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The Little Dances: Championship Week Day 10 Preview

Virginia Tech v Duke

DURHAM, NC - MARCH 05: Head coach James Johnson of the Virginia Tech Hokies stands with his player Erick Green #11 during their game against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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The NCAA Tournament doesn’t get going until March 19, but for the real college hoops fans, the days leading up to Selection Sunday is when the madness really begins. Over the next two weeks teams will fight for the postseason lives. Bubbles will burst and tickets will be punched, and Cinderellas will be born. This is the real March Madness.

Today is the first real day of all-day hoops. Every major BCS-conference holds a full slate of games today, providing us with an excellent opportunity to prepare for the all-day grind of March Madness.

(CLICK HERE to browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

Here’s what to watch for on Thursday.

Game of the Night: Big East Quarterfinals
Seriously, every single quarterfinal game provides at least one intriguing story line. Oh and did we mention this is the last time all these teams are going to meet under the same roof? Georgetown and Cincinnati face-off in a rematch of last year’s double-overtime semifinal game. Syracuse and Pittsburgh meet in a future-ACC quarterfinal game, Louisville has a chance to exact revenge on Villanova, who handed the then-No.5 Cardinals their first back-to-back loss of the season. And in the nightcap Notre Dame squares off against Marquette. Buzz Williams and nightcap. Need I say more?

- Watch this too: Colorado vs. Arizona
The Buffs and Wildcats hook up for a third time following two entertaining regular season battles. Arizona stole the first game from Buffalo on the controversial waiving off of Sabatino Chen’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Colorado got payback in the “Revenge of Chen” game, rolling then-No. 9 Arizona by 13. Both teams desperately need to win the rubber match. For Colorado, a win will provide a boost to their at-large resume and for Arizona, a win will provide confidence for a once dominant team now struggling;.

- Watch this too: Saint Joseph’s vs. Xavier
Last season’s regular season winners square off against the preseason favorites to win the conference. It’s scary to think that these two schools meet in the 7/10 game considering how good the A-10 is and how stable these two programs are. Both these teams have the talent and depth to make a run at the A-10 tournament title, but have lacked the consistency in order to be considered favorites to do so.

Player to Watch: Erick Green, Virginia Tech
Today is more than likely to be the final time Erick Green puts on a Virginia Tech uniform. The ACC Player of the Year is the only thing going for the 13-18 Hokies, scoring at will on a nightly basis. The nation’s leading scorer has failed to score 20 points just three times this season, and scored 29 points in his only meeting with the Wolfpack this season.

He’s good too: Pierre Jackson, Baylor
Sure Baylor has lost five of their last seven, but one of those wins was a 23-point shellacking of Kansas in which Pierre Jackson dropped 28 points and dished 10 assists. The Bears need an impressive showing in Kansas City in order to sneak in through the NCAA tournament’s back door, and they will need the diminutive point guard to carry them there. It all starts with a match-up against No. 14 Oklahoma State.

He’s good too: Carrick Felix, Arizona State
Jahii Carson is the Sun Devil’s go-to scorer, and last night showed, scoring 34 points against Stanford in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament. But forward Carrick Felix, named as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, must have an excellent performance against the UCLA bigs if Arizona State wants to prolong their postseason life.

Miscellaneous Madness:
Want to know just how crazy this season has been? Look at the Big Ten tournament. Michigan, a former-No. 1 team in the country finished in fifth place in the conference, and two former top-15 teams (Illinois and Minnesota) play in the 8/9 game. Plus there’s also the rematch of the most stunning upset of the Big Ten regular season between Penn State and Michigan.

Thursday’s Schedule:

Atlantic Coast Conference First Round
Noon - Georgia Tech (9) vs. Boston College (8)
2 p.m. - Virginia Tech (12) vs. North Carolina State (5)
7 p.m. - Clemson (11) vs. Florida State (6)
9 p.m. - Wake Forest (10) vs. Maryland (7)

Atlantic 10 Conference Quarterfinals
Noon - Charlotte (9) vs. Richmond (8)
2:30 p.m. - Dayton (12) vs. Butler (5)
6:30 p.m. - George Washington (11) vs. Massachusetts (6)
9 p.m. - Saint Joseph’s (10) vs. Xavier (7)

Big 12 Conference Quarterfinals
12:30 p.m. - Iowa State (5) vs. Oklahoma (4)
3 p.m. - Texas Tech (9) vs. Kansas (1)
7 p.m. - Texas (7) vs. Kansas State (2)
9:30 p.m. - Baylor (6) vs. Oklahoma State (3)

Big East Conference Quarterfinals
Noon - Cincinnati (9) vs. Georgetown (1)
2 p.m. - Syracuse (5) vs. Pittsburgh (4)
7 p.m. - Villanova (7) vs. Louisville (2)
9 p.m. - Notre Dame (6) vs. Marquette (3)

Big Sky Conference Quarterfinals
5 p.m. - Northern Arizona (7) vs. Weber State (2)
7:30 p.m. - Southern Utah (6) vs. North Dakota (3)
10 p.m. - Northern Colorado (5) vs. Montana State (4)

Big Ten Conference First Round
Noon - Minnesota (9) vs. Illinois (8)
2:30 p.m. - Penn State (12) vs. Michigan (5)
6:30 p.m. - Nebraska (10) vs. Purdue (7)
9 p.m. - Northwestern (11) vs. Iowa (6)

Big West Conference Quarterfinals
3 p.m. - UC-Santa Barbara (7) vs. Pacific (2)
5:30 p.m. - UC-Davis (6) vs. Cal Poly (3)
9 p.m. - Cal State Fullerton (8) vs. Long Beach State (1)
11:30 p.m. - Hawaii (5) vs. UC-Irvine (4)

Conference-USA Quarterfinals
1 p.m. - UAB (7) vs. Southern Miss (2)
3:30 p.m. - Houston (6) vs. UTEP (3)
7 p.m. - Tulane (8) vs. Memphis (1)
9:30 p.m. - Tulsa (5) vs. Eastern Carolina (4)

Great West Conference Quarterfinals
6 p.m. - Utah Valley (5) vs. Houston Baptist (4)

Mid-American Conference Quartefinals
6:30 p.m. - Buffalo (8) vs. Kent State (4)
9 p.m. - Eastern Michigan (7) vs. Western Michigan (3)

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
6 p.m. - Delaware State (6) vs. Hampton (3)
8 p.m. - Morgan State (5) vs. Savannah State (4)

Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals
Noon - Boise State (5) vs. San Diego State (4)

Pac-12 Conference Quarterfinals
12 p.m. - Arizona State (9) vs. UCLA (1)
5:30 p.m. - Colorado (5) vs. Arizona (4)
9 p.m. - Utah (10) vs. California (2)
11:30 p.m. - Washington (6) vs. Oregon (3)

Southeastern Conference Second Round
1 p.m. - LSU (9) vs. Georgia (8)
3:30 p.m. - Mississippi State (13) vs. Tennessee (5)
7:30 p.m. - Vanderbilt (10) vs. Arkansas (7)
10 p.m. - Texas A&M (11) vs. Missouri (6)

Southland Conference Quarterfinals
6 p.m. - McNeese State (8) vs. Southeast Louisiana (4)
8:30 p.m. - Sam Houston State (6) vs. Oral Roberts (3)

Southwestern Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
1:30 p.m. - Alabama State (5) vs. Jackson State (2)
9 p.m. - Prairie View A&M (4) vs. Alcorn State (3)

Western Athletic Conference Quarterfinals
3 p.m. - Idaho (6) vs. New Mexico State (3)
5:30 p.m. - Texas State (7) vs. Denver (2)
9 p.m. - UT-San Antonio (9) vs. Louisiana Tech (1)
11:30 p.m. - Utah State (5) vs. UT-Arlington (4)

You can find Troy Machir on Twitter at @TroyMachir