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Joe Boozell | | March 7, 2019

These are 5 of the most interesting storylines heading into the final weekend of the regular season

There's no escaping the nerves on Selection Sunday

Several teams will be playing in conference tournaments this weekend, but we're focusing on the schools who are in their final regular season stretch.

Here are five storylines to monitor for Saturday and Sunday.

Zion Williamson's health

Duke barely survived Wake Forest on Tuesday night without Williamson. It's just not the same team without him. The Blue Devils are 3-2 in games sans Williamson (including the North Carolina blowout in which he played less than a minute), and one of the wins was a squeaker over the Demon Deacons.

The game against the Tar Heels on Saturday is important for the sake of the rivalry and NCAA tournament seeding. Duke probably won't beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill without Williamson based on what we've seen.

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But it's also key for the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Ideally, Williamson would be able to shed his rust in a regular season game, even if it's an important one. An ACC tournament return is possible. But seeing as how Duke would have to play multiple days in a row if it wins, that would be a tough ask for someone whose conditioning might not be 100 percent.

It will be fascinating to see whether or not Williamson suits up this weekend.

The Big Ten title race

Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue are all 15-4 in the league. The Wolverines and the Spartans square off on Saturday night, while Purdue will travel to Northwestern earlier in the day.

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Michigan has the tie-breaker over Purdue, and the Spartans and Boilermakers split their two matchups. So if the Wolverines win, they'd be the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue is rooting for a Michigan State win and, obviously, a victory of its own.

The Wolverines vs. Spartans matchup should be a good one. It's in East Lansing; Michigan State surprisingly won in Ann Arbor recently despite being shorthanded. Cassius Winston was brilliant in that game.

Keep an eye on Charles Matthews' injury status. It's not as impactful as the Williamson situation, of course, but his health could dictate whether or not Michigan wins this game. He's questionable with an ankle injury.

No. 1 seed jockeying

It feels like there are more than four schools still in the mix for a 1 seed, and this weekend could have big implications.

The Duke vs. North Carolina game is the obvious one. The result could be the difference between a 1 or a 2 for either team, and you have to wonder whether Williamson's health will have any impact on the committee.

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But there are other schools to watch, too. Virginia hosts Louisville on Saturday. That should be a win for the Hoos, but the Cardinals are a tournament team. They've struggled lately, but it's not a sure thing. Tennessee, meanwhile, travels to Auburn to take on the Tigers. KenPom projects the Vols to lose by one. A win would keep them in the 1 seed discussion, and while it could still probably overcome a loss, it would make their SEC tournament showing much more crucial. The Michigan-Michigan State outcome may matter here, too.

We know Kansas' Big 12 streak is over, but who dethrones the Jayhawks?

Oklahoma officially ended Kansas' Big 12 regular season title streak on Tuesday. Now, Texas Tech and Kansas State are tied for the league lead at 13-4.

The Wildcats host the Sooners on Saturday, while the Red Raiders travel to Ames to take on Iowa State. Neither game is going to be easy. Texas Tech-Iowa State is a sneaky great matchup, by the way. The Red Raiders have just been pummeling foes lately and have won eight in a row. The Cyclones are ranked 18th in the NET and are playing at home. That's tasty.

Kansas State and Texas Tech split their matchups this season, so a tie is possible. The Wildcats look to have a slight edge based on Saturday's opponents, but it would be really hard to pick against Tech right now. Regardless of whom it's playing or where.

The AAC title is on the line

UCF's win over Houston last weekend opened the door for Cincinnati to take the AAC crown, though it will now have to be shared. The Cougars and Bearcats will face each other on Sunday.

Houston won the first matchup against Cincinnati. With the Bearcats losing to UCF on Thursday and Houston defeating SMU, the Cougars have a one-game lead at 15-2.

The first Cincinnati-Houston game was a treat for anyone who likes physical basketball, by the way. These teams have talent, but they are special because of their toughness and smarts. This is a nice Sunday affair after what's going to be a loaded Saturday of college hoops.

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