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For this week’s Hoops HD Report podcast – CLICK HERE
For our colleague Rocco Miller’s latest weekly bracket – CLICK HERE
For Jon Teitel’s interview with Jack Powers (re: Ken Norton) – CLICK HERE
NEWS AND NOTES
-Last night featured the second matchup of West Virginia and Oklahoma. The Mountaineers raced out to a 50-40 lead at halftime and were able to overcome a late Sooner rally to get a much-needed road win. Press Virginia held the Sooners over 20 points below what they averaged at home. Trae Young had a big night in terms of points scored, but he was shut out in the assist column.
-Syracuse also got a desperately needed win on the road at Louisville last night. It’s the kind of game that puts the Orange closer to the bubble and also brings the Cards down to the bubble themselves. Louisville does have a significant win at Florida State on their profile, but they are now stuck in neutral after consecutive home losses to the Noles and Syracuse.
-XAVIER AT BUTLER (Big East). Butler, while not ranked, is a very impressive 12-1 at home, and that includes a win over top ranked Villanova. They’ve also won four games in a row, all by double digits, and are playing their best basketball of the year. Xavier is on the fringe of the #1 line, but they’ve had to sweat out their last two games, and neither team was in the same universe as Butler, so this is going to be a huge test for the Muskies.
-UCF AT CINCINNATI (American). Cincinnati keeps winning. That’s all they can do. They should end up as a protected seed if they win out, which I think they are good enough to do.
-TENNESSEE AT KENTUCKY (SEC). Both teams are in the rankings and both are competing for protected seeds. Tennessee won the first meeting, but winning this one on the road would be even bigger and solidify an already solid profile even more. Kentucky is coming off a loss to Missouri and is looking to rebound. After looking amazing in the final 25 minutes of their game at West Virginia, Kentucky has struggled in their last two games.
-MICHIGAN AT NORTHWESTERN (Big Ten). Michigan is solidly in the top half of the bracket and can add another road win to their resume tonight.
-SOUTH CAROLINA AT ARKANSAS (SEC). Arkansas needs to be sweating a little bit. There is certainly time to play their way into safety, but they’re just 4-6 in league play, and many of the games they lost were to teams that you’d expect a solid NCAA team to be able to beat. Tonight they’re at home in yet another game that you would expect a solid tournament team to be able to win.
-ALABAMA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC). Mississippi State is in all likelihood an NIT team unless they absolutely thunder down the stretch, but they are 14-1 at home, so if the committee is paying attention (and in recent years there have been times where I wondered whether or not they were) this would be a really nice win for Alabama if they’re able to pick it up.
-BUFFALO AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (MAC). Buffalo isn’t likely to get into the NCAAs without the auto-bid, but with such a healthy RPI they should at least stay on the board if they win out, and if they are then you never know for sure.
-BOSTON COLLEGE AT NOTRE DAME (ACC). BC kept a glimmer of light alive with an OT win at home against Georgia Tech on Sunday. If they can win this one on the road, it will all but turn out the lights for Notre Dame until the ACC Tournament.
-BAYLOR AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big 12). Okie State just got the big win at Kansas. Their chances aren’t zero, but they need to string together some wins if they want to end up on the right side of the bubble.
-GEORGETOWN AT PROVIDENCE (Big East). Providence has been solid at home all year long and is well on pace to make the NCAA Tournament if they’re able to continue to hold serve. A win tonight gets them to 7-4 in league play. However, Georgetown made Creighton sweat a little at their place and made Xavier sweat bullets before losing both games.
-MICHIGAN STATE AT IOWA (Big Ten). This should be an easy win for Michigan State, and it will improve them to an impressive 5-1 on the year in true road games, and 9-2 overall away from home.
-TCU AT KANSAS (Big 12). I don’t know where to begin with this. I’m sitting here trying to think about how to evaluate Kansas, who loses at home more than on the road. Do you give teams like TCU less credit if they win at Kansas than you would if they were to beat Kansas at home? Kansas has five losses on the season, and inexplicably four of them have come at home. TCU is sliding closer and closer to the bubble, but as of now they are still well within it. A win today would certainly help because a loss drops them to 3 games below .500 in league play, and they’d be just 3-7 in their last ten games. But, they’re on the road at Kansas, so they have a chance!!
-WICHITA STATE AT MEMPHIS (American). To say Wichita State is in trouble is completely overstating things, but it would be in their best interest to not lose any more games to sub-tournament caliber teams.
-NEBRASKA AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten). Nebraska can play their way onto the bubble if they win out, but minus beating a heavyweight in the Big Ten Tournament I don’t think they can play their way into a position where they are so far inside it that they’re completely safe.
-MISSOURI AT OLE MISS (SEC). Missouri is on the bubble, and winning road games against non-tournament caliber teams would be a good thing. Ole Miss, while not a tourney team, can still be very tough to beat at home.
-COLORADO STATE AT AIR FORCE (Mountain West, Front Range). Highlighted because we love the Front Range!
-BOISE STATE AT NEW MEXICO (Mountain West). Boise State is squarely on the bubble as it is, and any loss would be very damaging.