Friday, Nov 23rd Exempt Tournament Games and Other Action

Friday, Nov 23rd Exempt Tournament Games and Other Action
Nov 23, 2007, 03:15 am


-LOUISVILLE VS BYU. Louisville pulled away late and won convincingly against UNLV the other night. They should get a slightly tougher challenge out of BYU. BYU is 4-0 on the year and all of their wins have been blowouts. This is their chance to make a huge statement that they are a solid team. It would also impress the selection committee in March. Louisville is without two of their post players, but even shorthanded, they still have a strong frontcourt.

-NORTH CAROLINA VS OLD DOMINION. Old Dominion is right around the bubble in my early season projections, and I believe there is a good chance that that’s where they’ll be at the end of the year. Of course, winning this game would be huge when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament. UNC is one of the best teams in the country and is contending for a #1 seed, so it would be a huge upset. It’s important UNC as well because with first/second round games in Raleigh and a regional in Charlotte, they could play their way into the Final Four and not even have to leave the state. It’s always a tight race for a #1 seed and winning this tournament would look great for the Tarheels.

-The third place game and the championship game will be tomorrow. Both should be good games because each involves teams that can put quality wins on their tourney resumes. The committee is watching.


-GEORGE MASON scored a huge win over KANSAS STATE last night. George Mason had not shot the ball well in their first three games, but their shooting was spot on the other night. They picked up a big win against a current Top 25 team, and earned the right to take the floor against VILLANOVA, who held off UCF. It was very important that George Mason play well in this tournament because they don’t have too many more chances at quality wins after this. This tourney could be the difference as to whether or not they’re in a position to receive an at-large bid if they lose in their conference tournament.

-SOUTH CARLONA held off PENN STATE and will face NORTH CAROLINA STATE, who struggled against RIDER, but ended up winning.


-WASHINGTON VS SYRACUSE. This is the third place game and it features two teams that will contend for the NCAA Tournament. Both teams will face very stiff competition later on this year once they get into conference play, but this is a chance to pick up a quality OOC win on a neutral floor, which the committee will notice. Neither team appears to be playing to their potential yet. I expect both to improve as the season goes on.

-OHIO STATE VS TEXAS A&M. Ohio State looked impressive against Syracuse, who definitely had the advantage in terms of geography. They face a tough TAMU team tonight. Both teams are out of the gate quickly and both already have some nice wins on their resumes. This would be one more for whoever wins. I expect both teams to be solidly in the NCAA Tournament picture by the end of the season.


-The game between WESTERN KENTUCKY and GONZAGA was a great one. WKU led by as many as eight at a couple of points in the second half, but Gonzaga was able to come back and win 74-71. The pace was quick and both teams played very good defense. The only thing that neither team did very well was shoot freethrows. For WKU, it’s unfortunate. A win would have given them a quality win on their NCAA Tournament resume, which is very important for a Sun Belt team that’s trying to make the Dance. It would have also given them the opportunity to play Texas Tech in the next game, and possibly Butler in the championship game. As it stands now, WKU will face div2 ALASKA ANCHORAGE in the losers’ bracket.

-TEXAS TECH had no trouble with Alaska Anchorage. They’ll face GONZAGA tonight. BUTLER and VIRGINIA TECH were both winners on Wednesday, and they’ll face each other in the other semifinal game. It’s important for both teams, especially Butler, because defeating quality opponents early in the season is the reason Butler got in the NCAA Tournament last year, and it will be a major factor again this year if they’re able to beat some quality teams.


-As expectedMISSISSIPPI STATE, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, MIAMI, OH AND USC all won. Mississippi State will face Southern Illinois in the first semifinal. That game is intriguing because both appear to be solid NCAA teams, and it’s a chance for both to get a quality neutral floor win. Mississippi State already has a loss to Clemson this year, and Southern Illinois doesn’t have a win against a quality team, so it’s an early opportunity for both teams to put something good on their resume.

Miami, OH and USC both play very contrasting styles. Miami is very disciplined and loves the half court game whereas USC is young, talented and athletic. It would be huge for Miami if they could pull the upset. They have a nice win against Xavier already, and a win either here or in the next game would go a very long way in helping them get an at-large if they fail to win their conference tournament. Considering that USC has struggled at times, an upset is possible.


-The four major schools in it are all five hours or less from Chicago. XAVIER VS KENT STATE will be an interesting game. Xavier lost to Miami, but rebounded from that with a blowout win against Coppin State in their last game. If they were to win this tournament it would almost assuredly move them into the Top 25 and add some nice neutral court wins onto their tourney profile. Kent State lost their opener to Detroit, which was sort of a surprise, but they’ve won three in a row since then. Winning this game would really help out their NCAA Tourney chances.

-INDIANA VS ILLINOIS STATE is the other game. Indiana is one of the best teams in the country, and if they finish the season ranked as high as they are now they should end up getting a very good seed. Illinois State is a good team as well, and could be a dark horse in the Missouri Valley. If they are able to win this game it would go a long way as far as them making the NCAA Tournament. It may turn out to be the best win on their resume.


-NEW MEXICO STATE will face TEXAS today. NMSU has not been nearly as impressive as I thought they’d be. In fact, they’ve been downright disappointing so far. They have a chance to really change the course of their season in this tournament, but I don’t think they’ll be able to do it.

-WEST VIRGINIA will square off against TENNESSEE in the other game. Tennessee has been simply awesome this year. West Virginia has only played one game, and they blew out Grambling, but that doesn’t mean much. Playing well in this tournament would really make a statement. They have a new coach and are learning a new style of play, so it will be interesting to see how well they do against some really tough competition.


-BRADLEY will face IOWA, who’s unbeaten, but also untested. Bradley appears to have a good team and has won three straight since losing their opener. Two wins in this tournament would really help them out. They don’t want to end up on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament again.

-VANDERBILT and UTAH STATE are playing in another game. Vandy is off to a very good start and Utah State has been struggling. This tournament is a chance for USU to really turn their season around.


-VIRGINIA AT PENN and NAVY VS SETON HALL are two of the games being played today. Virginia and Seton Hall should be able to win rather easily. Both will remain undefeated on the season if they do.


-SOUTHERN MISS AT ALABAMA. Southern Miss appears to be elevating their program, but they’re still looking for their first div1 win. Alabama has been shocked at home once already. I’d be surprised if it happened again today.

-FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA. Florida State won this game in an upset last season. This is a big weekend for this rivalry seeing as how the two will meet in football the very next day. FSU has a lot of talent and experience, but they already have two losses. A win on the road would really help boost their profile and make a statement that they’re a good team. Florida has not lost yet, but they really haven’t played anyone. It will be interesting to see what they’re very young but very talented team does in a rivalry game.

-MONTANA AT WASHINGTON STATE. Montana’s only loss was a blowout administered by Gonzaga. They still appear to be one of the best teams in the Big Sky, but it would take a huge upset for them to beat Wazzu on the road. Wazzu appears to be good enough to make the pod system for the second year in a row.


-LEHIGH AT MARYLAND. Maryland lost two straight games in the CBE Classic, but should be able to rebound today.

-BUFFALO AT PITTSBURGH. Pitt actually played at Buffalo last season, and nearly went down in an upset. Buffalo’s program has dropped off over the past two years, and winning this game on the road will be very tough.

-YALE AT UCLA. This shouldn’t be much of a contest at all. UCLA is unbeaten and ranked #1. They should stay that way.

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