THE FIRST power conference gets underway with the ACC featuring a pair of afternoon games between the dregs of its league. No such thing as bad basketball in March, is there?

Here's a look at the next two conferences to open postseason play:


At Greensboro, N.C.


12-Boston College vs. 13-Georgia Tech, 1

11-Wake Forest vs. 14-Virginia Tech, 3:30


8-Clemson vs. 9-Florida St., 12

5-North Carolina vs. BC/Ga. Tech, 2:30

7-N.C. State vs. 10-Pittsburgh, 7

6-Miami vs. Wake Forest/Va. Tech, 9:30


1-Virginia vs. Clemson-Florida St., 12

4-Louisville vs. UNC/BC/Ga. Tech, 2:30

2-Duke vs. N.C. St.-Pittsburgh, 7

3-Notre Dame vs. Miami/Wake/Va. Tech, 9:30


Times: 7 & 9:20


Semifinal winners, 8:30 (ESPN)

NCAA Tourney prospects: Virginia and Duke both are likely No. 1 seeds, especially if they meet in the final . . . Notre Dame, Louisville and North Carolina are in; N.C. State could use a win over Pittsburgh to solidify its position . . . Miami needs to at least get to the semifinals, which will require beating Notre Dame in the quarters.

Fun facts: Top-seeded Virginia won this tournament a year ago for only the second time in program history; 1976 was the other . . . The league is on a 3-year run where neither Duke nor North Carolina won the conference tournament. The only other time that happened was when N.C. State won the first three ACC Tournaments (1954-56) . . . Miami freshman Ja'Quan Newton, a Neumann-Goretti product, averaged more than seven points and 25 minutes over the last three games . . . Syracuse initiated a self-imposed ban in response to an ongoing NCAA investigation and is not playing in the postseason.


At Houston


8-Alcorn St. vs. 9-Grambling St., 9:30


2-Alabama St. vs. 7-Mississippi Valley St., 3:30

1-Texas Southern vs. Alcorn St.-GSU, 9:30


3-Southern vs. 6-Alabama A&M, 3:30

4-Prairie View vs. 5-Jackson St., 9:30


Times: 3:30 & 9:30


Semifinal winners, 6:30 (ESPNU)

NCAA Tourney prospects: This is a one-bid league.

Fun facts: The winner of this league seems headed for a play-in game against another 16-seed. Beware if it's Texas Southern, which played a murderous non-league schedule that included two stunning victories . . . "In our conference," Texas Southern coach Mike Davis told the Houston Chronicle, "we are the team everybody is trying to beat because we did beat Michigan State and Kansas State" . . . Davis took Indiana to the 2002 national title game.

Tomorrow: Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Pac-12, SEC, Southland.

Thursday: AAC, Big Sky, Big West, Sun Belt, WAC.

- Ed Barkowitz