-WICHITA STATE AT SYRACUSE (DirecTV #609, 7pm, est). Both teams are unbeaten and ranked fairly high. Wichita State already has one big road win against LSU, whereas Syracuse really hasnt had a big test this season. That will definitely change today though. Both teams appear to be solid NCAA Tournament teams, at least for now, but Wichita State probably still feels like the underdog because they dont usually get the same national attention that major conference teams get, so this game probably means a lot to them. This win could go a long way in getting one or both teams to the pod system, so a lot is on the line.
-SAINT LOUIS AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. This is one of the more intriguing games of the day. Both teams are 4-1 and play very strong defense. Southern Illinoiss only loss was against Arkansas and Saint Louiss only one came against Texas A&M. Both teams appear to be good enough to make a run in the tournament, which is a place Southern Illinois has become familiar with over the past few seasons. It would be a really good win for either team, but especially for SLU since they are on the road and this is a matchup against a quality team they have a good chance of beating. Southern Illinois will probably get more chances at quality wins in conference play than SLU will.
HIGHLIGHTED MATCHUPS (in alphabetical order via the home team)
-ILLINOIS VS ARIZONA (DirecTV #206, 5:15pm, est). Arizona has won four straight since losing their season opener, and has really looked impressive. Illinois has just one loss on the season, but theyve struggled against a few teams youd expect them to have easier times with. They are coming off a loss against Maryland and have another very tough challenge today. This would be the biggest win for either team so far.
-NORTHERN IOWA AT BUCKNELL. This is the return game from last years Bracket Buster, and once again it could have some big implications. Bucknell lost their first four games, but theyve won their last two and can officially finally jumpstart their season if they can win this one today. Northern Iowas only loss came in a close one at Washington, so they appear to be a pretty good team. They just got a big win against Iowa State and have a lot of momentum coming into this game.
-UAB AT CINCINNATI (DirecTV #609, 4pm, est). These are two teams that appear to be slipping out of the picture. Cincinnati is 5-1, but they have played nothing but cupcakes. Their loss came to Wofford and theyve struggled against teams such as Oakland and Central Michigan. Nevertheless, they are still just a one loss team, so if they can ever kick it into gear they could play their way into the picture.
-HOLY CROSS AT DAYTON. Each of these teams has just one loss. Dayton also has a win over Louisville to go along with their record and Holy Crosss only loss came at Syracuse, so this could end up being a pretty good game. At the very least its an RPI boost for a team like Dayton because Holy Cross should end up winning a high percentage of their games, which is something Dayton needs if they want to make a run at the NCAA Tournament. If Holy Cross can pull it off, it would be a nice road win for them. They cant afford to lose many games, and although an at-large bid isnt likely, it is possible.
-KANSAS AT DE PAUL (DirecTV #609, 2pm, est). De Paul has just one win this year, but theyve played some competitive ball in losing efforts their last few times out. Chances are theyll be absolutely crushed today. Kansas is continuing to make a case that they should be a #1 seed.
-GEORGETOWN AT DUKE (DirecTV #209, 7pm, est). Last year Georgetown pulled off the upset, which ended up being their signature statement win. This year, they havent played all that good, but I cant help but think its just a matter of time before they kick it into gear. Duke has just one loss, but they havent exactly looked unbeatable either. Its only a matter of time before they really turn it on in a big way as well. Duke appears to clearly have the upper hand, but based on how inconsistent both teams have been its a pretty tough call. It would be a big out of conference win for either team.
-TEXAS VS GONZAGA (DirecTV #206, 3pm, est). This game is being played on a neutral floor. Gonzaga already has a big time surprising win against North Carolina. Texas has looked pretty good as well, but doesnt have a high quality win yet, so this is a big opportunity for them. Both teams are ranked and both could end up contending for the pod system, so this is a big game because it would be a statement win for either team.
-CHARLOTTE AT INDIANA (DirecTV #626, 8pm, est). Charlotte is just 2-3 this season, which is sort of a disappointment so far. Indiana is coming off a loss to Duke and needs to string together some wins if they want to get into the bracket picture. The sooner they do that the better.
-BOSTON COLLEGE AT MASSACHUSETTS (DirecTV #610, 7:30pm, est). Massachusetts has just one loss on the year and could be an NCAA Tournament team, but they desperately need some statement wins. Boston College already has two losses, but looked much better in their last game, which was a win against Michigan State. A win here would be impressive as well considering its on the road against an in-state opponent who is a pretty good team. Massachusetts probably needs this a little more since they wont be seeing as many high caliber teams in conference play, and if they want to make a case for themselves to make the tournament, they need some wins against big teams.
-TX A&M CORPUS CHRISTI AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (DirecTV #631, 3pm, est). Mississippi State is 3-2 with their best win coming against Charlotte, but they looked very good in a close loss to Clemson and could get some impressive wins once they get the chance. At the very least this is a game that should help their RPI because TAMUCC should do well in conference play.
-KENTUCKY AT NORTH CAROLINA (CBS, 12pm, est). Kentucky has yet to get a big win and really hasnt looked that good against the quality teams theyve played. North Carolina, on the other hand, ahs looked awesome, especially at home. This would be a huge upset if Kentucky could pull it off and would likely be one of the best wins they get all season, but that isnt all that likely to happen. North Carolina will likely end up being too much for them.
-AKRON AT ORAL ROBERTS. Akron has just one loss on the year and is still believed to be the best team in the MAC with an outside shot at an at-large if they were to need it. Oral Roberts is 2-2 and were just blown out by Tulsa, but they did beat Kansas and should win a lot of games this year, which will help Akrons RPI. This wouldnt be a bad road win for the Zips.
-FRESNO STATE AT OREGON STATE. Fresno State is unbeaten and although they havent played anyone theyve looked very impressive. Oregon State is 4-3, but has won their last two, which were played on the road, so this is the best team Fresno State has played so far. A win like this on the road will really help them out, especially since Fresno States schedule isnt all that strong this year.
-VILLANOVA AT PENN. This is a Big Five matchup at the Palestra. Villanova is 4-1 with their only loss coming to Xavier, but its never easy to win games against other Philly teams. Penn isnt bad either. They are 3-2 and although they dont have any big time wins, they are one of the better teams in the Ivy League and have a ton of potential. This would be a major statement win for Penn.
-RHODE ISLAND AT PROVIDENCE. Providence is 4-1 with their only loss coming to Brown. They dont have any quality wins yet, but it looks as if theyre righting their ship and could get a string of wins together to help them get into the bracket picture. This is an in-state rival, so for their sake hopefully it goes better than the last time they played an in-state team.
-MARIST AT RICHMOND. Marist is 5-2 and can get another road win today. They have a long way to go to be considered an at-large caliber team, but it isnt impossible for them to win enough games to get into the picture. With the type of defense Richmond plays its never easy though.
-DREXEL AT SAINT JOSEPHS. This game is another Big Five matchup. Drexel is very talented and could end up being one of the better teams in the Colonial if they play up to their potential. The problem is that playing up to their potential is something they rarely do. On the flipside, Saint Josephs only loss came in the final minutes to a Penn State team they appeared to have put away. This is a tough test for both teams. Both appear to be talented enough to string together some big wins.
-CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA (DirecTV #784, 1pm, est). South Carolina has a loss to UC Irvine, but is unbeaten other than that. The problem is that they are also untested, but that will change today. Clemson is unbeaten at 8-0 and looks to be a very good team. This is a rivalry game, so it is important to both teams on and off paper. They are playing for bragging rights as well as trying to build up their resumes.
-LMU AT USC (DirecTV #653, 9pm, est). This is a crosstown matchup between two teams that have played pretty well early on. Its no guarantee that both will be playing well by the end of the year, but for the time being both teams look pretty good. LMU finished second in the Great Alaska Shootout and their only other loss was to Mississippi State. USC has just one loss and that was to South Carolina in their season opener. The only problem is that neither of these teams have really beaten anyone good yet, so its hard to say whether or not theyre good themselves.
-LSU AT TULANE. This is an in-state matchup. Tulanes fans will likely be fired up early on, but they are way overmatched in this one. LSU should role over them.
-WASHINGTON STATE AT UTAH. Wazzu is 7-0, but this is the best team theyve played this year. Utah is just off to a 2-3 start, but Wazzu has mostly played cupcakes at home, so we really dont know how good they are yet.
-HOUSTON AT VCU. Both teams had a few stumbles early on, but appear to be playing well again. This is a big game because both teams need to continue their momentum, especially since both appear to be good enough to possibly make the NCAA Tournament, they havent shown that they will definitely both be solidly in. Houston could use a big road win to offset an earlier loss to a pretty good Saint Louis team. VCU has won three of their last four with their only loss being by one to Toledo.
-GEORGIA AT WAKE FOREST. Georgias only loss this year was a hard fought game to a pretty good Western Kentucky team. Wake has just one loss as well, but it was an absolute blowout to Air Force in their last game. A win in this one would go a long way in helping them rebound from that. Georgia is looking for a big road win which would help them improve their NCAA Tournament resume. Both teams, like everyone else, are fighting for a spot.
-EASTERN KENTUCKY AT WESTERN KENTUCKY. Both teams have just one loss, but Western KY clearly looks like theyve had a more impressive season so far. Still, this is a rivalry game and getting off to a 4-1 start with a big road win over WKU would mean a lot to EKU. Western KY looks to be good enough to potentially be an at-large team, but they need to take care of business in games like this.
-IPFW AT AIR FORCE. Air Force has been blowing out just about everyone theyve faced and that isnt likely to change today.
-TENNESSEE STATE AT ALABAMA. Alabama is 6-0 and shouldnt have any trouble remaining unbeaten.
-UMKC AT ARKANSAS. Arkansas is coming off a blowout loss at Missouri. They shouldnt have too much trouble rebounding from that and winning today.
-TEXAS STATE AT BAYLOR. Baylor is 4-1 and although they dont have any big time wins they still might be worth keeping an eye on. They seem to be improving as the season progresses.
-CLEVELAND STATE AT BUTLER. Butler is 7-0 and their hardest challenges of the season appear to be behind them. They should improve to 8-0 today.
-SACRAMENTO STATE AT LOUISVILLE. Louisville is coming off a rather surprising loss to Dayton and needs this game to improve to 2-1.
-MANHATTAN AT MEMPHIS. A year ago this would have been a much more interesting game. Memphis should win this one easily though.
-WOFFORD AT MICHIGAN. The Cup Cake Marathon continues for Michigan. A win gets them to 8-1, but they still havent proven themselves yet.
-VALPARAISO AT OHIO STATE (DirecTV #784, 4pm, est). Valpo is 2-3 on the year, but almost pulled off an upset against Marquette. Ohio State is coming off a loss against North Carolina and is looking to rebound though, so the chances of an upset happening today arent all that good.
-PEPPERDINE AT OKLAHOMA STATE (DirecTV #786, 4pm, est). Pepperdine has just one win on the year and isnt likely to get their second against an Oklahoma State team who is red hot right now.
-DELAWARE STATE AT PURDUE. Delaware State is probably the best team in the MEAC, but they are no match for a Purdue team that seems to keep getting better and better.
-PACIFIC AT TEXAS A&M. Pacific is usually a strong team, but they are off to a somewhat sluggish start. Expect TAMU to remain unbeaten.
-IDAHO STATE AT UTAH STATE. A win gets Utah State to 6-1 on the year.
-FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL AT WISCONSIN. Wisconsin should win easily and improve to 7-1.
-WESTERN CAROLINA AT XAVIER (DirecTV #638, 12pm, est). Xavier has just one loss on the year, and that isnt likely to change today.
-SANTA CLARA AT MISSOURI STATE. Santa Clara can be tricky, but Missouri State should handle them at home and improve to 5-1.
-PRINCETON OR NORTH DAKOTA STATE AT MARQUETTE. This is Marquettes second game in the Marquette Classic. Assuming they beat Northwestern State on Friday, they will be playing for the championship.
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Highlighted Games for Sat 2/17: Bracket Buster Edt
Feb 16, 2007, 09:16 pm
Drew Barnette runs down one of the biggest Saturdays of the college basketball regular season. With the Bracket Buster teams being played today, read about who is on the bubble and could really improve their NCAA Tournament resumes with quality wins today. Also read about teams who are favored to win their conference tournaments, and who are facing each other in games that will have an impact on their seeding, and possibly put them in a better position to pull a big upset.
Other big games include Louisville looking for their second big road win in a row as they travel to Marquette, Vanderbilt plays one of their biggest home games of the year as they host Floirda, Georgetown and Villanova Square off in an important Big East showdown,
All that, and much more in a huge Saturday for college hoops...
Mid Major Ramblings on the Eve of the Buster
Feb 16, 2007, 01:20 am
Drew Barnette gives his thoughts and opinions about the upcoming Bracket Buster, talks about how he feels mid-majors are viewed by the media today, looks at tonight's big game between Winthrop and Missouri State, and more...