News, Notes and Highlighted Games for Wed, 1/24

News, Notes and Highlighted Games for Wed, 1/24
Jan 24, 2007, 12:18 am

-I’m going to be doing a little bit of writing for, which is a fantasy site set up like a sports stock market. It is entirely free to play, and one of the sports the site deals in is college basketball. You can buy and sell any of the 337 teams, and get returns based on how many games that team wins, how well they do in their conference tournaments, and how well they do in either the NCAA or NIT Tournaments. Be sure to check them out, along with my articles.


-If you haven't seen the most recent bracket projection, it is in the article just below this one. Be sure to check it out.

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

-ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). This is a rivalry, and you never want to discount the possibility of an upset in a rivalry, but this is also a huge mismatch. Arizona has been slipping somewhat, but none of their losses have come against low caliber opponents. They are clearly the superior team, are still very much in the hunt for a spot in the pod system, and should win in a blowout.

-KANSAS AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve). Kansas is the superior team, but they need to beware of a Baylor team that is tough to beat at home. Kansas has also shown that they are not immune from upsets this season. They can expect a festive crowd cheering on a Baylor team that is trying to build up their program. This would be a huge step forward as far as accomplishing that. As for Kansas, they are still a strong contender for the pod system, and this would be another decent road win for them if they can pull it off.

-ILLINOIS STATE AT BRADLEY (Missouri Valley). Bradley’s RPI is in the 30s and they’ve won four of their last five games. A decent finish in the conference standings, as well as managing some quality wins, could be enough to get them into the NCAA Tournament. They need to take care of business in this game. They are at home and playing an Illinois State team who is not a tournament caliber team, so a loss here would be damaging, especially considering that Bradley’s margin for error isn’t all that big right now.

-PITTSBURGH AT CINCINNATI (Big East). This appears to be a huge mismatch. Pitt is coming off a loss to Marquette in an exciting game over the weekend, but they still appear to be the class of the Big East. Cincinnati has struggled, but in their last two games they nearly beat Syracuse and pulled an upset against West Virginia, so they should be coming into this game with a lot of confidence. Pitt doesn’t want to overlook them. It’s been a frustrating season for Cincinnati, and this would be another feel good win for them, as well as build up their optimism even more, so they do have quite a bit to play for.

-VCU AT GEORGE MASON (Colonial Athletic). VCU’s RPI is poor, but everything else about them is pretty good. They are 16-3 on the year and are in first place in a rather competitive Colonial Athletic Conference. They have yet to lose a conference game, but have a tall order today against a George Mason team that has gotten better and better as the season has progressed. They’ve won their last five in convincing fashion and will be a force in the league from here on out, so this is going to be a tough game for VCU to win on the road.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT GEORGE WASHINGTON (Atlantic Ten). George Washington is 13-4, but is still on the outside looking in due to a poor schedule. Still, they are playing some pretty good basketball and should get a serious look if they can dominate in conference play the rest of the way. Saint Joseph’s is a young team who has been inconsistent, but they have played some pretty good basketball at times as well, so this isn’t a shoe in for GW by any means.

-DE PAUL AT GEORGETOWN (Big East). Both of these teams are bubble teams in my bracket right now. Georgetown is one of the last teams in and De Paul is one of the first teams out. Both teams are good, but neither has a solid resume right now, so this is a huge game for both teams, especially considering that if both end up with similar profiles head-to-head competition could decide who gets in and who doesn’t. De Paul could use a big win on the road, and Georgetown could use a win to try and get further inside the bubble.

-KENTUCKY AT GEORGIA (SEC). I’m REALLY looking forward to this one. Georgia beat Arkansas on the road, and led the whole game against Alabama, but just couldn’t put them away. Nevertheless, they are a team that has played their way onto the bubble and are currently in our bracket now. A win over a solid Kentucky team would continue to improve their resume. Kentucky, on the other hand, is coming off a loss to Vanderbilt, and although that ended a long winning streak, most of those wins came against teams that aren’t at Georgia’s level. This would be a really good road win for them, as well as a conference win, if they can pull it off. Expect the crowd to be electric for this one. A win for Georgia gets them closer to the NCAA Tournament.

-EVANSVILLE AT INDIANA STATE (Missouri Valley). Indiana State has some good wins, but they also have too many losses. They need to string together some wins, and eventually win on the road, if they want to play their way back into the bracket picture.

-VANDERBILT AT LSU (SEC). LSU is hurting when it comes to big statement wins. They appear to have a good team, but their credentials aren’t all that good other than a home win against Texas A&M. Their RPI is in the 50s, they are coming off a 20 point loss to Arkansas, and their only win away from home came against in-state foe Tulane. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, had quite a few losses early on, but has really gotten hot lately. In their last four games, they’ve managed three RPI top 25 wins, and gotten themselves into the tournament mix. A win against LSU would be yet another big step toward making the NCAAs and would probably get them into our bracket next week. They just managed a huge road win against Kentucky, and have another challenge, but yet another great opportunity tonight.

-SETON HALL AT MARQUETTE (Big East). Marquette has been inconsistent this season, but they’ve won four in a row, including two road games against Pittsburgh and Louisville. They should be able to win this game at home rather easily against a fairly mediocre Seton Hall team.

-GEORGIA TECH AT MARYLAND (ACC). Maryland is in desperate need of a conference win. They are a good team and they haven’t been playing poorly other than a loss to Miami, FL, but they are just 1-4 in ACC play. They have a quality Georgia Tech team, and they need to take care of business at home. Fortunately Maryland had some big wins out of conference, but a poor conference record will hurt their resume badly, and could keep them out altogether. They’ve missed the NCAAs the last two years and don’t want that to happen again.

-TULSA AT MEMPHIS (C-USA). Tulsa is having a fairly decent year in C-USA considering that they’re going through a rebuilding phase, but they probably aren’t that much of a match for Memphis. As far as that goes, very few teams in the league are. Memphis is solid and could end up making the pod system if they win out.

-MINNESOTA AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). At 16-4, Michigan State is playing pretty well, but still doesn’t have that many big wins on their resume. Those chances will come, but this isn’t one of them. They still need to take care of business and avoid a somewhat damaging loss against a sub-par Minnesota team.

-TENNESSEE AT MISSISSIPPI (SEC). Tennessee has been struggling. They ended a three game losing streak against South Carolina, but they had to sweat to do it. One would have expected the Vols to play much better at home against such a weak team. Ole Miss is going through a rebuilding phase, and although they don’t look like a tournament team, they are capable of playing well at home. They’ve played well against Kentucky, Florida and LSU, and they could give a struggling Tennessee team some fits. The Vols had looked like a pod team, and even played well in those three losses, but they weren’t impressive at all against the Gamecocks.

-FLORIDA AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC). Florida is solid, but this could be a trap game for them. Mississippi State has played pretty well in their last three games and nearly upset Kentucky on the road. They’re at home, and the fans should be up for this one. It wouldn’t hurt Florida too badly if they lost, but when they’re competing for a #1 seed they need to take care of business nearly every night.

-CREIGHTON AT MISSOURI STATE (Missouri Valley). Both of these teams really need a win. Missouri State is a little safer, but they’ve lost three of their last four and need to turn their luck around pretty soon. They do have a huge win against Wisconsin, but they can’t rely on that alone to get them in. Creighton has been playing well, but losing in close games. They could really use a road win. These are two teams that are slipping, and really need to turn things around, so this game is pivotal.

-TEXAS AT NEBRASKA (Big Twelve). Important road game for Texas. They’re coming off two straight losses, but both were on the road and the Longhorns didn’t play too badly. Nebraska can be a very difficult place to play, especially when you look at how their team has improved this season. They’ll be up for this one. Texas’s RPI is in the 50s and they only have one quality win. They’ve been playing good basketball and should be okay by the end of the year IF they can keep it up and win games like this against teams that aren’t likely to make the NCAAs.

-IDAHO AT NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC). New Mexico State is a good team and is coming off a hugely important win against Nevada, but their margin for error is still very small as far as getting an at-large if they need it. A loss in a game like this could take them out of the picture entirely. They’re tied for first place in the conference standings and probably need to win it outright ahead of Nevada to be strongly considered. They’re definitely good enough to do it, though.

-WILLIAM & MARY AT OLD DOMINION (Colonial Athletic). Old Dominion is still in the hunt for a first place finish, and if they do that they will likely get strong consideration, but they have to accomplish quite a bit in order for that to happen. Winning tonight is a must.

-ARKANSAS AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC). Arkansas looks like a tournament team, but they are closer to the bubble than they’d probably like to be. They need to take care of business against a sub-par South Carolina team and pick up a conference road win.

-XAVIER AT SAINT BONAVENTURE (Atlantic Ten). Xavier is running out of strikes. Winning against Saint Bonaventure, who is among the worst teams in all div1, is a must. Two more losses this season could turn out to be too many because they don’t face any solid tournament teams the rest of the way.

-TEXAS A&M AT TEXAS TECH (Big Twelve). This is another great match-up on today’s slate of games. Both teams are strong tournament teams and TAMU is trying to get a spot in the pod system. They don’t have any good road wins yet, but this would certainly qualify as one of those. Texas Tech just won a big home game against Kansas, which is looks like their most impressive win on the season so far, and this would be another high quality win and boost their resume even more. Both teams have been playing well lately, so this should be a good one.

-DREXEL AT UNC WILMINGTON (Colonial Athletic). Drexel is two games out of first, but they haven’t faced VCU yet and still have the best overall resume of all the teams in the conference due to their out of conference wins. They have been inconsistent lately and the last thing they want to have happen is to lose to a poor UNCW team tonight.

-NORTH CAROLINA AT WAKE FOREST (ACC). Wake just doesn’t have it this year. This has been a good rivalry in recent years, but it’s a huge mismatch this year. North Carolina is contending for a #1 seed and Wake has just one conference win so far.

-MARSHALL AT WEST VIRGINIA. Marshall has had terrible teams the last two years, but has somehow managed to defeat West Virginia both seasons. Once again it looks like a big mismatch, but Marshall seems to have their number. As poorly as West Virginia has played on the road, they don’t want a bad loss like this on their resume. It’s a regional rivalry as well, so they’ll want to win for purposes off paper as well.

-DRAKE AT WICHITA STATE (Missouri Valley). Wichita State is now officially in trouble. They need to win four or five in a row just to get back onto the bubble. This has been a surprising drop off for a team that began the season so well.

-MICHIGAN AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten). Wisconsin still appears to be on pace to get a #1 seed and is very tough to beat at home. Michigan had played a weak OOC schedule and on the few times they were tested they were beaten rather convincingly, but recently they’ve been playing better and a win in this game would probably get them into the next bracket projection. It would really boost the quality of their resume and be the kind of win that really impresses the committee. It’s easier said than done, but it’s a tremendous opportunity for the Wolverines. A loss doesn’t hurt Michigan, but they’ll need to win some decent games on the road at some point.

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