News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Sunday, Jan 31st

Below is a rundown of all of today’s action, and a look back at some notable outcomes from yesterday…

NEWS AND NOTES

-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the day between James Madison and William & Mary, who are two of the better teams in the Colonial – CLICK HERE

-We’ll start off with the Team of the People, who suffered their first WAC loss when they fell at home to Seattle after missing a last second shot.  It was somewhat surprising given how well the Lopes have played at home this year, but they’re still in first place, they’ve still looked like the best team in the WAC most of the time, and….THEY STILL NEED A WAIVER!!!  CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY! 

-We say this every Saturday, and maybe many other nights during the week as well, but yesterday was another incredible day for college basketball.  The Big Twelve/SEC Challenge gave us two games that ended up being far more exciting than I thought they would going into the day.  I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world for Oklahoma to go into LSU, but figured it’s a huge deal for any team that gets to play Oklahoma at home and figured the Sooners would be used to it.  They had to overcome a double digit second half deficit to come back and win in the final seconds.  It’s another big win for the Sooners, who continue to look like the #1 overall seed, and it is a crushing loss for an LSU team who still needs big wins in order to land inside the bubble.

-Coming into Saturday, Kentucky had lost at Auburn, and at LSU rather badly, neither of whom currently look like tournament teams.  So, I didn’t think they’d fare too well going into Kansas, who is a protected seed that’s extremely difficult to beat at home.  Kentucky didn’t win the game, but I was far more impressed with how they played yesterday than I have been with them at any other point this season.  They overcame foul trouble to force overtime, and kept hitting big shot after big shot throughout regulation every time it looked like the momentum was shifting toward Kansas.  If they play like that the rest of the year they’ll probably win out.

-Texas A&M and Iowa State was entertaining as expected.  Iowa State led for much of the game, but TAMU finally got the momentum in the final minutes and picked up one of their biggest wins of the year.

-West Virginia went into Florida, and the chirping between the two teams started before the game even tipped off.  That could have been a tactical error for West Virginia if they were doing that to get into the heads of the Florida players.  Florida ran them off the court, and picked up their highest profile win of the year, which suddenly makes their tournament resume look a lot better.

-Virginia got a big road win at Louisville, and made it look easy.  That helps their profile out a ton because they had really struggled on the road coming into the game.

-Miami FL lost at NC State.  Miami has looked really good for most of the season, but they’ve had some really bad games that made you scratch your head, and yesterday was one of them.

-I think Butler is in trouble.  They lost to Marquette, and are suddenly just 3-6 in conference play.  Losing to Marquette in and of itself isn’t that bad, but it’s bad when they have multiple other losses just like it, and are lacking in big wins.  I think they need to get to .500 in order to feel safe, and if they finish any more than two games below 500 in league play I think they’re out.

-Saint Mary’s barely held on to beat Pacific.  The only reason I bring that up is because I think losing that game would have killed them.

Last, and perhaps least, it was a bad day for our Big West frontrunners after we just got done talking them up.  We felt that if either UC Irvine or Hawaii won out (and we realize that only one of them could have) that they would land inside the bubble.  Both lost yesterday.  At home.  That’s not good.  So, it looks like that in order for either of them to make it they’ll need the automatic bid.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES 

-VILLANOVA AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East).  Nova continues to look like they could end up on the #1 line, and this is a very winnable conference road game for them.

-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT GEORGE MASON (Atlantic Ten).  I know the A10 wants this to be a rivalry, but right now GW is slipping further and further outside the bubble and George Mason isn’t good enough to get excited about playing.

-WAKE FOREST AT NOTRE DAME (ACC).  Notre Dame is coming off a loss, but they’re still in good shape and should stay that way so long as they hold serve at home in this one.

-MARYLAND AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten).  Maryland is coming off their biggest win of the year at home against Iowa, but it’s still never easy to win on the road, and if they want to keep their profile solid and prove they are a protected seed then this is the kind of game they need to win.

-TEMPLE AT SOUTH FLORIDA (American).  Temple is so far outside the bubble right now that I’m hesitant to even highlight this game, but if they win out I guess it’s possible.

-NORTHWESTERN AT IOWA (Big Ten).  I don’t think losing at Maryland did anything to hurt Iowa, so I still feel they can end up as a #1 seed, and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning today.

-CONNECTICUT AT UCF (American).  I don’t know if it’s more accurate to say that UConn needs more wins, or that UConn cannot afford any more losses.  Either way, UConn needs to win this game.  Or, UConn can’t afford to lose this game.

-WICHITA STATE AT EVANSVILLE (Missouri Valley).  I think Evansville still has a chance to land inside the bubble, but it’s an outside shot at best due to a weak strength of schedule, and they’ll need to win out to the conference championship to do it.  Wichita, on the other hand, has been playing outstandingly well since getting back to full strength, and this would be another solid road win for their profile.

-CALIFORNIA AT COLORADO (Pac Twelve).  I like Colorado’s profile and feel that they’ll land in the field so long as they continue to hold serve.  Cal, on the other hand, has been pitiful on the road, and the more rumblings I hear, the more important I think that’s going to be to the real committee.  Cal desperately needs some quality road wins or else they’ll be watching the tournament on television.

-RUTGERS AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten).  Michigan State seems to have turned things around, and plays what is perhaps their most winnable remaining home game of the season today.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT PITTSBURGH (ACC).  VA Tech is getting better, but they still have a ways to go.  Pitt’s profile is good enough to get them in right now, but there is room for improvement, and they don’t want to worsen it by losing at home to a non tournament team.

-OREGON AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Twelve).  Oregon has been playing really well lately, and they have some big road wins to go along with that, including at Arizona earlier in the week.  I think they pick this one up as well and continue to work toward earning a protected seed.

 

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Sunday, January 31: James Madison at William & Mary

Under the Radar Game of the Day: James Madison at William & Mary, 7:00 PM Eastern, Regional TV/free streaming at caa.tv

If you still have not signed our petition to make the GCU Lopes postseason eligible, SIGN HERE.  We know they lost last night, but they are still the team to beat in the WAC!!!

Heading into the season, we felt that this season’s race in the Colonial Athletic Association had a chance to be one of the closest and most exciting in the nation.  A little over halfway through conference play, and it certainly has not disappointed.  Entering play today, Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington are tied for first place at 8-2, with Towson one game behind at 7-3.  Tied with Towson in the loss column, each at 6-3, are the two teams battling in today’s UTR Game of the Day, James Madison and William & Mary.  Three other teams (Elon, College of Charleston and Northeastern) could all still make some noise before the season is over, as all three are better than .500 overall, even if they have fallen a few games behind the top five teams.

James Madison enters play today at 16-6 overall, and despite being a game and half out of first place, the Dukes have the best KenPom rating (73) and BPI (86) in the CAA.  James Madison will be looking to go 5-0 on the road in conference play today, already having picked up wins at Hofstra, Northeastern, Elon and Delaware.  If the Dukes had been able to hold serve at home, they would be running away with the conference right now.  Unfortunately for them, home losses to College of Charleston, Elon, and UNC-Wilmington last time out set them back.  The Dukes have a strong, balanced scoring attack with Ron Curry, Shakir Brown, Jackson Kent and more able to light it up from downtown, while Yohanny Dalembert has a chance to be dominant on the boards (he had a 16 rebound effort at Hofstra earlier this year).  If JMU can keep up their road magic in Williamsburg tonight, they certainly have the pieces in place to make a run at the top spot in the conference standings.

William & Mary, as we have chronicled several times, is one of five Division I members that have been in D1 since the start of divisional play in 1948 and never played in the NCAA Tournament (joining Northwestern, Army, St. Francis-Brooklyn and The Citadel).  The Tribe certainly have the talent to break that streak this season, though with the parity at the top of the CAA standings, winning the conference tournament and the automatic bid that comes with it will not be easy.  William & Mary is currently 14-6 overall, including an RPI of 44, best in the conference and high enough that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee might give them a look for an at-large bid if they can win the CAA outright (which probably means winning every game until the Colonial tournament).  The Tribe also feature a balanced scoring attack, with the likes of Omar Prewitt, Terry Tarpey, Daniel Dixon and more all able to light up the scoreboard on any given night.  With 5 of their 8 games after today being against the lower half of the league, the Tribe have a very good chance to make a run at the top spot in the standings — but cannot afford to fall two games behind today.  Needless to say, the winner of tonight’s game will have a leg up as we move into the month of February.

News, Notes, and Highlighted Games for Saturday, Jan 30th

It’s another busy Saturday in college basketball.  Below is a rundown of all the action.

NEWS AND NOTES

-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the Day between TAMUCC and SFA – CLICK HERE

-To sign our online petition so the President of the United States will order that Grand Canyon be allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament – CLICK HERE!!!!  People, this is why WhiteHouse.Gov exists!!  CLICK ON THE LINK AND SIGN THE PETITION!!!

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-WEST VIRGINIA AT FLORIDA (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  Florida is hovering around our bubble, and the one thing they’re really missing is a hugely notable win.  Beating a top ten team would certainly help with that, even if they are at home.

-CLEMSON AT FLORIDA STATE (ACC). Clemson has already picked up 5 notable wins at “home” in Greenville in ACC play (including Florida State); now they just need to start adding ACC road wins to their profile to solidify a profile that exponentially got better in January. The Seminoles are in a more perilous position with a 3-5 record in the ACC, but Tallahassee can be a snake pit at times. Just ask Virginia.

-VANDERBILT AT TEXAS (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  Coming into the season we were pretty high on Vanderbilt and had a lot of questions about Texas.  Now, the roles have flipped.  It’s Texas that appears to be on their way to the dance and Vandy who looks to be going to the NIT.

-MICHIGAN AT PENN STATE (Big Ten).  This is one of the more winnable road games that Michigan has remaining so they need to take advantage.

-GEORGIA TECH AT SYRACUSE (ACC).  Syracuse has played their way inside our bubble for the time being, but they’ve been very schizophrenic all season and can’t afford a home loss to a Georgia Tech team that’s been awful on the road this year.

-BUTLER AT MARQUETTE (Big East).  Butler has just one loss to a team outside the top fifteen, but having said that they really need to continue to hold serve against non tournament teams, and that includes when they are the road team.

-VIRGINIA AT LOUISVILLE (ACC).  Louisville has not lost at home, whereas Virginia has struggled.  Both teams have the opportunity to improve their resumes with a win today.  For UVA, it gives them their best true road win of the year, and for Louisville it would be the best team they’ve managed to beat this year as well.

-IOWA STATE AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  This one should be a fun one as it’s a matchup between two top fifteen teams.  It’s a chance for Iowa State to pick up a monster road win, and it’s a chance for TAMU to beat the highest ranked team on their schedule.  Don’t be surprised if both end up as protected seeds come March.

-XAVIER AT DEPAUL (Big East).  Xavier is back on our #1 line, and needs to hold serve in games like this in order to remain there.

-LA SALLE AT DAYTON (Atlantic Ten).  Dayton actually lost to La Salle earlier this year, but shouldn’t have any trouble with them at home today.

-MINNESOTA AT INDIANA (Big Ten).  Indiana has won a lot of games over the past several weeks, and they’ve climbed in the rankings as a result.  The thing is that none of those wins came against particularly good teams.  If they win today, that won’t change.

-MIAMI FL AT NC STATE (ACC).  We still feel Miami FL is a solid protected seed, and I don’t expect them to have too much trouble picking up a road win today.

-WASHINGTON AT USC (Pac Twelve).  Right now USC is safely in our field, and they still have a shot to end up as a protected seed if they finish strong.  Washington is right on the bubble, but one way to really boost their resume is to pick up a high quality road win in a game like this.

-TEXAS TECH AT ARKANSAS (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  Texas Tech has been abysmal on the road, and Arkansas, while nowhere close to a tournament team, has been very strong at home.  Both have tons of work to do in order to make the field, though, and although it’s not impossible, I don’t think either of them will.

-BOSTON COLLEGE AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC).  I’m expecting a very lopsided result with North Carolina rolling and remaining in strong contention for a #1 seed.

-NEBRASKA AT PURDUE (Big Ten).  I like Purdue a lot, and think that a strong finish will land them on one of the top four lines.  Nebraska has been playing better, but they’ll have to really go on a tear between now and the end of the season to be anywhere close to the bubble.

-OKLAHOMA AT LSU (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  LSU keeps improving, and I think they’re good enough to make this game interesting, but Oklahoma is very strong, even when they play on the road.  We do have two of the best players in the country on the floor today, so it’s definitely worth tuning tin.

-STANFORD AT UTAH (Pac Twelve). Stanford is right on our bubble, and needs quality wins between now and the end of the year in order to be safely inside it.  Winning at Utah would certainly qualify as a quality win.

-GEORGIA AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  Given how Georgia has looked on the road, and given how well Baylor has been playing lately, I don’t think it’s fair to call this game a “Challenge.”

-ALABAMA AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC).  South Carolina has a bloated record with a lot of decent wins, but no real good wins.  A win today won’t change that, but it’s important that they hold serve.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten).  The more and more I see this Joe’s team, the better I think they are.  They can add another conference road win to their profile today and improve to a very impressive 18-3 overall.

-KENTUCKY AT KANSAS (Big Twelve/SEC Challenge).  When these two met last year it wasn’t pretty with Kentucky absolutely dominating.  As good as Kansas is at home, it may not be pretty this year either, but with the opposite result.  Right now, we don’t even have Kentucky as a protected seed.  Now, if they manage a win today that would certainly change.

-GEORGIA STATE AT LITTLE ROCK (Sun Belt).  These are two of the better teams in the Sun Belt, and we currently have Little Rock inside our bubble.  It’s hard to say what the real committee will think of them, but they’ll certainly be in the discussion, and perhaps in the field, if they can blow through the rest of their schedule.

-SAINT PETER’S AT MONMOUTH (Metro Atlantic).  Monmouth has had a great year overall, but they do have some losses on their profile that smell pretty bad.  They should be fine if they win out, but they really can’t afford any more.

-WASHINGTON STATE AT UCLA (Pac Twelve).  UCLA’s record is just 12-9, but they’ve played a tough schedule and managed some big wins.  This is a big game simply because it’s winnable, and they need wins right now.

-SAN DIEGO STATE AT UNLV (Mountain West).  San Diego State isn’t inside our bubble yet, but if they win out, which I certainly think they’re good enough to do, I’m guessing they will be.

-SAN FRANCISCO AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  The Zags have been one of the more disappointing teams this year, and are in danger of missing the field altogether.  They basically need to win out in order to feel safe.

-SETON HALL AT CREIGHTON (Big East).  Creighton had been sneaking up on people, and I think they would have made our last field had they pulled off the win at Georgetown, but they ended up melting down late in the game.  Still, they’re playing well, but still have a lot of work to do if they want to make the field.  Seton Hall has looked really good this year, and I think they’ve been a little undervalued nationally.  This will not be an easy game for them to win, and the Pirates will deserve credit for it if they do, but probably still won’t get it.  At least not from the media.  Hopefully the committee is watching.

-PROVIDENCE AT GEORGETOWN (Big East).  Georgetown was sluggish out of conference, but are an impressive 6-2 in the Big East.  They’re at home against Providence, but seeing as how all three of Providence’s conference losses came at home, Georgetown may fare better if it were at Providence.

-YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT VALPARAISO (Horizon League).  We still have Valpo safely inside our bubble, but it’s hard to say if the actual committee would.  Jon Teitel is guessing that they would not.  I do think Valpo will be okay if they win out, though, which they’re good enough to do and should do.

-SEATTLE AT GRAND CANYON (WAC).  THE TEAM OF THE PEOPLE IS BACK IN ACTION!!!  Sign the petition if you haven’t yet!!  CLICK HERE to do it

-OREGON STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Twelve).  Arizona has been really beat up with injuries, but they should still make the field.  Just not as a protected seed.  Oregon State is on the outside looking in right now, but they can change that with a big road win.  Unfortunately, that’s much easier to say than to do.

-UC SANTA BARBARA AT UC IRVINE (Big West).  We talked about this during Under the Radar, but if UC Irvine wins out they should get a serious look for an at-large if they end up needing it.

-SAINT MARY’S AT PACIFIC (West Coast).  Saint Mary’s continues to face unchallenging competition, but they also keep winning, which they need to do since their margin for error is so small.

-LONG BEACH STATE AT HAWAII (Big West).  Similar to UC Irvine, I think the committee will look at Hawaii if they can win out.  Granted, both teams can’t win out, so….

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Saturday, January 30: Stephen F Austin at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Stephen F Austin at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 3:00 PM Eastern, espn3

If you have not yet signed our petition asking President Obama to intervene and help the Grand Canyon Antelopes become NCAA Tournament eligible, SIGN IT HERE NOW!

Entering play today, only three conferences remain with more than one team still undefeated in league play.  One of those conferences, the Ivy League, has only seen each team play 2-3 games so far, so it is not surprising that Princeton, Columbia and Yale are all undefeated (Princeton and Yale do meet tonight).  The second of those conferences, the Big West, features a pair of teams, UC-Irvine and Hawai’i, sitting at 6-0 and 5-0 respectively.  The third conference amazingly has three teams that are each 7-0 for a combined 21-0 against the rest of their conference competition.  The conference is the Southland, and the teams are Houston Baptist, Stephen F Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.  Houston Baptist will have a tough home test today against Sam Houston State, but the UTR Game of the Day is the battle between the later two of the three teams as the Lumberjacks of Stephen F Austin will be heading down to Corpus Christi to take on the Islanders.

Stephen F Austin enters play today with a record of 14-5 overall.  Their KenPom rating of 98  is the best amongst Southland teams.  Unfortunately, they struggled in non-conference play, failing to capture a signature win while losing games to Northern Iowa and Tulane.  The ‘jacks also did something that we tend to frown upon here at HOOPS HD by scheduling the maximum number of non-D1 games (4).  That being said, they have not lost since Southland play began and if they keep winning, a top two seed in the SLC tournament (which comes with a bye into the semifinals) could be in store — and then they would merely need to win two games to be back in the Big Dance.  The Lumberjacks are led by senior Thomas Walkup.  Walkup is having another excellent season, including just coming off a 22 point effort in a win over Lamar.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is presently an impressive 16-3 on the season, and although KenPom has them rated below SFA, the Islanders RPI of 130 is the best in the Southland (SFA is at 172).  The Islanders only three losses on the season came at Texas, at Texas A&M and at Wisconsin, none of which are bad by any means.  Unfortunately, none of their wins were against teams of note (the best one probably having come at Elon), which leaves this team’s only realistic shot at an NCAA bid coming by winning the SLC tournament.  That being said, a win today gives the Islanders an inside track on one of the top 2 seeds in the conference tournament.  Corpus Christi is led by Rashawn Thomas, who is coming off of his sixth double-double of the season last time out against Southeastern Louisiana.

One final note about the Southland:  In these days of unbalanced conference schedules, which the SLC and its 13 members have, a quirk in the scheduling has given us a bit of a gift this year.  The top three teams (Houston Baptist, SFA and Texas A&M-CC) will all play each other twice, home-and-home, during the regular season.  Further, the fourth best team in the league, Sam Houston State, will also play all three teams twice this season.  Thanks to that, the two teams that do win the top seeds in the conference tournament this year will certainly have earned their spots.

Under the Radar Game of the Day – Friday, January 29: Kent State at Ohio (and Other Notable Games)

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Kent State at Ohio, 9:00 PM Eastern, ESPNU

For our latest Bracket Rundown podcast, CLICK HERE In addition, if you have not yet signed our petition to get the ‘Lopes into the WAC and NCAA Tournaments, CLICK HERE to do it now!!!!

The UTR Game of the Day returns to the state of Ohio tonight and the always entertaining Mid-American Conference.  With ten teams in this league sitting at or above .500 overall, and all but one team within three games of first place in their division, we seem to be setting up for a wild month of February.  That is, unless one team can start to emerge from the pack and pull away from everyone else.  The team most poised to do just that, for the moment at least, is Head Coach Rob Senderoff’s Kent State Golden Flashes.

Kent State enters play tonight with a record of 15-5, 6-1 in the MAC and one game up on Akron for first place in the East Division.  The Flashes’ RPI is 85, though KenPom has then rated lower at 132.  Kent State did not pick up any truly notable non-conference wins this season, although they also did not lose any head scratchers (a loss to Penn State in Las Vegas may be their worst of the season).  Jimmy Hall has been leading the way for the Golden Flashes so far this season, including a 26 point, 16 rebound game against Bowling Green last week.  His 16 rebounds were made even more impressive due to the fact that 9 of them were offensive boards.  If he can be anywhere close to that dominant tonight, Kent State has a great chance to pick up what would already be their fourth road win in conference play.

Standing between Kent State and the win tonight is Head Coach Saul Phillips’ Ohio University Bobcats.  Ohio is only 3-4 so far in MAC play, but does have a solid overall record at 12-7 and an RPI just outside of the top 100 (110).  As with Kent State, the Bobcats failed to win any truly notable non-conference games this year but also did not lose any games they clearly should have won (a loss at St. Bonaventure may be their worst loss, and the Bonnies are always tough to beat on the road).  Things have not gone as well since MAC play started, including suffering an 89-82 loss at Kent State on January 16.  Antonio Campbell is the player to keep an eye on for the Bobcats.  Just like Jimmy Hall, Campbell also has a 16 rebound game this season, having come against Western Michigan.  15 of his 16 in that game were defensive — setting up what should be a fun rebounding battle under Ohio’s basket tonight between these two players.  If Ohio can get the victory, they will remain in the thick of things and draw Kent State back to the pack in the East Division.  If not, the Bobcats may have an uphill battle the rest of the season if they want to finish at or near the top of the conference.

 

DAVID’S OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

-VCU AT DAVIDSON (Atlantic Ten).  VCU is playing as well as anyone in the A10 today.  Davidson has been somewhat disappointing this year, but they’ve still been tough at home, so it shouldn’t be easy for the Rams.

-MANHATTAN AT IONA (Metro Atlantic).  This game has no tournament implications whatsoever, but it is one of the better UTR rivalries out there, so we’ll give it a mention.

-WRIGHT STATE AT OAKLAND (Horizon League).  I highlight this game not because it’s particularly important, but because a year ago this game would be far more important than what it is this year.  Valpo and Wright State are tied at the top of the standings, and last year that would have meant something because home court advantage in the conference tournament was on the line, which made the regular season very intriguing and very meaningful.  This year, no matter what, it’s in Detroit, so Wright State isn’t nearly as amped up for it because the reward for finishing first isn’t nearly as big.

 

Hoops HD Bracket Rundown: January 28th

Chad acts as arbiter as he, David, and John work to build a seed list of what they think the NCAA Tournament should look like if the season ended today.  They discuss, debate, and argue which teams should be on which lines.  Below is a final bracketed version of the seed list they built.

But, before you watch the show, be sure and sign the online petition in support of the Grand Canyon Antelopes getting a waiver to play in the NCAA Tournament!  We are petitioning the White House!  CLICK HERE TO SIGN!!  

 

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