News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Wednesday, Jan 31st


-For Chad Sherwood’s UTR Game of the Day from what has been a highly entertaining Big West season – CLICK HERE

-Florida went into Georgia last night and lost, which is typical of a Florida team that always surprises you by playing great when you think they’re overmatched, and always disappoints you when they go into a game that you expect them to win.  It was a nice win for a Georgia team that’s right on the bubble at the moment.

Other than that none of the results from last night were all that cataclysmic, but holy crap were there some close calls!

-When you’re having a bad year, things just never stop going bad even when you play well.  Last night Vanderbilt, who was just 8-13 on the year, went into Rupp Arena and exhibited an incredible effort where they literally led for the entire game.  Even as Kentucky fought their way back into it it still appear that Vandy had things in control in the final seconds.  Then after a bad Kentucky pass that resulted in a loose ball with less than 3 seconds to play, Vandy was whistled for a loose ball foul.  At least 70 feet from the basket.  With less than three seconds to play.  Kentucky hit both freethrows, forced overtime, and then won in overtime.

-Baylor, who is also in the midst of a frustrating season, once again led a ranked team on the road for most of the game, but let it slip away at the very end.  Oklahoma actually had to come from behind to pull off the 98-96 win.

-Saint John’s was at home against Xavier, and never seemed to trail in the game until the final minute.  Even then they had a chance to at least force overtime in the final few seconds, but Xavier held on and escaped.  The Johnnies are still looking for their first conference win.

-Rhode Island also got a huge scare from UMass after appearing to have the game in hand.  UMass came all the way back and got as close as 2, but Rhody held on to win.  Barely.  Again.

-Clemson did get a big home win against North Carolina, who has now lost three straight.  None of those losses are awful losses, and they certainly have time to make the ground up, but they do seem to be trending down a bit at the moment.

-TCU picked up a nice and much needed road win at Oklahoma State.  A good conference road win is just what they needed.

-Buffalo suffered their first conference loss as they fell in a tense one at Kent State last night 82-79.  This most likely shoots down what slim chances the Bulls had for an at-large bid.

-Texas A&M absolutely clobbered Arkansas last night and picked up a win that they desperately needed, but more important they actually LOOKED good for the first time in well over a month.



-PENN STATE AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten).  Michigan State is still very high in the rankings, but the top part of their resume is a little thin.  It’s important that they hold serve in games like this against a Penn State team that is most likely NIT bound.

-LSU AT TENNESSEE (SEC).  LSU is on the bubble, and Tennessee is on the cusp of a protected seed.  Both teams could really use this win to help them accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish.

-LOUISVILLE AT VIRGINIA (ACC).  Louisville has really been playing well lately, but Virginia is coming off what is perhaps the singular most impressive win of the season against Duke and is playing as well as anyone in the nation.  This is also a team that Louisville has struggled with in recent years, so this is a very tall order for the Cardinals.

-HOUSTON AT CINCINNATI (American).  Cincinnati is high in the rankings and should end up as a protected seed if they’re able to hold serve (which means winning virtually everything), and pick up at least one win against Wichita State.  Houston is right on the bubble.  A road win in a game like this could really tip the scale in their favor.

-WEST VIRGINIA AT IOWA STATE (Big 12).  There are no easy road wins in this conference, but as crazy as this is to say this is probably the least difficult road win to be had.  West Virginia may still be stinging after letting a big lead slip away against Kentucky at home and a road win would certainly help numb the sting.

-PITTSBURGH AT MIAMI FL (ACC).  Miami needs to take care of business and not lose to a sub 100 team (if not worse) at home.

-PROVIDENCE AT SETON HALL (Big East).  Providence is in our field, but not solidly in the top half of the bracket, so any win in a game like this would help boost them forward.  Seton Hall is in the top half of the bracket, but is no longer a protected seed.  At least not right now.  They can certainly get there if they can string together some wins.

-VERMONT AT BINGHAMTON (America East).  The chances of Vermont landing inside the bubble even if they win out are very slim, but they are at least slim.  At worst, they blow through the conference (again) and end up with home court advantage all throughout the conference tourney.  They are a potentially dangerous team to face in the Round of 64.

-FLORIDA STATE AT WAKE FOREST (ACC).  Florida State’s resume keeps improving and they have a really good chance of adding another road win to it tonight.

-SYRACUSE AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC).  Syracuse is right on the bubble, and therefore every game has a pivotal feel to it.  If they win then it’s another road win on their resume.  If they lose then it means they’ve lost to a sub-NCAA Tournament team, and perhaps even sub-NIT team, and you don’t need that if you’re on the bubble.

-LOYOLA-CHICAGO AT BRADLEY (Missouri Valley). Loyola currently leads Bradley by 2 games in the Valley and a surprising Southern Illinois team by a game and a half. This is one of the Ramblers’ toughest tests remaining – Bradley is a perfect 10-0 at home against D-I competition this season.

-MARYLAND AT PURDUE (Big Ten).  Purdue has put together a nice little winning streak here lately.  They’ve done just fine!  Maryland is hovering around the bubble and if they want to be taken seriously then this is the kind of win that could certainly help, but that is a very tall order at this point.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC).  South Carolina is extremely bubbly right now and really needs to string together some wins.  Losing at home to a team that isn’t likely to make the field won’t help things at all.

-TEXAS AT TEXAS TECH (Big 12).  Texas is solidly in the field (for now), but definitely has a lot of room for improvement.  They also have a lot of opportunities, and a win in a game like this would go a very long way.  Texas Tech, for now, is still looking like a protected seed.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC).  VA Tech is in range of the bubble and adding another road win to their resume will certainly help them out. BC has been tough at home this year with an 11-1 record that includes wins over Duke and Florida State. Clemson is the only visitor to win at Chestnut Hill so far this year.

-MISSOURI AT ALABAMA (SEC).  Alabama’s profile keeps getting better and better, and Missouri keeps looking more and more like a team that is squarely on the bubble.  Both teams’ resumes have room for improvement, and this is the kind of win that could definitely help them improve.

-CONNECTICUT AT CENTRAL FLORIDA (American). Highlighted because we love the Civil ConFLiCT!

-BUTLER AT MARQUETTE (Big East).  Both teams look to be relatively safe for now, but neither can turn on the cruise control yet.  This is a big game because it will be a quality win for whoever pulls it out.

-WYOMING AT COLORADO STATE (Mountain West, Front Range). Highlighted because we love the Front Range!

-ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON STATE (Pac Twelve).  It hasn’t always been easy or pretty, but Arizona keeps winning.  As for Wazzu, it hasn’t been easy or pretty since the end of November and that isn’t likely to change tonight.

-FRESNO STATE AT NEVADA (Mountain West).  The good news is that Nevada should go into the NCAAs on the first ballot if they hold serve.  The rough news is that they pretty much need to win out in order to hold serve.  This is yet another game against a decent but not NCAA Tournament caliber team that will do Nevada more harm to lose it than it will do them good to win it.

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