-LOUISVILLE AT KENTUCKY. It’s the Saturday after Christmas, and that means the Bluegrass State is on full meltdown alert. The normal story line for this game on paper is that it is an out of conference games between two solid tournament teams who are looking for a quality win. This year it actually means a little more. Neither team has a big win yet, and at the same time neither team will have quite as many opportunities in conference to get one, so this could end up being the biggest win that either team manages on paper as well as off. Louisville has played a weaker schedule, but has looked really good against some fringe tournament teams. Kentucky is more tested, but still doesn’t have a really big win yet. It’s normally a sloppy game, and it may be again this year. The cliche of throwing the books out the window really is in play for this one. Neither team or fan base cares about winning a big game to impress the committee. They care about winning this game for bragging rights.
-VILLANOVA AT SYRACUSE. An old conference rivalry that is no longer a rivarly. Both teams are playing like protected seeds, and are currently looking like #1 seeds, so it’s a low risk/high reward game. It will be a great win for whoever pulls it off, but it won’t be a damaging loss at all for whoever doesn’t.
-PROVIDENCE AT UMASS. UMass is at home today, which is a place that haven’t been at all that often this season. They have an impressive resume despite the fact that they’re coming off a loss to Florida State. Providence has just two losses this year, but doesn’t have any really good wins. This is a huge game for them because if they can get this one on the road it would go a long way as far as them making the dance. The problem is they’re battling injuries and suspensions. UMass, on the other hand, is looking to add another notable win to their already impressive profile.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES
-NEBRASKA AT CINCINNATI. Both teams have decent records, but neither have a really good win yet, although Cincinnati did beat what is currently a decent Pitt team. Nebraska is better than expected, but if they are actually good enough to be in the discussion then they need this win.
-BELMONT AT INDIANA STATE. Belmont has lost three straight and Indiana State has dropped some games as well since winning at Notre Dame. If either team wants any shot at all at an at-large then they need to win this one.
-EASTERN MICHIGAN AT DUKE. At 7-3, Eastern Michigan has played well and appears to be better than expected, but they’re likely way overmatched in this one. Still, when you consider how weak Duke’s defense has been, and how they still don’t have a hugely impressive win, it does appear to be a game that’s at least worth watching.
-SOUTHERN MISS AT RHODE ISLAND. Southern Miss is a respectable 11-2, but because they don’t have a strong schedule or conference, their margin for error is thin. They need to pretty much win them all if they want to stay in the discussion.
-UIC VS ILLINOIS. This game is in Chicago, but it will be a very pro-Illini crowd. Illinois just had a big win against Missouri, and this is their first game back. They’ve struggled in the past against UIC, so although it may look like a cakewalk, Illinois may sweat a bit.
-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT HOFSTRA. A win for GW puts them at 11-1. Despite their good record and despite this being a road game, a loss would be somewhat damaging.
-HARVARD AT FORDHAM. Fordham, who has perennially been one of the worst teams in div1, is now out to a respectable 7-4 record and has actually looked decent at times. They may put up a fight at home against a Harvard team, who suddenly needs to be conscious of their OOC games now that Princeton is on the scene.
-BYU AT LMU. BYU has some decent wins, but they’ve struggled recently and really need to have a sense of urgency against an LMU team that has been tough to beat at home so far.
-WAKE FOREST AT XAVIER. Wake is out to a quiet 10-2 start, and has looked decent at times. Xavier has won four straight since losing all three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis. Both of these teams have shown signs of life, but both still have a feel of being on the outside looking in and trying to solidify themselves, so both need to come into this with a sense of urgency.
-OLD DOMINION AT RICHMOND. Richmond, I believe, is running out of strikes. They need to go on a massive winning streak if they want to be in the picture. They can’t afford a loss to their cross state rivals today.
-CLEVELAND STATE AT KENT STATE. If Kent State can get a win against their neighbors to the north, they’ll improve to an impressive 10-2.
-BOSTON COLLEGE AT VCU. VCU has been disappointing so far, but they still have a ton of potential and shouldn’t have too much trouble today.
-SANTA CLARA AT GONZAGA (West Coast). Gonzaga has a good record, but doesn’t have any big wins yet, so they won’t have a huge margin for error in conference play.
-MISSOURI AT NC STATE. I’ve said all along that I think Missouri is good at home, but terrible on the road. If they truly are a top 25 team, this is the kind of road game that they should be able to win. NC State is decent, but not great, despite their 9-2 record. Their only win of note so far is at Tennessee, so it’s a big game for them as well.
-GEORGIA AT COLORADO. The Buffs should have little trouble in this one.
-ALABAMA AT UCLA. Alabama has been somewhat disappointing this year and is likely overmatched in this one.
-Eastern Washington at UConn
-Jackson State at Memphis
-FIU at Georgetown
-NJIT at Butler. NJIT is having a decent year by their standards, but they’re way overmatched today.
-Prarie View A&M at Wisconsin
-UC Irvine at Arizona State. I’m still not completely sold on the Sun Devils, but a win does get them to 12-2
-Coppin State at Toledo. A win for the Rockets gets them to 12-0.
-Lamar at Colorado State
-New Orleans at Michigan State
-Tulane vs Kansas State (Not officially a buy game, but it seems like one. The game is in Brooklyn, NY.
-Furman at California
-Holy Cross at Michigan
-High Point at Arkansas. A win for Arkansas gets them to 10-2.
McNeese State at LSU. A win for LSU gets them to 9-2, and they have decent wins over Butler and UAB.
-TAMUCC at Minnesota
-San Diego Christian (nondiv1) at Utah State