After 16 weeks of some spectacular and some not-so-spectacular basketball, a number of teams still are fighting for conference championships, tournament seedings and those oh-so-important bids to the NCAA playoffs.
The Big Ten, Pacific-10, West Coast and Ivy leagues will end their regular seasons next week and don't have postseason tournaments. But all the other 25 conferences with automatic bids either will end the regular season or begin conference tournament play this weekend.
The biggest regular-season games this weekend will involve the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Georgia Tech, which finished with a 9-5 conference record, has clinched a tie for the ACC title. North Carolina (8-5) will play at Duke (8-5), and Wake Forest (5-8) at North Carolina State (8-5) today. At least two teams will tie for the title and the No. 1 seed for next week's tournament will be decided by head-to-head competition and/or a coin toss.
Maryland (7-6) will close the season Sunday at Virginia (3-10) and will finish fourth or fifth.
St. John's (14-1) can clinch the Big East regular-season championship by beating Providence (3-12) in a noon game today (WTTG-TV-5) at Jamaica, N.Y. Georgetown (13-2) will finish against Syracuse (9-6) Sunday at Capital Centre. Should the Redmen lose and Georgetown win, the teams would tie for first place and a coin flip would determine top seeding.
George Washington's impressive victory over Duquesne Thursday earned the Colonials a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament at Rutgers. Even if GW loses its 4 p.m. Atlantic 10 season finale at West Virginia today, it would finish no worse than sixth. The bottom four teams will play first-round games Wednesday.
Temple, which will play St. Joseph's today, and West Virginia are tied for first with 15-2 records.
Navy, with an 11-3 record, has clinched the ECAC South regular-season title and the top seeding for next week's tournament at William and Mary. George Mason (9-4), which will end the regular season at home against UNC-Wilmington (4-9) tonight, can finish in a three-way tie for third if it wins and William and Mary (9-4) wins at Richmond (10-3). American (3-11) will finish seventh in the conference.
Howard (8-3) can wrap up second place and a first-round bye in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament with a victory over visiting Maryland-Eastern Shore tonight at Burr Gymnasium, 8.
Should Howard win and North Carolina A&T (9-2) lose at Morgan State (0-11) tonight, A&T would be top-seeded for the tournament at Philadelphia's Palestra next week because it defeated Howard twice during the regular season.
On the national scene, Michigan defeated Wisconsin, 88-68, Thursday night and clinched its first outright Big 10 championship since 1977. Ohio State lost to Iowa, 87-82, and its chance to tie Michigan for first place.
Southern Cal beat UCLA, 80-78, in four overtimes Thursday night to take a one-game lead in the Pacific-10 over Arizona and Washington with two games remaining.