News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Saturday, Dec 30th


-The featured game of the day yesterday between Louisville and Kentucky ended up being so bad that it may have started to make peoples’ eyeballs bleed.  Kentucky blew it wide open in the second half in what was easily their most impressive showing of the season.

-West Virginia and Kansas both picked up big road wins in their conference openers as West Virginia survived Oklahoma State, and Kansas won at Texas.

-Washington also picked up a really nice road win at USC, and this is not the first really nice win away from home for the Huskies.  They certainly have some warts on their profile, but all and all they’re looking like a potential NCAA team.



-WICHITA STATE AT UCONN (American).  Wichita State, for the most part, has looked like a top ten team this year.  UConn, for the most part, has not even looked like an NIT team this year.

-WAKE FOREST AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC).  Wake got off to an atrocious start, but they’ve actually won six of their last seven and are looking a little better.  They’re not looking so much better that they’re likely to pick up a win against the Tarheels.  UNC is still reeling somewhat from the surprise loss to Wofford, but they’re still in really good shape and should end up as a protected seed.

-TENNESSEE AT ARKANSAS (SEC).  Tennessee has looked a lot stronger than what we expected this year, but they have a really tough assignment today against an Arkansas team that’s also really good (especially at home) and that a lot of people seemed to have overlooked so far.

-FLORIDA STATE AT DUKE (ACC).  Duke actually lost their ACC opener at Boston College, but is still on pace to end up as a #1 or #2 seed, especially if they can win at home today against a pretty good Florida State team that comes in with just one loss.

-DEPAUL AT XAVIER (Big East).  Xavier is coming off a big road win in their conference opener, and has looked like a top ten team pretty much all year long.  They shouldn’t have any trouble today.

-BOSTON COLLEGE AT VIRGINIA (ACC).  Somehow BC is 10-3 and they already have a big win against Duke.  They’ve still got a lot of work to do, and winning at Virginia, who is deservedly in the top ten, is a VERY tall order, but if they are able to somehow pull it off then we have to start thinking of the Eagles as a tournament team.

-OKLAHOMA AT TCU (Big Twelve).  Both teams are ranked in the top 15, both deserve their ranking, and not many people were expecting much out of either one of when the season started.  This is a fantastic showcase game, and it’s one of the bigger home games for TCU in recent memory.

-GEORGIA TECH AT NOTRE DAME (ACC).  There aren’t many easy games in the ACC, but facing Georgia Tech at home is arguably an easy game.  The Irish could really use it too after some of their recent struggles.

-HARVARD AT MINNESOTA.  Both teams have been somewhat disappointing, especially Harvard, but Harvard could turn it around and be a strong force in the Ivy League, and Minney could end up safely inside the bubble with a strong showing in conference play.

-UMASS AT SAINT BONAVENTURE (Atlantic Ten).  The Bonnies are coming off a huge win against Syracuse and are playing like an NCAA Tournament caliber team.  If they hold serve in conference play, which basically means beating everyone at home and dropping very few on the road to teams other than Rhody, they’ll be breathing easy on Selection Sunday.

-VILLANOVA AT BUTLER (Big East).  This was one of the few games that Nova lost a year ago.  The difference is that this year Nova looks like they’re even better than last year’s team, and Butler isn’t as good.  They did have a nice come from behind win against Georgetown, so they’ll have some momentum coming into this one, but it’s still a very tall order.

-MIAMI FL AT PITTSBURGH (ACC).  Miami is off to a great start and has a winnable road game today in their conference opener.

-NC STATE AT CLEMSON (ACC).  NC State has a solid 10-3 record, but doesn’t have a win as good as this one would be on their resume.  Clemson is off to a fantastic 11-1 start.  It’s not the first time they’ve looked really strong out of conference and then struggled in league play, though.  So this is an important game if for no other reason than they need to win all their winnable games.

-SAINT MARY’S AT BYU (West Coast).  This is a hugely important game for Saint Mary’s because their OOC schedule was so weak that they have limited chances at big wins.  This is one of those limited chances.  It’s also a big game for a BYU team that’s off to an impressive 11-2 start and is looking to play their way into the NCAA Tournament.

-VANDERBILT AT FLORIDA (SEC).  Florida has stumbled a little bit after a very strong start to the season, but should be able to win this one at home and get back on track.

-EVANSVILLE AT LOYOLA CHICAGO (Missouri Valley).  Loyola has one really nice win at Florida, but is coming off of back to back losses and really can’t afford to lose this one at home to an Evansville team that’s also pretty good.

-DAYTON AT DUQUESNE (Atlantic Ten).  I know it isn’t likely.  In fact I know it’s virtually impossible.  But, it isn’t ENTIRELY impossible that Duquesne is good and can make a run at the bubble.  They come into this game at 9-4 and if they’re somehow able to finish at or near the top of the standings they may find themselves in the discussion.

-GEORGE MASON AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten).  Rhody will be in good shape so long as they hold serve throughout conference play, which means winning games like this.

-TOWSON AT CHARLESTON (Colonial).  These are the two best teams in the Colonial, and if either one of them wants any chance at all of landing inside the bubble then they need to blow through this conference and win against each other.

-GEORGETOWN AT MARQUETTE (Big East).  Georegetown blew through a weak schedule, and also blew it against the only two good teams they’ve played after they built up comfortable second half leads against Butler and Syracuse, but couldn’t hold on.  Both are coming off of losses in their conference openers, so this game has a pivotal feel to it.

-NEW MEXICO AT NEVADA (Mountain West).  Nevada had a really nice win at Fresno State the other night and shouldn’t have too much trouble beating a struggling New Mexico team today.

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT UAB (Conference USA).  Middle Tennessee is coming off of close back to back losses in the Diamond Head Classic, which denied them the chance to pick up a notable win for their resume, but they still look like one of the best teams in conference and could end up inside the bubble if they run the table or come close to it, which they appear to be good enough to do.

-TEXAS A&M AT ALABAMA (SEC).  Texas A&M could end up with a #1 seed if they’re able to dominate in conference play.  Alabama appears to have a solid tournament caliber team, and they’re at home, so this is not an easy assignment for TAMU.  It’s also a huge opportunity for Alabama to pick up a big win against a highly ranked team and build some momentum for themselves.

-TEMPLE AT HOUSTON (American).  Both teams have looked good at times, but both still have a lot of work to do and this is a big game for both teams for that reason.

-SANTA CLARA AT GONZAGA (West Coast).  The only reason this isn’t with the buy games is because it is a conference game.

-AIR FORCE AT FRESNO STATE (Mountain West).  Fresno needs to rebound after being dominated at home by Nevada.  They can still play their way into the discussion, and perhaps even into the field, with a strong showing in conference.  That would mean taking care of business in games like this where they’re at home against a non-tournament team.

-CHARLOTTE AT OLD DOMINION (Conference USA).  With just three losses and a few decent wins, Old Dominion could play their way onto, or even inside of, the bubble, but they’d need to win out or at least come close in order to do it.

-LOUISIANA TECH AT MARSHALL (Conference USA).  I’m not expecting either team to be in the NCAA Tournament picture come March, but both enter this game with nine wins so we’ll go ahead and highlight it and keep our eyes on both of them until we have a reason not to.

-LIPSCOMB AT PURDUE.  This is a buy game, but we’ll go ahead and highlight it because Lipscomb looks to be the the frontrunner in the Atlantic Sun this year, and this is a nice litmus test for them.

-ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Twelve).  This is a huge rivalry game between two ranked teams, one of which is unbeaten and looking like a #1 seed (Arizona State) and another that is unbeaten and has looked fairly strong outside of a really poor showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis.  This one will be intense and it will be fun.

-UTAH STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West).  San Diego State has been schizophrenic this season, and really can’t afford to lose this game.

-BOISE STATE AT UNLV (Mountain West).  Both teams have looked really strong this year, both look like they could end up in the NCAA Tournament, and both need quality wins between now and the end in order to get there, so this is definitely one to circle, even if it’s a really late tip for those of us in the east.



-Brown @ Northwestern
-Miami OH @ Ohio State
-Coppin State @ Penn State
-Cornell @ Auburn
-Grand Canyon @ Illinois
-UMass Lowell @ Wisconsin
-North Florida @ Mississippi State
-Jacksonville @ Michigan

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