-The biggest game yesterday was Arkansass overtime win over Southern Illinois in the Old Spice Classic 61-53. I actually didnt get to see any of it, but its important because both of those teams likely to make the NCAA Tournament and this gives Arkansas a leg up if it comes down to head to head competition.
The Old Spice Classic is being played in Orlando, FL, but none of the teams in this tournament are within 800 miles of its location. I did catch a few of the later games and I dont think there were 100 people in attendance. Its also odd that they would have Arkansas and Southern Illinois squaring off in the first game since those appear to be the two best teams in the field.
Marist also defeated Minnesota, and will face Arkansas in the semifinals. Western Michigan also got past a Virginia Tech team, who has high expectations this year, but isnt off to the best of starts. Western Michigan will take on West Virginia, who had no problems defeating Montana. That was the only game of the day that wasnt exciting as far as this tournament was concerned.
-In Alaska, California had all kinds of trouble with Marshall, which is surprising, but held on to win. Marshall is a team that has been very poor the past few seasons, and hasnt looked all that good this season until today. On the flip side Cal feels that theyre a tournament caliber team, so its a good thing they held on to win.
Hofstra is still looking for their first win. They fell to Hawaii 80-79, which does not help their cause at all. With a schedule as weak as theirs they dont have a big margin for error, and that margin is getting smaller and smaller. They must win their final two games in this tournament, especially considering the competition theyll be facing.
-The Preseason NIT third place game and championship game are today. If Butler can upset Gonzaga theyll be off to a great start to not only becoming an NCAA Tournament team, but possibly being a well seeded team. Tennessee will face North Carolina in the third place game, which is just as important as the first place game as far as the committee is concerned.
OTHER ACTION TODAY
-WISCONSIN VS MISSOURI STATE. Big game for both teams, but especially Missouri State. They just missed making the NCAA Tournament last year, but have most of that team back and a big statement win early can go a long way for them. Wisconsin is trying to get into the pod system, and a win over a quality opponent like Missouri State can help out their profile. This game is part of the South Padre Island Classic, so the fact that its a win away from home would be big for either team as well.
-OKLAHOMA STATE AT AUBURN. These are two unbeaten, but unproven teams. Its possible we wont be hearing from either one of them in March, but at least for now the winner remains unbeaten and that would help them get into the picture. Oklahoma State appears to be a better team, but one never knows for sure this early.
-LOUISVILLE VS DAYTON. This game is being played in Cincinnati, which is a neutral floor. Dayton already has a loss to SMU, whereas Louisville 1-0 with a win against Northwestern State. Dayton does not appear to be an NCAA Tournament team, but a win today would go a long way in helping them make a case for themselves. Louisville, who missed the tournament a year ago, cannot afford too many losses like this if they want to get back in this year.
-FLORIDA STATE AT PITTSBURGH. Both teams are unbeaten and for the most part untested, but Pitt clearly appears to be the better team. Theyve won more decisively and do have a win over a fairly decent Massachusetts team. It would be a huge win for Florida State, who has looked like an NCAA Tournament team at times in years past, but been left out due to a poor OOC schedule and lack of quality road wins. This game addresses both issues and would be a HUGE quality win for them.
-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA. Western Kentucky has a very good basketball team and should be able to make a strong case that they can get to the NCAA as an at large in the event that they dont make the NCAA Tournament. They are likely overmatched today though. Florida is untested, but they still look like the best team in the country. Western KY is the best team theyve played so far, but it isnt likely theyll have too much trouble winning this one. WKU does not have a huge margin for error due to the fact that they play in a weak conference. This loss wont hurt them, but a win would certainly go a long way in boosting their profile and widening that margin of error a bit.
-Maryland, Xavier, North Carolina State, Georgia, Clemson, Mississippi, Kansas, Ohio State, Washington, Northern Iowa and Illinois are all playing in Buy Games and should win without too much trouble.
Highlighted Games for Sat 2/17: Bracket Buster Edt
Feb 16, 2007, 09:16 pm
Drew Barnette runs down one of the biggest Saturdays of the college basketball regular season. With the Bracket Buster teams being played today, read about who is on the bubble and could really improve their NCAA Tournament resumes with quality wins today. Also read about teams who are favored to win their conference tournaments, and who are facing each other in games that will have an impact on their seeding, and possibly put them in a better position to pull a big upset.
Other big games include Louisville looking for their second big road win in a row as they travel to Marquette, Vanderbilt plays one of their biggest home games of the year as they host Floirda, Georgetown and Villanova Square off in an important Big East showdown,
All that, and much more in a huge Saturday for college hoops...
Mid Major Ramblings on the Eve of the Buster
Feb 16, 2007, 01:20 am
Drew Barnette gives his thoughts and opinions about the upcoming Bracket Buster, talks about how he feels mid-majors are viewed by the media today, looks at tonight's big game between Winthrop and Missouri State, and more...