With under 48 hours until Gene Smith rubs the Magic 8-ball one last time and hands off to Jim Nantz, several local squads hang on to their 2011 NCAA Tournament dreams. Here's how conference tournament action has moved the pieces around the committee's Ouija board:
Richmond has seen the other half of the A-10 bracket implode, with Dayton and St. Joseph's pulling off upset wins Friday afternoon to reach the tournament semifinals. If Spidey gets past Rhode Island, they'll take on Temple for a place in the finals and will all but lock up a spot in the Big Dance.
Virginia Tech took care of business Thursday night, drubbing a dispirited Georgia Tech team. Most observers think the Hokies are in with a win over Florida State this evening, but a loss places them squarely on the fence dividing the NIT and the play-in game.
Wins by Michigan State, Clemson, Michigan, Alabama, Colorado and USC over the past two days have VCU partisans sweating. The Rams need some good fortune and a few ugly performances by the teams ahead of them to make #3bids4caa a reality. Tug McGraw's "You Gotta Believe" mantra's getting worn out this weekend in Richmond.
Meanwhile, George Mason, Georgetown and Old Dominion are resting and hoping for favorable first-round matchups, and in the Patriots' case, blocking any calls from Providence before they get to Jim Larranaga.