News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Tuesday, Jan 17th

NEWS AND NOTES

-For our latest Hoops HD Report – CLICK HERE

-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day – CLICK HERE

Creighton picked up what was their biggest win of the year yesterday on the road against Xavier, but they also suffered a huge loss.  Maurice Watson had to leave the game due to an injury and it is uncertain when he will be back.

-Kansas added another nice road win against Iowa State to an already amazing profile.  They seem destined to end up on the #1 line.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-ARKANSAS AT TEXAS A&M (SEC).  Arkansas is a fringe bubble team that seems to be slipping off the bubble.  This is the kind of road game that a tournament team should be able to win.

-KENTUCKY AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC).  Some on the Hoops HD staff like this Mississippi State team.  I’m not all that sold on them, but will be if they somehow manage to pull this one off.

-TEXAS AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve).  Texas has struggled, but they’ve played a lot of good teams close, but hasn’t really won any of them and at 7-10 is a mile away from making the tournament.  I don’t think they pull the upset tonight, but I do think they can play Baylor closer than what many expect.

-ILLINOIS AT PURDUE (Big Ten).  Purdue really needs to win games like this if they want to play their way up to a protected seed.  Illinois needs to win a game or two like this to help solidify that they’re a tournament team.

-SOUTH FLORIDA AT UCF (American).  Chances are UCF will not end up inside the bubble, but it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility.  They certainly cannot afford to lose games like this.

-VANDERBILT AT GEORGIA (SEC).  There has been some chatter for Georgia amongst the Hoops HD staff.  They still have work to do, and they can’t afford to lose home games to non-tournament teams.

-MICHGAN AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten).  Michigan has really hit the skids, but could quickly turn things around if they manage to pick up a win like this.  I really like his Wisconsin team and expect they’ll be at or near the top of the standings and within range of a protected seed by the time the year is over.

-WICHITA STATE AT EVANSVILLE (Missouri Valley).  Wichita’s margin for error is now pretty much zero.  They need to win out in order to end up on the right side of the bubble.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Ohio at Akron

Ohio at Akron, 7:00 PM Eastern, ASN/espn3

For our latest Hoops HD Report video podcast, CLICK HERE.

The Under the Radar Game of the Day heads to the Mid-American Conference for a battle between the two teams that appear to be battling for the conference regular season championship.  Although Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois are both off to 3-1 starts in the West Division, it is the top two teams in the East, Akron and Ohio that we are focusing on tonight.  Ohio University, entering play today at 11-4 overall and 3-1 in MAC play, is coming off of a disappointing home loss over the weekend to Eastern Michigan.  The Bobcats are being led once again this season by their star player Antonio Campbell.  Unfortunately, he left the game against Eastern Michigan after only 3 minutes with a foot injury and is doubtful to play in tonight’s game.  Without Campbell, players such as Jaaron Simmons and sophomore Doug Taylor will need to step in and pick up the scoring load.  If the Bobcats are able to overcome Campbell’s absence and find a way to win tonight, they will certainly send the message that they are more than a one-man show and good enough to win the conference this season.

With Campbell likely out tonight, the Akron Zips will certainly be favored to pick up the victory.  They enter play at 14-3 overall and 4-0 in MAC play.  In fact, since a season-opening loss at Youngstown State, the Zips have only lost two games — at Creighton and at Gonzaga.  Isaiah Johnson has been a force down low so far this year, including a 33 point, 9 rebound game effort last week at Central Michigan.  However, even when Johnson struggles (such as his 8 point, 5 rebound effort last time out at Miami-Ohio), the Zips are deep enough to win, with players such as Antino Jackson, Jimond Ivey, Daniel Utomi and Kwan Cheatham all able to put up solid stat lines.  For now, especially with Campbell out for Ohio, the Zips appear to be the favorites in the MAC.  A win today, which would put them up by two games in the East Division, could put them in the driver’s seat for the rest of the season.

Hoops HD Report – January 16, 2017

On tonight’s Hoops HD Report, the entire team gets together to discuss how to solve the problem of incredibly long delays for instant replay at the end of games, review the McDonald’s All-American selections, discuss the NCAA’s new potential focus on more advanced metrics than just the RPI, and go over all of the recent results and upcoming games in the major conferences.  We then go on to give our predictions for which teams that noone is talking about right now may make a late run at a tournament bid, and which teams that are currently in the discussion may fall off the radar.  All that and more . . .

 

 

And for those of you that prefer audio only, just click below:

John’s Bracket Projection – Monday, January 16

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Vermont and New Hampshire – CLICK HERE.

For David Griggs’ News, Notes and Highlighted Games – CLICK HERE.

For Jon Teitel’s weekly bracket projection as he tries to guess the Selection Committee – CLICK HERE.  Also check out Jon as a guest on the Bracketology.fm podcast.  CLICK HERE.

As we begin the holiday commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., we are now at the halfway point of the college basketball season. Every conference has also begun conference play, so the schedules are not consisting solely of PBS pledge-drive buy games anymore.

JOHN’S NOTES

With Baylor finally getting their first loss of the year, Villanova resumes the post of overall #1 seed. It was a close choice between Nova and Baylor, but I do like the Wildcats’ 9-1 record away from home (as opposed to Baylor’s 5-1). Kansas only has 3 wins against teams I would consider to be in the field this week (Duke, TCU and UNC-Asheville).

For all the grief we give Notre Dame about their out-of-conference schedule, they have more than made up for it in the ACC. They were the first team to win at Virginia Tech, and when you add that to a profile that includes wins at Miami, at Pitt and at home against Clemson and Louisville, they are also rapidly climbing the ladder and competing for a #1 seed themselves. They WOULD be a #1 had they been able to beat either Purdue or Villanova.

Duke did have a rough road this week, but their road becomes a little more manageable in the upcoming weeks. 5 of their next 7 games are at home, and they will have a week to think about the Miami game at Cameron.

Marquette was actually my last team in my field, but they play the top First Four team (Illinois) because of potential bracket conflicts.

I also want to highlight a few under-the-radar teams that make their debut into my field this week. Illinois State is now 6-0 in the Missouri Valley and have won the first leg against Wichita State to earn their way into the field. The Horizon League was tougher to choose. I still think Valpo has the best overall profile, even though they lost at home to Oakland and Green Bay actually having the lead in the standings. The Phoenix have not yet played Valpo or Oakland, and the Golden Grizzlies are outside my field for the time being after losing at home to a Centenary candidate in the Detroit Titans.

I’ve mentioned them a few times in UTR podcasts, and I would like to welcome the UNC-Greensboro Spartans to the field as the co-leader of the SoCon. They already beat Chattanooga earlier this season, and with a win at East Tennessee State last week, they are now 2-0 against the Mocs and Bucs. The Summit was also harder to choose – both Fort Wayne and North Dakota State lost, so I’ll stick with the Mastodons for now. They are on thin ice, however.

Georgia Southern is another team we haven’t really discussed much on UTR, but they are perfect in the Sun Belt Conference so far and are 2 games up on expected contenders Arkansas State and UT-Arlington. The Eagles have 6 losses out-of-conference, but 5 of them were against teams like NC State, Akron, Minnesota, Florida Gulf Coast and Winthrop. Only the loss at Mercer would really be an eyesore.

As for other teams considered, they are: California, Houston, Nebraska, Memphis, Utah, Texas Tech, UCF, NC State, Penn State, Kansas State, La Salle, Richmond and Georgia Tech.

(games played through Sunday, January 15)

COMMENTS FROM DAVID

-I don’t get the Arkansas love.  They have 14 wins, and outside of home buy wins and conference games that really aren’t that hard to win, they have two wins of note, and that’s at Tennessee and at home against Houston.  That’s really really their entire profile other than avoiding bad losses.

-Gonzaga is interesting.  They’re the only unbeaten team, and I think they’ve got a great chance of winning out.  If that happens I think the real committee will give them a #1 seed, but I don’t think they’ll deserve it.  They’ll have a great profile, but they won’t have a true road win against a protected seed, which is kind of my personal starting point when assessing whether or not a team is worthy of a #1 seed.  John has them on the #2 line.  Right now, I think that’s where I belong, and I personally don’t foresee myself ever thinking they belong any higher than that.  I think they’ll end up higher than that, but I won’t agree with it.

-I’m warming up to TCU as a potential tournament team, but still don’t believe they’re so far inside the bubble that they’re on the #9 line.

-I like Notre Dame as a protected seed, but not as high as the #2 line.  They do have a good profile with their only losses being to Purdue and Villanova, but they also don’t have a win of any kind against a protected seed.  Having said that, their win at Virginia Tech was VERY impressive this weekend.  Impressive enough for me to think they should be on the #3 or #4 line, but not as high as the #2 line. (Louisville is a protected seed, Puppet. – JS)

CHAD’S COMMENTS

– I would echo most of David’s criticisms and just have a few to add.  My first one has to do with the Pac-12.  Oregon as a 5 and Arizona as a 6 are crimes.  These teams should probably both be protected seeds, if not both on the 5 line at worst. (It was close, but Florida was my last #4 and Oregon my first #5. – JS)

– I also think having Greensboro in as the SoCon rep is pointless if you are going to argue that you are taking the best profile in the conference (as John did by choosing Valpo over Oakland in the Horizon).  I agree with taking the top profile, but it is either East Tennessee State or Chattanooga.  I also would question the choice of Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt — again, the best overall profile still belongs to Texas-Arlington despite two league losses so far.

– I like Illinois State.  I do not like them, based on a home win over Wichita State only, better than UNC-Wilmington and Middle Tennessee.  John clearly is smoking Redbird Brand crack cocaine.

– Wichita State barely belongs under consideration.  They do not belong in this field.  GET THEM OUT. (Not my job. Tell that to Cal, Houston and Tim Miles instead. – JS)

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Vermont at New Hampshire

Vermont at New Hampshire, 1:00 PM Eastern, espn3

For today’s News, Notes and Highlighted Games, CLICK HERE.

The battle for the America East championship is on in full force this afternoon as all State offices have been closed and a national holiday declared for the first of two regular season matchups between the Vermont Catamounts and the Team of the People, the New Hampshire Wildcats.  The host Wildcats enter play today with an overall record of 11-6 and a conference record of 2-1, just one game behind Vermont and Stony Brook in the loss column for first place.  Since losing their conference opener against Stony Brook, UNH has won at Albany and picked up a win at home against Binghamton.  Star player Tanner Leissner had one of his roughest games of his career against the Bearcats last time out, only scoring 2 points.  However, his teammates were able to pick up the slack, led by 23 from Daniel Dion and a double-double from Iba Camara.  With efforts like that today, the Wildcats have a great shot to hand Vermont their first league loss of the season and serve notice that they do intend to contend for the regular season championship.

Vermont enters play today at 14-5 overall and 4-0 in early conference play including a solid home win last time out against a much-improved UMBC team.  Trae Bell-Haynes led the team in scoring in that win, dropping 20 points.  Kurt Steidl added 11 points and 9 rebounds, narrowly missing the double-double.  The Catamounts enter today’s game with the top RPI, KenPom and Sagarin ratings in the conference, and have a chance, if they can run through the league during the regular season, to land a respectable seed in the NCAA Tournament.  However, that is much easier said than done and the New Hampshire Wildcats should be ready for them today.

#GoDancingOrDie

News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Monday, Jan 16th

NEWS AND NOTES

For Jon Teitel’s latest Bracket Projections – CLICK HERE

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-MARQUETTE AT BUTLER (Big East).  Butler continues to impress and looks like they could end up as a protected seed.  Marquette is squarely on the bubble, and if they were to a win like this would be a season defining win that would probably put them safely inside the bubble.

-VERMONT AT HEW HAMPSHIRE (America East).  The Team of the People are in action for one of their biggest conference games of the year!!  Vermont is a conference frontrunner, and picking up a win against them increases their chances of a first place finish and home court advantage in the conference tournament.

-CREIGHTON AT XAVIER (Big East).  Xavier doesn’t have a win against a highly ranked team, and they’re coming off two straight losses.  A win in this game would be good for their resume and their mental health.  As good as Creighton has been, they don’t have a road win of this caliber yet, so a win would really help their resume as well.

-SETON HALL AT VILLANOVA (Big East).  Nova continues to look like a #1 seed and the chances of Seton Hall beating them is small.  Seton Hall has lost two straight games (both on the road), but I still believe they are good.  This is probably too tall of an order, though.

-SYRACUSE AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC).  Syracuse has been schizophrenic this year.  Their good wins indicate they’re a tournament team, and their bad losses indicate they’d be lucky to make the NIT.  They have been playing better, and if by some miracle they were to pick this up it would give their resume a much needed boost.

-KANSAS AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve).  Kansas has won sixteen straight games since losing the season opener in overtime.  Iowa State has struggled this year, but they still look like a tournament caliber team, and are still very tough to beat at home.