With less than three weeks remaining in the regular season, there are a number of key games left to help determine regular season conference champions and the all-important seeding for conference tournaments.
With very few conference champions already decided, here are a number of key games that will go a long way in determining conference tournament seeding in March.
Albany (21-3, 12-0 conference) is the only unbeaten team in the America East Conference and has clinched the number one seed for the conference tournament. However, the Great Danes need a victory over Boston University (22-4, 12-1) to sew up the regular season championship.
The game, which will be televised on ESPN3.com, features two of the top-10 defensive teams in the nation. Albany enters the contest ranked second in Division I allowing 47.5 points a game and BU is 10th surrendering 50.6 points a contest. The Great Danes top the conference in scoring with 67.8 points a game while the Terriers are second with 61.8 points a game.
Albany defeated BU 57-50 on Jan. 23 and has won 13 straight games. The Great Danes, who are ranked among the top teams in several defensive categories, are 8-1 at home this season.
Albany is led by two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year Ebone Henry, who leads the team with 14.3 points a game. Julie Forester, Megan Craig, Lindsey Lowrie and Shereesha Richards are other major contributors for the Great Danes.
Chantell Alford leads BU and the conference with 15.9 points a game. Rashidat Agboola and Mo Moran also average double figures with 11.7 points and 10.3 points a game, respectively. Agboola leads the conference in rebounds while Moran tops the conference in assists.
While the loss of Gray will hurt, Duke still has a enough firepower to win the conference. The fifth-ranked Blue Devils, who ends the season with four tough games, averages 76.4 points a game and is the top three-point shooting team in the nation (43.1 percent). Duke will rely on Elizabeth Williams, Tricia Liston and Haley Peters (all double digit scorers) even more.
Duke faces 19th-ranked Florida State, Maryland, Miami (Fla.) and 16th-ranked North Carolina to close out the season.
Eighth-ranked Maryland (21-2, 12-2) is led by the dynamic duo of Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins.
Duke defeated Maryland 71-56 on Feb. 11.
Davidson at UT-Chattanooga, Feb. 25
Chattanooga (23-3, 16-1) holds a lead of 1.5 games in the Southern Conference and can wrap up the conference with a victory over Davidson (16-9, 14-2) on Feb. 25. The Lady Mocs, who have won 13 consecutive games, defeated Davidson 60-56 (Jan. 18) earlier this year.
Chattanooga, led by SoCon Player-of-the Year candidate Ashlen Dewart, will host Western Carolina prior to their game against Davidson and will close the season out at Appalachian State. The Lady Mocs have now won 20-games 16 times in their history.
Davidson is led by Sophia Aleksandravicius (15.7 ppg and 9.9 rpg), who earned her third conference Player of the Week Award on Feb. 19 after posting a triple-double in her last game. The Wildcats, who have lost have their two conference games by a combined five points, have won the SoCon just once in their 34 –year history.
Oral Roberts at Lamar, March 2
Oral Roberts (14-11, 11-4) is in an epic battle with Lamar (18-7, 10-4) and Sam Houston State (14-12, 10-4) for the Southland Conference title this year. ORU has already split their season series with Sam Houston State and will look to sweep Lamar, when they meet on March 2. The Golden Eagles, winners of four straight games, have never won a Southland regular season title.
ORU defeated Lamar 77-48 on Jan. 24.
Lamar has won six of their last seven contests and is 9-2 at home while Sam Houston State (21- 4, 10-1) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 64-50 victory over Stephen F. Austin on Feb. 20.
St. Joseph’s at Dayton, March 3
14th-ranked Dayton (22-1, 14-0) has been magnificent all season but only leads Charlotte (21-4, 10-1) and St. Joseph’s (19-5, 10-1) by a half-game in the A-10 race. Prior to facing St. Joseph’s, Dayton will face St. Bonaventure, Temple and St. Louis -- all three teams have losing conference records.
St. Joseph’s has won 10-of- the last 11 games but has to play at Fordham (18-7, 8-2) prior to facing the Flyers.
Charlotte has also won 10 straight games and defeated St. Joseph’s earlier in the season. The 49ers and Flyers do not meet this year.
Tennessee at Kentucky, March 3
11th-ranked Tennessee (20-5, 11-1) and eighth-ranked Kentucky (23-3, 11-2) appear to be on a collision course with the SEC regular season championship in the balance. The two teams will meet for the first time this season on the final day of the regular season. The Lady Vols have four games remaining to play, with a Feb. 28 home game against Texas A&M also looming. Kentucky, 23-3 and 11-2, is in the running for a second consecutive SEC regular season title. The Wildcats scored a must-win against Texas A&M in College Station (70-66) on Feb. 18, to remain in the hunt. Kentucky has defeated Texas A&M twice this season.
Connecticut at Notre Dame, March 4
No. 2 Notre Dame (24-1, 12-0) will be seeking its sixth win in the last seven games against No. 3 Connecticut when the two teams close the regular season against each other. The Fighting Irish currently have a one-game Big East Conference lead against the Huskies (24-2, 11-1) by virtue of its 73-72 win back on Jan. 5.
Notre Dame won their first Big East Conference regular season title last year.