So if you're anything like us, you're clinging to the hope, even if it's faint, that Nebraska still has a shot to play its way into the NCAA tournament. It's not usual that the Huskers are still in the conversation into March, so we're soaking it up. Besides, part of the fun of college football season is cheering against teams ahead of the Huskers in the rankings. Now, we can bring that mentality to a basketball weekend.
It's really pretty simple. If Nebraska beats Colorado and wins one game in the Big XII tourney, they've got a shot, albeit a very slim one. They'd need lots of help from below. If they'd win at CU and win two in Kansas City, then we think it probably puts them at a 50%+ chance of making the tourney, barring a whole slew of unfavorable results from around the country. That's where the cheering guide comes in. We've compiled a list of games (and some other notes on conference tourneys) that could provide an opportunity for Nebraska to claw its way closer to the "in" column with the right result. Now, it's all kaput if Doc's guys fall short in Boulder, but that game doesn't tip until 8, so you might as well keep the TV on all day and root against all the other bubble teams while hope is still alive.
*Cheer for the starred team, as their opponent is on or near the bubble, thus potentially blocking Nebraska from the NCAA tourney:
Clemson @ VT 11 a.m. (Both bubble teams...hmmm) (ESPN2)
Indiana* @ Illinois 11 a.m.
Duquesne* @ Richmond 11 a.m.
Georgia @ Alabama 12:30 p.m. (see Clem/VT--close call) (ESPN3.com)
Dayton @ George Washington* 1 p.m.
Michigan St. @ Michigan 1 p.m. (see Clem/VT, although MSU winning is probably best here) (CBS)
Tulane* @ Memphis 3 p.m.
UCLA* @ Washington St. 4:30 p.m. (FSN)
Marquette @ Seton Hall* 5 p.m. (ESPN3.com)
East Carolina* @ UAB 7 p.m.
Texas* @ Baylor 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Colorado St. @ SDSU* 9 p.m.
USC* @ Washington 10 p.m.
Kentucky* at Tennessee 11 a.m. (CBS)
Wake* @ BC 11 a.m.
Conference Tourney Notes
-Missouri St. squeaked by Southern Illinois. At this point, we'd rather they win the whole thing so as not to have another team steal a bid
-Wichita State losing at any point in the MVC Tourney is good and the earlier the better. The only exception would be if they're in a final against a non-Missouri St. opponent. Then we'd rather they just get the auto bid.
-Butler is a bubble team and actually the #2 seed, but the best scenario is that they win the tourney as #1 seed UW-Milwaukee has no shot at an at-large bid.
-We think you have to hope either St. Mary's or Gonzaga (but only one) lose their semifinal on Sunday, and then the team that stays alive wins the tourney so there's not a stolen auto bid.
-Utah St. needs to win this tournament
We think the Drexel/VCU winner needs to win this tournament to limit it to a one-bid conference.