News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Wednesday, Nov 30th

It’s a VERY busy night in college basketball!  Below is a rundown of all the action…

NEWS AND NOTES

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

-I think the most noteworthy result last night that most people probably didn’t think of as noteworthy was Valpo’s big win over Rhode Island.  The game was close the entire way, but Valpo was ahead for most of it and after playing a great game for 39:45, held on to win after doing a couple of boneheaded things in the final seconds.  It’s a huge, perhaps resume making game for Valpo.  Any team that wants to make the NCAA Tournament has to give the selection committee a reason to take them.  If you’re an Under the Radar team, it is very hard to do that in conference play because there just aren’t opportunities for statement wins, so that’s why these early November and December games are so important.

-Wisconsin basically ran away from Syracuse and looked like the top ten team that many of us believed them to be before the season started.  They haven’t always looked like that, but they did last night.

-November continues to not be Shaka Smart’s month.  Last night Texas fell at home to UT Arlington 72-61 in a game that probably wasn’t even as close as the score indicated.  What does this mean for Texas??  They do struggle at the PG position, but I still think they’re going to get things turned around.  I’ve been saying this since his days at VCU.  November just isn’t Shaka’s month.  Better to have bad Novembers than Bad Marches, I guess.

-A UTR note, it was a very disappointing showing for Tennessee State at Vanderbilt last night.  I was beginning to think they were one of the surprise small conference teams of the year, and I suppose they still could be, but they didn’t look it last night.

-We had questions about Houston going into last night about how good they really were.  They were beaten down by LSU.  We no longer have questions about them.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-NORTH CAROLINA AT INDIANA (ACC/Big Ten Challenge) (***Spotlight Game***).  Both these teams are likely to end up as protected seeds, and it’s quite possible that one or both of them could end up as #1 seeds.  Indiana has a big win against Kansas already, and although they do have the loss at IPFW, that becomes almost insignificant, even by #1 seed standards, if they’re able to pick up a second win against a top five team before November is even over.  It’s a showcase game, and it should be a fun one.

-NEW HAMPSHIRE AT PROVIDENCE.  Folks, the People’s team and the Hoops HD declared champions of Preseason NIT (we still insist on calling it that) are on the road and in action again tonight against a Providence team that has been much more impressive than what I was expecting up to this point.  If UNH gets this one, it will be the second big road scalp on their profile before November is even over!!

-RICHMOND AT BUCKNELL.  Richmond showed signs of life in their holiday tournament, and are worth keeping an eye on.  Going to Bucknell and winning isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, but if they’re legit then they should be able to pick it up.

-WRIGHT STATE AT GEORGIA STATE.  Wright State comes into this at 6-1, and already has a true road win.  Their next seven div1 games are on the road, so we’ll know more about them after that stretch. Both teams will be playing this game in honor of Samaritan’s Feet – click here for more information on this charitable group. (We will discuss this further on tonight’s UTR podcast.)

-PURDUE AT LOUISVILLE (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Both teams look like they could/will end up as protected seeds, but up to this point neither one of them has a win against a solid top 25 team yet, so it’s a good opportunity to get one tonight.

-OHIO AT MARSHALL.  Marshall has just one loss, and Ohio comes in not just at 4-0, but having looked very impressive in their four wins.  They won’t get the attention of the national media until January, but they are a good team and this would be another notable true road win for them if they’re able to pick it up.

-RUTGERS AT MIAMI FL (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Rutgers is out to a 6-0 start, which is good, but none of their wins indicate that they’re going to be staying on the radar, so to speak.  Now, if they win tonight, then that’s an entirely different story.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT MICHIGAN (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Both teams come into this with just one loss, and Michigan has a little meat on their profile after having picked up some early wins of note.  For Virginia Tech, it is a hugely important game because their opportunities at notable OOC wins are very limited, and this could be the kind of win that gives their resume the nudge it needs at the end of the year.  It’s also a litmus test to see how good the Hokies really are.

-TEMPLE AT SAINT JOSEPH’S (Big Five).  Love the Big Five!!!  Both teams come into this game after having looked much better than any of us expected prior to the season starting.  Both have two losses, and Temple is coming off two huge back to back wins against ranked teams in the Preseason NIT.

-WASHINGTON AT TCU.  When it comes to surprising teams, TCU getting off to a 6-0 start isn’t something we expected.  Now having said that, Washington dropping two games and being somewhat of a disappointment is exactly what we were expecting.  TCU can, and should, win this game. This is a rematch from the Global Sports Classic in which both teams played each other Saturday night.

-UNC WILMINGTON AT WESTERN MICHIGAN.  Wilmington is coming off a somewhat surprising loss, and needs to rebound quickly and pick up this win because their margin for error for being able to make the NCAA Tournament without the automatic bid is rather small.

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT OLE MISS.  Both teams come into this with just one loss, and although neither has really played their way into the national consciousness yet, they’re both off to good starts and will get their eventually if they keep winning.  This would especially be a huge road win for Middle Tennessee, who will have limited opportunities to impress the committee, but should at least be in the discussion for an at-large if they’re able to run away from their conference and pick up some big OOC wins.

-SOUTH ALABAMA AT SOUTHERN MISS.  Neither team will likely be on the tournament radar by the end of the season, but as of now they both only have one loss.

-SAM HOUSTON STATE AT BAYLOR.  This is a buy game, but we will highlight it because Sam Houston State is who we like to win the Southland.

-SMU AT BOISE STATE.  SMU has looked pretty good so far, but their margin for error is a long way from infinite.  They take on a Boise State team who is just 3-3, but is coming off a very impressive showing at Oregon where they led for much of the game.

-UTAH STATE AT BYU.  This has developed into a fun and rather heated rivalry.  Both teams come in at 4-2 and both really need this win, so it’s important both on and off paper.

-NEBRASKA AT CLEMSON (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Nebraska has looked much better than we expected them to, but they still have a ton of work to do to show they are a legit team.  Winning tonight would be huge.  Clemson is fighting to make the NCAA Tournament as well, and these are the kinds of games they need to win to prove they belong there.  In a nutshell, this appears to be two teams that are on the outside and fighting to get on the inside.

-COLORADO STATE AT COLORADO (Front Range).  This is a rivalry game between two one loss teams that are looking for both bragging rights and national respect.  This game doesn’t resinate nationally like some other OOC rivalries, but it is a big deal to both programs and it is usually a very entertaining game.  The Front Range games typically are.

-OHIO STATE AT VIRGINIA (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Both teams are 6-0, but they are both a different kind of 6-0.  Virginia hasn’t played anyone great yet, but they’ve played a lot of decent teams and blown them all out.  Ohio State has had some big wins too, but nothing that would be as season defining as a win tonight would be.

-DENVER AT WYOMING (Front Range).  Neither team is in the national picture, but it’s a Front Range game, so we’re gonna highlight it anyway!

-AIR FORCE AT NEW MEXICO STATE.  Both teams come into this at 5-2.  It’s too early to tell, but Air Force might have a pulse, and just might be one of the better teams/surprise teams in the Mountain West this year.

-USC AT SAN DIEGO.  The Trojans can pick up another true road win and improve to a very impressive 7-0 this year.

-UTAH VALLEY AT WASHINGTON STATE.  We highlight this because Utah Valley comes in at 4-1 and is coming off a road win at BYU.  This won’t be considered a good win, or even a notable win, but you do have to sit up and take notice of any 5-1 team that’s won the kinds of road games that they have if they’re able to pull this off.

-SAINT MARY’S AT STANFORD.  Saint Mary’s has tested themselves already this year, which is something they haven’t always done in the past, and will test themselves again tonight against a Stanford team that’s looked pretty good so far.

 

BUY GAMES

-Coppin State @ Georgetown
-Adrian (nondiv1) @ Akron
-Stetson @ UCF.  This technically may not be a buy game, but for practical purposes it is.
-Morehouse (nondiv1) @ Georgia
-Wagner @ UMass
-Incarnate Word @ Texas Tech
-Cleveland State @ Arkansas State
-Green Bay @ Kansas State
-George Mason @ Northern Iowa
-Rogers State (nondiv1) @ Oklahoma State
-Houston Baptist @ Rice
-Drake @ DePaul
-Western Carolina @ Marquette
-Texas Southern @ Arizona
-Louisiana Tech @ California
-Western Oregon (nondvi1) @ Oregon
-UC Riverside @ UCLA

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Fort Wayne at Austin Peay

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Fort Wayne at Austin Peay, 8:30 PM Eastern, Gov-TV/ovcdigitalnetwork.com

The Under the Radar Game of the Day comes to us from Clarksville, Tennessee tonight as the Austin Peay Governors will be welcoming in the IP-Fort Wayne Mastodons in a non-conference game.  Fort Wayne enters tonight’s game with a 5-2 record, including one of the signature wins of any UTR team so far this season, a thrilling 71-68 overtime win last week at home over the Indiana Hoosiers.  The Mastodons had two players record double-doubles in that win as Bryson Scott scored 18 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds while John Konchar scored 15 and pulled down 11 boards.  Scott has been in double figures in all but one game so far this season, as he is excelling at this level in his junior year after two somewhat disappointing season playing at Purdue.  Fort Wayne, with the confidence they gained in the Indiana win, has a chance to excel in Summit League play this season and potentially earn the school’s first ever bid to the Division I Tournament.  However, they will need to win away from home to do that, and today’s test at Austin Peay will certainly be a tough one.

The Austin Peay Governors enter tonight’s game with a record of 4-2 on the season.  Their two Division I wins came at the Tarkett Sports Classic, hosted by Miami (Ohio), where the picked up wins over Northern Kentucky and Delaware.  They finished 2-1 in the event, losing to host Miami by 6 points.  Their only other loss was on the first night of the season at Dayton.  Kenny Jones has been a force so far this season for the Govs, with three double-doubles already, including a 26 point, 12 rebound performance against Delaware.  He will need to have another strong night tonight if his team wants to knock off IPFW.

News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Tuesday, Nov 29th

Below is a rundown of tonight’s action, a quick look back at last night’s results, and some very important links.

NEWS AND NOTES

CLICK HERE for this week’s Hoops HD Report where we look back at all the exempt tournaments and other action from this past week and talk about how we think it will shape the college basketball season

CLICK HERE for Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Belmont and Lipscomb 

-Oregon picked up the win against Boise State last night, but it wasn’t easy.  In fact, they were behind for just about the entire game.  Oregon ended last season by winning 11 straight games, and in the process finished first in the Pac Twelve, won the Pac Twelve Tournament, earned a #1 seed, and advanced to the Elite Eight.  So, with six of their top players back this year and a pretty good recruiting class being added to it, we were expecting them to destroy the planet.  They have not.  It’s early, and there is plenty of time to get rolling, but they’re not rolling now.  They were beaten handily by Baylor, they lost to Georgetown, the squeaked by Tennessee, and last night barely beat Boise Statea t home.

-Northwestern improved to 5-2 last night with a feel good win over Wake Forest.  They’re two losses were close games away from home against Butler and Notre Dame, and they were in a position to win both of them.  Could this be the year for….??  OH WHO AM I KIDDING!!??  WE DO THIS EVERY YEAR!!  Northwestern is still looking to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever.

 

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-RHODE ISLAND AT VALPARAISO (***Spotlight Game***).  Okay, this is not the biggest showcase game of the day, but it is HUGELY important in the sense that Valpo has very few chances at statement wins, so that makes the few chances they do have even more important.  I think that if they want to be able to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team, they need this win.  Pure and simple.  If they don’t get it, then anything short of winning out until the conference tournament isn’t likely to be enough.  As for Rhody, it’s a pretty big game as well.  They’re trying to build a profile, and this could turn out to be one of their more impressive road wins.

-NORTH DAKOTA STATE AT XAVIER.  This is a buy game, but since we think North Dakota State will contend for the Summit League title we’ll go ahead and highlight it.  Xavier is highly ranked, unbeaten, and likely to remain that way so long as they don’t get caught looking ahead to this weekend.

-PITTSBURGH AT MARYLAND (Big Ten/ACC Challenge).  Neither team was high on the radar when the season started, but both are off to very good starts.  It should be a fun Big Ten/ACC/Former Big East/Former ACC Challenge game.

-GEORGIA TECH AT PENN STATE (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)  Georgia Tech is looking for their first true road win and to improve to a respectable 5-1.

-CHATTANOOGA AT COASTAL CAROLINA.  Chattanooga has had a few slip ups and pretty much needs to win out if they want to end up inside the NCAA Tournament bubble.  Having said that, they should be good enough to where they can win out or come close to doing it.

-DAVIDSON AT MERCER.  This won’t be an easy win for a pretty good Davidson team.  Mercer can be tough to beat at home, they’re 3-0 this year on their home court, and will likely be up for this game.

-PRINCETON AT VCU.  I still think Princeton could end up having a big year, but they have stumbled a little bit in games we thought they’d win and come into this one at 2-2.  VCU can improve to an impressive 6-1 with the only loss being against Baylor if they get it done at home.

-VILLANOVA AT PENN (Big Five).  We highlight because it’s the Big Five, but Nova should cruise.

-SYRACUSE AT WISCONSIN (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Wisky has dropped some tough close games, and Syracuse is coming off a loss to South Carolina.  Both look pretty good, but could use a big early season win.  The sooner they can get quality wins like this on their profile, the better.

-TENNESSEE STATE AT VANDERBILT.  We’re highlighting this game not because of Vandy, but because of Tennessee State.  They come into this one at 6-0 and have three true road wins already.  If they pick up this win then you have to start thinking of them as an NCAA Tournament caliber team.

-BUFFALO AT CREIGHTON.  This is a buy game, but this is a pretty good Buffalo team out of the MAC so we’ll go ahead and highlight it.

-HOUSTON AT LSU.  LSU is a long ways away from being considered a good team, so it’s a road game that a good team should be able to win.  Is Houston good?  We should learn something tonight.

-NC STATE AT ILLINOIS (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  NC State looks to pick up their first true road win and improve to 6-1.

-IOWA AT NOTRE DAME (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  Notre Dame looks to remain perfect on the season and improve to 7-0.  They’ve been better than we expected them to be so far.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT DUKE (ACC/Big Ten Challenge).  This game looked a lot better before the season started.  It’s still hugely important, but for different reasons.  Despite being plagued with injuries Duke continues to look good.  Michigan State has played a killer schedule and none of the losses will hurt them that much, but eventually they’ll need to win a game that isn’t just a home buy game.  They’ve struggled this year.  Part of it is being young and part of it is the killer schedule.  In the grand scheme of things I think they’ll be okay even if they don’t pick this up and fall to 4-4, but a win tonight would certainly help.

 

BUY GAMES

-Charleston Southern @ Alabama
-Hampton @ East Carolina
-South Carolina Upstate @ Auburn
-UT Arlington @ Texas
-Northern Colorado @ Oklahoma
-Long Beach State @ Kansas
-Southern Nazarene (nondiv1) @ Wichita State

Under the Radar Game of the Day: Lipscomb at Belmont

Lipscomb at Belmont 8:00 PM Eastern, ovcdigitalnetwork.com

For our most recent HoopsHD Report video podcast, CLICK HERE.

The Battle of the Boulevard.  Two schools separated by only abut two miles in Nashville, Tennessee, with a basketball rivalry that dates all the way back to 1953.  The Bisons of Lipscomb enter tonight’s game at Belmont with a 73-65 all-time lead in the series.  However, since both teams made the move up to Division I, Belmont has an 18-9 edge, including having won a series-record tieing nine consecutive games against their rivals.  Lipscomb head coach Casey Alexander is currently 0-8 in this rivalry, a record he wants to fix tonight.  Of course, one of the key underlying stories in this rivalry is the head coaches as Alexander both played for Belmont and served as an assistant coach under Belmont head man Rick Byrd for 16 years.

Lipscomb enters play tonight with a record of 2-5 on the season, but a disappointing 0-5 against Division I foes.  Sophomore Garrison Mathews has been the team’s top player so far, including a 16 point, 6 rebound and 7 assist effort in a loss to St. Peter’s.  Belmont is only 1-3 on the season, but the three losses were all respectable (Vanderbilt, Florida and Rhode Island).  Senior star Evan Bradds missed the team’s last game dealing with an injury but, assuming he is able to go tonight, figures to be a major factor in this game.  He had a very impressive 26 point, 14 rebound effort in his team’s win over Western Kentucky and averaged a double-double in the team’s two wins over Lipscomb last season.  Regardless of which players are on the court, however, or what their records are, this is a rivalry and all the stats can be thrown out when these two teams play.  And if you are like us and love this rivalry, don’t worry because you will get to see them play again this season, on December 6 at Lipscomb.

The Hoops HD Report: Nov 28th

Chad and the panel review a very busy week in college basketball.  They run through all of the exempt tournament results and talk about how teams like South Carolina, Baylor, and Butler picked up huge wins and have begun to build what appear to be strong profiles.  Temple also picked up two surprising wins in the NIT, but in our minds New Hampshire is the real preseason NIT champ since both Temple and New Hampshire finished 3-1, and UNH won the head to head match-up.  #RankUNH #GoDancingOrDie.  On the flip side, Oregon was rather disappointing out in Maui, and Michigan State and UConn continue to struggle.  They also preview all of this week’s big games, including the Big Ten/ACC Challenge match ups.

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

Bracket Projections: November 28th

For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between Boston University and Saint Peter’s College, and the rest of today’s Highlighted Games – CLICK HERE

Now that the lion’s share of exempt events have been played through Thanksgiving weekend, we now have a large enough sample size to start making a bracket projection that does not feature as many outliers (sorry, Wagner). If you were paying attention in Atlantis, for example, you had to be impressed with the showing that Baylor made. They already had a home win against Oregon under their belts, and now they added wins against VCU, Michigan State and Louisville. While I’m not convinced that Baylor will finish the season as a #1 seed, that body of work certainly merits a 1 seed at this point in time.

The other big winner during Feast Week was Gonzaga. After a comfortable win over Quinnipiac in the Advocare opener, they added wins against Florida (almost as good as a road win) and Iowa State to their profile. Welcome to the 2 line, Zags. Xavier and UCLA also won their respective events, but the competition just wasn’t on par as the two aforementioned teams before. Xavier will certainly have their opportunity at a signature win later this week when they hit the road for a game at Baylor; UCLA will get their chance when they visit Kentucky on Saturday as well.

Butler (wins over Vandy and Arizona in Las Vegas), South Carolina (wins over Monmouth/Michigan at home and over Syracuse in Brooklyn) and USC (win at Texas A&M and against SMU at home) also make this week’s field. And if you’re looking for other teams that, while technically power conference teams, fall completely under the radar but still made the NCAA Tournament field, look no further than the play-in games. SPOILER ALERT: It is not Northwestern, nor is it Nebraska. Sorry, Puppet.

And if you pay attention to the South Region, a potential UCLA-Stanford rematch is permissible for the time being since they are only scheduled to play once at UCLA this season. This matchup becomes null and void if they play in the Pac-12 Tournament.

11-28-16-bracket-part-1

11-28-16-bracket-part-2

My first 4 teams out this week would be Wichita State, Seton Hall, California and Georgia.