UMass to open A-10 tourney vs. GW

The pairings are set for the Atlantic 10 tournament, with the sixth-seeded University of Massachusetts to open against No. 11 George Washington on Thursday night (9 p.m.) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The winner of that game will face No. 3 seed Temple in the quarterfinals. The Owls beat VCU, 84-76, on Sunday.

UMass, which was 9-7 in the A-10 for the second straight year, suffered what may have been their worst loss of the season -- at least in terms of their standing in the eyes of the NCAA tournament selection committee -- at the hands of the Colonials, losing 79-76 on Jan. 19 in Amherst. The Minutemen trailed much of the day and fell behind by 16 in the second half before staging a furious rally that fell short.

UMass' chances of getting an at-large bid to the Big Dance appear slim, although wins of Temple and second seed VCU in the semifinals could conceivably at least put them in the bubble conversation. But clearly if the Minutemen want their first NCAA bid since 1998, they'd best win four games in four days. And the way the bracket sets up, they could have four teams who already have beaten them -- GW, Temple, VCU and St. Louis or Butler -- lined up ahead of them.