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2014 NCAA conference tournaments: America East, A-10 and AAC

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The second round of the Atlantic-10 got their conference tournament under way on March 6, with all four games being won by the higher seed.

No.8 VCU, No. 5 St. Joseph’s, No.7 La Salle and No. 6 Duquesne were all victorious. VCU defeated No. 9 Richmond 61-52, St. Joseph’s dispatched No. 12 George Mason 89-55, La Salle was victorious over No. 10 Saint Louis 65-56 and Duquesne topped Rhode Island 61-53.

The rest of the article will look at the America East, A-10 and American Athletic Conference league tournaments. It will also examine the number of NCAA bids each of the above conference will receive and which teams are on the bubble.

American East: 1

Albany (25-4) won the regular season with a 15-1 record. The Great Danes’ only conference loss was to second place Stony Brook (25-4) 66-56 in their regular season finale. Albany opens up the American East Conference Tournament at home vs. Binghamton on March 7.

Conference tournament spoilers: Stony Brook.

NCAA tournament: The America East will only get one team in the tournament. The Great Danes, the conference’s top team, has an RPI rating of 106 and strength of schedule of 325. I.E. Albany has too high of a RPI and too low of a Strength of schedule to get an at-large bid. The Great Danes have just played three teams with a RPI less than 100 and has just one quality win (Marist).

American Athletic Conference: In: 2 Bubble 2

Connecticut (31-0) and Louisville (28-3) are locks. The Huskies are a sure bet for a number one seed while Louisville is a solid No. 2 with a very slim chance to secure a No. 1 seed.

South Florida (18-11) and Rutgers (21-8) are squarely on the preverbial bubble. The Bulls finished third in the conference (13-5) and has won five straight games. Rutgers (12-4) finished fourth in the conference and has lost three of the past for games.

Tournament winner: Connecticut

Tournament spoilers: Louisville

Conference tournament insight: If Connecticut wins the AAC tournament, the Huskies will have a shot at the overall No. 1 seed -- Notre Dame is the only other candidate. A Louisville conference tournament victory would earn the Cardinals the top No. 2 seed and possibly one of the four No. 1 seeds.

Both South Florida and Rutgers will likely have to reach the conference tournament finals to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Atlantic -10 In: 2 Bubble: 3

St. Joseph’s (22-8), with an RPI of 17 and strength of schedule of 23, and Dayton (21-6) , with an RPI of 18 and strength of schedule of 63, are in the tournament. St. Joseph’s finished fifth in the conference and plays George Washington in the quarter finals of the A-10 tournament. The Hawks have won five of its past seven contests.

Dayton (14-2) won the regular season conference title. The Flyers had their nine game winning streak snapped by George Washington on March 1. Dayton will play VCU (22-9), which defeated Richmond 61-52 in the conference’s tournament first round on Thursday, on March 7.

Fordham (22-7) St. Bonaventure (22-9) and George Washington(20-9) are on the bubble. Fordham (11-5) earned the second seed in the conference tournament and is 5-3 in their last eight games. St. Bonaventure (11-5) is the number three seed in the tournament and has won six of its past nine. George Washington (11-5), the number four seed, has won six of its past eight games.

Tournament winner: Dayton.

Tournament Spoilers: Fordham, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph’s.

Tournament Dark horses: La Salle and Duquesne

NCAA tournament: Dayton and St. Joseph’s are playing for tournament seeds while Fordham and St. Bonaventure likely need to reach the conference tournament final to have a chance at the NCAA tournament . The Rams will face Duquesne (18-11), the teams split their two games, while the Bonnies will tangle with La Salle (15-14) in the A-10 quarters on March 7.The Explorers defeated St. Bonaventure (55-49) on March 1.

George Washington could secure a NCAA bid with a quarterfinal victory over St. Joseph’s and a good showing against Dayton in the semifinals.

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