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What men's conference tournament are you most looking forward to watching?
By Melissa Isaacson
Without the slightest pretense of being unbiased, the Big Ten basketball tournament will be the highest quality and most entertaining of the 30 conference tourneys beginning this week. That is, if they don't destroy each other first.
Part of it is simply what's at stake as five nationally ranked Big Ten teams already assured spots in the NCAA tournament are fighting for top seeds. Michigan and Michigan State are in the hunt for a No. 1 and Indiana could potentially net the top overall seed.
Without even trying, there will be much-anticipated conference rivalries that will only enhance this week, while tournament history -- 10 different schools have advanced to the championship game in the past 15 years -- tells us nothing is predictable.
When it all shakes out, though, one thing is almost certain: Whoever wins this tournament has a good chance to win it all.
By Kate Fagan
|Seth Curry will try to lead Duke to its 20th ACC tournament title this weekend.|
I'm looking forward to the ACC tourney to see if anybody can beat Duke. The Blue Devils looked particularly unstoppable Saturday night against North Carolina. Beating UNC is difficult any time (although less so this season), but for Duke to beat the Tar Heels the way they did on North Carolina's home floor -- on senior night no less -- is pretty darn impressive.
Duke is always fun to watch, and this weekend's ACC tourney will be no different because we all love a villain. Either you're watching the Blue Devils as one of their fans, or you're rooting against them. Whichever it is, you have a vested interest in the outcome, which is not something we can say about too many of the upcoming games.
Oh, and did I mention Seth Curry? Yeah -- he's just a little bit fun to watch.
So this coming weekend I'll be grabbing some popcorn and tuning in to see if anyone can topple the Blue Devils.
By Mechelle Voepel
My choice is geographical: Living in Kansas City, home of the men's Big 12 tournament, I always look forward to seeing how this one turns out.
Now that Missouri is in the SEC, the big local rivalry remaining is Kansas versus Kansas State. Those teams lost their regular-season finales but still tied for the Big 12 championship. Kansas won both of their head-to-head meetings this year.
Kansas has been the league's dominant team over the years, by far, so the rivalry is more heated on the K-State side.
If Kansas wins this title, Jayhawks fans will be happy -- but it's also what they are used to. If KU loses, its fans will shrug and look toward the NCAA tournament.
If K-State wins the Big 12 tourney title, Wildcats fans will truly celebrate it.
Of course, teams such as Oklahoma State and Iowa State hope they are the ones cutting down the nets in K.C.
This week is always a huge celebration for the city. And as weird as it is to not have Missouri involved, it's still an exciting time in the Heartland.
By Sarah Spain
The Big Ten tournament will be the one to watch. Arguably the best conference in college basketball, the Big Ten boasts seven different teams that ranked among the nation's Top 25 this year and two teams (Indiana and Michigan) that earned the No. 1 ranking.
If you try your hand at a March Madness bracket or two (just for fun, of course), then you'll benefit from an early look at a handful of teams who are sure to make a deep run in the tourney. You'll also get a chance to see three of the top players in the country do battle, as Michigan's Trey Burke and Indiana's Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo are all in the running for the Wooden Award.
By Michelle Smith
Getting provincial here about a conference that has been on a downward slide over the past few years, but the Pac-12's move to Las Vegas, coupled with the interesting ups and downs of stalwart programs such as UCLA and Arizona, will make this one of the most interesting conference tournaments in the country this year.
Oregon led the way in the early part of the season but has struggled down the stretch. UCLA, which can't seem to get itself back to elite status under Ben Howland, eked out a conference title, with Arizona having a roller-coaster season that could well end on an up note.
Meanwhile, a team such as Cal, which recently reeled off seven wins before losing its rivalry game with Stanford, might be able to sneak in and take the automatic bid.
The Pac-12 might not be the most glamorous place to play at the moment, but it is one of the most intriguing.