NEWS AND NOTES
-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day between SC State and Presby, which is SC State’s first game since that huge scare over the weekend – CLICK HERE
-Florida State went into Florida and trounced the Gators. They led the whole way and then blew it open late in the second half. Because of how well they had played, we all thought of Florida as a solid top ten team. It’s rare that top ten teams lose at home. If the Gators do end up having the kind of season that many of us were expecting after the PK-80, this could end up being one of the singular most impressive wins of the year by any team. It was a great night for the Noles, who we weren’t all that excited about prior to last night, but are suddenly unbeaten with a huge win on their resume.
-A quick UTR note, congrats to Lipscomb who after losing 13 straight (or something like that) to rival Belmont swept this year’s Battle of the Boulevard last night with a rather decisive win over the Bruins. Lipsomb isn’t likely good enough to be considered for an at-large bid unless they win out or do something crazy, but they are a very solid team that should finish at or near the top of the ASun, which would mean getting home court advantage during the tournament. One of their losses was a road loss to Alabama in a game where they were without all their starters, so this is a potentially dangerous team.
-MICHIGAN STATE AT RUTGERS (Big Ten). Michigan State has a solid profile and they shouldn’t have too much trouble adding a conference road win to it tonight.
-VILLANOVA VS GONZAGA (Jimmy V Class, MSG, New York). This is a fantastic early season match-up that would be on par with the kinds of games the #1 seeded teams are able to win. Gonzaga’s only loss was a double overtime thriller to Florida, and while Nova’s schedule hasn’t been quite as tough to date they have absolutely blown through it. The game probably means a little more to Gonzaga if for no other reason than Nova will have more chances for these types of wins when they get into conference play, but both teams are likely protected seed caliber teams, and depending on how the season goes they could end up on the #2 or #1 lines.
-VIRGINIA AT WEST VIRGINIA. This is a huge test for a Virginia team that’s been tested, but not playing on the road in Morgantown level tested. West Virginia is looking for their first really big signature win against a ranked team, and Virginia is looking for the kind of win that could help solidify them as a protected seeded caliber team. The contrasting styles also make this a very interesting match-up.
-VERMONT AT MARQUETTE. We like this Vermont team, but they’re coming off a loss at Bucknell that they really needed to pick up. As far as them being a team that can land inside the bubble, I can’t help but get the feeling that they really need this win in order to make that happen.
-TEXAS AT VCU. It will be an emotional day for VCU fans as their former coach comes to town. I really like this Texas team and even though they don’t have any big wins on their profile just yet, they’ve shown they can play at a high level and that the big wins will likely be there at the end. Picking up this one on the road would certainly help things.
-SOUTH DAKOTA STATE AT WICHITA STATE. South Dakota State has looked really impressive at times, but they are probably swinging way over their heads as they take on a Wichita State team that just won at Baylor, is ranked #6 in the nation, and has shown no signs that they are overrated.
-NEVADA AT TEXAS TECH. This is a great matchup between two teams that are off to fantastic starts and have already picked up some notable wins. It’s not the showcase that we’re gonna see in MSG, but it’s a game I’m looking forward to just as much.
-COLORADO STATE AT ARKANSAS. Can Arkansas bounce back after getting thrashed by Houston? I still like the Razorbacks, but they need to get this one to restore some momentum.
-TEXAS A&M VS ARIZONA (Phoenix, AZ). Arizona had a nice bounce back with what looked to be a really good win against UNLV. They could REALLY bounce back if they’re able to knock off a TAMU team that has four big wins away from home already and has shown every sign that they’re a top ten team.
-MINNESOTA AT NEBRASKA (Big Ten). Minney is off to a really good start and can add a conference road win to their profile tonight.
-SMU AT TCU. I don’t think I’ve ever said this about this rivalry before, but it has NCAA implications for both teams!! TCU is in the rankings, and SMU certainly has potential. Picking up this win on the road would be their signature win up to this point.
-SYRACUSE VS UCONN (Jimmy V Classic, MSG). This is a nostalgic rivalry when you think of how these teams battled as members of the Big East. Now, neither team is in the Big East and neither team appears to be particularly good either. Having said that, UConn is 6-2 despite needing overtime to beat both Columbia and Monmouth, and Syracuse has looked good on their home court against some pretty good UTR teams. If either team is going to do anything, you get the sense that they need to win this game to establish some momentum and make a statement that they were good enough to not lose this game.
-UTAH AT BUTLER. Both teams have looked decent, but neither have looked great yet. Having said that, both have potential and this will be a really good OOC win for multiple reasons for whoever picks it up.
-CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD AT FRESNO STATE. We’ll highlight this one because I like what Fresno has done so far, and I like CSU Bakersfield’s program even though they’re kind of at the bottom of their talent cycle at the moment.
-SAINT JOHN’S VS GRAND CANYON. The Johnnies are a quite 7-1. If they can get this road win, they’ll be a much noisier 8-1. GCU probably isn’t a tournament team, but they’re solid enough to where they aren’t the easiest team to beat on the road. This game isn’t on campus, but it will still be a very pro GCU crowd.
-Ball State @ Notre Dame
-Boston U @ Miami FL
-Winthrop @ Georgia
-Samford @ Memphis
-North Dakota @ Creighton
-SC Upstate @ Kansas State
-Saint Francis U (STFU) @ Duke
-Miami OH @ Missouri
-Oral Roberts @ UNLV