Under the Radar Game of the Day: Thursday, December 18 – Nicholls State at Louisiana Tech

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.

 

OTHER ACTION

-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.

Highlighted Games for Wednesday, Dec 17th

-GEORGIA STATE AT OLD DOMINION (Spotlight Game).  Also our UTR Game of the Day.  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

-TENNESSEE AT NC STATE.  You get the sense that both of these teams have work to do, so this game has a pivotal feel to it.

-CHARLESTON SOUTHERN AT WOFFORD.  Wofford has the big win at NC State, and will get some chances at other big wins as well.  Having said that, they need to also win the small ones.

-USC UPSTATE AT MEMPHIS.  This is a very winnable game for USC Upstate, which would improve them to 9-3.

-SAN DIEGO STATE AT CINCINNATI.  If you like offense, watch something else.  Both these teams could use a win, but you get the since Cincinnati needs it more.  It will likely be a rock fight.

-EASTERN MICHIGAN AT MICHIGAN STATE.  Eastern Michigan has just one loss, and also has a notable win at Michigan.  They’re probably in over their heads tonight, but if they pull off this upset, you have to start seriously thinking of them as a team that could end up inside the bubble.

-NC A&T AT OHIO STATE.  Buy game.

-MANHATTAN AT PITTSBURGH.  Buy game

-HAMPTON AT ILLINOIS.  Buy game

-SC STATE AT TEXAS TECH.  Buy game.  Texas Tech has just one loss.

-PINE BLUFF AT HOUSTON.   Buy game.

-TEXAS STATE AT SFA.  Buy game.  Probably not technically, but it feels that way.

-MOREHEAD STATE AT GREEN BAY.  Buy game.  Probably not technically, but it feels that way.

-NEW MEXICO STATE AT BAYLOR.  Buy game.

-GRAMBLING STATE AT WASHINGTON.  Buy game

-CS NORTHRIDGE AT OREGON.  Buy game

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Wednesday, December 17

Georgia State at Old Dominion, 8:00 PM, American Sports Network (check local listings)

There are plenty of times that choosing the UTR Game of the Day is difficult — times when no game stands out or when a small group all appear noteworthy and a choice needs to be made.  Then there are days like today, when it is absolutely clear that one and only one game is the correct choice.  Tonight’s UTR Game of the Day is Georgia State at Old Dominion, as two teams from non-major conferences that could both end up at-large worthy by the end of the season play head-to-head.

Georgia State enters tonight’s game with a record of 6-2.  The Panthers have a notable blowout home victory over Green Bay, another very strong Under the Radar team.  Their two losses came at Iowa State and at Colorado State, both losses that are easily excusable.  Of course, with the rest of the Sun Belt Conference being on the weaker side (Louisiana-Lafayette’s KenPom rating of 142 is second best behind Georgia State), the Panthers will need a win or two of note to hang their hats on if they need an at-large bid.  Tonight’s game at ODU and next weekend’s game at Green Bay may be their only real chances to get that.

Old Dominion was a team that we initially picked to be just off the pace behind teams like UTEP and Louisiana Tech in Conference USA.  While both of those teams have struggled, the Monarchs have raced out to a 7-1 start on the season including an impressive home win over VCU and a neutral court win over LSU.  Their only loss was to Illinois State in the Paradise Jam, a loss that may come back to haunt them if they end up on the bubble at the end of the year.  In terms of quality wins on their profile, the bad news is that tonight’s game is their last major non-conference test.  The good news is that playing in Conference USA they will get some chances at resume building wins, including road tests at Charlotte and at UTEP.  However, if the Monarchs want to prove that they are a legitimate NCAA tournament team, winning tonight’s game would be a huge step in that direction.

Bracket Racket: Dec 16th

Below is our latest Bracket Racket podcast, where we reveal what we think the NCAA Tournament field would look like if the season ended today.  David, Chad and Joby banter about all that, and more….

To see Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day, CLICK HERE

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

Under the Radar Game of the Day – December 16, 2014

Northern Arizona at St. Mary’s, 10:00 PM Eastern, free streaming at thew.tv

The St. Mary’s Gaels are coming off of their biggest win of the season this past weekend, having headed to Omaha and pulled off a thrilling overtime win against the Creighton Bluejays.  That victory moved the Gaels to 6-1 on the season, with the only blemish being a home loss to Boise State.  It was also good enough to get them (just barely) into out bracket projection this week (click the link above for a look).

Tonight, the Gaels are sandwiching in a home contest against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks before heading on their longest road trip of the year, a cross-country journey to Madison Square Garden to take on nationally-ranked St. John’s Friday night.  After the St. John’s game, the Gaels will return home for a contest against a very solid Northeastern team before West Coast Conference play starts December 27.  The Gaels have been led offensively so far this year by Brad Waldow, though keep an eye on both Aaron Bright and Kerry Carter, the later of whom is shooting over 50% from behind the three point arc.

Northern Arizona has struggled so far this year, sitting at 3-6 with only wins over Southern, Fresno State and Loyola Marymount to their credit.  The Lumberjacks needed overtime to defeat Southern and have an overtime loss at home to a fairly weak UTSA team.  In other words, their best shot at a win tonight may be if the Gaels overlook them with this game coming in between two big road trips.  Ako Kaluna has been their leader offensively so far this season, though watch out for Quinton Upshur and Aaseem Dixon, neither of whom will shy away from shooting a three.