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VCU closer to fulfilling role as an NCAA tourney bid thief

Mar 6, 2011, 3:40 PM EDT

Virginia Commonwealth just made every college basketball team on the NCAA tournament bubble sweat a bit. By Monday night, the Rams might even ruin someone else’s tourney chances.

That’s life on the bubble.

The Ram s (23-10) upended George Mason 79-63 in the CAA semifinals on Sunday, ensuring the league’s top seed won’t grab the automatic NCAA tournament bid.

The Patriots (26-6) had won 16 straight entering the game. They’re still a good bet for an at-large bid, though their seeding is going to take a hit. Instead of a 7 or 8, they’ll probably be a 10 or 11. (They were an 11 when they made the Final Four in 2006.)

Random aside: The teams that should be happiest about George Mason’s loss? Any potential 1 seeds. Avoiding George Mason in the second round is a gift.

More worrisome for any bubble team is if Hofstra beats ODU in the other semifinal. That would give the CAA an oustide shot at three bids because ODU and George Mason are the league’s two strongest candidates for at-large bids. Much would depend on how the other conference championship games played out, but don’t rule out the CAA getting three. 

UPDATE: It’ll be ODU vs. VCU for the title.

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