NCAA tournament 2011: Important weekend for Virginia Tech, Maryland
This is a Friday rest on where the most promising local teams stand headed into an action-packed weekend:
Next: Saturday vs. Syracuse
The best news is that guard Chris Wright (broken non-shooting hand) is expected back later this season, likely for the NCAA tournament. The Hoyas are a solid No. 3 seed right now, likely headed to Charlotte for the first two rounds. They will call upon Markel Starks and Vee Sanford to play bigger roles during Wright's absence. So long as Wright returns at a similar level, the selection committee needs to evaluate the Hoyas based on what they accomplished with Wright on the court.
Next: Sunday at North Carolina
The bubble has become softer this week, which is great news for the Terps. They don't have a bad loss all season. They have a chance for a signature win Sunday at UNC. Regardless of that outcome, they can at least remain in the mix by winning two of their last three regular season games. An NCAA tourney bid is within reach with a strong finish and strong performance in ACC tournament. They may be four wins away. They are still in search of an elusive top 50 victory. Maryland students, are you paying attention?
Next: Saturday vs. Duke
The Hokies are right on the fence and would be sweating it out if today where Selection Sunday. They have three questionable losses. The only win of note is over Florida State. ESPN's College Gameday is in town for Saturday's Duke game. If VT can't beat Duke, it needs to beat Clemson or Boston College and likely win at least a game in the ACC tournament.
Next: Saturday at Georgia State
The nation's hottest team, the Patriots extended the country's longest winning streak to 14 games by winning their regular season home finale against Northeastern. They earned their first outright regular season CAA title in 11 years. The Patriots are in line for a No. 7 seed at the moment.