NEWS AND NOTES
-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day, which is a really good one between Missouri State and Northern Iowa that would have been highlighted had he not picked it – CLICK HERE
-Florida State got a big home win against North Carolina in a game that came down to the wire, and if you like poor freethrow shooting, then you need to go back and watch the end of this game! The loss isn’t that bad for UNC, but they still don’t have that true road win against a team that’s likely to finish in the top half of the bracket, which is something that we normally see out of all the protected seeds. Having said that, they’ll have plenty more opportunities.
-Marquette also went overtime to get a tough win on the road against a Providence team that is starting to look more NITish than they are an NCAA team. Noteworthy here is that Markus Howard went off for 52 points – this ties a Big East record that goes back even to the original Big East days.
-Miami FL went into Georgia Tech. And lost. That’s not good. It won’t cripple the Canes by any means, especially if they can beat rival Florida State this weekend, but it’s a game that they should have won if they really are a protected seed caliber team.
-Kentucky picked up a nice road win at LSU in a close one that went back and forth. As young as Kentucky is, they played well against a decent team in a hostile environment, which is a big step forward more so off paper than on. They’ve been playing really well since the loss to UCLA.
-Clemson was in a close game….AND WON IT!!!!!! Clemson’s reign of unluckiest team on Earth may be over. They built up a big lead at Boston College, and BC came back and nearly pulled the upset, but Clemson was able to hold on. They remain unbeaten in ACC play and have just one loss on the year.
-Wake Forest, who is 7-2 since their atrocious 1-4 start, got a really nice win at home against Syracuse last night. Danny Manning may not get this team to the NCAA Tournament, but no one in the country has improved over the course of the season as Wake Forest has. They were AWFUL, and now they are playing at a level where they can win some games in league play and be a dangerous opponent for anyone who overlooks them.
-Saint Bonaventure fell behind to Dayton and then never caught up. Dayton has really struggled this year, but they really seemed to put it together last night. They may be turning the corner. I don’t think they’re an NCAA team, but they could be dangerous in the A10 the rest of the way.
-Now for what is probably a non-NCAA Tourney note, Duquesne with a nice win over George Washington!! Let me put this into the proper context. Duquesne is probably not an NCAA Tournament team, but they are perhaps a postseason team and maybe an NIT team, which is a huge improvement considering that they have been awful for the last three decades with the exception of the one NIT berth (I think). It will be fun to see how much noise they make in the A10 the rest of the way. (Note from John S – Duquesne went to the NIT in 2009 and also has 3 CBI appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2016. Last NCAA Tournament bid was in 1977.)
-HOUSTON AT WICHITA STATE (American). I’m really looking forward to this one. Houston is looking like a fringe tournament team that will perhaps be a solid tournament team by the end of the year. I think they’re swinging over their heads tonight, but if they were to somehow pull it off they would improve to 13-2 with wins over both Arkansas and Wichita. That’s a hell of a resume!
-OHIO STATE AT IOWA (Big Ten). Ohio State is unbeaten in Big Ten play and can add another conference road win to their profile.
-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (Conference USA). If Middle Tennessee runs the table, which is much easier said than done, then I think they’ll be inside the bubble.
-MARYLAND AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). Michigan State is ranked #1 and is shooting for the #1 line, and Maryland is trying to solidify themselves as a no-brainer for The Tournament. Winning on the road against the top ranked team would help with that endeavor.
-OLD DOMINION AT RICE (Conference USA). At 10-3, ODU is having a big year, but they will have to go nearly perfect in league play to end up on the bubble.
-APPALACHIAN STATE AT LOUISIANA (Sun Belt). Louisiana has just three losses on the year and if they dominate the SBC they could end up in the discussion.
-ARIZONA STATE AT COLORADO (Pac Twelve). Arizona State is coming off a loss to rival Arizona and is still looking for their first conference win, but all and all they are in good shape and should be able to pick this one up tonight. They best not sleep on the Buffs, though.
-ARIZONA AT UTAH (Pac Twelve). Arizona has not lost a game since the Battle 4 Atlantis and have beaten two top ten teams since then. Utah is off to a very good start at 10-3 and has won their first two league games. They’re at home tonight in what should be an electric atmosphere. This one should be fun!
-CINCINNATI AT TEMPLE (American). Temple was looking pretty solid for a while, but they’ve looked awful for the last couple of weeks. Still, this won’t be the easiest road game in the world for Cincinnati to win.
-SMU AT TULANE (American). I like what we’ve seen out of both of these teams, but both still have a lot of work to do, especially Tulane. Even if Tulane doesn’t end up anywhere near the bubble, they’re still obviously a program that is much improved and are definitely headed in the right direction.
-PACIFIC AT SAINT MARY’S (West Coast). This game, like many games on SMC’s schedule, takes on the mere importance of a buy game. If they win it means nothing, and if they lose they are sunk.
-UCLA AT STANFORD (Pac Twelve). UCLA has had a rather tumultuous season, but they are still in good shape with a 2-0 start in league play that followed a win against Kentucky. If they can pick up two on the road here they’ll be solidly in the field (for now).
-USC AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Twelve). USC is going in the completely wrong direction and could really use a conference road win right about now.
-GONZAGA AT PEPPERDINE (West Coast). A conference game with buy game importance for the Zags.
-BYU AT SAN FRANCISCO (West Coast). A conference game with buy game importance for BYU.
– Be on the lookout later tonight for our first Bracket Rundown show later tonight – our on-air staff will build a seed list during tonight’s podcasts. During the Bracket Rundown podcast, we will go from the top to the First Four.
– We will have our Under The Radar podcast airing tonight as well where we build the remainder of our seed list as well as review the 20 UTR conferences that we normally do on a weekly basis.
– We will also be keeping tabs on Winter Storm Grayson (really, Weather Channel?) along with any cancellations or postponements that take place as a result. It’s only expected to bring postponements to schools in the Northeast for tonight, but there may be a chain reaction for teams travelling to the Northeast for games this weekend as well.