It's the one month of the year that I actually follow basketball and can't get enough of it. And the city of Boston might send three representatives to the big tournament. BU, Harvard, and BC all have very good chances of earning bids.
BU will host Stony Brook Saturday afternoon at Agganis Arena to determine the America East Championship. The Terriers beat Stony Brook twice this season, boast a 12-4 conference record, have won 10 straight, and haven't lost at home since December. BU haven't made the NCAA tournament since 2002.
Harvard (yes they play in Boston, their court is in Brighton) is in one of the more interesting situations in college basketball. The Ivy League doesn't hold a tournament, and sends its regular season champ to the NCAAs. The Crimson beat 1st place Princeton 79-67 over the weekend. Princeton plays Penn tonight. If Princeton loses, then Harvard wins the Ivy League outright. If Princeton wins, then they and Harvard will meet in a playoff game at a neutral site (Yale). That game would be played on Saturday. Harvard hasn't been in the NCAA tournament since 1946. That tournament featured a field of 8 teams, including NYU and Oklahoma A&M.
By the way, Harvard beat both BU and BC this season.
BC have been popping in and out of the at-large bubble all season. They finished 5th in a lackluster ACC, don't have an overly impressive resume, and if a few upsets occur in the mid-major tournaments, BC might have to do work in the ACC Tournament.
The good news is that BC faces Wake Forest in the opening round of the ACC tourney. They trounced Wake a few days ago, 84-68. But they need to win this game. With losses against Harvard, Yale and URI already marring their schedule, they can't afford to add 8-23 Wake Forest to that list.
After Wake, the Eagles would face Clemson, who they lost to in February. Although it's easier to beat Clemson than it is to beat UNC or Duke. With both teams on the bubble, BC vs. Clemson might essentially be a play-in game into the NCAA tournament. BC last appeared in the NCAAs in 2009.
So come Selection Sunday, there may be three Boston representatives in the 68 team field. Or none.
PS: Can we retire the phrase "punch their ticket?" It's just so antiquated, overused, and stupid.