Highlighted Games for Saturday, December 14th


-ARIZONA AT MICHIGAN. Michigan has struggled early, but two of their losses were on the road to Duke and Iowa State. So, perhaps their struggles are being overstated. Arizona has some big wins away from home, but this is probably the toughest true road game that they’ve played in so far.

-KENTUCKY AT NORTH CAROLINA. North Carolina has been bi-polar this year with losses to Belmont and UAB, and then a win over Michigan State. This is Kentucky’s first true road game, and their biggest test of the year so far. They beat a good Boise State team earlier in the week rather handily, but this would be a much bigger statement win.

-SAINT MARY’S AT BOISE STATE. Boise is a good team with a home win against Utah, and a bunch of crap wins. SMC is unbeaten and has won some notable games, but they’ve all come at home. This would be the biggest win of the season so far for whoever ends up winning it. This game won’t get a lot of attention, but it is a very good match-up between two teams who are probably better than what most people realize.

-NEW MEXICO AT KANSAS. Everyone is down on Kansas for losing their last two games. The fact of the matter is that Florida and Colorado will likely combine for a grand total of three losses or fewer at home. They were right in there with Colorado, and they came back in a hostile environment after falling down early to Florida, so the Jayhawks are hardly down for the count. They’re at home against a New Mexico team that is good, but probably not good enough to get a road win of this caliber.

-PRINCETON AT PENN STATE. This may seem like an odd game to spotlight, but Princeton has just one loss on the season, and Penn State is 8-3 with just one home loss. Can Princeton, along with Harvard, contend for a spot in the NCAA Tournament?? Only one of them can get the automatic bid, so winning out of conference is important if they’re looking at getting two teams.



-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT LOUISVILLE. WKU has struggled away from home and appears to be overmatched in this one.

-VCU AT NORTHERN IOWA. VCU has dropped some games early. They need to have a sense of urgency going into this one because is not a tournament team, and they’re the kind of team that a solid NCAA team needs to be able to beat on the road.

-SAINT PETER’S AT SETON HALL. I’m not big on SHU yet, but a win does get them to 8-3.

-YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT PITTSBURGH. Pitt is still unbeaten, and although Youngstown has four losses, they have proven to be formidable at times so Pitt better not overlook them.

-EASTERN KENTUCKY AT WISCONSIN. Eastern KY is a good team, but probably not good enough to play their way into an at-large bid. Unless, of course, they’re able to win a game like this.

-LOUISIANA TECH VS OKLAHOMA STATE. This game is technically a neutral site, but it’s in Oklahoma City, so the crowd should be partial toward Okie State. LA Tech is a good team, but with limited shots at quality wins. They’re probably overmatched in this one, but if they could pull this off it would solidify their profile. Okie State appears to be a #1 seed caliber team, but they have struggled to close games out this year.

-INDIANA STATE AT UMKC. Not exactly a noteworthy game for Indiana State, but a win does get them to 7-2.

-INDIANA VS NOTRE DAME (Crossroads Classic). Both teams should come into this with a sense of urgency, because neither of them have a notable win yet, and both could really use one.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT OAKLAND. Oakland is technically the home team, but it will be a pro-Michigan State crowd.

-TULSA VS OKLAHOMA. This is the second, and far less interesting, game of the doubleheader in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma should win rather handily and improve to 9-1.

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT OLE MISS. This is a game between two teams with good records, but who lack notable wins. Ole Miss took Oregon to the wall earlier this year, but couldn’t finish them off. Middle will have fewer chances in conference for notable wins, so they probably need this one a little more.

-BELMONT AT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE. A win for Belmont gets them to a solid 9-2. They’re in good shape so long as they avoid bad losses.

-BUTLER VS PURDUE (Crossroads Classic). Both teams have just two losses and have looked good at times, but have also struggled against some pretty weak teams. Both really need quality wins, so like the other Crossroads game, both should come in with a sense of urgency.

-FRESNO STATE AT CALIFORNIA. This Cal team has been a little disappointing this year, but I still like them and don’t think they’ll have too much trouble in this one.

-CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT DAYTON. Dayton is off to a good start, but is coming off a loss to Illinois State and is looking to rebound against a modest Central Michigan team.

-WEST VIRGINIA VS MARSHALL. Neither team looks like a tournament team yet, but this is a bitter rivalry and is usually a fun game to watch.

-CINCINNATI VS XAVIER. This is the second year these two have met at a neutral site. Cincinnati is off to a 7-1 start, but their only notable win so far was at home against NC State, and it’s hard to say how notable that will ultimately end up being. Xavier has struggled, especially away from home, but still has a somewhat decent record at 7-3. They really need to get some notable wins, because outside of Villanova, no one in their conference is really establishing themselves, so their chances to get good wins will be somewhat limited.

-LOUISIANA MONROE AT LSU. I think LSU may push for a spot in the tournament. They do not want to slip up in this game against a ULM team who only has one loss.

-NEW MEXICO STATE AT DRAKE. A real interesting game here between two teams that will likely land outside the bubble, but that have some potential. New Mexico State is playing a brutal out of conference schedule and hasn’t picked up any notable wins yet, but they should absolutely destroy the WAC. Drake has just two losses, one of which was to a pretty good Iowa team, so they have shown signs of potential. I don’t expect either of them to be in the discussion at the end, but I am open to the remote possibility that one or both will build an NCAA Tournament caliber resume. To do that, they need to win this one, though.

-NORTH DAKOTA STATE AT OHIO STATE. I said before the season started that I thought NDSU was an at-large caliber team, and I still do. They have a razor thin margin for error, though. They did win at Notre Dame earlier in the week, but it was more of a struggle for them than I thought it would be, and this is really their last shot at a highly notable win. If they don’t get this one, they’ll pretty much need to win out or only drop one more, which they may be good enough to do. Ohio State looks like a #1 seed caliber team.

-ILLINOIS AT OREGON. Illinois has just one loss, but they still haven’t looked that good because they’ve had to sweat out some weak teams. Oregon is unbeaten and has looked fantastic. If Illinois wants to be taken seriously, they need to at least play well in this game.

-SOUTH ALABAMA VS GONZAGA (Battle in Seattle). This isn’t the type of opponent we’re used to seeing in this game. Gonzaga has just one loss on the year and I don’t expect they’ll struggle much in this one.

-BYU AT UTAH. Last, but certainly not least. These two were long time traditional conference rivals, but the bitterness is still there even though it’s not a conference game. Utah has just one loss on the year, but really doesn’t have any quality wins. BYU has a few decent wins, could really use another one because they’ll have limited chances in conference play. This one means a lot both on and off paper.



-ALABAMA A&M AT OHIO. Ohio needs notable wins, and this certainly won’t count as one, but they do only have two losses on the season.

-GRAMBLING AT ARIZONA STATE. A win for ASU gets them to 9-2.

-NORTHERN ILLINOIS AT UMASS. UMass is trying to stay unbeaten.

-IUPUI AT MARQUETTE. Marquette is just 5-4, but should turn it around. I think.

-ARKANSAS STATE AT NEBRASKA. A win for Nebraska gets them to 7-3 and keeps them relevant. For now.


-SAINT CATHERINE (nondiv1) AT SOUTHERN MISS. USM has just one loss. This is not the kind of game any team who wants to make the tournament should schedule.

-DETROIT AT NC STATE. I’m not big on NC State yet, but a win does get them to 7-2.

-COPPIN STATE AT RICHMOND. A win gets the Spiders to 8-3.

-FURMAN AT CLEMSON. I’m not that excited about Clemson yet, but a win does get them to 8-2.

-WOFFORD AT SAINT LOUIS. A win for SLU gets them to 9-2.

-PRAIRIE VIEW AT UCLA. A win for the Bruins gets them to 9-1.

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