Under The Radar Game of the Day: Montana at UC-Irvine

For David Griggs’ News, Notes and Highlighted Games for Rivalry Saturday – CLICK HERE

Montana (5-2, 4-2 D1) at UC-Irvine (8-2, 7-2 D1) – 10:00 PM EST (BigWest.tv)

Today’s UTR Game of the Day features a pair of teams favored to win their respective conferences – the Montana Grizzlies (Big Sky) and the UC-Irvine Anteaters (Big West). Irvine does have a nice pair of road wins at Texas A&M and Saint Mary’s so far this year, and have only looked bad in one game – a home loss where a surprising Utah State beat the Anteaters by 24 points. Irvine has at least 6 players that average over 8 points a game, but is balanced enough that nobody currently averages double figures in points per game. They make up for that by holding teams to 65 points a game.

Montana’s biggest win to date consists of a home win against Georgia State, and much like UC-Irvine, they’ve had one bad game where they did not look as good in a blowout loss at Creighton. Ahmaad Rorie leads the Grizzlies with 15.9 points per game; Michael Oguine also averages 15 points and 5.7 rebounds for Montana as well.

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Saturday, December 8th

NEWS AND NOTES

-LOTS of big games today, and some fantastic out of conference rivalry games!!

-Last night we saw two really crappy games at the Staples Center, one of which New Mexico was blown off of the planet for the second game in a row, and one great game between Arizona State and Nevada.  Nevada didn’t have a whole lot of flow in the first half and rushed a lot of bad shots, but they are an extremely athletic team that played a fantastic second half.  Arizona was able to come back late in the game (not that they were getting blown out, but they were behind), but came up short in the end.  Still, it was a strong showing by both teams and Arizona State should do very well in the Pac 12 if they play like that the rest of the year.

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-SOUTH CAROLINA AT MICHIGAN.  Michigan is looking to improve to 10-0, and based on how they’ve been playing at home they probably won’t have a whole lot of trouble.

-KENTUCKY VS SETON HALL (Madison Square Garden).  Kentucky has struggled some this season, but they’ve won seven in a row since losing the opener against Duke, and some of those wins were against decent teams.  This is a big challenge because they face a Seton Hall team that’s been playing well lately, and who could really benefit with a win like this on their resume.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT FLORIDA.  Florida has been slow out of the gate, but they did get a nice win earlier in the week which should give them some momentum coming into this game.  Michigan State is a top ten team that seems to be on pace to end up as a protected seed.

-DEPAUL AT NORTHWESTERN.  It’s a crosstown rivalry game.  Both teams have shown signs of life, but both could also use more wins of note, so this is important both on and off paper.

-PITTSBURGH AT WEST VIRGINIA.  Backyard Brawl!!!  Well, it’s hard to get as excited about this rivalry as we have in the past because it’s no longer a conference game, Pitt is improved this year, but they’re coming off a really bad loss from earlier in the week, and West Virginia just hasn’t looked strong at any point this season.  But, it’s still a heated rivalry and it’s the kind of win that can really jumpstart a team’s season if they’re able to win it.

-WICHITA STATE AT OKLAHOMA.  Oklahoma is having a much better start to the season than we expected.  If they can pick this one up against a Wichita State team that’s been hot and cold this year, then they’ll improve to an impressive 8-1 on the year.

-UAB AT MEMPHIS.  UAB is a modest 6-2, but they amassed that record playing really weak teams.  Memphis has been hot and cold, but just beat a pretty good South Dakota State team and can get back above .500 with a win today.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT VILLANOVA (Big Five).  Nova continues to dominate the Big Five.  They held on to beat a pretty tough Temple team earlier in the week, and shouldn’t have as much trouble with a Saint Joseph’s team that has looked decent on occasion, but is still just 5-4 on the year.

-BYU AT UTAH.  BYU just got a big win against Utah State, but other than that both of these teams have been underwhelming this year.  Nevertheless, this is still a very bitter rivalry.  I don’t want to call it the biggest rivalry in college basketball because it doesn’t resonate nationally or mean as much on paper as some of the others, but I do think that it is perhaps the most bitter rivalry in college basketball in terms of the sheer dislike that the fans have for one another.  Duke v UNC is a much bigger showcase game, and they’re eight miles apart, and they’ve never met in the NCAA Tournament, but I don’t think their fans hate each other nearly as much as these two fanbases do.

-XAVIER AT CINCINNATI.  Another rivalry where the fans, players, and coaches aren’t exactly pals.  As I’ve been saying recently, most of the games over the last eight or nine years have been pretty boring in this series, but the postgame fireworks have been outstanding!  Hopefully we actually see a good game this year because it is rather important beyond simple bragging rights.  Both these teams need a good win, and while they’ll both certainly have other chances later in the year, it looks as though they won’t have as many as in previous years given how things are shaping up.  And, our colleague John Stalica, along with everyone else in the city of Cincinnati, needs to realize something.  GOLD STAR IS BETTER THAN SKYLINE!!!

-RUTGERS AT FORDHAM.  I feel funny highlighting this, especially since Fordham is coming off a loss at Maine, but it was only Fordham’s second loss, and Rutgers has shown some signs of life against highly ranked opponents.  These are two programs that could finally be turning things around, and could end up having better years than what we’re used to seeing.

-LOUISVILLE AT INDIANA.  Both teams appear to be having bounce back seasons, both have played well this year (for the most part), and both come into this game with a lot of momentum.  This would be a nice profile win for whoever pulls it off.  I’d like for the Kentucky v Indiana series to come back some day, but Louisville is actually much closer to Bloomington, so I guess this will suffice.

-TOLEDO AT MARSHALL.  Toledo can improve to 9-1 on the year with a win.  Buffalo is getting all of the national attention from the MAC, but Toledo is making quite a bit of noise as well.

-RADFORD AT OHIO.  Radford is playing their fifth true road game of the season.  They’re coming off a road loss to James Madison and are looking to rebound against an Ohio team that is a perfect 5-0 at home.  With wins over Notre Dame and Texas, the committee should be paying attention to Radford if they’re doing their job.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT ARKANSAS.  WKU has been one of the biggest disappointments in all of college basketball this year, whereas Arkansas has been one of the bigger surprises.  The Razorbacks can improve to 7-1 on the year with a win.

-GEORGETOWN AT SYRACUSE.  This game still moves the needle even though it’s not a conference game anymore.  Syracuse stumbled in their exempt tournament, but has been playing very well since then.  Georgetown has shown quite a bit of life as well.  It should be fun.  It almost always is.

-BUFFALO AT SAINT BONAVENTURE (Big Four).  The Bonnies haven’t been all that impressive this year, but they are 4-1 at home, and this is a bit of a rivalry game, so Buffalo better not overlook them.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE VS CLEMSON (Newark, NJ).  Clemson REALLY needs this win.  They’re 6-2, but don’t have any quality wins on their resume yet, whereas Mississippi State has earned a few notable scalps.  These are two probable tournament teams, so it should be a good game.

-LOYOLA CHICAGO VS MARYLAND (Baltimore, MD – Charm City Classic).  Loyola has been disappointing this year, and is coming off yet another home loss.  Maryland is ranked in the Top 25 and clearly looks like the superior team, especially at home.

-HOUSTON AT OKLAHOMA STATE.  Oklahoma State is coming off a loss to Tulsa, whereas Houston is coming off a blowout win against Oregon and is looking to remain unbeaten on the year and pick up anther road win.

-KANSAS STATE AT TULSA.  As good as Kansas State has looked this year, they’re still looking for their first true road win.  Tulsa is 6-3 and a perfect 6-0 at home, so while K State should win it, it may not be easy.

-WEBER STATE AT UTAH STATE.  Utah State is looking to bounce back after getting blasted by BYU earlier this week.

-WISCONSIN AT MARQUETTE.  This is a rivalry game between two teams that have played really well this year.  The game is at Marquette, they’ve got quite a bit of momentum built up after their big win against K State last week, and they should be amped up for this one.

-CREIGHTON AT NEBRASKA.  Creighton has dominated this series in recent years, and Nebraska is coming in after a road loss to Minnesota.  The thing about the Huskers is that they are home court heroes, and the fans should be way up for this one given the rivalry and how long it’s been since they’ve won it.  It will be a quality resume win for whoever pulls it off, and that’s especially true for Creighton since they are the road team.

-FLORIDA STATE AT UCONN.  Both teams are having really good years, and UConn has been a bit of a surprise considering how strong of a start their season is off to.  This would be a huge statement win for the Huskies if they’re able to pull it off, and another really nice road win for the Seminoles.

-MURRAY STATE AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE.  Murray has looked pretty strong this year, but they’re still looking for their first true road win.

-NEW MEXICO STATE AT KANSAS.  New Mexico State just blew out their rivals earlier this week, and should be riding a huge wave of confidence.  They clearly look like the best team in the WAC, and we should see them in the NCAA Tournament.  If they keep winning at the clip they have been they may not need to win the conference tournament to get there.  That being said, Kansas is a likely #1 seed and while it’ll be interesting to see what NMSU can do, they are somewhat overmatched.

-DAYTON AT AUBURN.  Dayton has looked good in their losses to teams like Virginia and Mississippi State.  The problem is those were losses.  They need a good win on their resume for the committee to notice them and their conference is not going to help them out.  Auburn has looked real strong and the Flyers may be overmatched, but if they were to pick up a win today it may be the win that ends up defining their season and getting them into The Dance.

-MONTANA AT UC IRVINE.  These are two really strong UTR teams that will likely be conference frontrunners and who we may see in the NCAAs come March.

-NOTRE DAME AT UCLA.  Both teams have good records at 6-2, but both could use some more good wins, so this does have some importance to it.

BUY GAMES (and other games worth listing, but not highlighting)

-Grambling @ UCF
-Stony Brook @ Brown
-Colgate @ Penn State
-Arkansas State @ Minnesota
-Penn @ La Salle (Big Five).  Penn can improve to 8-2
-Wright State @ Kent State – Kent State is another MAC team that has looked impressive
-Furman @ South Carolina Upstate
-Northern Illinois @ Butler
-Houston Baptist @ Texas State –  Texas State can improve to 9-1
-Yale @ Duke – Yale may be the best team in the Ivy, but they’re overmatched today
-UIC @ Colorado
-UT Arlington @ North Texas
-Northern Kentucky @ Eastern Kentucky – NKU trying to get to 7-2, and 3-2 in road games
-Long Beach State @ Fresno State
-Southern Illinois @ SEMO
-Omaha @ Oregon

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Under The Radar Game of the Day: Louisiana Tech at Stephen F. Austin

For David Griggs’ News, Notes and Highlighted Games for today – CLICK HERE

Louisiana Tech (6-3, 4-3 D1) at Stephen F. Austin (5-2, 2-2 D1) – 7:30 PM EST (ESPN+)

After a weeklong hiatus from one of our writers, the UTR Game of the Day resumes with one of the better matchups we’ve had so far this season – the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs hit the road to take on the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin. In their last outing, SFA finished 3rd in the Belfast Classic in Northern Ireland with an opening-round loss to San Francisco but won their final game against Milwaukee. Shannon Bogues currently leads SFA with 14.3 points a game; Kevon Harris also averages 12.3 points a game and 6.3 rebounds a game.

Louisiana Tech has rebounded a bit from their recent 2-game losing streak against UNC-Greensboro and Delaware; they’ve won a pair of home buy games against Houston Baptist and Prairie View. While the Bulldogs have won a pair of games against Southland teams (they beat Sam Houston State earlier in the season), this is another major road test for the Bulldogs. This will be their first game at SFA in two decades. Louisiana Tech has 5 players averaging double figures in points; Exavian Christon leads the way with 12 points a game.

If you happen to be in the Nagodoches area for the game, SFA is running a cross promotion with Toys for Tots for tonight’s game. Free admission is provided for anyone who brings an unwrapped toy to the game (valued at $10 and up)!

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games: Friday, Dec 7th

-Iowa bounced back from two straight losses with an impressive showing and win over rival Iowa State in an intense affair.  Purdue also picked up their first big win of the season after knocking off Maryland in a game that came down to the final seconds.

-UMASS AT PROVIDENCE.  Providence is coming off a hard fought win against Boston College, and should be able to improve to 8-2 on the year with a win tonight.

-NEW MEXICO VS SAINT MARY’S (Staples Center).  Both of these teams have a lot of catching up to do, and need to string together a lot of wins in order for it to even be possible.

-LOUISIANA TECH AT STEPHEN F AUSTIN.  These are two pretty good UTR teams that have kind of stumbled this year. A win today would be huge as far as getting them back on track.

-TCU VS USC (Staples Center).  Both teams could really use this win.  TCU is 6-1 on the year, and they just picked up a nice road win at rival SMU.  Another big win away from home could propel them back into the rankings.  USC has some potential, but as of now they really haven’t picked up any wins of note.

-NEVADA VS ARIZONA STATE (Staples Center).  Both teams are ranked, both teams are unbeaten, and both teams are currently on pace to end up as protected seeds.  This is probably the biggest test of the year for either team so far, so it should be fun.

-Oral Roberts @ Missouri
-Southern U W @ South Dakota State

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News, Notes, and Highlighted Games, Thursday, Dec 6th

NEWS AND NOTES

-For our latest Under the Radar Video Podcast – CLICK HERE

-The Gonzaga v Washington history and storyline is amazing!!  What I didn’t think would be amazing was this year’s actual game.  But, it was!  Top ranked Gonzaga opened up an early double digit lead and gave all signs of blowing it open, but never did.  Washington defended well, kept it close, and even took a lead in the second half.  Yet again Gonzaga opened up a lead and appeared to have all the momentum, but yet again Washington fight back and with less than ten seconds to go tied the game.  It was a virtual last second shot (there was less than a second left) that finally won the game for the Zags.  I am SOOO glad this series is back!  It was put on hiatus because of a spectacular coaching and admin feud, but it is now back and it hopefully stays back.  A fantastic effort for the Huskies.  I know it must sting really bad to lose to a rival after playing that well, but if they play that well the rest of the way they’re going to win a lot of games.

-Temple actually had a lead on Villanova for most of the second half, and although Nova ended up winning by 10, they didn’t actually get control of the game until the final minute.  It was a bit of a rock fight, but it certainly didn’t lack in excitement.  Nova continues to dominate the Big Five.

-Nebraska continues to struggle on the road against anyone who is even decent.  They had a lead for most of the game at Minnesota, but just fell apart at the end.  The Gophers pick up a nice conference win after being blown off the floor in their previous game.

-VCU picked up a much needed road win at Texas.  It’s a tale of two teams.  VCU got a huge win that may play a big role in defining their season and getting them to the NCAA Tournament, and Texas just lost their second straight home game to an unranked team.

-Southern Illinois, who we were especially hard on after they were blown out by UMass, is the only Missouri Valley team that looks any good.  They seem to have finally gotten into step and have won six out of their last seven, including a nice win against a pretty good Saint Louis team last night.  For SLU, this is a road win that they really could have used.

-Utah State, who I had been praising all over the place, was blown off the floor by a BYU team that had pretty much looked asleep in their games leading into last night.  A really nice win for the Cougars.

-Loyola Chicago lost at home.  Again.  This time to Ball State.  They don’t look a whole lot like an NIT team right now, much less an NCAA team that was just in the Final Four.

-San Diego picked up a nice (and very feelgood) road win at San Diego State.  We really like this Toreros team, and they’re now 7-2 with two true road wins.  As for the Aztecs, they are in trouble.  They really need to blow through the rest of their schedule to even have a chance.

HIGLIGHTED GAMES

-MARYLAND AT PURDUE (Big Ten).  This is a tough road game for a pretty good Maryland team, and it comes against what appears to be a pretty good Purdue team that really needs a big win.

-IOWA STATE AT IOWA.  LOVE this rivalry!!  Like a lot of rivalries, it may not resonate with the entire country as being as big as Duke v North Carolina, or Louisville v Kentucky, but in the state of Iowa it is HUGE.  And, it’s been a ton of fun with some great games since both teams became regular NCAA Tournament caliber teams.  I’m really looking forward tot his one tonight.  Iowa has had some nice wins, but is coming off two straight losses and were totally blown out in their last game.  Iowa State has held serve throughout the year, but this would be their biggest win of the season up to this point.

-Kentucky Christian @ Wofford – umm, why?
-Utah Valley @ Arizona

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Under the Radar: December 5th

Chad, David, and Rocco start off by looking at the Missouri Valley and how it has collectively underachieved with Loyola Chicago getting out to a slow start, Illinois State struggling, and Southern Illinois dropping some early games (although they had a big win against SLU during the recording of this show).  After that we look at the other 21 UTR conferences and talk about the early and continued road success of Stony Brook, how Vermont appears to be strong again despite having lost so much from last year’s team, how Conference USA has taken a step back but how North Texas continues to play well, the overall strength of the SoCon and MAC conferences, the surprise year that Abilene Christian is having, and how New Mexico State once again looks strong.  We also review the big Lipscomb v Belmont game from the night before and look at how good both those teams are and how good that rivalry has become.  And as we do every week, we close with our UTR Top Ten.

 

And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

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