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NCAA Basketball: March Madness - Wednesday' Conference Tournament Viewing Guide

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Wondering what are the key games to watch today?  Here is a helpful guide for college basketball fans.  Today's games involve very early rounds of the major conference tournaments and some later rounds of the smaller one.  Below are my top few games to watch if you are a college basketball fan or want to research your NCAA Tournament bracket.

ESPN Bracketology Bracketology

Game of the Day

Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh

Time: 11:00 AM CST
Conference: ACC

ACC Tournament game of the 8/9 seed matchup.  Why should anyone care?  Both teams are fighting for their NCAA Tournament lives.  Lunardi has Pitt as the last team still getting a bye and Syracuse as one of his last four in.  Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has them both on the bubble with Pitt a 9 seed and Syracuse a 10 seed.  Anyway, the loser of this game will be sweating on Selection Sunday while the winner is likely safe from the axe and probably not playing in Dayton next week. KenPom predicts Syracuse.  I'll go with Pitt considering they have swept the season series and Syracuse has been scuffling lately.  The old adage that it's tough to beat a team three times in a season?  I think it is bunk and usually there's a reason you won the first two, especially if both wins are by double digits.

Other Games to Watch


TV: Pac12 Network
Time: 8:00 CST
Conference: Pac12

Rivalry game and USC really needs it.  The Trojans at one point were locks and in a favorable seed.  Now they are still likely above the cut-line but a loss to their cross-town rival would be pretty damaging.  They beat the Bruins convincingly in both previous matchups but we all know how hard it is to beat  team three times in a season (just kidding, as noted above I do not subscribe to this theory).  Steve Alford's club finished a distant 10th in the league and isn't very good this year.  But a game worth keeping an eye on where a rival can ruin the other's season.

St. John's vs. Marquette
(GN's Bourbon Night-Cap Game of the Night)

TV: FoxSports 1
Time: 8:30 CST
Conference: Big East

St. John's is awful and managed just one win in the Big East (and beat Syracuse in December? WTF?).  Their offense is atrocious and Chris Mullin's Red Storm are in the same class as Rutgers and Minnesota and Boston College this year. So why am I suggesting you watch this game?  Henry Ellenson plays for Marquette and is going to be a top 5 pick in the NBA Draft.  Why not take some time to watch the young man play? Today's games are light on intrigue so sit down in the evening, grab a nice bourbon for a night-cap and watch the Ellenson kid.  Marquette could get into consideration for the NCAAs with a big run, but it seems unlikely.  And watching this game might make you feel better about the Gophers.

Lehigh vs. Holy Cross

TV: CBS Sports Network
Time: 6:30 CST
Conference: Patriot League

According to KenPom's FanMatch rating this is actually the worst game of the day to watch.  But I believe it is the only conference title game on the schedule for today. The intrigue here is that Holy Cross was the Patriot League's 9-seed with a 5-13 conference record.  But they have since won three games in three days including a double-OT win over the Bucknell Bison who was the conference regular season champ.  Bucknell had previously destroyed Holy Cross by 27 and 25 in their first two meetings.  Lehigh is the 2-seed and is riding an 11-game win streak.  Another interesting angle to this game is that Bill Carmody is the Holy Cross head coach.  He was never able to get Northwestern into the NCAA Tournament (cause nobody can) but it would be fun to see him earn it as a 9-seed out of the Patriot League.

Yes, I know that I didn't include the Gophers here.  Why?  Because they are really hard to watch.  Those of us who are Gopher fans will try to watch some of it and I hope they win, but I'm excluding them from this list.