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It’s tournament week, one of the best weeks of the sports year.

Unless you’re Nebraska. There figures to be plenty of stress as the Huskers watch talking heads take turns yelling about who should and shouldn’t be among the 68 teams in the NCAA Tournament field come Selection Sunday.

Oh, by the way, there’s the matter of keeping tabs on this week’s conference tournaments, and rooting for certain teams to take care of business and help keep the Huskers’ hopes afloat.

Of course, no one knows for certain what needs to happen for the Huskers to get in. They may already be in the field. They may not have a chance. No one will know until the field is announced around 5 p.m. Sunday on TBS.

The following isn’t perfect, but it should provide a rough outline of this week’s most important games to Nebraska’s hopes, and what the Huskers would like to see happen in each tournament.

Tournament: ACC

When is it? Tuesday-Saturday.

Where is it? Brooklyn, New York.

Can I watch it? Yep. All games are on the ESPN family of networks.

Championship game: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN.

What Nebraska needs: Notre Dame to lose, quickly. The Irish squeaked past Pitt — that’s winless-in-conference-games Pitt — by three points in Tuesday’s opening round. Star forward Bonzie Colson is back in the lineup after missing most of the season with a foot injury, making the Irish (19-13) a trendy pick to sneak into the field as one of the final at-large teams. Husker fans should root hard for Virginia Tech to take Notre Dame out in Wednesday’s second round.

America East

When is it? Semifinals Tuesday, championship Saturday.

Where is it? Home sites.

Can I watch it? If you’re willing to work a little. Tuesday’s semifinals were on ESPN3.

Championship game: 10 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2.

What Nebraska needs: Top-seeded Vermont to win. This is likely a one-bid league anyway, so it may not matter, but Vermont’s gaudy record (26-6) and close losses to fellow bubble teams Kentucky and St. Bonaventure could make it an attractive at-large mid-major pick should the committee go in that direction. The Catamounts (great mascot) are 68th in KenPom, 12 spots behind Nebraska, with an RPI of 60, which is three spots ahead of the Huskers.

American Athletic

When is it? Thursday-Sunday.

Where is it? Orlando, Florida.

Can I watch it? Yep. First- and second-round games are on ESPN2 and ESPNU, with the semifinals and championship on CBS.

Championship game: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, CBS.

What Nebraska needs: Some more help from old friend Central Florida, but not too much. Cincinnati and Wichita State are tournament locks, but third-seeded Houston is right there on the bubble. A matchup between the Cougars and UCF looms in Friday’s quarterfinals if the Knights can get past East Carolina on Thursday. Ideally for NU, UCF, playing a virtual home game, beats Houston in the quarterfinals, then loses to No. 2 seed Wichita State in the semis, and the Shockers and Cincinnati play in the championship game.

Atlantic 10

When is it? Wednesday-Sunday.

Where is it? Washington, D.C.

Can I watch it? If you have the right cable package. Wednesday’s games and Thursday’s quarterfinals are on NBC Sports Network. Friday’s semifinals are on CBS Sports Network.

Championship game: Noon Sunday, CBS.

What Nebraska needs: Rhode Island to regain its mojo, and the Bonnies to go bye-bye. The Rams rolled through the regular season to earn the league’s top seed, but lost their final two games and three of their last five to sink back towards bubble territory. One of those losses is to St. Bonaventure, which holds the No. 2 seed and is battling with Nebraska for bubble position. A Richmond or Davidson upset of the Bonnies in Friday’s quarterfinals would do NU some good, but the Huskers need Rhode Island to win the title to avoid seeing another at-large bid disappearing.

Big 12

When is it? Wednesday-Saturday.

Where is it? Kansas City, Missouri.

Can I watch it? Yep. All games are on the ESPN family of networks.

Championship game: 4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN.

What Nebraska needs: Chalk, probably. Listen to the talking heads on ESPN, which, coincidentally, has a contract to broadcast Big 12 basketball games, and pretty much everyone in the league other than Iowa State is already in the field. So while it may not matter in the minds of some, a No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Texas Tech championship game would probably be the most ideal scenario for the Huskers.

Big East

When is it? Wednesday-Saturday.

Where is it? New York City.

Can I watch it? Yep, all games before the championship are on FS1.

Championship game: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Fox.

What Nebraska needs: Xavier and Villanova are playing for a No. 1 seed in the big dance, but it’s what is happening behind them that intrigues the Huskers the most. Creighton and Seton Hall look like they’re in the field. How many games do Butler and Providence need to win to get in? The league is strong, but the Huskers need chalk to avoid a team such as Marquette stealing a bid.

Conference USA

When is it? Wednesday-Saturday.

Where is it? Frisco, Texas.

Can I watch it? If you’re social media-savvy, then yes. Wednesday’s first-round games will be broadcast live on Facebook, with Thursday’s quarterfinals on Facebook, Twitter and Stadium.

Championship game: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS Sports.

What Nebraska needs: Middle Tennessee to take care of business. The Blue Raiders are 24-6 with a pair of wins over SEC teams, and are 11 spots ahead of Nebraska in KenPom and ranked 27th in the RPI. They’re probably in no matter what. But an upset means another at-large bid off the table. Fourth-seeded Marshall beat MTSU twice this season. Third-seeded Western Kentucky has spent time on the bubble. This could sneakily be a very important tournament for NU’s chances.

Mountain West

When is it? Wednesday-Saturday.

Where is it? Las Vegas.

Can I watch it? Not until the quarterfinals, unless you really want to spring to watch live streams of the first-round games on the Mountain West’s website.

Championship game: 5 p.m. Saturday, CBS.

What Nebraska needs: Top-seeded Nevada is in, and the Wolfpack are gonna get a high seed. They’re really good. But Boise State and New Mexico, not to mention traditional power San Diego State, are good enough to pull an upset and make Nebraska sweat. The Huskers need Eric Musselman’s crew to have a drama-free weekend in Vegas, which would be the first drama-free weekend in Vegas since the first neon sign lit up.


When is it? Wednesday-Saturday.

Where is it? Las Vegas.

Can I watch it? Call your cable provider. Everything but one semifinal and the championship is on the Pac-12 Network.

Championship game: 9 p.m. Saturday, FS1.

What Nebraska needs: Maybe the most wide-open tournament in the nation. Arizona is the top seed, but far from a lock. No. 2-seed USC, No. 3 Utah and No. 4 UCLA are all scrambling for position. By the way, Dana Altman and Oregon are a 6-seed. The Ducks taking out Utah in the quarterfinals would seemingly help the Huskers — the Utes are in roughly the same neighborhood as NU when it comes to RPI and KenPom, while Oregon is a little further down the list.


When is it? Wednesday-Sunday.

Where is it? St. Louis.

Can I watch it? While you’re on the phone with your cable guy about the Pac-12 Network, make sure you have the SEC Network, too. Everything but two quarterfinals, the semifinals and the championship is there.

Championship game: Noon Sunday, ESPN.

What Nebraska needs: Much like the Big 12, the network in charge of broadcasting the SEC’s games seems to think a big chunk of the league is getting in. This is another wide-open field. Mississippi State, who Nebraska played what seems like years ago in a hurricane exhibition, is the No. 7 seed and has a chance to cause havoc. The six teams ahead of the Bulldogs are all playing to make their case, so a lot of crazy upsets here probably wouldn’t hurt the Huskers.

Sun Belt

When is it? Wednesday-Sunday.

Where is it? New Orleans.

Can I watch it? Yep. ESPN3 up until the finals.

Championship game: Noon Sunday, ESPN2.

What Nebraska needs: Nebraska needs to watch the Sun Belt? Really? Well, kind of. Louisiana is the heavy favorite, but the Ragin’ Cajuns likely need to win their conference tournament to make the dance. Even with a 26-5 record, the strength of schedule is in the 250s, with a RPI of 64 and a KenPom ranking of 71. So just to be safe, Husker fans should root for the fleur de lis this week.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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