For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day featuring Murray State at Belmont – CLICK HERE
For last night’s weekly UTR Podcast – CLICK HERE
NEWS AND NOTES
-Last night, there were a pair of Top 10 teams that fell victims to upsets against unranked teams. One game was not what you would call a surprise – Texas was able to beat Texas Tech at home. This was the Longhorns’ 2nd win of note at home since they announced that Andrew Jones would undergo leukemia treatments. Mo Bamba had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Texas, and also got a 20-point performance from Kerwin Roach off of the bench.
-What was a surprise involved a floundering SMU team – they went into the Roundhouse at Wichita State and scored a road win against a Top 10 team for the first time since 1982. (The 1982 game was a REAL shocker – SMU was 1-15 in the Southwest Conference that season and won on the road against a Houston team that would reach the Final Four in New Orleans that season.) As for the present-day Mustangs, Shake Milton had 33 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the field (including 5 3-pointers).
-TCU finally ended a 3-game losing streak with a much-needed win at home against Iowa State. However, Jaylen Fisher is going to be out of the lineup for TCU for a while because of a knee injury he sustained during practice earlier this week.
-Elsewhere in the American, present-day Houston lost a tough one at Tulane last night. Not terribly surprising in the sense that travel difficulties kept them from arriving in New Orleans until about 4 hours before game time. While we continue to highlight how improved Tulane is this season, it’s also the game that Houston can’t afford to lose very often since their chances at quality wins are still limited in the American.
-In the Big East, Creighton got a little bit of revenge against Seton Hall with a decisive win at home. Angel Delgado was in early foul trouble for the Pirates, and they seemed to just be in a mindset where they took their lumps and instead looked ahead to their home game on Saturday against Xavier. The Musketeers had to grind out a home win against St. John’s, but nonetheless their win propelled Chris Mack into the top of Xavier’s all-time victory list for coaches with #203 (surpassing Pete Gillen in the process).
-Villanova completely demolished Georgetown on the road to take sole possession of first place in the conference. How they do in their final five road games (Marquette, Providence, Xavier, Creighton and Seton Hall) will dictate whether or not they keep their regular season crown. But in the meantime, a trip down memory lane to UConn awaits them this weekend.
-Stanford did it again. The Cardinal got another solid win at home against an Arizona State team that has floundered since getting into Pac-12 play. We don’t think they’ll slip up at California (especially since the Bears got trounced at home against Arizona), but they are transitioning out of a protected seed status into more of a first ballot status right now.
-No Collin Sexton? No problem for Alabama – they also shored up their resume with a home win against Auburn. The Tigers had their 14-game winning streak snapped, but they’ll get a chance to bounce back this weekend when Georgia comes to the Plains of Auburn. Florida and Missouri also got nice wins themselves at home against Arkansas and Tennessee, respectively.
-Nevada and Boise State both survive and advance after tougher-than-expected wins at San Jose State and at home against Utah State, respectively. San Diego State took a tough loss at home against Fresno State, and UNLV also lost at home to New Mexico. It’s looking more and more like the best-case scenario for the Mountain West is two NCAA bids and a bevy of NIT bids.
-VERMONT AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (America East). Are we looking at a case of better-late-than-never for last year’s Team of the People? Vermont is still unbeaten in league play, but the Wildcats are only a game out of first place themselves.
-EAST TENNESSEE STATE AT FURMAN (SoCon). Fresh off a home win against fellow SoCon contender UNC-Greensboro, the Bucs now hit the road to take on a Furman team that can claim a share of first place themselves with a win tonight.
-FLORIDA GULF COAST AT LIPSCOMB (Atlantic Sun). The Bison have hit the skids with a disastrous road trip that involved road losses at Jacksonville and North Florida. Gulf Coast is on top of the Atlantic Sun for now, but 7 of their remaining 11 league games will be on the road. However, a win for the Eagles makes them large and in charge in the A-Sun.
-VIRGINIA AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC). This is the first leg of a 2-game road trip for the Cavaliers that they should sweep, but as Miami and Notre Dame can attest, you can’t overlook the Jackets even though they have a home loss against Grambling on their resume.
-WAKE FOREST AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (ACC). This is a game where NC State should hold serve at home – they best not look ahead to their upcoming home game against Miami. Wake is on a 3-game losing streak that involves losses to Duke, Virginia Tech and Boston College.
-WASHINGTON STATE AT COLORADO (Pac 12). Outside of California, this is the most winnable game the Buffs have remaining in league play.
-UTAH VALLEY AT UT-RIO GRANDE VALLEY (WAC). Both teams are much improved and have a chance to remain in the conference race with a win tonight. Utah Valley is better equipped of these 2 teams to challenge New Mexico State for the crown.
-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT MARSHALL (C-USA). This is the toughest road trip in conference play for the Blue Raiders with WKU also looming this weekend. Marshall has been tough at home, although they offered little resistance against the aforementioned Hilltoppers earlier this month.
-LOUISIANA AT TEXAS-ARLINGTON (Sun Belt). We expected this to be one of the #FunBelt signature games this season, but not for the storylines that tonight’s game offers. Louisiana has their toughest roadie with Arlington and Texas State looming this weekend.
-MINNESOTA AT MARYLAND (Big Ten). A pair of desperate teams meet at College Park tonight, but the Gophers played much better in their win at Penn State than they did when they no-showed at home against Purdue. All of Maryland’s 6 losses are Tier 1 losses, but they’ll be on the wrong side of the bubble should they lose this one.
-SAINT MARY’S AT GONZAGA (West Coast, Spotlight Game). Round 1 of the WCC’s signature rivalry begins at 9 PM tonight on ESPN in front of a national audience at the Kennel. A Gonzaga win may vault them into a protected seed; a Saint Mary’s win would give the Gaels a desperately needed win in terms of quality (quantity is there for now).
-MICHIGAN AT NEBRASKA (Big Ten). We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop as it relates to Michigan, but they were able to avoid an emotional letdown with their win at home against Maryland on Monday. Nebraska is not a gimme, though. The Huskers are 0-5 against Tier 1 competition, but if they’re able to beat either Michigan or Ohio State on the road next Monday, they may get on the same trajectory that launched them on an NCAA Tournament run 4 years ago.
-USC AT OREGON (Pac 12). The Trojans can get themselves on the right side of the bubble with a win against an Oregon team that has been up and down in league play. The Ducks lost at home against Utah 2 weeks ago, but bounced back nicely with a win at Arizona State.
-SEATTLE AT NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC). The Aggies continue to flirt with a possible Top 25 ranking with their current 4-game winning streak that includes a win against Miami in the Diamond Head Classic. Lose this one and they’ll suddenly be caught in the WAC logjam that also includes Grand Canyon, Utah Valley and UTRGV.
-UAB AT WESTERN KENTUCKY (C-USA). This could have been Chad’s UTR Game of the Day if not for the Belmont-Murray State game that he chose. The Hilltoppers will have a chance to continue to bolster a potential at-large resume with a win against a UAB team only a game out of first place themselves in C-USA.
-WASHINGTON AT UTAH (Pac-12). The Huskies are squarely on the bubble after losing at home to Stanford over the weekend. They could really use at least one road win this weekend to stay in contention.
-UCLA AT OREGON STATE (Pac-12). The Bruins are also in need of at least one road win this weekend. Tonight is a winnable game, but as the Beavers showed at Arizona State over the weekend, they’re not going to be a pushover either.