Highlighted Games for Wednesday, Dec 31st

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day: CLICK HERE

 

-TEMPLE AT CONNECTICUT (American).  Temple has been playing really well lately, and has a chance to land inside the bubble.  If they can pick up this win on the road it will go a long way toward helping them.

-SAINT JOHN’S AT SETON HALL (Big East).  The Johnnies appear to be the better team, but opening league play at Seton Hall, who is unbeaten at home, may not be easy.

-PENN STATE AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten).  This is the first real test for Penn State.

-HOUSTON AT MEMPHIS.  If Memphis wants any hope at all of making the field they’ll have to absolutely dominate in conference play.

-VANDERBILT AT SAINT LOUIS.  Both teams have good records, but neither have any really big wins yet.

-BUTLER AT VILLANOVA (Big East).  Butler has been good this year, but this is a huge order opening conference play on the road against a Nova team that looks like they can get a #1 seed.

-MINNESOTA AT PURDUE.  Minney is out to an impressive 11-2 start.  If they are a legit tournament team this is the kind of road game they need to be able to win.

-GEORGIA AT KANSAS STATE.  Georgia is 7-3, but hasn’t done anything too spectacular yet.  This is the kind of road game they need to be able to win if they’re a serious contender.

-BROWN AT RHODE ISLAND.  A win gets Rhody to 8-3.

-GEORGE MASON AT OKLAHOMA.  Oklahoma can improve to a respective 9-3 with a win.

-SOUTH FLORIDA AT SMU (American).  Despite being 9-3, SMU’s margin for error is small.  One problem is that this is their tenth home game, and they haven’t done much away from home to brag about.

-MARQUETTE AT DEPAUL (Big East).  Both these teams have some catching up to do.

-AIR FORCE AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West).  Air Force can be tough to play against, but San Diego State should be able to pick up their conference opener at home.

-INDIANA AT NEBRASKA (Big Ten).  Both these teams have been somewhat surprising.  Indiana has been better than expected, and Nebraska has been a lot worse.  The pressure is really on Nebraska to do well in league play.  Otherwise they’ll be on the outside looking in come March.

-CORNELL AT SYRACUSE.  This match up has been fun in the past, but it appears to be a huge mismatch this year.

-WICHITA STATE AT DRAKE (Missouri Valley).  Wichita will definitely be tested in conference play, but probably not today.

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT IOWA STATE.  Buy game.

-CREIGHTON AT PROVIDENCE (Big East).  Both teams have played well at times, but both still have work to do.

-BOISE STATE AT COLORADO STATE (Mountain West).  This is a great match up between a Boise State team with a 10-3 record who still needs some big wins, and a still unbeaten and now nationally ranked Colorado State team.

-UNLV AT WYOMING (Mountain West).  Both teams have good records and UNLV got a big win recently against Arizona, but still doesn’t have a true road win.

-GEORGETOWN AT XAVIER (Big East).  Georgetown is in the rankings and has some big wins already.  Xavier is unbeaten at home, though, so this should be a really good game.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Wednesday, December 31, 2014 — Coastal Carolina at High Point

Coastal Carolina at High Point, 7:00 PM Eastern, bigsouthsports.com

The final UTR Game of the Day for the 2014 calendar year comes from High Point, NC where the hometown Panthers will be welcoming in Cliff Ellis’ Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the Big South conference opener for both teams.  These two teams currently sit at 9-3, tied for the best non-conference record among Big South schools.  They also have the two highest KenPom and BPI ratings in the Big South.  While there are several other teams (most notably Gardner-Webb and Radford) that could factor into the Big South race this season, tonight’s two opponents are in fact the two teams that we see as most likely to be battling it out for the league’s automatic bid in March.

Coastal Carolina’s 9-3 record is marred somewhat by the fact that 4 of their 9 wins came against non-Division I opponents, the maximum number of non-D1 games permitted.  However, it is also highlighted by a win over Coach Ellis’ former school, Auburn, back on December 5.  The Chanticleers are led by Josh Cameron and Warren Gillis.  Cameron put up 22 points in the Auburn win while Gillis scored 18 last time out against Central Arkansas.

High Point’s best non-conference win came at Hawaii, where the Panthers started the season off strong by winning all three of their games in the round-robin format Rainbow Classic.  They also nearly came up with a win at Clemson, falling by only 3 points.  Junior John Brown leads the way for High Point and may be the best player in the entire Big South.  He scored 26 points against Clemson and had 19 in the Hawaii win as well as in a loss at Ohio State.  Coastal Carolina will need to find a way to stop — or at least slow down — Brown if they want to score the road victory tonight.

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Tuesday, December 30, 2014: St. Francis(PA) at NJIT

For highlights from the rest of today’s action, CLICK HERE.

St. Francis University (PA) at NJIT, 7:00 PM Eastern, No TV

The UTR Game of the Day returns to Newark, New Jersey tonight as our adopted team, the NJIT Highlanders, tries to rebound from a loss at Lafayette over the weekend and get back on the winning side of things at home.  The Highlanders enter tonight’s game at 5-9 overall, 4 games under the .500 mark that they need to reach by the end of the year to be eligible for the CIT.  With four of their next five at home, and the road game coming at lowly UMBC, there is a very good chance over the next few weeks for NJIT to get its record closer to even.  In order to reach that point, however, they must start with a win tonight.

The Red Flash from St. Francis University (Pennsylvania) are by no means a guaranteed win for NJIT.  SFPA enters tonight’s game at 6-4 on the season including a road win ten days ago at Rutgers.  The Red Flash are in fact our current pick to win the Northeast Conference, though admittedly the NEC race is looking like it will be wide open as we head into conference play.  St. Francis is being led offensively by Earl Brown, who scored 23 points against Rutgers.  NJIT will need to find a way to contain him if they want to knock off the Red Flash and take another step towards that elusive first-ever postseason berth.

Highlighted Games for Tuesday, Dec 30th

-IOWA AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten).  Iowa has a good win at North Carolina already, but still needs to add to their profile.  Ohio State really doesn’t have a notable win yet and will need to prove themselves in conference.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT WEST VIRGINIA.  Virginia Tech is 8-4, but doesn’t have any wins of note on their profile.  West Virginia is off to an impressive 11-1 start.  This is a rivalry, so it should be a fun one.

-YALE AT SACRED HEART.  At 9-4 with some notable wins, Yale has been the most impressive team in the Ivy League so far.

-ILLINOIS AT MICHIGAN (Big Ten).  Michigan desperately needs to get their season turned around before it’s too late.  Illinois has done well, but is still looking for their first true road win.

-LONG BEACH STATE AT LOUISVILLE.  We keep saying it, but Long Beach has played a brutal schedule and if they can get one of these big wins on the road, it may be enough to land them inside the bubble.  Louisville is looking to bounce back from their loss to rival Kentucky.

-CINCINNATI AT NC STATE.  You get the sense that both teams really need this because neither have put that many big wins on their profile yet.  Cincinnati has lost their only true road game, and NC State doesn’t have any wins that jump out at you yet.

-MARYLAND AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten).  Maryland has been a surprise team this year, and Michigan State has struggled.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Terps pulled this one one out on the road.

-DAVIDSON AT VIRGINIA.  Davidson has just one loss and has looked fairly solid, but they haven’t beaten anyone all that strong.  Virginia is a #1 seed caliber team who is unbeaten, so they’ll definitely be tested tonight.

-WILLIAM & MARY AT NORTH CAROLINA.  William & Mary should be one of the better teams in the Colonial, but they’re most likely overmatched tonight against an improving UNC team.

-FLORIDA AT FLORIDA STATE.  The Gators got off to a slow start, but have looked really good in their last few games and can pick up even more momentum with a road win against their rivals.

-CHARLOTTE AT GEORGIA TECH.  A win for GA Tech gets them to 9-3 on the year.

-CHARLESTON AT MIAMI FL.  It’s a buy game, but it’s one the Canes really cannot afford to lose.

-VMI AT GEORGE WASHINGTON.  GW is coming off three big wins in the Diamondhead Classic and can improve to 10-3 with a win in this one.

-LOUISIANA MONROE AT GEORGIA STATE.  Georgia State probably cannot get inside the bubble unless they win out, but they may be good enough to do that.

-HARTFORD AT NOTRE DAME.  Buy game.  Hartford has been somewhat of a disappointment this year.

-FGCU AT PITTSBURGH.  FGCU has looked good at home this year, but not on the road.  They’ve been handily beaten whenever they’ve had the chance to beat someone of note away from home.  A win for Pitt will improve them to 10-3.

-KENT STATE AT KANSAS.  Kent State has looked pretty good this year, and is an impressive 3-1 on the road.  They haven’t won any road games that come close to being as impressive as this would be, though.  Kansas is a solid 9-2 and most of the time plays like a protected seed.

-NORFOLK STATE AT BAYLOR.  Buy game.  Baylor has cracked the rankings.

-OLE MISS AT DAYTON.  Dayton has looked impressive in their last two games despite having a key player dismissed from the team.  They can improve to 10-2 on the year with a win against a respectable Ole Miss team.

-MERCER AT TEXAS A&M.  Buy game.  A win gets TAMU to 8-3.

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT MISSOURI.  Okie State can improve to an impressive 10-2 with a win, as well as add another true road win to their profile.

-NC A&T AT SOUTH CAROLINA.  Buy game.  Angry Frank can get his team to a respectable 8-3.

Bracket Racket: Dec 28th, News, Notes and Highlighted Match-ups

On tonight’s somewhat abbreviated version of the Bracket Racket, Chad and David look back at this past week’s action, particularly, Louisville v Kentucky and how sloppy of a game it was, the tremendous job George Washington did to win the Diamondhead Classic, and how Old Dominion has been overlooked and ignored.  They also take a look ahead at this week’s upcoming games.  All that, and much more.  Also, see the bottom of this post for an mp3 version of the show.

 

NEWS AND NOTES

-It did not go final until after the recording of the Bracket Racket, but Stony Brook overcame a double digit deficit on the road against Washington, and came back to win 61-57.  Washington had just four points in the last eight minutes of the game.  It’s a huge win for the Stony Brook program, and it’s the kind of win that helps them avoid the #15 and #16 seeds if they were to make the NCAA Tournament, and give them a slightly more manageable and winnable first round game.

 

MONDAY’S HIGHLIGHTED ACTION

For CHAD SHERWOOD’S UTR game of the day – CLICK HERE

-TOLEDO AT DUKE.  Toledo has a good team, but they’ve been sort of a disappointment this year.  If they could pull off the upset tonight it could turn everything around for them.  That being said, it’s not likely that they’ll beat one of the two best teams in the country on the road.

-SAN FRANCISCO AT SAINT MARY’S (West Coast).  Saint Mary’s has a small margin for error.  They need to avoid losses in games like this, and pick up a win or two against the likes of Gonzaga and BYU if they want to land inside the bubble.

-PORTLAND AT BYU (West Coast).  Portland has a good record, but needs some notable wins if they want to get the attention of the committee.  Winning this one on the road should do it.

-GONZAGA AT SAN DIEGO (West Coast).  Gonzaga is coming off a big win at BYU, and shouldn’t have too much trouble picking up a second conference road win.

-UC IRVINE AT OREGON.  It’s a buy game, and although this UC Irvine team has somewhat underachieved so far, they’re still really good.  Oregon can’t just sleep walk and beat them.

-RICE AT TEXAS.  Buy game.

-CLEVELAND STATE AT VCU.  Buy game.

-SOUTHERN MISS AT LSU.  Buy game.  Southern Miss has had some good seasons recently, but they’ve struggled this year.

-TENNESSEE STATE AT TCU.  Buy game.

-NORTH TEXAS AT TEXAS TECH.  Buy game.

-ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF AT STANFORD.  Buy game.

-SOUTHERN AT HAWAI’I.  Buy game.  Hawaii has been playing really well recently, though and at 10-4 they could be a force in the Big West once league play starts.

 

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Monday, December 29, 2014: Valparaiso at James Madison

Valparaiso at James Madison, 7:00 PM Eastern, free streaming at caa.tv

The UTR Game of the Day heads to Harrisonburg, Virginia tonight as the Colonial’s James Madison Dukes host the Horizon League’s Valparaiso Crusaders.  The Dukes enter tonight’s game with a record of 7-5, though they have dropped three of their last four to sub-KenPom 150 teams.  This will be JMU’s last chance to pick up a win before CAA play starts on Saturday, and if the Dukes are going to be able to find a way to compete with conference favorites Northeastern and William & Mary, they need to start turning their season around immediately.  Having Yohanny Dalembert become a consistent double-digit scorer could be the key for James Madison moving forward.

The road team in tonight’s game, Valparaiso, has played like they intend to be a serious contender in the Horizon League.  While the primary focus in the Horizon so far has been Green Bay, Valpo is quietly sitting at 12-2 overall with top 100 KenPom and RPI ratings.  Their wins include a solid road victory at Eastern Kentucky (who notably beat Miami) and a win at Fort Wayne, which may be among the contenders in the Summit League.  Valpo is looking for its fifth straight win in what will also be their final tuneup before the start of conference play.  Alec Peters has been leading the way so far this season for the Crusaders, having scored 23, 23 and 29 points in his last three games.