Under the Radar Game of the Day – Saturday, January 31, 2015: Colgate at Bucknell

For the rest of today’s highlighted games, CLICK HERE.

Colgate at Bucknell, 7:00 PM Eastern, free streaming at patriotleague.org

Parity.  noun.  The quality or state of being equal or equivalent.  Example: the 2015 Patriot League men’s basketball standings.

Entering play today, two games separate third place in the Patriot League from tenth.  An amazing six teams are tied for fourth with identical 4-5 conference records.  Halfway through the conference season and we can honestly say that anyone can win this conference, and regardless of who captures the regular season title, it may also be anyone’s game in the conference tournament (though with all games being played at the home court of the higher seeded team, there will at least be a reward for the regular season title).  Tonight’s UTR Game of the Day is the battle for first place between the only two teams that have done anything to try to separate themselves from the rest of the field so far as the Colgate Red Raiders travel to Lewisburg, PA to take on the Bison of Bucknell.

Bucknell enters today’s game with a 7-2 record in Patriot League play and a 12-10 mark overall.  They have been the hottest team in the league the past few weeks, having run off five straight victories.  Nana Fouland and Chris Hass have led the way for the Bison, with Hass having scored 23 or more points in three of his last four games.  Bucknell can open up a two game lead in the conference standings if they get the home win tonight, though they will fall back into a first place tie, and will have been swept on the season by Colgate, should they fall.  In other words, a Colgate win will keep the Patriot League’s parity intact.

Colgate enters the game at at 6-3 in conference yet only 9-13 overall.  The Red Raiders lost 10 of their 13 non-conference games, and one of the three wins was against non-D1 SUNY Morrisville.  Whether the Red Raiders being only one game out of first place in this conference after such a rough start to their season is a sign of a turnaround by this team or of the weakness of this conference is something that has yet to be determined. What we do know is that, with the Patriot League being the definition of parity so far this season, Colgate has a good of a chance as anyone in the conference to represent the league during March Madness.

Highlighted Games For Saturday, Jan 31st

For a viewing guide of tonight’s games, and all of the games this week, check out Matt Sarzyniak’s site by – CLICKING HERE

 

-DUKE AT VIRGINIA (ACC) (***Spotlight Game***).  Duke has won some monster road games already, and almost picked up another one earlier this week at Notre Dame.  Virginia is ranked #2 in the country, and the place should be off the hook for this one.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we saw both of these teams up on the #1 line.

-TEXAS TECH AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big Twelve).  This is a very winnable home game for a WVU team that’s had to sweat out some wins, but keeps on winning.

-TULANE AT TEMPLE (American).  Temple is so far outside the bubble that they need to string together several wins just to get on it, but I do think the opportunity, and perhaps even the ability, is there.

-NC STATE AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC).  NC State needs to string together some wins to get back into the picture.

-NOTRE DAME AT PITTSBURGH (ACC).  Notre Dame continues to win and impress.  It’s never easy to win on the road, but they keep coming out on top.

-PROVIDENCE AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East).  The Johnnies need this win in the worst way.  Providence has a pretty impressive profile, has looked great on the court as of late, and continues to improve.

-XAVIER AT SETON HALL (Big East).  Xavier got a much needed road win earlier in the week.  If they pick up this one, then suddenly they’re 6-4 in the league with two road wins, and in the midst of a stretch where they’ve won four out of five with the only loss being in overtime to one of the conference’s hottest teams.  Seton Hall is getting dangerously close to the bubble and really needs this one as well.

-DAVIDSON AT SAINT JOSEPH’S (Atlantic Ten).  We have Davidson right outside the bubble, and if they want to get inside of it, they need road wins.

-WISCONSIN AT IOWA (Big Ten).  This is a very good Wisconsin team going up against an inconsistent Iowa team.  But, with their inconsistency, they are sometimes very good.

-AUBURN AT TENNESSEE (SEC).  It’s a homecoming of sorts for Bruce Pearl.  It’s also a must win game for a Tennessee team that is right on the bubble.

-PENN STATE AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten).  Illinois is squarely on our bubble, and every game has a pivotal feel to it.  Losing at home to a non-tournament team would not be good.

-SOUTH FLORIDA AT TULSA (American).  Tulsa keeps winning, and keeps improving their profile.  Of course a loss in a game like this could crash it pretty quickly.

-ARKANSAS AT FLORIDA (SEC).  Arkansas is on a roll and can pick up another road win against a Florida team that has a ton of work to do just to get into the discussion.

-TCU AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve).  TCU has lost two close games to highly ranked teams in a row.  Iowa State has struggled some away from home, but they’re still really strong and they can improve to 6-2 in the league with a win today.

-KANSAS STATE AT KANSAS (Big Twelve).  Kansas State is right on the bubble, or so some of us (not me) think.  Now, if they pull off a win in this one, I will certainly begin to agree with them.

-BUTLER AT MARQUETTE (Big East).  Butler is clearly having the better year, but there are no easy road games in this league.

-VILLANOVA AT DEPAUL (Big East).  DePaul has struggled, but they’ve still played very well at home so it won’t be easy for Nova.

-GEORGETOWN AT CREIGHTON (Big East).  Creighton has just one league win, but they’re still tough to beat at home.  Georgetown is solidly in the bubble and it’s always good when you can add a road win to your profile.

-LSU AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC).  LSU continues to win, and this is a winnable road game that they can add to their profile.

-GREEN BAY AT CLEVELAND STATE (Horizon League).  Green Bay needs to win out in order to get consideration.  It won’t be easy.  Cleveland State is tough at home, and they have a chance to tie them in the standings so they’ll be jacked for this one.

-EVANSVILLE AT DRAKE (Missouri Valley).  Evansville will need to take down one of the heavyweights and avoid losing to anyone else, but getting inside the bubble is still a possibility…however remote.

-RUTGERS AT INDIANA (Big Ten).  This is a good chance for Indiana to rebound after their blistering loss at Purdue.

-WICHITA STATE AT NORTHERN IOWA (Missouri Valley).  I saw something today that, if true, is almost impossible to believe, but this is the first MVC conference game between two ranked teams since 1982.  Wow.  Well, both are ranked, both appear to be first ballot teams, and if one can run away from the other they could end up as a protected seed.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT LOUISVILLE (ACC).  This is a showcase game between two good teams that, while good, still have room to improve.  The first meeting between these two was a thriller.

-RICHMOND AT VCU.  This is a great conference crosstown rivalry, but it appears to be a mismatch this year.  VCU is looking like a protected seed, whereas Richmond appears to be outside the NIT.

-GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC).  Georgia has a good profile, but they do need some more road win.

-OLE MISS AT MISSOURI (SEC).  Ole Miss is right on the bubble and could use a road win on their profile.  More pointedly, they don’t want to lose on the road to a team that’s as pitiful as Mizzou.

-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten).  This will not be an easy game for GW.  They’ve struggled lately, and their performance in the Diamondhead Classic are still what’s carrying them.  Rhody is not a tournament team, but they’re, so this game has a pivotal feel for GW.

-VANDERBILT AT TEXAS A&M (SEC).  TAMU is having a good season, but in order to stay inside the bubble they can’t afford to lose to non-tournament teams at home.

-MARSHALL AT LOUISIANA TECH (Conference USA).  LA Tech can get inside the bubble, possibly, but they pretty much need to win out to do it.

-TEXAS AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve).  This is a conference rivalry between two teams that are in the rankings who, while good, still have room for improvement.  Should be fun.

-PEPPERDINE AT SAINT MARY’S (West Coast).  Saint Mary’s is on the bubble, and basically can’t afford to lose to anyone.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT SOUTHERN MISS (Conference USA).  It’s still possible for WKU, but anything short of winning out and they’ll need the automatic bid, and even winning out may not be enough.

-NEVADA AT WYOMING (Mountain West).  We have Wyoming on the outside looking in, and they need to win to avoid falling even further out.

-FRESNO STATE AT COLORADO STATE (Mountain West).  Colorado State is having a big year, and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one.

-NEBRASKA AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten).  Nebraska needs to….Oh, forget it!!!!

-FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT OLD DOMINION (Conference USA).  ODU has hit the skids somewhat, but if they can right the ship and end up winning out, they can still get into a position to make the NCAAs even if they fail to win the conference tournament.

-HAWAI’I AT LONG BEACH STATE (Big West).  I’m the only one who’s saying this, but I still think this Long Beach team is good enough to win out, and if they do they’ll have a very impressive profile that could land them inside the bubble.

-ALABAMA AT KENTUCKY (SEC).  If Alabama wins this game, they’ll still have work to do.  Having said that, Kentucky won decisively at Alabama earlier this year, and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one tonight.

-OKLAHOMA AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve).  BEDLAM!!!!!  Okie State used to be a snake pit.  Now it’s half empty more often than not, but it won’t be tonight.  This is a conference rivalry between two teams that are solidly inside the bubble, so it means a lot on and off paper.

-UCF AT SMU (American).  SMU is on a roll, and can continue to build their profile as they continue to win.

-UTAH STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West).  San Diego State is cruising, and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one tonight.

-STANFORD AT WASHINGTON STATE (Pac Twelve).  Wazzu is improved.  Wazzu is at home.  But, it’s still a game that a tournament caliber team like Stanford should be able to win.

-MEMPHIS AT GONZAGA.  A showcase OOC game that, as it turns out, isn’t much of a showcase.  Gonzaga wanted a big game later in the season, and Memphis let them down!

Bracket Projections: January 30th

Below are our most recent Bracket Projections.  As is the case every week, we are not unanimous on all of the teams or seedings, but have managed to come to this consensus.

-For our most recent video podcast where we collectively build the seed list – CLICK HERE

-For our most recent Under the Radar Video Podcast, where we discuss most of the teams outside the bubble seeded #13 through #16 – CLICK HERE

 

BRACKET NOTES

A few notes about this field:

– Utah was moved down to #16 overall on the seed list after losing at UCLA Thursday night.  This loss occurred after we recorded the Bracket Rundown podcast.  No other changes were made based on Thursday Night’s results.

– All teams were placed on their “natural” seed line.  While a few teams needed to be switched around to a less optimal region for the team within its seed line in order to accommodate the bracketing rules, noone needed to be moved up or down a line this week.

– A switch also had to be made among teams on the 4 seed line in order to obtain “region balance”.  The sum total of the Seed List rankings for the top four teams of each region has to be added up after bracketing the top 4 seed lines.  If there is more than a 5 point difference between the highest and lowest of these, the regions are considered out of balance and have to be adjusted.  This occurred and required me to send Butler to the East Region instead of the Midwest, with Louisville heading out West and Utah to the Midwest.  Utah was not allowed to play in the West Region because Arizona was already there.  The net loser in these moves was Louisville, which ended up having their entire tournament on the West Coast.  If they had been one or two spots higher on the Seed List, they would have stayed in the East or Midwest.  This is why, especially among the top 16 teams on the Seed List, even moving up one spot within a seed line can be very important.

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To discuss this, and other matters concerning college basketball, check out our relatively new and currently not very busy message boards.  There aren’t many people at the party , but there’s plenty of beer for everyone!! – CLICK HERE

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Friday, January 30, 2015: Yale at Columbia

For out latest Bracket Rundown podcast, CLICK HERE.

Yale at Columbia, 8:00 PM Eastern, American Sports Network

At long last, the Ivy League moves into its regular season conference play tonight, being the last conference in the country to truly do so.  While almost every Ivy team has played two league games so far (other than Penn and Princeton who have only played one), those games are against their “travel partners”.  Beginning tonight, and lasting for six weeks, the Ivy begins its normal Friday-Saturday schedule of conference games.  Our UTR Game of the Day heads to New York City as the Columbia Lions host the Yale Bulldogs as the battle to see if anyone can dethrone Harvard (which already has one conference loss, at Dartmouth) begins.

Heading into the season, tonight’s two opponents appeared to be the most likely candidates to take a run at the Crimson.  Yale enters tonight’s game with a 13-6 overall record and a 2-0 mark in conference, having swept their games against Brown.  Yale most notably picked up a huge road victory at defending national champion Connecticut on December 5.  While have lost six games, one was a double overtime loss to in-state rival Quinnipiac, another was a double overtime loss at Vanderbilt, and they were competitive in losses at Providence and at Albany.  We can also certainly forgive the Bulldogs for their loss at “the people’s team”, NJIT — a game that yours truly attended.  Yale’s best player, Justin Sears, suffered an injury very early in that game and did not return.

Tonight, Yale takes on the Columbia Lions, who split their first two Ivy League games of the season with Cornell.  The Lions are 9-7 overall without any wins of true note.  They also have a couple of bad losses, including the Cornell game and a loss at home to Loyola-Maryland.  Columbia did take on the same UConn team that Yale beat, but lost that game by 15 points.  Perhaps the best game the Lions played all season was a 56-46 loss at Kentucky — a game that the Lions hung around in, perhaps mostly because UK seemed to sleepwalk through the first 30+ minutes of it.  If the Lions are going to take a shot at contending with Harvard this season, they will need a win at home tonight over Yale, and may need to win their return trip to Yale later this season as well.  If either of these teams can actually dethrone the Crimson and capture the Ivy League’s automatic bid, it would break one of the longer NCAA tournament droughts in existence.  Columbia has not been in the field since 1968, while Yale has danced since 1962.

Bracket Rundown: January 29th

Joby, David and Chad build the latest Hoops HD S Curve, and banter about who they fell would be in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today, as well as what seed they believe they would get.

 

To check out the the teams after they have been bracketed – CLICK HERE

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

Highlighted Games for Thursday, Jan 29th

NEWS AND NOTES

-For our most recent Under the Radar Video Podcast from last night – CLICK HERE

-For a viewing guide of tonight’s games, and all of the games this week, check out Matt Sarzyniak’s site by – CLICKING HERE

-We are hoping to record our Bracket Rundown Podcast this evening, as well as build our most recent bracket projections, so be on the lookout for that.

-I have always been outspoken about how overvalued I thought Duke was, and my reason for that is because they were merely decent and not great on the road.  That is NOT the case this year.  Despite the loss to Notre Dame last night, they took a top ten team to the wall in a true road game.  This is on top of earning road wins at Wisconsin and Louisville.  I’m no less impressed with Duke than I was before despite the loss.  If anything, I could still see them on the #1 line.

 

TONIGHT’S HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT LOUISIANA TECH (Conference USA) (***Spotlight Game***).  It’s both a Hoops HD Spotlight Game, and Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day.  If there is one game you should watch tonight, it’s this one.  CLICK HERE TO READ CHAD’S WRITE UP. 

-DEPAUL AT PROVIDENCE (Big East).  Providence appears to be safely inside the bubble for now.  De Paul is way outside, but has played better despite a loss in their last game, and can get there if they can string together several wins.  That’s much easier said than done, though.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT RUTGERS (Big Ten).  This is the kind of game Michigan State has to be able to win.

-DAYTON AT UMASS (Atlantic Ten).  Dayton has had a solid season so far, but they’re not to a point to where they can just sit back and relax.  UMass isn’t a tournament team, but they do have a good home record, so Dayton will get some credit if they’re able to win.

-MARYLAND AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten).  Maryland needs some road wins if they want to solidify themselves as a protected seed, and Ohio State needs some wins just to breathe some life into their profile.

-UCONN AT CINCINNATI (American).  UConn is outside the bubble and needs to start stringing together wins just to avoid missing the field.  Cincinnati’s profile is pretty solid, but it certainly has some room for improvement.

-PORTLAND AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  It’s a conference game that will seem like a buy game.

-KENTUCKY AT MISSOURI (SEC).  Kentucky looks to remain atop the rankings and stay on track to get the overall #1 seed.

-UTAH AT UCLA (Pac Twelve).  This is a winnable road game for the Utes, who look like a solid protected seed.