The Washington Times - March 8, 2009, 11:19PM

Monday will not bring a ton of crucial bubble games.

In fact, even if there are three games to keep an eye on, there’s really one one of any sort of bubble substance.

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Consider it the calm before the storm – the power conference tournaments that get underway later in the week.

Those three games are …

* Virginia Commonwealth vs. George Mason, 7: The Patriots are a top-50 RPI team, but realistically this is a one-bid league. Either way, the CAA’s two best programs – both this year and over the last five seasons – are set up for a fantastic finale here in Richmond.

* Siena vs. Niagara, 9: The defending league champion Saints split the regular season series with the Purple Eagles, who just wrapped up a double overtime defeat of Rider in the MAAC semis. Siena would have harbored serious at-large hopes if it hadn’t lost to both Niagara and Rider on the road earlier in the year.

* Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s/Portland, 9: The Zags are good to go, so a loss would take away an at-large spot for certain. But Saint Mary’s is a curious case, and are worth monitoring simply to see how well Patrick Mills is faring (assuming the Gaels win late Sunday).

Patrick Stevens