Sunday, February 24th Highlighted Match-ups

Sunday, February 24th Highlighted Match-ups
Feb 24, 2008, 07:33 am

-The new bracket projections should be posted late tonight/early tomorrow, along with a recap of what has been a busy weekend and an analysis of what impact all of those games had.


-XAVIER AT DAYTON (Atlantic Ten). Xavier can clinch at least a share of the Atlantic Ten regular season title with a win today. One more win and they’ll obviously win it outright. The Musketeers are a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament and are merely playing for seeding purposes now. If they finish the season strong they should end up within the area of a #3 seed. As hard as this might be to believe, Dayton has just a one game lead over George Washington and Fordham for 12th place in the Atlantic Ten standings, and since GW beat them earlier this year, they hold the tiebreaker. If the Flyers don’t get it together soon, they might not even make the Atlantic Ten Tournament, much less the NCAA Tournament. If the Dayton collapse were to continue until that level, Xavier fans will be among the least sympathetic toward them. This is a big rivalry within the conference and Dayton’s fans should be up for it. Whether the team is or not remains to be seen.

-SAINT BONAVENTURE AT MASSACHUSETTS (Atlantic Ten). Saint Bonaventure has just one conference win and shouldn’t put up much of a fight against UMass, who picked up a big win earlier this week against Rhode Island. UMass’s remaining schedule is rather easy from here on out, and they should be able to win all their remaining regular season games, which would all but lock up a bid. If they happen to stumble between now and the end, though, it would be a bad loss on their resume, which would put them back onto the bubble.

-WAKE FOREST AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC). Wake is coming off a huge upset win against Duke, which was their third straight. They still have a lot of work to do if they want to make the NCAAs, and an upset against North Carolina isn’t all that likely, but if they were to pull it off they’d suddenly find themselves in the mix. North Carolina is back in a tie with Duke for first place in the standings, which has huge implications on who will end up being seeded #1 in the Charlotte Region. As good as both Duke and UNC are, one slipup between now and the end could turn out to be one too many in regards to ending up #1 in Charlotte.

-SYRACUSE AT NOTRE DAME (Big East). Syracuse is right on the bubble, and picked up a huge win last week against Georgetown, but came up just short against Louisville in their last game. Notre Dame has yet to lose at home and is looking at being seeded #4th or better if they can continue to win at the rate the have been, so an upset win on the road for Syracuse would go a long way toward them making the NCAA Tournament. As for the Irish, they’re in contention to finish first in the Big East, which would assure them a very good seed, so every game the rest of the way is big for them as well.

-LOUISVILLE AT PITTSBURGH (Big East). Both teams are safely in the field, but Pitt has lost two in a row and as well as Louisville has been playing they’re in danger of dropping their third straight, which would lower their credentials as far as seeding is concerned. Having said that, it’s also a chance for the Panthers to pick up a quality win. Louisville is among the teams in contention to finish first in the conference standings, and will end up with a very good seed in the NCAA Tournament if they keep winning at the rate they have been.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten). Both of these teams could wind up in the dance, but both have been backtracking lately. Rhode Island is just 6-6 in the conference after two consecutive close losses to Xavier and Massachusetts, and if they can’t turn it around and finish strong they may be left out. The same goes for Saint Joseph’s, how is coming off a damaging loss to La Salle. Both teams really need this win because they’re currently sitting rather close to the bubble.

-CALIFORNIA AT STANFORD (Pac Ten). This is a huge rivalry within the Pac Ten, so there is quite a bit at stake off paper as well as on paper. California is on the bubble, but a win over a solid team like Stanford on the road would be a huge, much needed boost to their resume. Stanford is still in contention to win the Pac Ten, but even if they don’t they’re still looking at getting an excellent seed in the NCAA Tournament barring a collapse. They’ve beaten Cal once already this year, so they’re certainly good enough to do it again on their home floor.

-NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT VIRGINIA (ACC). NC State is on the outside looking in right now, and if they don’t finish strong they’ll be on their way to the NIT. This is an absolute must win for them, especially considering how much Virginia has struggled this year. A loss in this game and NC State may end up finding themselves in too deep a hole to dig themselves out of.

-WRIGHT STATE AT ILLINOIS STATE (Bracket Buster). Wright State is in second place behind Butler in the Horizon League standings, but they’ve won 11 straight games and should get some consideration from the committee if they win out and manage to win a game in the conference tourney. That won’t be easy, though, because WSU struggled to beat several low caliber teams during that stretch. Illinois State has just one home loss, and although they’re one of the better teams in the Missouri Valley, chances are they’ll need the automatic bid to get to the NCAA Tournament as well.

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