by Jerry Palm
Today brings a festival of hoops with a lot of important games, most of which involve teams feeling very bubbly.
Oklahoma State's at-large hopes are hanging by a thread, but the Cowboys can make a big splash today by knocking off No. 1 seed Kansas in the Big 12 tournament quarterfinals. Yesterday, they eliminated Nebraska from any at-large consideration in the opening round.
Colorado survived a scare against Iowa State to keep in the hunt for as well. They take on Kansas State today, looking to beat the Wildcats for a third time. They probably need to.
In the ACC, Boston College and Virginia Tech get underway hoping to avoid a potentially fatal bad loss. The Eagles play Wake Forest, while the Hokies will take on Georgia Tech.
Michigan State and Penn State are in the same boat. Those teams are each three games over .500, and that record might be hard for the committee to swallow, regardless of their schedules. A loss today to a Big Ten bottom-feeder would probably do them in.
Tennessee and Georgia also face league also-rans in the opening round of the SEC tournament. Again, avoiding a bad loss at this point is crucial to their chances.
If Marquette hasn't already punched their ticket, they certainly can with a win over Louisville today in the 15th round of the Big East tournament. Or something like that. I lose count.
One of the more interesting conference tournaments gets going in earnest today in Las Vegas. There is a lot at stake in the Mountain West. Colorado State and New Mexico play in the 4-5 game. Both teams have at-large hopes, but each might need to beat BYU to make that happen. That won't be possible for the loser.
The Cougars will spend the weekend trying to prove to the committee that they are still worthy of a high seed after the loss of Brandon Davies. They open with last-place TCU today.
San Diego State still has just two losses this season, both to BYU, and might have a shot at a No. 1 seed if they can run the table this weekend and get some help.
And finally, Washington gets a third shot at in-state rival Washington State. The Cougars swept the season series, and welcome Klay Thompson back to the lineup after a one-game suspension. Washington lost three of its last four Pac 10 games, including home games to WSU and USC.
Below, Lauren Shehadi and I talk some more bubble.