News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Saturday, Jan 20th

For Chad’s UTR Game of the Day between Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky – CLICK HERE


-Indiana came into last night’s game at Baylor Michigan State and ended up thoroughly getting boatraced in a game that they really needed to at least get themselves in NCAA discussion. The Spartans had their best outing since their game at home against Maryland earlier this month.

-Thanks to St. Bonaventure’s loss at Davidson last night, Rhode Island now looks to be the only team in the Atlantic 10 with any remote shot of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. If Rhody wins at Dayton today, the odds are decent that they can run the table in the A-10 this season.

-Buffalo added some further separation in the MAC with a win on the road against preseason favorite Western Michigan last night.

-Both Iona and Canisius won last night – this sets up a first-place showdown on Sunday at Iona between both teams. Canisius already won the first of 2 games between the teams at Buffalo earlier in the season.

UPDATE (11:30 AM EST) – Air Force is suspending all interscholastic events during the current federal goverment shutdown, including what was to be today’s home game against Fresno State. Navy will still play Boston University at 2 PM EST as scheduled. Army will also play their home game (also 2 PM EST) against Lehigh today.


-VILLANOVA AT UCONN.  It’s a January OOC game between two good brand names, one of which is a good team and another that will likely miss the NIT.  Having said that, UConn is 8-1 at home, so maybe they can be sort of competitive.

-PURDUE AT IOWA (Big Ten).  This may be one of the most winnable road games that Purdue has remaining on their schedule.  They are way up in the rankings and are gunning for the #1 line.

-WICHITA STATE AT HOUSTON (American).  Wichita State is coming off a surprising home loss to SMU, and there isn’t a whole lot of really good stuff on their resume right now.  Houston has been up and down this year.  They’re at home and they should be jacked for this one.  Both teams have been somewhat inconsistent throughout the year so it’s hard to say what will happen.

-OHIO STATE VS MINNESOTA (Big Ten – Madison Square Garden).  Ohio State continues to roll and has another winnable game away from home today.  The way their schedule is laid out, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were 11-0 in league play going into the game against Purdue. This is an MSG day-night doubleheader involving Minnesota’s basketball and hockey teams.

-FLORIDA STATE AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC).  Florida State has a lot of room for improvement and is just 2-4 in league play.  Picking this one up on the road would certainly help.

-LSU AT VANDERBILT (SEC).  LSU is squarely on our bubble right now, and winning on the road would certainly help.  This is the kind of road game that any tournament team would be expected to win.

-THE CITADEL AT VMI (SoCon).  This has no tournament implications.  In fact it has no implications at all and neither team is even good within the SoCon seeing as how they are a combined 1-11.  It’s just a fun rivalry.  Expect to see a lot of intensity if you tune in.

-RHODE ISLAND AT DAYTON (Atlantic Ten).  Dayton has been mostly cold this season, but they have been hot at times.  Rhody is blowing through the conference and will have to keep doing so in order to land in the top half of the bracket.

-OKLAHOMA AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big 12).  BEDLAM!!!!!!  Oklahoma could still get a #1 seed, but at the very least looks like they belong on one of the top two lines (at least for right now) and should be able to win this one, but there’s a lot of venom in this rivalry and winning it on the road is never easy.  Oklahoma State doesn’t appear to be going to the tournament, but winning this would be a feelgood moment in their season.

-TEXAS AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big 12).  I keep saying I like this Texas team, and I do, but I think they’re swinging way over their heads in this one.  West Virginia had a bit of a rough week with two straight losses and if they’re as tough as I think they are they may really be out for blood today.

-TEXAS TECH AT IOWA STATE (Big 12).  Texas Tech is trying to rebound from a loss at Texas and stay solidly in protected seed range.  This isn’t an easy road game, but it is perhaps less difficult than any other road game they have remaining.

-GEORGIA TECH AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC).  The Tar Heels have a really strong profile and seem to be improving.  They shouldn’t have too much trouble at home in this one.

-TEMPLE AT PENN (Big Five).  Only because it’s a Big Five game.  Penn is making a lot of noise in the Ivy, but they’ll need the automatic to get in and may end up as low as the #16 line.

-BUTLER AT DEPAUL (Big East).  Butler has played a rough schedule and has a decent profile, but this is a winnable road game and they need to win it.

-XAVIER AT SETON HALL (Big East).  I’m not nearly as impressed with Seton Hall as the rest of the Hoops HD staff, but they do have the kind of resume that can land them a protected seed and knocking of Xavier at home would certainly help with that. As for Xavier, this is their remaining opportunity to beat a potential protected seed away from home in the regular season.

-CREIGHTON AT PROVIDENCE (Big East).  We have Providence close to the bubble right now, but in.  We have Creighton in the top half of the bracket, but toward the bottom end of it.  Both teams certainly have room for improvement and a win in this game would certainly help.

-OLE MISS AT ARKANSAS (SEC).  I like this Arkansas team, but they have some work to do.  At just 2-4 in SEC play, they cannot afford to lose at home to an Ole Miss team that is miles outside the bubble right now.

-PITTSBURGH AT DUKE (Buy Game) (ACC).  Oh wait, this is an ACC game and not a buy game.  My mistake.

-EAST CAROLINA AT CINCINNATI (Buy Game) (American).  Oh wait, this is an American game and not a buy game.  My mistake.

-ARIZONA AT STANFORD (Pac-12).  This is a hugely interesting game.  This is a red hot Stanford team that can win their sixth in a row, improve to 6-1 in conference play, and beat a top 25 team for the second time in 48 hours.  They’re still outside our bubble, but they are sprinting toward it and will wind up not just inside of it, but safely inside of it if they keep this up for a few more weeks.  Arizona is a fringe protected seed that I think will ultimately end up there by the end of the season.  Having said that, they need to be winning games like this in order to do it. The winner of this game takes sole possession of first place in the Pac-12.

-NOTRE DAME AT CLEMSON (ACC).  Clemson is having a great year and can keep that momentum going with another win over a possible/probable tournament team in Notre Dame.  The Irish are dealing with injuries and are coming off an emotional double overtime loss to Louisville.  A win in this game would be a hugely defining moment in their season, and may be their best win of the year up to this point.

-TCU AT KANSAS STATE (Big Twelve).  This game has a very pivotal feel for both teams.  TCU has had a good season, but is just 2-4 in conference play and has just one true road win on the year.  A win on the road today would obviously really help them out.  K State still has a lot of work to do, but has been playing well and is coming off a near win at Kansas and a blowout win against Oklahoma.

-MISSOURI AT TEXAS A&M (SEC).  Mizzou is inside our bubble now, but can hardly just start riding the cruise control.  TAMU has completely fallen apart.  They finally won a conference game in their last game, but it was at home against an Ole Miss team that isn’t that good, and they barely won.  They still have some work to do.

-LOUISIANA AT TEXAS STATE (Sun Belt).  A win for Louisiana will get them to 17-3, and since Texas State has just one conference loss this is looking like one of their more difficult remaining games.  One can’t help but wonder if any top 25 will start to notice their bloated record and begin giving them a little bit of love.

-BAYLOR AT KANSAS (Big 12).  Kansas had a huge week last week where they picked up a win at West Virginia.  Their resume is looking like a #1 seed caliber resume despite some surprising losses.  They’re at home today and they should be able to knock off a Baylor team that just doesn’t seem to have it this year.

-GEORGIA AT AUBURN (SEC).  We have Georgia on the bubble and Auburn as a protected seed.  Georgia could really help their cause if they can pick up this road win.  Auburn is coming off just their second loss of the year in a somewhat surprising (but hardly shocking) road loss to rival Alabama earlier this week.

-TENNESSEE AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC).  South Carolina hasn’t looked good at all points throughout the year, but I think they’ve looked good these last couple weeks and wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them knock off the Vols at home and end up with a tournament caliber resume by the end of the season.

-TULANE AT SMU (American).  It was hard to be excited about SMU a week ago, but after their huge win at Wichita State it’s hard to not be excited about them now.  Let’s see if they can keep it going at home against a Tulane team who’s program is improving but still has work to do. There is also a revenge factor in play as Tulane beat the Mustangs at home earlier this month.

-WASHINGTON AT COLORADO (Pac-12).  Washington is just outside of our bubble and winning on the road against a Colorado team that’s a bit of a home court hero would certainly help.

-UTAH VALLEY AT NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC).  These are two of the best teams in the WAC, and New Mexico State could be marching toward an at-large bid and a top 25 ranking if they keep winning.

-SAN DIEGO STATE AT NEW MEXICO (Mountain West).  San Diego State’s NCAA Tournament hopes have not been completely dashed, but they need to absolutely thunder down the stretch.  They can’t afford to lose any games to sub NIT teams, be it at home or on the road.  Otherwise, one of their wins had better be that last one because they’ll need the auto-bid.

-MIDDLE TENNESSEE AT WESTERN KENTUCKY (Conference USA).  Also highlighted as Chad’s UTR Game of the Day, Middle Tennessee is coming off a rare loss, which was their first in conference.  Western Kentucky is unbeaten and has played and beaten some of the better teams in the league.  They are inside our bubble for now, and will remain there if they continue to win like they have been.  With a big OOC win against Purdue and some other wins of note on top of that, hopefully the real committee shows them some love if they keep it up.

-GONZAGA AT SANT CLARA (West Coast).  Gonzaga will look to bounce back from a home loss to rival Saint Mary’s, and shouldn’t have too much trouble doing it.

-USC AT OREGON STATE (Pac Twelve).  USC is right on our bubble and could use a conference road win, and this is the game they should be expected to win if they want to safely make The Dance.

-FLORIDA AT KENTUCKY (SEC).  Florida has been hot and cold this year, but they’ve been hot enough of the time to lead me to believe they could still end up with a really good profile and maybe a protected seed.  The problem is they’ve been cold enough of the time to make me think they could land more in the middle of the bracket.  A big game today as both teams look to add a quality win to their resume.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT ALABAMA (SEC).  Bama is coming off a huge win against rival Auburn and shouldn’t have too much trouble at home against a Mississippi State team that’s looked good at times, not on the road against tournament caliber teams.

-SAINT MARY’S AT PACIFIC (West Coast).  SMC picked up a huge season defining win at Gonzaga.  They just need to avoid a letdown against a Pacific team that doesn’t have anything in terms of a resume, but that has played well in the WCC so far.

-BOISE STATE AT NEVADA (Mountain West).  I like both of these teams, but Nevada clearly has the stronger resume right now.  This would be a huge win for a Boise State team that looks to be on the bubble.  I don’t think they’d be on the bubble if they were able to win this one.

-UCLA AT OREGON (Pac-12).  UCLA is another team that is squarely on our bubble and could really use a road win against an Oregon team that’s had a rough year, but does seem to be getting better (at least at home).

-ARIZONA STATE AT CALIFORNIA (Pac-12).  Arizona State has now lost four of their last six since starting conference play.  Boy, are they glad to see Cal!!

-UC DAVIS AT HAWAII (Big West).  No at-large implications here but a really good Big West game between a UC Davis team that’s having a good year and is off to a 3-1 start, and a Hawaii team with the same record in league play.  This is one of UC Davis’s toughest remaining games so it’ll be interesting to see what they can do.

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