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
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-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.
-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.
-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