NEWS AND NOTES
-Joby’s Nitty Gritty Rankings have been updated. CLICK HERE TO CHECK THEM OUT
-We will be recording our weekly Hoops HD Report Video Podcast tonight, which is a day later than usual. Be on the lookout for it.
-For Chad Sherwood’s Under the Radar Game of the Day between Northern Illinois and Akron – CLICK HERE
-Duke lost at Miami last night in a result that should surprise absolutely no one. Duke is in no danger whatsoever of missing the field, but they are not likely to end up as a protected seed unless they find themselves and start knocking off the likes of UNC on the road, Virginia, and then winning the ACC Tournament. Duke is having a down year, but if you can have a down year and still safely be inside the bubble, then that’s a sign that your program is amazingly solid.
-Another not so surprising result was Iowa State’s win at home over Kansas. Kansas was the higher ranked team, and Kansas is probably the better team. I know people consider this yet another upset, but it’s not. I continue to not understand how people do not understand how difficult it is to win on the road. When the atmosphere is supporting the home team and suffocating the opponent, AND when the court and arena are familiar to the home team and not to their opponent, those are two variables that strongly favor the home team. That is why the home team wins so often. That’s why teams that end up miles from even make the NIT still manage to win the majority of their home games. Beating a team at home does not mean you’re better than the other team. It just means that you’re able to beat them when you have two very big advantages going your way with the crowd and the familiarity with the arena. When a team like Kansas goes on the road and loses to a team that almost never loses at home, we need to stop looking at that as an upset.
-XAVIER AT PROVIDENCE (Big East) (***Spotlight Game***). Both teams are ranked in the top ten, and both look like they’ll end up as protected seeds. Xavier still has a shot at the #1 line, but this is the kind of game they need to win in order to end up there. The last time the Musketeers played a protected seed on the road things did not go so well at Villanova. These are incredibly tough games to win, which is why the teams that can win one or two of them end up as #1 seeds. Providence just got a major #1 seed caliber road win when they knocked off Villanova in overtime over the weekend. The problem with Providence is that they strangely seem to struggle more at home than on the road. It should be a fun game between two teams that are having great years.
-CREIGHTON AT GEORGETOWN (Big East). Both these teams have a long way to go to the point to where they’re in the NCAA Tournament picture, but they will get the opportunities they need, and this is a big game for both of them.
-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC). South Carolina is still very safely inside the bubble and should remain there so long as they hold serve. Mississippi State has yet to win a road game, so the Gamecocks certainly don’t want to slip up.
-KANSAS STATE AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big Twelve). Other than a win at Georgia, Kansas State has been weak away from home, and if they are going to end up in the NCAA Tournament then they’ll need a huge road win in a game like this. WVU is still looking like a very solid protected seed.
-TEXAS TECH AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve). Oklahoma remains number one, and deservedly so. They shouldn’t have too much trouble against a Texas Tech team that’s been weak on the road all year long.
-INDIANA AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten). Indiana has pulled off a bunch of wins, but most of them weren’t really big tests. Tonight’s isn’t necessarily a huge test, but it’s a much bigger test than the Hoosiers have had in months.
-VIRGINIA AT WAKE FOREST (ACC). Virginia desperately needs some road wins on their profile if they want to end up as a protected seed. Wake Forest needs wins of any kind, and lots of them, if they want to even be considered to make the field.
-FLORIDA STATE AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC). This is simply a road game that Florida State cannot afford to not win.
-TCU AT TEXAS (Big Twelve). The Longhorns are on a roll and shouldn’t have too much trouble against a TCU team that’s been awful away from home this year.
-GEORGIA AT LSU (SEC). LSU is still on the outside looking in, but they’re at least able to see inside a little better now. They’d have to thunder down the stretch, but they can still play their way into the discussion.
-SAN DIEGO STATE AT NEVADA (Mountain West). I highlight this game because I think if San Diego State runs the table they’ll end up inside the bubble, and because I think San Diego State is playing well enough to run the table. Nevada isn’t a tournament team by any stretch of the imagination, but to date they have just one home loss, so it would be a somewhat notable win for the Aztecs if they pull it off.