This is the big day with a very, very big game. After many months of action we have a team with a Canadian star on the verge of taking his team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the turn of the century ...
1:00pm St. Bonaventure vs. Xavier
To say that this is an unlikely match up to see in the championship game of the Atlantic-10 Conference wouldn't be entirely true, but I would have bet against it myself. But regardless of what I, or anyone else thought, the game is a reality and St. Bonaventure is on the cusp of getting to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.
Andrew Nicholson has been playing like a beast in the last five weeks of the regular season and it's carried over into the conference tournament. He's averaging an 22 points, 8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 4 blocks in the last two games and had certainly been opening up the eyes of the pro scouts that have been watching. He's been the leader of this team all season and he's poised to lead his team to the Big Dance.
The only obstacle will be Xavier.
The Musketeers have been the among the elite of the college basketball world early before the big dust up when they played Cincinnati. That seemed to have them in a tailspin before the were able to salvage their season late. Tu Holloway is their big gun and like Nicholson, was a pre-season Wooden Award candidate. He will be a key person to stop today but the X-factor will likely by Kenny Frease. He will be the one assigned to bump Nicholson in the post and this will present a great challenge, particularly since Frease is a bigger, more physical player that Andrew. If Nicholson can stay out of foul trouble in this game, particularly against Frease, than the Bonnies will have a shot to put Xavier away. It should be noted that Nicholson outplayed Frease earlier this season though.
But it will not be only on Nicholson's shoulders.
The Bonnies will need to see some contributions from Canadian guards Matthew Wright and Chris Johnson. Both are capable outside shooters and in Johnson's case he can also slash to the cup. The team will need them both here today for sure to keep the defense from collapsing on Nicholson to free him up to make a play.
The only time that the two teams met, the Bonnies were hammered 77-64 in Cincy. The memory should be fresh and the best revenge for St. Bonaventure would be to punch their ticket to the Tournament by knocking out the perennial conference powerhouse.
1:00pm Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky
And here is where the women are playing today ...
12:30pm Drexel vs. Delaware
1:00pm Detroit vs. Green Bay