by the NCAA Tournament selection committee on Saturday when it released its top-four seeds in each region and didn't include the Badgers, who were No. 7 in the nation at the time. UW proved the committee right on Sunday in losing at home to Northwestern, which was without its leading scorer, 66-59. Badgers star big man Ethan Happ was pretty much double-teamed all night and finished with nine points and four turnovers. UW had been playing with fire during an eight-game winning streak that included overtime wins over Minnesota, Rutgers and Nebraska and close wins at home vs. Michigan and Indiana. I believe Wisconsin is vastly overrated, but then I usually think that and they tend to make noise in the Big Dance because the Badgers are well-coached.
Michigan (16-9, 6-6) is on the NCAA Tournament bubble. ESPN has the Wolverines just inside the First Four as an 11 seed. UM's RPI is a shaky 61 with two Top-50 wins (SMU and Michigan State). Michigan has just one ranked team left after this to improve its resume: Feb. 25 vs. No. 16 Purdue. The Wolverines did look good last week in slaughtering Michigan State in Ann Arbor and then winning 75-63 at Indiana on Sunday. Derrick Walton Jr. scored 25 points vs. the Hoosiers. Michigan came into the game 0-6 on the road this season and 1-17 in Bloomington since 1996-97. UM lost at Wisconsin 68-64 on Jan. 17. Happ was held to 11 on 5-for-13 shooting and was in foul trouble. Walton had 15 for Michigan.
Key trends: The Badgers are 1-4 against the spread in their past five games. The Wolverines are 5-2 ATS in their past seven. The underdog is 14-3 in the past 17 meetings.
I'm leaning: Michigan.
San Francisco at No. 1 Gonzaga (-22.5)
West Coast Conference game at 9 p.m. ET with no national TV. Probably no reason to preview a Gonzaga game the rest of the regular season as the unbeaten Zags will be huge favorites the rest of the way after passing their final big test Saturday in winning 74-64 at No. 20 Saint Mary's. It was the Bulldogs' 18th straight win by double digits. The 26-game winning streak is the longest in school history and of course longest active run in the nation. The Bulldogs' 19 straight conference wins is also the longest streak in the country. Here's an amazing statistic: No player has led the Zags solely in scoring in back-to-back games this season. It will now be surprising if Gonzaga doesn't enter the NCAA Tournament without a loss and as the top seed in the West.
San Francisco (18-9, 8-6) is on pace to have one of its best seasons in years under first-year coach Kyle Smith and perhaps an NIT berth is possible or one of those other silly postseason tournaments. The Dons did have a four-game winning streak snapped Saturday in a 68-52 home loss to BYU. The Cougars closed the first half with a 21-10 run to lead 36-22 at halftime and never looked back. This game marks the first time USF has faced the No. 1 team in the nation since Jan. 18, 1979, when the Dons fell to Notre Dame, 86-69 in South Bend. USF is 0-3 all-time vs. top-ranked teams. The Dons have dropped 27 straight in Spokane and 10 in a row overall to Gonzaga. It was 95-80 on Jan. 5 when the Zags were fifth in the nation. Nigel Williams-Goss scored a career-high 36 points for Gonzaga.
Key trends: The Dons are 4-0 ATS in their past four after a loss. They are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 overall. The Zags are 13-3 ATS in their past 16 at home.
I'm leaning: San Francisco.
Memphis at Connecticut (-3)
American Athletic Conference game at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Say what you want about Tubby Smith, and he has left some NCAA issues at a few of his stops, but the guy sure can coach. He replaced Josh Pastner at Memphis this past offseason when Pastner left for Georgia Tech. Frankly, the Tigers underachieved under Pastner in missing the NCAA Tournament the past two years, but they have a shot of getting to the Big Dance under Smith at 18-8 overall and 8-5 in the conference. There's still work to be done, however, as Memphis isn't listed at all on ESPN's bracketology projections and is just 103rd in RPI with a single Top-50 win (South Carolina). The Tigers still have regular-season games left vs. ranked Cincinnati and SMU, so perhaps if they won those they get in. Memphis certainly needs this one as it comes off a terrible home loss, 74-62 at home to Temple on Sunday. The Owls are down this year, so that hurts. Dedric Lawson led Memphis with 27 points and 12 rebounds. He might be the AAC Player of the Year as Lawson is averaging 19.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
At this point, I'd like to see UConn's disappointing men's team face the school's women's squad, which just won a remarkable 100th straight game Monday night. The only way the UConn men (12-12, 7-5) make the NCAA Tournament is by winning the AAC Tournament - the Huskies also were in danger of the same fate last year and did win that tournament. UConn has won five of six following a 66-63 victory at UCF on Saturday. In the last four games, UConn is shooting 52.8 percent from long range. The Huskies lost at Memphis 70-61 on Jan. 5, their fourth straight defeat at the time. Lawson had 15 points, 11 boards, six assists and three steals. Memphis committed a season-low four turnovers.
Key trends: The Tigers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven games. The Huskies are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 at home.
I'm leaning: UConn.
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