Nicholls State at Louisiana Tech, 7:30 PM Eastern, No TV
The UTR Game of the Day heads to Ruston, Louisiana tonight as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs host cross-state rival Nicholls State in a battle between one of the top teams in Conference USA and a team that is trying to move up in the Southland Conference standings.
Louisiana Tech may, by March, be at the top of the standings in Conference USA and should have a very good chance to win an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. However, a weak non-conference schedule and a failure to obtain any notable wins outside of conference play will likely leave the Techsters needing that automatic bid if they want to be in the Big Dance. While La Tech still has one decent non-conference game left (at NC State next week), they failed to score the big victory at Syracuse and have two weaker losses on their resume already (at Temple and at Louisiana-Lafayette). Adding another bad loss, to a Nicholls State team that they should beat easily tonight, would in all likelihood completely lock them out of any shot at at-large consideration. Simply assuming they will win tonight would be a bad idea for the Bulldogs — they need only ask fellow Under the Radar teams St. Mary’s and Eastern Washington, both of whom have already fallen to lesser opponents this week.
Nicholls State has played the type of schedule so far this season that La Tech should have been playing. They have traveled to UCLA, Wake Forest, Michigan and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, they lost all four of those games fairly easily as well as having suffered a season-opening loss to North Texas. In fact, the Colonel’s only wins so far this year have been over non-D1 opponents. If Nicholls wants to turn things around as they get ready for the start of Southland play, at least being competitive in tonight’s game is an absolute must.
-UCONN V DUKE. This game is taking place in New Jersey. Duke looks like a #1 seed caliber team, and UConn could really use a big win.
-CLEVELAND STATE AT VIRGINIA. Buy game
-YALE AT VERMONT. This will be a tough road game for what looks to be a very good Yale team.
-COASTAL CAROLINA AT OLE MISS. Coastal comes into this game with just two losses. This wont’ be easy, but it is a winnable game.
-LSU AT UAB. LSU needs to pick up this road win.
-OHIO AT EVANSVILLE. A chance for the Aces to improve to a very good 8-2 on the year.
-DEPAUL AT OREGON STATE. Oregon State has just two losses. I don’t think they’re a tournament team, but at least they have some momentum built up right now.