NEWS AND NOTES
-It was a wild night in college basketball despite the fact that there weren't all that many games. Kentucky is really improving and last night they took down one of the hottest teams in the country with a win over Tennessee. They still have a long way to go before getting into the NCAA Tournament discussion, but all of a sudden they don't appear to be the doormats of the SEC and actually may be able to make some noise.
-Wisconsin looked as though they had an easy home game against Michigan, but ended up really struggling. They ended up getting the win, which is the important thing, but it wasn't nearly as easy as I'm sure they thought it would be.
-Drake got a big road win at Creighton in an overtime thriller to remain unbeaten in the conference and improve to 17-1 on the season. Creighton has a good team and it's not an easy place to win, so that was a game that will make a statement to the committee.
-ILLINOIS STATE AT BRADLEY (Missouri Valley). Illinois State is coming off a loss to Drake that they desperately need to rebound from. Theyre right on the bubble and cant afford too many slipups if they want to end up inside of it. Bradley has struggled on the season, but generally plays well at home, so it wont be easy for ISU to pull it off.
-SAN DIEGO STATE AT BYU (Mountain West). San Diego State has won five out of their last six, and is 4-0 in the conference with wins over some of the better teams in the league. Their last game as a blowout win against Wyoming and theyre quickly establishing themselves as the early favorite. Winning at BYU wont be easy, though. The Cougars play as well at home as just about anyone in the nation, and theyre coming off a big win against rival Utah. BYU needs this in order to avoid falling behind early in the conference race.
-CONNECTICUT AT CINCINNATI (Big East). For a team thats just .500, Cincinnati is red hot. If they can keep the streak going they can actually play their way into the at-large discussion. UConn is coming off a decisive win against Marquette, which is one they really needed, but they had been struggling prior to that and a few more losses would knock them back toward the bubble. Cincinnati is coming off a big win against Pitt and they have suddenly become very tough to beat at home, so dont be surprised if they knock off the Huskies.
-KANSAS STATE AT COLORADO (Big Twelve). Kansas State has really come to life lately, and a win here would be their eighth in nine game. They blew out Texas A&M in their last game and are currently unbeaten in Big Twelve play. Colorado gave Texas a big scare in their last game, but other than that they havent looked all that good.
-VIRGINIA AT FLORIDA STATE (ACC). Both of these teams are slipping big time and I get the sense that neither can afford to lose this game. Virginia did blow out Boston College in their last game, which ended a three game losing streak, but still needs a few more wins to turn it around. Florida State has lost three in a row and was buried by Wake Forest in their last game.
-OLD DOMINION AT GEORGE MASON (Colonial). George Mason has just cracked the RPI top 50, but still needs a big time finish if they want to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large. Theyre a good team with a few good wins, but they also have some really poor losses, which makes their margin for error very slim.
-VCU AT HOFSTRA (Colonial). VCU has won ten of eleven and looks to be on of the hotter teams in the Colonial. Hofstra has really struggled this year and is a team VCU should be able to knock off despite being on the road. The one thing the Rams are really lacking is a big time win, so any loss would be costly.
-IOWA AT INDIANA (Big Ten). Indiana is 16-1 and on a rampage. They should be able to win this game rather easily at home, but Iowa is playing a little better now so they may be able to put up a little bit of a fight. At this point in time it looks like Indiana is good enough to compete for the league title.
-IOWA STATE AT KANSAS (Big Twelve). Iowa State is playing much better now, but still has a long way to go just to get into the discussion for the NCAA Tournament. Although theyve been playing better, they dont appear to be good enough to where anyone could expect them to knock off one of the best teams in the country on the road. If the Cyclones do pull it off their RPI and overall tournament resume will get a major boost, but that looks to be a long shot.
-AKRON AT KENT STATE (Mid American). These look to be the two best teams in the MAC and it looks as though both teams are just outside the bubble right now in terms of an at-large. Kent State doesnt have any outstanding wins, but their schedule has still been much better than Akrons. Akron needs to win this because they need to at least have a win against a bubble team on their resume. Despite being 14-3 and looking really good, Akron doesnt have any credentials that will impress the committee yet. Kent State is coming off a loss at Ohio and really needs to rebound. The margin for error is very small for both teams. Dominating the conference will get them in the discussion, and most likely get them in the tournament, but because they dont have any big time wins outside of league play anything short of that will likely keep them out.
-WEST VIRGINIA AT MARSHALL. This is an in-state rivalry that appears to be a big mismatch, but Marshall has been able to hold their own and even pull some upsets in the past. WVU is having a solid year and is safely in the projections for now, but a loss like this would really be a setback for them.
-NORTH CAROLINA AT MIAMI, FL (ACC). North Carolina is coming off a surprising upset loss to Maryland and could be in for another tough battle tonight. Miami is 13-3 and looked great out of conference, but they appear to be slipping a little bit and desperately need a big time win on their resume. They had NC State beaten in their last game, but gave it away in the final seconds when they turned it over and allowed NC State to score the game winning basket. The crowd should be jacked for this one, and Miami should be able to stay in the game. I think they have a chance at pulling the upset, but it would still take a tremendous effort.
-GEORGIA TECH AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (ACC). NC State was blown out in two consecutive games, but turned things around with a win at home against Miami in their last game. They need to build on that with a win today and even their conference record at 2-2.
-PURDUE AT PENN STATE (Big Ten). Purdue has won six of seven and really appears to have hit their stride. Normally this looks like a rather easy win, but Penn State is having a better than usual year. Purdues RPI is still in the 90s so they need to keep winning in order to get themselves solidly in the picture. They certainly cant afford to overlook Penn State.
-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten). Rhode Island is having a big year, but theyre just 1-2 in A-10 play and cant afford to lose such a winnable game at home to a poor RPI team like George Washington.
-VILLANOVA AT RUTGERS (Big East). Nova is 13-3 and coming off an impressive road win against Syracuse. Theyre sort of under the radar right now, but Nova has been playing very well lately and looks like theyll be a force in the league. This is a winnable game for Nova despite the fact that theyre on the road.
-MASSACHUSETTS AT SAINT JOSEPHS (Atlantic Ten). Both teams are in the NCAA Tournament picture, but neither are so far in that they can relax. Both could really use a win in a game like this because if both end up on the bubble, this will definitely tip the scales in favor of whoever pulls it off. Saint Josephs fell to Charlotte last week, but other than that theyve been red hot and absolutely blew Penn out in their last game. UMass is coming off a big win at home against Charlotte and has looked outstanding in their last two games.
-LOUISVILLE AT SOUTH FLORIDA (Big East). Its hard to win on the road in this league, but this is one of the more winnable road games Louisville will play. Theyre coming off a loss at Seton Hall and need to rebound from it and take care of business in this one.
-BAYLOR AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve). This is one of the more interesting games of the night. TAMU got off to a great start, but was blown out in their last two conference road games. Both were on the road, though, but if theyre going to struggle on the road that badly then they absolutely must win at home. Baylor is having a good year, but doesnt have a win like this on their resume and this would give them a huge boost. Its a road game against a quality conference opponent and that would make a great impression on the committee.
-MEMPHIS AT TULSA (Conference USA). Tulsa fans should be fired up for this one and they could put up somewhat of a fight, but Memphis has just been so outstanding that I dont think an upset is all that likely. Memphis has a big game against Gonzaga this weekend, but they arent the kind of team that is likely to get caught looking ahead.
-WYOMING AT UNLV (Mountain West). UNLV is outside the bubble, and a loss like this to a really poor Wyoming team would be very damaging. They need to get it done and stay in the MWC race.
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