NEWS AND NOTES
-LSU head coach John Brady got a rather amusing technical foul last night. The ref Td him up for yelling at his own team. Granted, he was very animated, but it was all clearly directed at his own players. It is one of the most unusual technicals Ive ever seen, but it wasnt even the first time its happened in the last few days. In Drexels Bracket Buster game against Creighton, Drexel coach Bruiser Flint was Td up for yelling at one of his players. In that case, the player was right next to the referee, and the official obviously thought it was directed at him. In the case of the LSU game, there was no mistaking it, though.
-West Virginia continues to struggle on the road. They fell to Providence last night 64-61. Their poor performance on the road is going to hurt their seed. The Mountaineers certainly arent alone. Indiana, Purdue, Tennessee, Michigan State and Oklahoma State are among the teams who have poor road records.
-Speaking of Michigan State, they won a huge game at home against Wisconsin, which is easily their most impressive of the season. It was tight all throughout, but Wisconsin really went cold in the final seven minutes of the game and just couldnt keep up.
-ARKANSAS AT AUBURN (SEC). Arkansas has just one road win in conference, and that was against Alabama. They really need to step it up down the stretch in order to secure a bid. The last thing they need to have happen is to lose a game to a sub 100 RPI team, and fall to 5-8 in league play.
-COLORADO STATE AT BYU (Mountain West). BYU can pick up their eighth straight win tonight, and hold on to sole possession of first place in the conference standings. They have two very tough road games coming up against San Diego State and Air Force, so it wont be easy holding on to first place, which is why they need to take care of business tonight. As of now, theyre a strong tournament team, but if they end up losing three of their last four it will really hurt their chances.
-GEORGETOWN AT CINCINNATI (Big East). Georgetown is one of the hottest teams in the country right now, and Cincinnati is one of the coldest. Georgetown is in a tie for first place in the Big East. Its never easy to win on the road, but if there is any such thing as a gimme road win, this is it. A win sustains Georgetown as a solid pod team.
-WILLIAM & MARY AT DREXEL (Colonial Athletic). Drexel is still in the mix, but they have to win out in order to stay there, and there is no guarantee that that will even be enough. All their remaining regular season games are against sub par teams, but Drexel is so inconsistent that one never knows what to expect. If they win out and advance to the finals of the conference tournament they might be okay for a bid.
-SOUTH CAROLINA AT FLORIDA (SEC). Florida is coming off a loss to Vanderbilt, but they are still in good shape as far as potentially ending up with a #1 seed. They do need to avoid a loss in this game tonight. South Carolinas record is terrible, but they have been playing better lately. They blew out Tennessee in their last game, but winning at Florida is a much taller order.
-WAKE FOREST AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC). Georgia Tech had a four game winning streak snapped in their last game against Duke, but theyre still in much better shape than they were about ten days ago. They need to take care of business tonight because its important that they finish with a good conference record. Wake hasnt been all that impressive this year, but they are coming off two straight wins, one of which was against Clemson, so Georgia Tech wont be able to just sleepwalk through this.
-MICHIGAN AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten). Its Chief Illiniweks last dance. The NCAA has put pressure on Illinois because they consider the long running ritual to be offensive to Native Americans. Granted there are many Native Americans who have clearly stated they arent offended by it at all, but the NCAA would never let a silly thing like that stop their self righteousness. As far as the game itself, Illinois is squarely on the bubble and needs a strong finish. Any game could be the difference from either getting in or out. Michigan is a poor road team, and Illinois has been playing better lately, but theyve had some off the court drama to deal with as well, so it will be interesting to see how they react.
-MINNESOTA AT INDIANA (Big Ten). Indiana has been spectacular at home and should have little trouble winning tonight. Their problem is that they cant seem to get it done on the road. Still, the Hoosiers have a solid resume and should be okay so long as they dont fall apart down the stretch. They certainly dont want a loss to a poor RPI team like Minnesota on their resume.
-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT INDIANA STATE (Missouri Valley). Indiana State has been tough to beat at home on occasion, but Southern Illinois is a legitimate pod system caliber team and have shown that they can win in hostile environments. The Salukis are capable of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. They pretty much have their bid locked up and are merely playing for seeding and placement right now. If they win their final two games and avoid an early exit in the conference tournament, they should end up with a seed of #4 or better.
-PURDUE AT IOWA (Big Ten). Purdue is a bubble team as well, and the biggest problem with their resume, like a lot of other bubble teams, is their poor performance on the road. A win in this game would make a world of difference. Iowa isnt an NCAA Tournament team, but they are somewhat decent, and it would be Purdues best road win of the season. That alone would boost the value of their resume. Purdue has been playing better, and nearly took down Ohio State on the road, but came up just short. They really need a result tonight, though.
-SAINT JOHNS AT LOUISVILLE (Big East). Louisville is playing like one of the best teams in the country right now. Theyd been playing hard ever since Big East play began, but the biggest problem was that their shots werent falling. They seem to have fixed that problem, and have back to back road wins against Marquette and Pittsburgh, which has put them solidly into the field. They dont want to stub their toes tonight against a Saint Johns team whos won three of their last five, and coming off a tough road loss to Providence. Saint Johns isnt as good as Louisville, but they are capable of playing well and could give Louisville some problems if they havent come down from those wins yet.
-FLORIDA STATE AT MARYLAND (ACC). Florida States tournament chances are slipping away. After winning at Duke they seemed to be in very good shape, but unfortunately for them they havent won since, and it wont get any easier tonight. Florida State needs to win their final three regular season games and maybe an additional game in the conference tourney if they want to feel safe. Maryland was in trouble about a week ago as well, but theyve won four of their last five and improved their situation quite a bit. A win tonight is one step closer to them locking up a bid. Theyre in good shape now as it is and should stay that way so long as they dont fall apart.
-VIRGINIA AT MIAMI, FL (ACC). Virginia has been playing outstanding basketball and has a shot to sneak into the pod system. Playing in the ACC certainly gives them ample opportunities at statement wins. Miami, FL is among the weaker teams, so Virginia just needs to take care of business and pick up the road win.
-GEORGIA AT MISSISSIPPI (SEC). Ole Miss doesnt look like a tournament team just yet, but if they get hot, finish strong, and manage a few wins in the SEC Tournament they could get themselves into the picture. Georgia just needs some wins down the stretch to show that they can win without Mike Mercer
. If they cant, then the committee will deemphasize some of their earlier work. As it stands now, theyd still be on the outside looking in anyways.
-VANDERBILT AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC). Vanderbilt is still on cloud nine from their upset win against Florida, which did a lot to boost their resume, but they need to come down from that and focus on picking up what could be a very tough road win. Mississippi State doesnt appear to be in the mix, but at 6-6 in the conference they are in a three way tie for first place in the SEC West. Vandys profile is solid, and a win on the road just adds to it. If they can finish strong it should assure them a good seed in the NCAA Tournament.
-NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC). The first time these two met NC State won in a huge upset, but their luck might not be so good tonight. North Carolina is one of the best teams in the country who is contending for a #1 seed, and doesnt want to lose to a poor RPI team like NC State a second time. Theyre also at home, and given the rivalry that these two have they arent going to be overlooking them.
-PENN STATE AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten). Penn State actually gave Ohio State quite a scare when the two met last week. Ohio State built up a big lead, but Penn State came back and almost pulled the upset. As it stands now, Ohio State is in first place in the Big Ten after Wisconsins loss to Michigan State, and can get into position to get a #1 if they beat them this weekend. They just need to take care of business at home tonight and avoid the poor RPI loss on their resume.
-TEXAS A&M AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve). TAMU won the first meeting in a blowout, but Oklahoma State is a much better team on their home court
usually. They have managed to play their way onto the bubble due to their poor road record, and need some big wins just to secure their bid. Theyve lost four of their last five, including a surprising home loss to Missouri in their last game. The crowd should really be up for this one. TAMU is in first place in the league, and appears to be a solid #2 seed with an outside chance at a #1. Theyve won in hostile environments before, but its never easy to do and that is exactly what theyll need to do tonight.
-TOWSON AT OLD DOMINION (Colonial Athletic). Old Dominion is right on the bubble, but since they really dont face any solid NCAA Tournament teams the rest of the way it may be hard for them to keep pace with everyone else. At the very least they need to win out and win a few games in the conference tournament in order to get strong consideration for a bid.
-ALABAMA AT TENNESSEE (SEC). Alabama is right on the bubble, but a road win against Tennessee will really boost their resume and be a big step toward locking up a bid. Tennessse has struggled on the road, and that will hurt their seed, but a win in this game will be another quality RPI win on their resume, which could come in very handy considering how theyve struggled away from home. Its a pivotal game for both teams, because both are looking to boost their resumes.
-JAMES MADISON AT VCU (Colonial Athletic). James Madison is one of the weakest teams in the conference, so this wont help VCUs RPI, which is already struggling. However, a win for VCU does clinch at least a share of first place in the conference standings, and that is very important for them getting an at-large.
-BOSTON COLLEGE AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC). Both these teams are on their way to the dance barring a collapse, and should be looking at a pretty good seed. This game is important because Virginia Tech is trying to get into the pod system, and needs a strong finish to do it. Boston College could end up there as well if they finish strong and win some big games in the conference tournament. After two big wins, VA Tech suffered a surprising loss to North Carolina State, so theyll be looking to rebound from that. Boston College is looking to rebound from tough back to back losses to Duke and North Carolina.
-RHODE ISLAND AT XAVIER (Atlantic Ten). These teams are part of a three way tie for first place in the Atlantic Ten, but Xavier is the only team who really has any shot at an at-large bid, but that opportunity could slip away if they cant get it done today. Theyre right on the bubble, but since they dont play any NCAA Tournament caliber teams between now and the end, any loss would be more damaging than a win would be helpful, so Xavier must win this game and finish first in the league in order to be seriously considered.