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News, Notes and Highlighted Games for 12/20

News, Notes and Highlighted Games for 12/20
Dec 20, 2006, 02:14 am
NEWS AND NOTES

-Drexel defeated Syracuse on the road 84-79 last night. They have now won back-to-back games on the road against Villanova and Syracuse. Most of the teams in the Big East would have trouble doing that, and many would believe it impossible for a team from the Colonial, but Drexel managed to do it and is now 7-2 on the year with two very good wins. It is their fifth straight win, and out of those five three came on the road. Drexel had a monster game out of Frank Elegar, who scored 27 points and grabbed six rebounds.

The Colonial now has three wins against the Big East, all of which were on the road. Old Dominion won at Georgetown earlier this season.


-Kent State had a 53-50 lead on Duke about midway through the second half, but then Duke went on a 17-4 run and Kent State couldn’t catch back up. Still, it was a very exciting game and Kent State even cut into it a little bit in the final minute, but it just wasn’t enough to get over the hump. It is Kent State’s third loss on the road against a ranked team, but they’ve played well in all three games and will be a dangerous team in the Mid American Conference this year. They do have the Bracket Buster, but other than that they really don’t have a shot at a big time opponent. Still, they have no bad losses at the moment, and if they can post an impressive record between now and the end (and by that I mean losing no more than two or three games) it might be enough to get them an at-large bid. The MAC is a very competitive league, so that won’t be all that easy, but it isn’t impossible for them to play their way into the picture. Omar Smith had 33 points for Kent State and was by far the best player on the floor.


-Missouri had a great first half against Illinois and led by as many as six, but the Illini cut it to 38-35 at the half. Illinois took the lead in the second half and Missouri just fell apart late in the game. The Illini ended up winning 73-70, which is their biggest win of the year. I’m sure this stings for Missouri, and they still haven’t beaten a good team away from home, but they did look very good last night for most of the game and are certainly good enough to take advantage of the chances they’ll have in conference to build up their profile.


-North Texas upset Western Kentucky 86-85 in what was the conference opener for both teams. It is an extremely damaging loss for Western KY. In fact if they don’t win out they are in trouble if they don’t win the conference tournament. North Texas is a good team, but it’s the kind of team you must beat at home if you want to make the NCAAs, especially if the remainder of your schedule looks like WKU’s.


-Appalachian State upset Virginia in opening round of the San Juan Shootout 80-69. Virginia will certainly have their chances to recover once they get into conference play, but this was a surprise, especially considering how decisive the final score was. Appalachian State is off to a 3-0 start in conference, but they still don’t look like a team that would have any shot at making the tournament without the automatic bid.


-Stanford got a big 69-67 win at Fresno State, which was sort of a surprise considering how tough Fresno had been at home this year. It is easily the most impressive win for Stanford so far.


HIGHLIGHTED GAMES

-MEMPHIS AT ARIZONA. Arizona is playing like a #1 seed. They have played and beaten some pretty good teams, but this is another tough test for them. This would be a tremendous win for Memphis’s resume if they could pull it off. This is only Memphis’s second true road game. They were beaten handily by Tennessee earlier this year. If they want to make the pod system they really need to win a game like this. Arizona is very quick and will try to push the pace.

-MIAMI, OH AT DAYTON. Dayton can improve to 10-1 with a win today. Although Miami is just 4-6, they have played better than their record and won’t be easy for Dayton to beat. The two schools are very close to each other and have a long-standing rivalry, and Miami always seems to give the Flyers trouble. Dayton has been one of the more impressive teams in the Atlantic Ten so far and could really use this win in order to maintain their momentum and continue to build their tournament resume.

-ALABAMA AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE. Alabama has just one loss this season and has played some excellent basketball, but they could have their work cut out for them today against an NC State team that desperately needs a big win. NC State is 7-2, but they’ve gotten there largely from beating up on cupcakes. They do have a pretty decent win against Michigan, but they’ve fallen to both West Virginia and Virginia, which were their only two other real tests. They have yet to make any sort of statement as to what kind of a team they are, and tonight is their chance to do it.

-PRINCETON AT SOUTH CAROLINA. Neither team looks like a solid NCAA Tournament team right now, but both have fairly decent records and have an opportunity to move toward that direction. South Carolina has just two losses, but has yet to beat a good team. In fact this would be their best win on the year so far if they pull it off. Princeton is 7-3 and is one of the best teams in the Ivy League and could get to the Dance that way, but a win like this could really help them in terms of seeding.

-ARKANSAS AT TEXAS. This is just the second true road game for Arkansas, and the first didn’t go so well as they were blown out by Missouri. They are also coming off a decisive loss to Texas Tech, so they don’t have a whole lot of momentum coming into this one. Texas, on the other hand, has been playing great. They recently defeated LSU in overtime and had a blowout win against Texas Southern in their last game. Other than Southern Illinois, Arkansas really doesn’t have a good win yet, so this would be huge if they could pull this off. As for Texas, it looks as if they have gotten better as the season has progressed and this would be yet another big win for them.

-DELAWARE AT VCU (Colonial Athletic). VCU is 8-2, and shouldn’t have any trouble picking up a win against Delaware, who has yet to win a single game. This is the conference opener for VCU, and they could play their way into the tournament picture if they can avoid too many losses, especially considering how well Old Dominion and Drexel have played.

-WYOMING VS NEBRASKA (Rainbow Classic). Both teams have just two losses, but are still on the outside looking in and would have to string together several wins in order to play their way into consideration. Still, there is a lot of season left and a winning this one would be a great start.


BUY GAMES

-PEPPERDINE AT CONNECTICUT. Connecticut has yet to play against a good team, and that isn’t going to change today. A win will get them to 10-0.

-UC IRVINE AT DE PAUL. De Paul is looking for their fifth win in six games. They shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one at home.

-STETSON AT FLORIDA. Florida has played some pretty weak teams. Stetson is the 7th team that Florida has played that currently has two or fewer div1 wins, but after this the cupcake barrage is over. It is a grueling schedule from here on out. A win will get the Gators to 10-2 on the year.

-TOWSON AT GEORGETOWN. Georgetown can win their fourth straight (all of which came against cupcakes) and improve to 8-3 on the year.

-WESTERN MICHIGAN AT INDIANA. Indiana just got a big win against Southern Illinois. They have struggled defensively but still managed to win three out of four, and should likely make it four out of five today.

-SAVANNAH STATE AT LOUISVILLE. Louisville really needs to get their season in gear. They are just 4-4 against div1, but shouldn’t have any trouble winning today.

-BINGHAMTON AT MIAMI, FL. Miami has won three out of their last four, including one against Georgia Tech. Binghamton is 5-4, but have not beaten anyone who is the same caliber as Miami.

-WARTBURG (nondiv1) AT NORTHERN IOWA. Northern Iowa is coming off a loss to Loyola, IL and needs to rebound, but winning this game will mean absolutely nothing it. Losing it is very damaging, but winning is not at all beneficial.

-CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. Southern Illinois just lost to Indiana, but should have little trouble winning this one.

-BUCKNELL AT XAVIER. Bucknell has had two big years in a row where they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and they could be good again in conference play, but they haven’t been all that impressive out of conference. Xavier should win and improve to 9-3.

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