News, Notes, Highlighted Games, and a UTR Tourney Reset: Saturday, Feb 25th

-It’s a VERY busy day today, but we’ve got it all covered!

SURVIVAL BOARD UPDATE

– We currently have 336 teams left on our Survival Board.  The following teams face possible elimination from it today:

Ivy League:
Brown: out with a loss at Harvard and a Penn win at Columbia
Cornell: out with a home loss to Princeton and a Penn win at Columbia
Dartmouth: out with a home loss to Yale and a Penn win at Columbia
Columbia: out with a home loss to Penn, a Yale win at Dartmouth, and a Brown loss at Harvard

Southland:
McNeese State: out with a loss at TAMU-CC or a Central Arkansas home win over SFA
Northwestern State: out with a home loss to New Orleans or a Central Arkansas home win over SFA

Conference USA:
North Texas: out with a home loss to Southern Miss
Florida International: out with a home loss to UTEP or a Southern Miss win at North Texas

SWAC:
Miss Valley State: out with a home loss to Jackson State, an Alabama State home win over Texas Southern, and an Ark-Pine Bluff home win over Grambling

 

NEWS AND NOTES

-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day, which has first place implications and home court advantage in the conference tournament – CLICK HERE

-For Jon Teitel’s article celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Oldham – CLICK HERE

-Dayton and Davidson seesawed back and forth last night before Dayton pulled away in overtime and picked up another notable road win and added it to an already solid profile.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-FLORIDA STATE AT CLEMSON (ACC).  I just don’t know how many more games Clemson is capable of almost winning.  They are perhaps the best 14-13 team in history.  As good as Florida State’s profile is, they’ve only won two true road games, and increasing that number by fifty percent would make their profile look a lot better.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT PITTSBURGH (ACC).  Our staff is now projecting UNC up on the #1 line, and I expect them to finish strong and stay there.  Pitt is capable of playing well at home, but given that the Tarheels are competing for a first place finish I don’t foresee them overlooking the Panthers.

-VIRGINIA AT NC STATE (ACC).  The Hoos have lost six of eight and need to pull themselves out of that tailspin.  Conference road wins are generally a good way to do that.  They still have a reasonably good shot at ending up as a protected seed if they’re able to get things turned around.

-SMU AT UCONN (American).  UConn is suddenly playing decent basketball.  They are coming off a loss at Houston, but they’d won seven of eight prior to that and have won their last six at home.  SMU should land on the top half of the bracket, and this is the kind of game that a first ballot team should be able to win, but they better not overlook the Huskies because although SMU is the better team, they’re not so much better that they can win by just going through the motions.

-WICHITA STATE AT MISSOURI STATE (Missouri Valley).  I think the Shockers are a virtual lock if they win this game and avoid a loss in the quarterfinals.  On paper their resume isn’t the best, but that’s more due to circumstance than it is to them not being good.  Hopefully the committee knows that.

-TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC).  This is a big game for South Carolina not because it would be a quality win on their resume, but because they’ve been nosediving lately and simply picking up any kind of a win should help pull them out of it.

-UMBC AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (America East.  The Team of the People!!!  They’re fighting for a chance to host a conference quarterfinal game!!!  UMBC has been one of the most improved teams in all of college basketball and the two are deadlocked in the standings.

-FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY (SEC).  Florida won the first game by a lot.  They’re now down a key player and they’re on the road.  The Hoops HD staff put Florida much higher on the seed list than I personally would have.  I admit that if the Gators get this one then my opinion of them will change.  It would clearly be their most impressive win of the year.  Either way they’re safely in the field and will be wearing white.

-WEST VIRGINIA AT TCU (Big Twelve).  TCU has been a home court hero this year and West Virginia hasn’t always been the best road team.  TCU is right on the cut line for making the NCAA Tournament and a win like this could really go a long way.  This is West Virginia’s most winnable remaining road game (they play at Baylor on Monday), and a win should help cement them into a protected seed.

-TEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve).  A win for Oklahoma State gets them to 9 conference wins, but more importantly they are one of the hottest teams in the nation.  Texas Tech is on the outside looking in and has not been good on the road.  If they want to make the field then they need a win like this, and they probably need more than that.

-ILLINOIS STATE AT NORTHERN IOWA (Missouri Valley).  Illinois State has had to sweat out a lot of games against teams that aren’t that good.  UNI is miles away from being a tournament team, but they have played well at home this year and this will not be an easy one for the Redbirds to pick up.  Since Illinois State is right on the bubble, they need this one and they probably need to avoid losing to anyone other than Wichita State in order to not be sweating out the selection show.

-VCU AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten).  The best thing you can say about VCU is that there aren’t a whole lot of bad things on their resume.  The problem is there isn’t much in they way of a lot of good things either.  They have a good chance of making it, and a win today really increases those chances.  Some say Rhody can still sneak onto the bubble, and I suppose it’s possible, but they can probably only lose one more game and that game better be the conference championship game.

-STONY BROOK AT VERMONT (America East).  Vermont has already clinched first place and home court advantage, and they probably can’t get in without the automatic bid.  But a win gives them a perfect regular season in the America East, so we’ll highlight this for that reason.

-SETON HALL AT DEPAUL (Big East).  Seton Hall appears to be on the right side of the bubble, and needs to hold serve in games like this on order to stay there.

-NORTHEASTERN AT UNC WILMINGTON (Colonial).  If UNCW can win this game and avoid any horrible losses in the CAA Tournament I think they have a reasonably good chance at getting in as an at-large bid if they’re unable to win the conference tourney.

-PENN STATE AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten).  Minney has had a fantastic season and appears to be heading toward the top half of the bracket.  If they finish strong they could end up with a very solid seed.

-CREIGHTON AT VILLANOVA (Big East).  Since losing Mo Watson, Creighton has gone 4-5, which isn’t terrible given the teams they’ve been playing, but is also far from good.  They aren’t likely to win this one, but if they do they’re shooting way up the list.  But, if they don’t, then they’re still in good shape so long as they win one of their remaining two games after that.  Nova is coming off of a loss, but they’re still on pace to get a #1 seed if they can hold serve the rest of the way.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT VANDERBILT (SEC).  Not everyone agrees, but Vandy is right on our bubble, and this would be their seventh win in their last nine games if they pull this off.  After this they face Florida and Kentucky.  If they can win this and win one of those, and then avoid losing to non-tournament teams in the SEC Tourney, I think that’s enough to land them inside the bubble.

-PURDUE AT MICHIGAN (Big Ten).  I really like this Purdue team and think they could end up as a protected seed.  They’re better than Michigan, but Michigan has been really tough at home this year, and they’re looking to lock themselves into the tournament as well, so it’s a big game for both teams.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC).  Road wins are never easy in this conference, unless you’re playing at Boston College.  Virginia Tech should get this one.

-DUKE AT MIAMI FL (ACC).  This should be a good one because Miami has been playing really well lately, and Duke (despite coming off a loss) has really stepped it up to the point to where they still have a good shot at a #2 seed.  It’s a showcase game for Miami which, believe it or not, would pull them even with Duke in the conference standings, as well as be a huge quality win on their resume.

-OREGON AT STANFORD (Pac Twelve).  Oregon is in a three way race for first place, and has a good chance at ending up as a #2 seed.  They haven’t been quite as good on the road, but they’ve been good enough and are coming off an exciting come from behind win at Cal.  They should be able to pick this one up as well.

-BAYLOR AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve).  Baylor has had the better overall season, and is clearly better on paper, but both teams are going in different directions.  The two are actually deadlocked in the conference standings, and while Iowa State got off to a slower start, they’ve now won five of their last six, including wins at Kansas, at Kansas State, and at Texas Tech.  The place will be rocking for this one, and don’t be surprised if they knock off Baylor.  As for Baylor, it would be a big road win and would keep them within reach of the #1 line, so this game has a rather pivotal feel to it.

-MARQUETTE AT PROVIDENCE (Big East).  Providence just slipped inside of our bubble, and based on how they’ve been playing they’ll have chances to move themselves further inside of it if they keep winning.  Marquette is inside the bubble and should make the field barring a collapse.  Both teams should be optimistic right now, but both still have work to do, so this is an important game.

-SOUTH ALABAMA AT UT ARLINGTON (Sun Belt).  If UT Arlington can win out and avoid a loss prior to the semis of the conference tournament, I think the committee should take them.  Whether or not they will is up to the committee.  In recent years they’ve tended not to value teams like this even if they finished in first place and won some big OOC games, but I would certainly argue that they would belong and hope the real committee would as well.

-KANSAS AT TEXAS (Big Twelve).  Half of these teams have a very good shot at ending up as a #1 seed!!  The other half will likely not play in a postseason tournament of any kind!!

-IOWA AT MARYLAND (Big Ten).  Maryland is in a bit of a tailspin, but should be able to knock off an Iowa team that has struggled this year and keep themselves near the top of the standings and in a good position to earn a #6-ish seed.  Maybe better if they’re really able to kick it into gear.

-KANSAS STATE AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve).  K State is inside our bubble, but they aren’t safely enough in to where they can just start losing games to non-tournament teams.  They’ve lost seven out of nine and this road win would really help them out.

-NEVADA AT UNLV (Mountain West).  Nevada’s chances of earning an at-large are very slim, but if they win out to the championship game they may get a look.

-ALABAMA AT TEXAS A&M (SEC).  Alabama is just about completely dead, especially after losing to Georgia the other night.  It’s still possible for them to play their way inside the bubble if they finish strong and knock off some notable teams in the SEC Tournament, but anything short of that and they’re off to the NIT.

-NORTHWESTERN AT INDIANA (Big Ten).  Outside of their win at Wisconsin, Northwestern has really been limping lately.  They’ve lost four of their last six, including two to an Illinois team that Chad thinks is good, but that no one else does.  Indiana isn’t just limping.  They’re barely even crawling.  The chances of them getting things turned around are almost zero.

-UCLA AT ARIZONA (Pac Twelve).  First place in the Pac Twelve is on the line, the better ranking in the seed list is on the line, which means getting to play in the West Regional, and bragging rights are on the line.  Other than that, it’s not that big of a game.

-ARKANSAS AT AUBURN (SEC).  Arkansas is pretty far inside the bubble and will safely make it if they hold serve, which probably means winning this game even though they’re the road team.

-SANTA CLARA AT SAINT MARY’S (West Coast).  Saint Mary’s has basically blown through this conference whenever they’ve played someone that isn’t Gonzaga, and I do not foresee that changing tonight.

-BYU AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  Gonzaga can pick up their 30th win of the season and enter the conference tournament unbeaten, ranked #1, and in position to perhaps earn the top overall #1 seed.  It’s a curtain call for what has been a historic season in the sense that they are perhaps the nation’s best team, perhaps Gonzaga’s best ever team, and that they’ve managed to go undefeated.  They would only be the fifth team to do it since 1976, but having said that they would be the third team to do it in the last four years.

 

 

UNDER THE RADAR CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT RESET

-Below is a brief reset for each of the UTR conferences.  For info on where the major conference teams stand you can watch our latest Bracket Rundown Podcast   And for more information on all the conference tournament, including seedings and schedules as they become finalized, you can check out our Conference Tournament Page.

-AMERICA EAST – Vermont has clinched first place and will have home court advantage throughout the conference tournament.

-ATLANTIC SUN – FGCU is the first place finisher.  The conference tournament is already set

-BIG SKY –  North Dakota has a one game lead over Eastern Washington and Weber State with each having three games remaining, but with the seeding being standard and the tournament being in Reno, the only things on the line are an automatic bid to the NIT, and the right to wear white jerseys

-BIG SOUTH – Winthrop, Liberty, and UNC Asheville are all tied for first with one game remaining.  The first place team will host the conference tournament.  More on the tiebreakers – HERE

-BIG WEST – UC Davis and UC Irvine are tied for first and CS Fullerton is just a game behind with three games remaining.  The seeding is standard but it is reseeded in the semifinals

-COLONIAL ATHLETIC – UNCW has a one game lead over College of Charleston with one game remaining, but has already clinched the tiebreaker and the top seed.  The problem is that the conference tournament is in Charleston, so there’s no real advantage.

-CONFERENCE USA – Middle Tennessee has clinched first place, and the tournament will be in Birmingham

-HORIZON LEAGUE – Valparaiso has a one game lead on Oakland with one game remaining.  The conference tournament will be in Detroit.

-IVY LEAGUE – Princeton has a two game lead with three games reaming, but the real excitement is the battle for fourth place between Penn and Columbia.  Penn is hosting the tournament, which could force Princeton to play a road game against their rival in the semifinals, which is admittedly unfair, but also admittedly awesome!

-METRO ATLANTIC – Monmouth has clinched first place.  Siena is hosting the conference tournament and if the Saints win their final game they will face Monmouth as early as the semifinals in a virtual home game.

-MEAC – NC Central has a two game lead with three games to play.  The conference tournament will be played in Norfolk.

-MAC – Akron has a two game lead with two games to play.  The Tournament is in Cleveland.

-MOUNTAIN WEST – Nevada and Colorado State are tied and Boise State is just a game behind them with three games remaining.  The tournament is in Las Vegas

-MISSOURI VALLEY – Wichita State and Illinois State are tied atop the standings with just one game to do and have a seven game lead on the third place team.  If the two are tied at the end of the year, then Illinois State will win the tiebreaker due to having a better RPI.

-NORTHEAST – Mount Saint Mary’s has a one game lead with one game remaining.  If they win today, or if LIU Brooklyn loses, they’ll have home court advantage throughout the tournament.

-OHIO VALLEY – Belmont has clinched first place and a bye into the semifinals.  The tournament is in Nashville

-PATRIOT LEAGUE – Bucknell has clinched first place and will have home court advantage throughout the conference tournament

-SOCON – East Tennessee State has a one game lead over Furman and UNC Greensboro with two games remaining.  The tournament is in Asheville, NC and the seeding is standard

-SOUTHLAND – New Orleans has a two game lead with three games remaining.  The tournament is in Katy, TX and the first place team byes into the semis.

-SUMMIT LEAGUE – North Dakota State are tied for first place with three games remaining.  The tournament is in Sioux Falls, SD

-SUN BELT – UT Arlington has a one game lead over Arkansas  State with four games remaining.  The tournament is in New Orleans and the seeding is standard

-SWAC – Texas Southern has a one game lead with four games remaining.  The tournament is in Houston and the seeding is standard

-WAC – Cal State Bakersfield has a two game lead with two games remaining.  The tournament is in Las Vegas and the seeding is standard, but the first place team does bye into the semis.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Liberty at UNC-Asheville

Liberty at UNC-Asheville, 2:00 PM Eastern, ASN

Don’t miss Jon Teitel’s interview with John Oldham, by CLICKING HERE.

The Big South Conference used to do things wrong.  They would play their entire conference tournament in Myrtle Beach on Coastal Carolina’s home court, giving the Chanticleers the home court advantage and the edge on winning the event even if they finished in second or third place in the league standings.  It was a format that we felt as completely unfair to the top teams in the league.  Last year, when Coastal Carolina announced that they were going to move to the Sun Belt, the league pulled the tournament out of South Carolina and sent it north to Campbell’s home court.  This season, they finally fixed the problem completely.  The two first round games (8 vs 9 and 7 vs 10) will be played on the home court of the higher-seeded team.  The eight remaining teams will then head to the home court of the regular season champion for the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds.  The finals will then be played on the home court of the highest remaining seed.  This format rewards regular season success and we here at HoopsHD fully applaud the Big South for adopting it.

Today, the regular season championship and home court advantage is up for grabs as we enter the final day of the Big South regular season with three teams tied for first place.  Two of those three teams, Liberty and UNC-Asheville, will play each other in Asheville, North Carolina in a game that could determine the championship.  Liberty enters play today at 14-3 in conference and 19-11 overall.  The Flames have been the surprise team of the Big South this season, only losing to Winthrop twice and at home to Asheville.  They defeated Longwood on Thursday night behind 13 points from Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz and 10 points from Ryan Kemrite.  UNC-Asheville is currently 20-8 overall and 14-3 in league play.  Ahmad Thomas continues to lead the way for the Bulldogs, including 25 points in their upset loss at Gardner-Webb earlier this week that created the three way tie in the standings.

As for the championship itself, once this game is done, the winner’s eyes will be focused squarely on the 4:30 PM Eastern Winthrop at Presbyterian game (espn3).  If Presbyterian pulls off the upset, then the Liberty-Asheville winner will host the conference tournament as regular season champions.  If Winthrop wins, then the tiebreakers kick in.  Should Winthrop and Liberty end the season tied for first, Winthrop will take the title based on their season sweep of the Flames.  Should Winthrop and UNC-Asheville end the season tied for first, the result of today’s Gardner-Webb at High Point game (4:00 PM Eastern, bigsouthsports.com) could decide the title.  A win in that game by Gardner-Webb would give Winthrop the regular season title based on their sweep of Gardner-Webb this season while Asheville split two games with the Runnin’ Bulldogs.  If High Point wins, then Winthrop and Asheville will end up in a dead heat in all tiebreaker categories and the final tiebreaker will be used — the team with the higher RPI on Sunday morning.  And it could not be a closer battle — heading into play today, UNC-Asheville’s RPI sits at 74 and Winthrop’s is 75.  Given that Asheville will be playing RPI 172 Liberty today and Winthrop will be playing RPI 346 Presbyterian, odds are that Asheville will win that tiebreaker.  But it will certainly be a close call either way.

Tourney anniversary: HoopsHD celebrates the 50th anniversary of John Oldham

There are coaches who win games, there are coaches who get a nice plaque when they retire, and then there are coaches who get to paint their own name onto the basketball court in the gym where they previously worked their magic.  John Oldham is a member of the latter group thanks to his remarkable resume.  As a player at Western Kentucky he was named All-American in 1949 before joining the NBA.  After spending a decade as coach at Tennessee Tech, he took over for his former coach Edgar Diddle in 1964 and went 146-41.  He led the Hilltoppers to 4 NCAA tourneys in a 6-year span from 1966-1971, including 50 years ago in the 1967 NCAA tourney when he took eventual runner-up Dayton to the brink before losing by 2 PTS in OT.  HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Coach Oldham about being an All-American and reaching the Final 4 in 1971.

What are your memories of the 1948 NIT (future Hall of Famer NIT MVP Ed Macauley scored 19 PTS in a 7-PT win by eventual champion St. Louis)? I just remember that we got beat. Macauley was a troublemaker but was also a great player.

In 1949 you were an All-American at Western Kentucky: what did it mean to you to win such an outstanding honor? It was a compliment. I started shooting a tennis ball into a Quaker Oatmeal box when I was 3 years old so it was my lifelong ambition to become an All-American. I got to play at Madison Square Garden when I was 18 years old…and then I got a letter from Uncle Sam and spent 3 years in the Navy.

In 1949 you were drafted 15th overall by the Fort Wayne Pistons (1 spot behind Ralph Beard): did you see that as a validation of your college career, or the realization of a lifelong dream of reaching the NBA, or other? I played for the coach that drafted me during WWII (Curly Armstrong). We had 12 great players in the Navy. I came out of a very small high school in a town of 1000 people but 5-6 of my teammates ended up playing basketball in college.

In 1950 you scored a team-high 5 PTS in a 19-18 win at Minnesota, which remains the lowest-scoring game in NBA history: how excited were you when they finally instituted a 24-second shot clock? I think that we caused it! We held the ball for most of the game and there was a lot of booing and a lot of coins tossed onto the floor. My only claim to fame was being the leading scorer in that game. We had to physically fight our way off the floor as a couple of guys had me pinned down.

What are your memories of the 1963 NCAA tourney as coach at Tennessee Tech (a 69-PT loss to Loyola, which remains the biggest margin of victory in tourney history)? From that point on I never let anyone sit on the bench who did not wear a coach and tie so that nobody would know who the coach was! They walloped us pretty good but I got even with them a few years later when we beat them.

What are your memories of the 1966 NCAA tourney as coach of your alma mater (Cazzie Russell made 2 FT with 11 seconds left after a foul call on Greg Smith during a jump ball in a 1-PT win by Michigan)? We were leading at the end of the game and then they called a foul on Greg for jumping into Cazzie even though he never even jumped. We had a team that should have won it all.

What are your memories of the 1967 NCAA tourney (Don May had 26 PTS/20 REB in 45 minutes in a 2-PT OT win by eventual runner-up Dayton)? That was the year that Clem Haskins missed a few games with an injury. I started him in that game but he just was not ready for an OT affair. May made a long 2-handed shot to beat us: that was my 2nd team that was capable of winning it all.

In 1970 you received death threats after starting 5 African-American players: how bad was the racial climate at the time, and did you ever regret your decision? I never regretted my decision. It was not an easy time back then to find places to stay/eat. I must have received over 100 letters from racist people but thank god for the writers who hung in there with us. It just so happened that the 5 best players I had were Black and after a while you just look at them as ballplayers. I got called to the president’s office and the chairman of the board said that he was not in favor of my plan. I had some great players such as Dwight Smith/Haskins/Greg.

Take me through the magical 1971 NCAA tourney:
Clarence Glover had 16 PTS/17 REB and made a layup with 4 seconds left in a 2-PT win over Jacksonville (Artis Gilmore had 12 PTS/22 REB): where does that shot rank among the most clutch that you have ever seen? Clarence went over and hid in the far-left corner. I told our team to get the ball to Jim McDaniels but Gilmore switched over to guard Jim. Everyone on our bench jumped up and yelled to get the ball to “C”. He faked it, shot it, and made it. I showed up at the press conference and people said that it was the best designed play they ever saw…but he was the last person I would have ever chosen to take that shot!

McDaniels had 35 PTS (11-11 FT)/11 REB in a 25-PT win over Kentucky: how big a deal was it to get such a huge win in the school’s 1st-ever meeting against its in-state rival? We beat Indiana when they were undefeated as well as teams like Cal/Ohio State. Even though years have passed that was probably the biggest game in our school’s history.

Jerry Dunn scored 25 PTS but missed a FT with 4 seconds left in regulation in a 3-PT 2-OT loss to eventual runner-up Villanova: how devastating was that loss, and does it feel weird that the legacy of such an amazing game is that both teams later had to vacate that tourney appearance due to NCAA violations? That was really a disaster. Glover missed a shot at the end of that game after making the game-winner against Jacksonville. I can still see it today: it rolled around the rim twice and then fell out. We should have won that ballgame but you have to make your own breaks.

News, Notes and Highlighted Games – Friday, February 24

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Oakland and Green Bay – CLICK HERE.

For the weekly Bracket Rundown Podcast where the Hoops HD staff builds a seed list live on tape delay – CLICK HERE.

We are only 3 days away from the annual fortnight of conference championship games that decide who advances to the NCAA Tournament and who will have to wait until Selection Sunday to hear their fate on national TV. Last night, the regular season was finished in the Atlantic Sun, and you can click HERE to see the bracket for their conference tournament. 12 other conferences will wrap up regular season play this weekend, and on Sunday night we will have our season premiere of Championship Week video podcasts starring Chad, the Puppet, and myself (and other occasional guests).

– It has been a very turbulent couple of weeks for Maurice Watson Jr. While we’ve covered his ACL tear on numerous occasions, that is the least of his problems right now since he has been suspended from Creighton University. He has since been charged by authorities in Omaha with sexual assault and is expected to return from Philadelphia (his hometown where he had his ACL surgery) to turn himself in to authorities.

– Gonzaga set a record for most lopsided road win by a #1 team last night; they waxed San Diego 96-38 last night. Should they beat BYU tomorrow night, they would be the 5th team to clinch a perfect regular season since Indiana won the 1976 national championship with a perfect record. Other teams to run the table in the regular season were UNLV in 1991, Saint Joe’s in 2004 (before the A-10 Tournament), Wichita State in 2014 and Kentucky in 2015.

– Both Arizona and UCLA won to set up a very pivotal matchup at Arizona over the weekend. An Arizona win would put the Wildcats in the driver’s seat for the regular season title, but a UCLA win puts the Bruins squarely back into the race for the top spot in the Pac-12.

– While Cincinnati and Saint Mary’s won with relative ease last night, the only Top 25 team to fall victim to an upset was Wisconsin taking a bath at Ohio State. The score will show the Buckeyes won by 10, but they had an easier time winning that game than the score would indicate. It was not a good in-state homecoming for Badgers Vitto Brown and Nigel Hayes.

– The Big South now has a 3-way tie between UNC-Asheville, Liberty and Winthrop. I suspect that the Liberty-Asheville game tomorrow will be a leading candidate for Chad’s UTR Game of the Day.

– Mount St. Mary’s failed to clinch the NEC outright last night after falling at home to Long Island-Brooklyn. It was the first time all year the Mountaineers lost at home in NEC play. The Mount clinches the top NEC seed either with a win against St. Francis-Brooklyn or a loss by LIU-Brooklyn against Wagner. However, the Blackbirds could clinch the top seed if The Mount loses against SFBK and if they beat Wagner.

– If New Mexico State wasn’t finished after losing games at Bakersfield and Grand Canyon, a home loss against archrival Utah Valley was another nail in the coffin (at least as far as the regular season is concerned).

– New Orleans and UNC-Wilmington were other UTR teams to hold serve last night.

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

– SIENA AT MONMOUTH (MAAC, 7 PM – ESPN2). Tonight is Senior night for Monmouth – notable Hawks to be honored include Justin Robinson, Josh James, Je’Lon Hornbeak, Zac Tillman and Chris Brady. We would be remiss if we didn’t include other members of the Hawks’ Nest like Collin Stewart and Greg Noack, though.

– PRINCETON AT COLUMBIA (Ivy, 7 PM – Ivy League Digital Network). While Princeton has been cruising towards the Ivy League regular season crown, they will have to complete the job in the Ivy League Tournament in two weeks. Columbia has really struggled of late and are now battling with Penn for the 4th and final spot into the tournament.

– PENN AT CORNELL (Ivy, 7 PM). And speaking of the Quakers, they will be going to upstate New York tonight to take on the Big Red. They have won 4 straight games after an 0-6 start to Ivy League play.

– YALE AT HARVARD (Ivy, 7 PM – ESPN3/WatchESPN). While there are still 4 games left in the Ivy regular season title, it’s hard to imagine that Harvard would finish anywhere other than 2nd and Yale would finish anywhere other than 3rd. As it stands right now, this would be one of the semifinals for the inaugural Ivy League tournament.

– VALPARAISO AT WRIGHT STATE (Horizon, 7:30 PM – ESPN3/WatchESPN). Chad has already highlighted Oakland/Green Bay as his UTR Game of the Day, but there are still high stakes to this game if Valpo wants to hold onto their spot as leaders in the Horizon. A Valpo win AND an Oakland loss clinches the top seed in the Horizon League Tournament.

– DAYTON AT DAVIDSON (A-10, 9 PM – ESPN2). This is one of 2 games tonight involving power league teams – the Flyers are looking to avoid stubbing their toes in a trap game that precedes their rematch with VCU next week. Davidson did beat VCU earlier this season, but they are in a slump in which they’ve lost 4 of 6 games (including losses at home to URI and an improved George Mason team).

– OREGON STATE AT CALIFORNIA (Pac-12, 11 PM – FS1). Cal has already endured a tough loss to Oregon earlier this week. They absolutely must win this game tonight and likely need to sweep the Utah/Colorado roadie next week to feel comfortable about their bubble chances on Selection Sunday.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Oakland at Green Bay

Oakland at Green Bay, 7:00 PM Eastern, ESPNU

For our most recent Bracket Rundown video podcast, CLICK HERE.

Tonight’s key game is a huge AFC-NFC matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers from the frozen tundra of Lambeau . . .  Tonight’s Under the Radar Game of the Day is a key battle in the Horizon League between the Oakland (Mich.) Golden Grizzlies and the Green Bay Phoenix.  Entering play tonight, Oakland sits one game behind Valparaiso in the battle for the regular season championship and top seed in the conference tournament, and would hold the tiebreaker over the Crusaders by virtue of sweeping them in the regular season.  Green Bay is one game further back, but still in striking distance of at least picking up the 2 seed, especially with a win in hand against Oakland already.  With Valpo having a pair of tough road tests left this weekend (at Wright State tonight and at Northern Kentucky on Sunday), it is even still possible for the Phoenix to capture the top seed.

Oakland is currently 22-7 overall and has won seven straight games.  Martez Walker has been a key to the run, including a 23 point effort in a home win over Valpo last week.  Green Bay sits at 17-11 overall.  The Phoenix started conference play 5-0, but have only gone 6-5 since then.  Charles Cooper had a huge game earlier this week in a win over Illinois-Chicago, when he scored 18 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.  These two teams are both looking to enter the conference tournament with momentum, and with only one regular season game left after tonight, the winner of this game has a great chance to be playing for an NCAA Tournament bid in the conference title game on March 7.

Hoops HD Bracket Rundown: February 23rd

The Hoops HD Panel look at all the teams that they feel should be in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today.  It isn’t an attempt to guess what the actual committee would do on Selection Sunday, but rather how they themselves would select and seed the teams if the season ended today.  They reveal all the teams line by line and discuss, debate, and assess them as they go.

The show was recorded on Thursday, February 23rd at 9:30pm, est.  It does not take into consideration any games that were played after that, most notably USC vs Arizona and Wisconsin vs Ohio State

 

 

Below is the seed list in bracketed form…

 

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an mp3 version of the show…