For tonight’s UTR Game of the Day between Radford and Gardner-Webb – CLICK HERE
NEWS AND NOTES
– Parity is alive and well in the Pac-12, and that is not likely to be good this year. Arizona State finally returned home after a rough 1-2 road trip to start league play and promptly lost at home to Oregon. While the Sun Devils are slowly regressing back to the mean (one more loss like this and they likely lose protected seed status), Oregon got their first significant win in a year that has been a disaster by their recent standards.
– Down the road in Tucson, Arizona ended up pulling away from Oregon State in the 2nd half, but the Beavers led throughout the first half and were competitive for most of this outing. There may well be some truth in Sean Miller’s comments that he’s having a hard time getting through to his team. If they lose to Oregon over the weekend, the Pac-12 will be completely wide-open.
– Ask Stanford – they looked awful losing AT HOME to Cal a couple of weeks ago, but with a sweep of the LA schools and a win last night at Washington State, the Cardinal are suddenly sitting pretty in 3-1 in league play with a healthier roster intact. Washington also survived at home against Cal, and the Washington-Stanford matchup this weekend suddenly looks a lot more intriguing. UCLA also beat Utah at home to put themselves a half game above the other Pac-12 leaders for the moment.
– NC State has suddenly become a tough place for road teams in the ACC this season. First they trip up Duke (no pun intended) and now they have a win at home against Clemson to put themselves closer to NCAA Tournament discussion. Remember that the Wolfpack also beat Arizona in Atlantis, but that was diminished a little by their loss to Northern Iowa in the same venue. Their only other wart is a home loss to UNC-Greensboro. As for Clemson, they’ll get a chance to get back on track with a home game against Miami on Sunday.
– Maryland has had Ohio State’s number since joining the Big 10, but the Buckeyes demolished the Terps last night and are starting to resemble a first-ballot NCAA Tournament team. They will now hit the road for a 3-game swing that includes a dangerous Rutgers team, a hibernating Northwestern team and a volatile Minnesota team.
– Under the Radar featured Western Kentucky getting a signature road win at Old Dominion to put themselves in a 2-way tie with Middle Tennessee for the C-USA standings. Wright State put an end to their recent miseries against NKU with a solid road win last night to put the Raiders atop the Horizon by themselves. East Tennessee State also won at home against UNC-Greensboro to hold onto a share of the SoCon lead (along with Furman). New Mexico State won one of their more challenging WAC games by getting a road W at Grand Canyon last night. The Aggies are playing like a team that can be seeded above the First Four come Selection Sunday.
-MARQUETTE AT BUTLER (Big East) – 6:30 PM EST/FS1. While Marquette has picked up solid wins recently at Providence and at home against Seton Hall, Butler is in the midst of a 3-game slide that includes a home loss to the aforementioned Seton Hall along with road losses at Xavier and Creighton. There should be a slightly higher sense of urgency for Butler to hold serve at home, but Marquette could also use another road win or two to solidify their own tournament case.
-NEBRASKA AT PENN STATE (Big Ten) – 7:00 PM EST/BTN. What is scary about this game is that we may have to seriously start to look at Nebraska if they are able to get another road win under their belts in B1G play. Of their six losses this year, only Central Florida and the road loss at St. John’s stick out. As for Penn State, it’s now or never for whatever faint hopes they have for dancing.
-VCU AT DAYTON (Atlantic 10) – 7:00 PM EST/ESPN2. While both teams are reloading this year, VCU at least has a slight glimmer of hope of an at-large bid if they’re able to string together some Ws in the A-10. Dayton is reduced to playing spoiler, but they’ve already beaten St. Bonaventure at home and are more than capable of doing the same to VCU tonight.
-QUINNIPIAC AT RIDER (MAAC) – 7:00 PM EST. Rider is one of 3 teams currently tied atop the standings of the Metro Atlantic and begin a tough 3-game stretch with tonight’s game followed by 2 road games at Iona and at Saint Peter’s. While Quinnipiac had an atrocious out-of-conference slate outside of a home win against UMass, the Bobcats are only half a game out of first place themselves in the MAAC.
-PROVIDENCE AT DEPAUL (Big East) – 8:30 PM EST/FS1. This will be a commercial free telecast on FS1 tonight that will include more comments from both coaching staffs and also halftime speeches from both locker rooms (FS2 has also done this for a couple of women’s Big East games, but this will be a first for the men’s Big East). Both teams are coming off of their best games of the season – Providence got a huge win at home against Xavier and DePaul got a road win against a St. John’s team that is in freefall since league play started.
-IDAHO AT EASTERN WASHINGTON (Big Sky) – 10:30 PM EST/WatchBigSky.com. This is another pivotal game for the Big Sky standings. Idaho is running out of strikes in league play and Eastern Washington continues to impress with house money this season. A win by EWU would put them within a game of first-place Montana.