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Athlon Sports picks favorites for 2014 conference tournaments
Picking No. 1 seeds is no fun. It’s not fun on your NCAA bracket and certainly not fun in the conference tournaments.
Not to mention it’s statistically impossible for all No. 1 seeds to advance all the way to a tournament championship.
All of the teams at No. 1 in the league tournaments have their NCAA bids wrapped up and some, including Florida and probably Arizona, already have No. 1 seeds in the NCAAs in play. In other words, a few No. 1 seeds don’t have much more they need to accomplish in the conference tournaments.
How much will that come into play this season? We’ll find out this week.
The Cavs will enter the ACC Tournament with something to prove. They won the regular-season title but probably have not been given proper credit due to their relatively soft league schedule. Tony Bennett will have his team ready to play.
Russ Smith and the defending national champs head to Memphis on a mission. A No. 1 seed is probably out of reach, but a title this weekend could vault the Cardinals to a No. 2 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Atlantic 10: VCU
Top-seeded Saint Louis is in a cold snap and few of the league’s bubble teams look like they can pull of tournament championship. VCU’s offense doesn’t always click, but the havoc defense is a difficult matchup in a tournament setting.
Big 12: Iowa State
The Cyclones are built for postseason success. They have star power (three players average at least 16 points per game), experience (two senior starters) and are very well coached.
Big East: Creighton
The Bluejays have some deficiencies on the defensive end of the floor, but they score with tremendous efficiency. This team, led by senior Doug McDermott, will be eager to shine on the big stage of Madison Square Garden.
Big Ten: Michigan
The Big Ten is loaded with elite coaches, but Michigan just might have the best game day coach in the business in John Beilein. He will find a way to lead the Wolverines to their first Big Ten Tournament championship since 1998.
Mountain West: New Mexico
The Lobos routed top-seeded San Diego State the first time around in Albuquerque and controlled the rematch until the Aztecs switched defensive game plans in the second half. New Mexico won’t be caught off guard if these teams meet a third time around.
The Wildcats have only lost three times this season — all on the road. On a neutral court, Arizona is by far the best team in the league. Look for Sean Miller’s team to coast to the title.
Florida doesn’t have a ton to play for — the Gators have already secured a No. 1 seed — but Billy Donovan has done a great job keeping his team motivated this season.