Highlighted Games for Saturday, 12/30

Highlighted Games for Saturday, 12/30
Dec 29, 2006, 01:15 pm
This may seem a bit early, but I didn't think I'd get a chance to do it later.

HIGHLIGHTED GAMES. Games are in alphabetical order via the home team, and conference games are noted in parenthesis.

-STANFORD AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). Stanford got by Arizona State in their conference opener, but they’ll really have their hands full today. Stanford is 8-2 on the year, but they’ve struggled against high caliber teams, so playing Arizona on the road will be no picnic. Zona is still playing like a #1 seed and will likely be in the hunt for one of those if they keep it up.

-CALIFORNIA AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Ten). Cal is in a tailspin right now and needs to snap out of it. They’ve lost four of their last six with their only two wins coming against Chicago State and Furman. Arizona State has hardly looked impressive this year, so failing to win this and beginning league play 0-2 would really put them in a hole.

-MISSOURI STATE AT CREIGHTON (Missouri Valley). Missouri State is in great shape and could end up challenging for the Pod System. They need to perform in conference play though. Creighton came into the year with high expectations, but so far they have not delivered. They are just 6-4 on the year without any big wins and a few surprising losses. They can certainly play their way back into the tournament picture with a good showing in conference, so this is a big game for them, but as of now they’re on the outside looking in.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA ATLANTIC (Sun Belt). WKU rebounded from their loss to North Texas with a win the other night. Still, they pretty much need to win out if they want any serious consideration for an at-large bid.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT GEORGE MASON. This is an interesting game. George Mason may not be overly strong, but Mississippi State has yet to really win a game against a decent team on the road, so it will be interesting to see what they do here in what will probably be a hostile environment. A win gets Mississippi State to 10-2, and this would probably go down as one of their better wins thus far.

-NEVADA VS GONZAGA. This game is very important for both teams. Gonzaga has hit the skids somewhat seeing as how they’ve lost three of their last four. Nevada has just one loss on the season, but a weak schedule is holding their profile back. This is the best team they face all year, and it would most likely end up being their most impressive win if they pull it off, so A LOT is on the line here for Nevada. Gonzaga, on the other hand, appears to be headed for the pod system, which is a big deal because there are first/second round games in Spokane, but they won’t face any top caliber teams in conference play so they need all the quality wins they can get right now. Nevada has a very good front court, so this one should be fun to watch.

-UNLV AT HOUSTON. UNLV have proven that they are a good team. They have a very big win against Nevada on the road, and they had another nice win the other night against Texas Tech. Houston appears to be talented, but is very inconsistent. One never knows what they are going to do, so if they show up they could end up giving Vegas some trouble.

-GEORGETOWN AT MICHIGAN. Michigan has a good record, but that is due to their poor schedule. They were blown out by UCLA in their last game and have done little to indicate that they are a tournament caliber team. Georgetown has had a few bad losses as well, but they are sitting at 9-3 and if they’re able to pick up this win on the road I’d say that they’re doing okay going into conference play. Both teams will face top notch competition in conference, but if either of these teams ends up on the bubble, which they very easily could, then every game ends up mattering.

-OREGON AT OREGON STATE (Pac Ten). Oregon is unbeaten, but Oregon State is not easy to beat at home. The fans should be jacked up for this one since their bitter rival is coming to town. The Ducks have played some good ball, but they’ve played it against what is a weak schedule for the most part. They have a nice win against Georgetown, but that’s really about it, so they are still faced with having to build up their resume in conference if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. Losing the opener at Oregon State wouldn’t kill them by any means, but it would certainly set them back quite a bit.

-MISSISSIPPI AT SAINT LOUIS. Ole Miss has just two losses, but is somewhat lacking in quality wins. A win on the road against Saint Louis would probably be their best OOC victory. Saint Louis is 8-3 and has the best profile out of all the Atlantic Ten teams right now with a win over Missouri State. A win over Ole Miss would help out SLU because they aren’t going to get many shots at decent wins in conference. This is a game between two teams who are looking to build up their profiles.

-WASHINGTON STATE AT USC (Pac Ten). Washington State just lost a heartbreaker to UCLA, but cannot harp on that. They still have an impressive record and can make the NCAA Tournament if they can perform well in conference. USC just got a big upset against Washington, so they have a lot of momentum going into this game and appear to be playing like a tournament team. If Wazzu wins, they’re in good shape. If USC wins, they’re in GREAT shape. It should be an interesting game between USC’s athleticism and Wazzu’s defense.

-FLORIDA VS UAB. Florida can improve to 12-2 on the season with a win. UAB is a modest 8-5, but hasn’t beaten anyone close to Florida’s caliber and I don’t expect that to change today.

-APPALACHIAN STATE AT VCU. VCU is 9-2 and has not lost since playing in the Paradise Jam back in mid-November. Appalachian State is on a roll. They’ve won eight of their last nine, including three straight to win the San Juan Shootout, and are up to an incredible 13th in the RPI. A win at VCU won’t be easy. They’re never easy to beat at home, and VCU has a pretty good team themselves. Both these teams look like they could end up on the bubble, but it’s games like this that they need to win in order to get there.

-TEMPLE AT VILLANOVA. This is a cross-town rivalry, but this year it looks like a big mismatch. Temple is a good defensive team, but they’ve struggled a lot this year. They aren’t nearly as athletic as Villanova, and that will be a problem. Nova has just two losses on the year and this is their last game before conference play. They’ve played a somewhat light schedule, but it’s going to be tough from here on out.

-CONNECTICUT AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big East). This is the conference opener for both teams, and it’s interesting because U Conn is unbeaten and West Virginia has just one loss, but both teams have played some of the weakest schedules in all of div1, so neither team has really built up much of a profile yet. Both teams took a pass on making a case out of conference, so they’ll have to play well in the Big East if they want to go to the dance. This is our first opportunity to see how good each of these teams really are.

-NORTHERN IOWA AT WICHITA STATE (Missouri Valley). Wichita State got off to a great start, but has lost two straight games and they do not want to take that momentum into conference play. Northern Iowa already has a conference win against Bradley where they looked very impressive. That was a home game though, and winning at Wichita can be very difficult. The Missouri Valley has proven that it is a multi-bid league, so the conference standings will play a major role in who gets in and who doesn’t.


-LOUISIANA TECH AT ARKANSAS. LA Tech is just 2-9 and Arkansas shouldn’t have too much trouble beating them. Arkansas has Tulsa next, and then they begin conference play, so this is their last game against a low caliber opponent.

-SAINT FRANCIS, PA AT GEORGIA TECH. Georgia Tech should have little trouble improving to 10-3.

-BALL STATE AT INDIANA. I guess this technically isn’t a Buy Game since Indiana has played on the road at Ball State before, but it practically is. The Hoosiers should pick up their ninth win of the year rather easily.

-RHODE ISLAND AT KANSAS. Kansas should absolutely blow this team out. Rhode Island is just 5-6 without any big wins. Kansas should improve to 12-2.

-UNC ASHEVILLE AT LOUISVILLE. Louisville has won four in a row, and shouldn’t have too much trouble beating UNCA, who has just one div1 win this season. It’s the last OOC game for Louisville.

-SAVANNAH STATE AT MARQUETTE. Marquette can sleepwalk and win this game. This is also their last game before Big East play begins.

-LOYOLA, MD AT MICHIGAN STATE. A win for Michigan State puts them at 13-2 headed in to Big Ten play.

-SOUTHERN AT MISSOURI. Mizzou has lost two in a row, but should have little trouble ending that losing streak. Southern has just one win on the year, but they should do okay once they get into league play.

-STONY BROOK AT NOTRE DAME. The Irish should roll in this one, which would put them at 12-1 going into conference play.

-COPPIN STATE AT OHIO STATE. Ohio State’s last game before Big Ten play, and it should be a cakewalk.

-TEXAS SAN ANTONIO AT OKLAHOMA STATE. Okie State has exceeded most people’s expectations this year and should be a force in the Big Twelve. A win today puts them at 13-1.

-FLORIDA A&M AT PITTSBURGH. Pitt has just two losses on the year and should enter league play with a 12-2 record.

-SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE AT PURDUE. Purdue should bounce back from their loss at Indiana State in a big way. A win puts them at 11-3 headed into Big Ten play.

-NORTH CAROLINA A&T AT SMU. SMU just lost badly to Oklahoma, but can improve to 8-2 with a win today.

-SAINT BONAVENTURE AT SYRACUSE. Syracuse should roll in this one and improve to 11-3.

-EAST TENNESSEE STATE AT TENNESSEE. Tennessee can win their eighth straight game and enter conference play with a 12-2 record and some pretty impressive wins to go along with it.

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