Saturday, December 22nd Highlighted Match-ups
|by: Drew Barnette - Staff Writer
|December 22, 2007
-GEORGETOWN AT MEMPHIS (Possible #1 Seed Implications). Both teams are ranked in the top five, both are unbeaten, and both are strong contenders for a #1 seed. Itís very possible that both could end up with a #1 seed, but the winner of this game today should have a leg up. Memphis is very athletic, as is Georgetown, so it should be a fun game to watch. Georgetown appears to have a stronger post game, but neither team really has all that many weaknesses. Itís probably a bigger game for Memphis because they are at home and donít play in a league as strong as the Big East, so they wonít have too many more opportunities to get huge statement wins, but it would still be a defining, big time road win for Georgetown as well. For Georgetown, this is their first real test, as most of their schedule prior to now has been against cupcakes, so itís a chance for us to learn something about them.
-TEXAS VS MICHIGAN STATE (Game in Detroit). It looks as though both of these teams are well on their way to the pod system, and Iíve been projecting Texas as a #1 seed. One problem that the Longhorns may run into before the end of the year is a lack of depth, but it hasnít affected them yet, and they even have one big time road win already against UCLA. This would certainly qualify as a second big time road win. Michigan Stateís only loss was a close game to UCLA, so theyíve played some very good basketball this season. The fact that the crowd should favor them will give them an advantage and make this a very evenly matched game.
-TENNESSEE AT XAVIER. Xavier is coming off an embarrassing blowout loss to Arizona State, but for the most part they have been sensational at home and have a chance to knock off a highly ranked team, and add yet another impressive win to their NCAA Tournament resume. Tennessee has a great team, but they clearly havenít been as good on the road as they have been at home, and could really struggle in this game today. A win for the Vols would be huge as well. They donít appear to be in any danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, but if they can win a game like this on the road it would give them quite a bit of confidence, and impress the committee as well.
-CLEMSON VS MISSISSIPPI (San Juan Shootout). Both teams are undefeated, but Ole Miss still isnít in the rankings. A win in this game would really do a lot to get the attention of the nation, and it would also impress the committee as well because it would be a quality win away from home. Both teams have been outstanding, and this should be a great game. Unfortunately not many of us will get to see it because I donít believe itís on television. Nevertheless, the committee will be paying attention and taking note of what happens.
-ARKANSAS VS APPALACHIAN STATE (game in Little Rock). Arkansas is off to a great start this season and should be a force once SEC play starts. Right now they look like a solid NCAA Tournament team. Appalachian State has really struggled this year and probably wonít be able to put up much of a fight in this one.
-SAN DIEGO STATE AT ARIZONA. Arizona looks strong this year and already has a rather impressive resume. They did struggle in their last game on the road against UNLV, but still escaped with the win. San Diego State has looked good this year, but really needs a big time signature win. Winning this one on the road against Arizona would really boost their NCAA Tourney credentials. Both teams appear to be athletic, so it should be a fun game to watch.
-VCU AT BRADLEY. Bradley is coming off a rather decisive road loss to Butler, and really needs some big wins to get their NCAA Tourney credentials up to par. VCU has been playing very well lately, but could really use an impressive win on the road. This is a game between two good teams who are fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, so there is quite a bit at stake. Both teams are tough defensively, so it should be a battle.
-UTAH AT CALIFORNIA. Cal is off to a great start, and has a chance to pick up another win against a decent team today. Utah has played well, but really needs a big win like this one if they want to be serious candidates for a spot in the dance. They looked pretty good in their last game against Missouri State, and I do think they are capable of staying with Cal on the road.
-ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK AT CREIGHTON. Both teams are under the radar right now, but both are also 7-1 and have played some pretty good basketball this season. Both teams appear like theyíll do well in conference, so it should give each team a nice boost in the RPI. It will also be a big win for whoever pulls it off.
-MIAMI, OH AT KANSAS. Miami has managed to win some pretty big games this year, but a win in this one would certainly be their biggest. Theyíve won three of their last four, and are coming off a road win against Illinois. A win in this game would really boost the quality of their resume and could end up making the difference as to whether or not they can get in safely as an at-large. Kansas is unbeaten and in the mix for a #1 seed, and this would turn out to be a pretty decent win for them as well.
-UCLA AT MICHIGAN. Michigan has really struggled this year and I donít see them putting up too much of a fight against a very good UCLA team. It is a long road trip for the Bruins, but they clearly appear to be the better team and should win rather handily.
-ILLINOIS VS MISSOURI (Game in Saint Louis). This is the Bragginí Rights Game, but it doesnít appear to have the luster that some of the games in years past have had. Illinois is coming off of a loss to Miami OH and really doesnít have a quality win yet. The Illini donít really look like an NCAA Tournament team right now and they could have a hard time making the field. Mizzou has played some pretty good basketball, but still needs to improve their credentials. Winning this game would help. It would also award them the bragging rights, which is a big part of what this game is all about.
-ARKANSAS STATE AT NEW ORLEANS (Sun Belt). New Orleans has had an impressive run out of conference so far, but will pretty much have to dominate the Sun Belt if they want to be in the mix for an at-large bid. Every game is big from here on out because their margin for error is small.
-UC SANTA BARBARA AT NORTH CAROLINA. North Carolina has looked as good as anyone in the country so far, and is virtually in everyoneís top 3, and many peopleís top 1. They could be in for a fight today, though. UCSB has just one loss on the season (Stanford), but it was also the only real test theyíve had. They appear to be a good team, but could really use a high caliber win in order to get the attention of the committee. A win like this on the road would certainly boost their and help their NCAA Tournament chances. North Carolina doesnít appear to have any weaknesses, and could end up winning this game by quite a bit despite the fact that UCSB is a good team.
-NEVADA AT NORTHERN IOWA. Northern Iowa is 7-2, but for the most part theyíve racked that record up against low caliber teams. Nevada doesnít appear to be an NCAA team, but other than UMass theyíre better than just about everyone Northern Iowa has beaten. This is a game that UNI really needs to win, especially considering the fact that theyíre at home. Nevada has won four games in a row and appears to be getting better. This would be their most impressive win of the season if they can pull it off.
-FLORIDA AT OHIO STATE. This is a rematch of last yearís national championship game, and is the third meeting between the two teams over the past two seasons. Neither team is anywhere close to being as good as they were a season ago, and right now both appear to be on the outside looking in. Florida struggled against Georgia Southern last week, and although theyíre 11-1, theyíve pretty much only beaten cupcakes. Ohio State has played some tough competition, but lost against pretty much all of it. This would be a big win for either team since both are still trying to establish their seasons.
-TEXAS ARLINGTON AT OKLAHOMA STATE. Okie State has really been struggling, and could be in for another struggle today. TX Arlington is having a great year, and although Okie State doesnít look like an NCAA Tournament team it would still be a nice win for a program thatís trying to get themselves onto the national radar. TX Arlington can improve to 7-1 against div1 competition if they can pull this one off today.
-FLORIDA STATE AT PROVIDENCE. Both of these teams are off to pretty good starts and could both be on their way to the NCAA Tournament. This is a big game because both teams still need to continue to build up their resumes. Providence struggled against Sacred Heart the other night, but was able to avoid the upset. Florida State has won seven of their last eight, but could still use a quality road win. Both teams are currently in my projected bracket, but still have quite a bit of room for improvement. It should be an exciting game between two quality teams who have quite a bit to play for.
-JAMES MADISON AT SETON HALL. Both teams are off to very good starts, but both teams, especially James Madison, need to add some quality wins to their resume. A road win for JMU in this game would be huge. Seton Hall isnít a great team, but theyíre one of the better teams JMU will play out of conference and they need to take advantage of the opportunity. JMU is 7-1, but this is their first real test of the season.
-HOLY CROSS AT SIENA. Both teams are long shots for at-large bids, but both appear to be among the best teams in their conferences and could end up in the NCAA Tournament via the automatic bid. Holy Cross has just one loss on the season, but it wonít be easy going on the road to face Siena. I expect this one to be competitive.
-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. WKU dropped a heartbreaker to Tennessee in their last game, and as far as earning an at-large bid their margin for error is shrinking quickly. They really need to win this game on the road if they want being in position to receive an at-large to remain a possibility. Southern Illinois has struggled this year, but still typically plays very well at home.
-STANFORD AT TEXAS TECH. Texas Tech has been very inconsistent this year, which is unusual for a team that is coached by Bobby Knight. Stanford has been sensational for the most part, and only has one loss. This is a chance for them to pick up another win on the road. It may be easy, but then again it may not be. It depends on which Texas Tech team shows up today.
-CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE AT WASHINGTON. Washington has struggled this year, and that isnít likely to stop once conference play begins. Cal State Northridge is off to an impressive 7-2 start and appears to be good enough to really give the Huskies some trouble in this one today. This is a game that Washington really canít afford to lose because they are falling further and further out of the picture.
-UAB AT WICHITA STATE. UAB has made quite a bit of noise, but they need to keep winning because they donít have a whole lot of big time wins to offset whatever losses they may accumulate. Wichita State can be a very tough place to play, but UAB is road tested and is capable of getting the win and improving to 9-4.
-VALPARAISO AT WISCONSIN. Valpo has just one loss, but is way under the radar because they donít have any quality wins yet. They are road tested, and Wisconsin has shown that they are beatable, so an upset is not out of the realm of possibility. A win like this would give Valpo a huge boost and really get the attention of the selection committee. It will likely turn out to be a decent RPI game for Wisconsin, especially if they win, because Valpo looks to be one of the better teams in the Horizon League and will win quite a few games between now and the end of the year.
-IDAHO AT ARIZONA STATE. Arizona State is off to a great start considering how young they are, and should be able to win this one and improve to 9-2.
-ALABAMA A&M AT AUBURN. Auburn is off to a 6-2 start, but hasnít played a very tough schedule. AAMU isnít all that tough either, and Auburn should be able to win rather easily.
-NORTHEASTERN AT BOSTON COLLEGE. This is an inner-city match-up, but it also appears to be a pretty big mismatch. BC has played well and should win this one, which would get them to 8-2 on the year.
-WEST VIRGINIA AT CANISIUS (reverse buy game). For the second game in a row West Virginia is playing a weak team on the road. They should win in a blowout.
-MAINE AT CONNECTICUT. Maine has struggled this year at 3-6 and I donít see them putting up much of a fight against UConn. A win will get the Huskies to 7-2.
-LOYOLA, MD AT DAYTON. Loyola is off to a 5-5 start and just snapped a three game losing streak. They should be a factor in the Metro Atlantic this year, but Dayton is red hot and I donít see them pulling the upset.
-BUTLER AT FLORIDA GULF COAST (reverse buy game). Butler shouldnít have too much trouble winning this one and improving to 11-1.
-COPPIN STATE AT INDIANA. This is a huge mismatch. Coppin State has just one div1 win and Indiana has just one loss.
-WINSTON SALEM STATE AT KANSAS STATE. Kansas State has won their last two games and shouldnít have any trouble winning today.
-NEW MEXICO STATE AT LOUISVILLE. Louisville has Derrick Caracter back, but they still struggled more than you would expect them to in their last game against Marshall. New Mexico State has some talent, but has not played well this year. I donít see them winning this one.
-AMERICAN AT MARYLAND. Maryland is just 6-5 and has lost three of their last four, but should be able to win this one today.
-SANTA CLARA AT MINNESOTA. Minnesota hasnít really proven that they are an NCAA Tournament team, but they do appear to be improved and have built up quite a bit of momentum. A win in this game will get them to 8-1 on the year.
-NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL AT NEBRASKA. Nebraska is off to a fantastic start and appears to be improving as the season goes on. They shouldnít have any trouble winning this game and improving to 9-2.
-SAN FRANCISCO AT NOTRE DAME. Notre Dame has strung together quite a few wins and that should continue with this game today.
-OREGON AT OAKLAND (reverse buy game). Oregon should be able to win this one rather easily, but Oakland was able to give Michigan State a fight, so the Ducks canít just sleepwalk.
-HOFSTRA AT RHODE ISLAND. Rhode Island is off to an amazing 10-1 start and shouldnít have too much trouble improving to 11-1.
-SAINT FRANCIS, NY AT SOUTH FLORIDA. South Florida recently had a seven game winning streak snapped, but they should win this game and get to a respectable 8-4 on the season.
-CAL POLY AT USC. The Trojans have been playing well lately despite losing two of their last three (both were close losses to Kansas and Memphis), and should win this one going away.
-CORNELL AT SYRACUSE. Syracuse owns a long winning streak against Cornell, and that will likely continue today.
-UC IRVINE AT TEXAS A&M. The Aggies can improve to 10-1 with a win today.
-TENNESSEE MARTIN AT UNLV. UNLV lost a heartbreaker in their last game, but shouldnít have too much trouble winning this one today.
-TENNESSEE STATE AT VANDERBILT. Vanderbilt is unbeaten, and will most likely stay that way after facing a Tennessee State team that has just one div1 win.
-COLUMBIA AT VILLANOVA. Nova can, and likely will, get to 9-1 with a win. Columbia could make some noise in the Ivy League, but isnít likely to put up much of a fight today.
-ELON AT VIRGINIA. UVA can get to 9-2 with a win in this game.
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