Saturday, December 29th Highlighted Match-ups

Saturday, December 29th Highlighted Match-ups
Dec 29, 2007, 01:44 am

-PITTSBURGH AT DAYTON. Dayton is 10-1 with some impressive road wins, but for some reason still seems to be under the radar, at least as far as the voters are concerned. When it comes to NCAA Tournament credentials, they appear to have some pretty good wins already, but a win in this game would be their biggest one yet. It’s the kind of win that will make a big difference when it comes to their seeding/selection. Pitt is undefeated, ranked in the top ten, and looks to be one of the better teams in the Big East. This is going to be a real challenge for them as well because Dayton is not an easy place to play. It should be a good one, and if Dayton can pull the upset it will be a big time coming out party for them.

-ARIZONA AT MEMPHIS. Memphis just got a big win against Georgetown last week and has another very tough test this week. Playing at home should give them an advantage, but Arizona has played well on the road this year and nearly upset Kansas. They didn’t beat Kansas, but they showed they were good enough to win a game like this. This would be one of the biggest wins of the year for Arizona if they are able to pull it off. It would also be a big time win for Memphis, and is arguably more important if they want a #1 seed because they aren’t going to get as many opportunities to face top notch competition as Arizona will. These are two heavyweights that are good enough to go deep, so it should be a good one.

HIGHLIGHTED MATCH-UPS (Conference games are noted in parenthesis. The games are listed in alphabetical order via the home team)

-GEORGE WASHINGTON AT ALABAMA. George Washington is just 4-5 on the year, whereas Alabama has won five in a row and is playing very well. The Tide are still on the outside looking in when it comes to my current projections, but they definitely appear to be getting better and better as the season continues and should be able to take care of business today and continue to improve their resume. They have a big game against Clemson on New Years Day.

-BYU AT BOISE STATE. Boise State is 7-3 on the year, but for the most part has played a very weak schedule and doesn’t have any impressive wins. This is a chance for them to pick one up at home. BYU is 10-2 and looks to be very solid, and this is a chance to add another road win to their resume. Boise has really improved as a program over the last few years, and this would be a huge win as far as them continuing to build their program.

-NORTHERN IOWA AT BRADLEY (Missouri Valley). Both of these teams have quite a bit of work to do if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. Neither team has been all that bad, but neither has been all that good either. Northern Iowa has played a weak schedule which may not have prepared them for conference play. Bradley is a very tough place to play and there is quite a bit on the line.

-MIAMI, OH AT CINCINNATI. Miami continues to play everyone close no matter how good or bad they are. They have managed some pretty big wins, though. Cincinnati is just 4-6, but is clearly playing better basketball than they were in their first few games. They had a chance to beat Xavier, and have hung in with Memphis and NC State in their last two games. Their defense has improved, but they really can’t score. This should be another low scoring affair, and if it’s like most of Miami’s games it will come down to the wire. Miami is coming off of a loss to Kansas, and this would be big as far as them rebounding.

-ILLINOIS STATE AT CREIGHTON (Missouri Valley). Both teams are off to fairly decent starts, but will need to finish high in the conference standings in order to be safe for an at-large bid. Creighton is 8-1, but doesn’t have any overly impressive wins. Illinois State is 7-3 and could end up being a sleeper in the league.

-UC SANTA BARBARA AT EASTERN WASHINGTON. UCSB was blown out by North Carolina in their last game and can’t afford too many more losses (if any) if they want to seriously be considered for an at-large. They shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one despite the fact that they’re on the road.

-TEMPLE AT FLORIDA. Both teams have quite a bit of work to do if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. Florida is 11-2, but hasn’t beaten anyone decent, let alone good. Temple has played a little better after a rocky start, but needs to compile some quality wins between now and the end.

-TENNESSEE AT GONZAGA. Tennessee got a big time road win against Xavier last week and has another big challenge this week on the road against the Zags. Gonzaga is back at full strength, and we should see quite a bit of improvement for their team. They still don’t have a win as good as this one would be, so there is quite a bit at stake as both teams look to build up their profiles. Tennessee can really pressure the ball, so it will be interesting to see how Gonzaga’s perimeter can handle it.

-WAGNER AT KANSAS STATE. This appears to be a mismatch, but Wagner is 7-3 and could give Kansas State a bigger fight than they expect. An upset is unlikely, but K State really can’t afford to let their guard down because if they do it could get interesting. It should also give Kansas State’s RPI a nice nudge if they’re able to win because Wagner is 8-3 on the year.

-WINTHROP AT MIAMI, FL. Winthrop has been inconsistent all year, but can be very hard to beat when they’re at the top of their game. Miami is unbeaten on the year and into the Top 25. This is a chance for them to sustain that and pick up a win against a team who should dominate the Big South Conference again this year.

-MISSOURI AT MISSISSIPPI STATE. Both of these teams really need this win. Both had high expectations coming into the year, and Missouri was showing a lot of promise, but they still haven’t put together the type of credentials that would stand out to the committee yet. The same is true for Mississippi State, so both teams need to build themselves up.

-FRESNO STATE AT STANFORD. Fresno looked very promising coming into the year, but it’s been rather disappointing. They’re just 6-5 and don’t look like they’re the kind of team that can stay with Stanford on the road. The Cardinal have just one loss on the season and can pick up another win in their last game prior to beginning their Pac Ten schedule.

-WISCONSIN AT TEXAS. Wisconsin is 9-2, but has struggled against the top level competition that they’ve faced, and could be in for a real struggle on the road against one of the nation’s best teams. Texas is coming off a loss to Michigan State, and their depth is an issue, but they do look to be a better team than Wisconsin does at the moment. If the Badgers were to win it would be a huge, resume road win that would really impress the committee and affect their seed, but it won’t be easy.

-OKLAHOMA AT WEST VIRGINIA. Both of these teams have been playing very well lately. They’ve both had good seasons and appear to be getting better as it rolls along. West Virginia has just one loss, but at this point in time this looks like it would be their biggest win of the year if they were to pull it off. Oklahoma just defeated a pretty good Gonzaga team which helped out their resume quite a bit, but winning at West Virginia would help it out even more. Expect both teams to play tough defense and for this to be a battle.

-DRAKE AT WICHITA STATE (Missouri Valley). Drake is 7-1 against div1 competition, but now that conference play is starting we’ll see whether or not their record is a mirage. Wichita State is a modest 7-4 and doesn’t appear to be an NCAA team unless they can really step it up in conference play and dominate the league.


-ILLINOIS CHICAGO AT AKRON. Akron is 9-2 on the year, but this is just the second game they’ve played against a team with a winning record. It may be more of a fight than what many expect.

-SAINT FRANCIS, PA AT ARIZONA STATE. Arizona State has been playing really well and shouldn’t have too much trouble picking up their tenth win of the season today.

-LOUISIANA MONROE AT ARKANSAS. Arkansas is coming off a surprise loss to Appalachian State and their current resume could really take a hit if they end up dropping this game.

-TOWSON AT AUBURN. Auburn has played a cupcake out of conference schedule so far, and that will continue today. A win does get them to 9-2, though.

-PRARIE VIEW AT BAYLOR. Baylor has lost just one game, whereas Prarie View has just one win against a div1 team. There isn’t too much of a chance of them getting their second today.

-SAMFORD AT CLEMSON. Clemson shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one and improving to 10-1.

-AMERICAN AT GEORGETOWN. Georgetown is coming off a rough loss to Memphis, but shouldn’t get much of a challenge in this game.

-ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF AT HOUSTON. Houston has just one loss on the season and isn’t too likely to pick up their second today. The problem is that their schedule has been weak and today is no exception.

-CHICAGO STATE AT INDIANA. Indiana has just one loss, but their RPI continues to drop because they’ve played a string of weak teams lately. That is the case again today, but the competition will be picking up soon.

-YALE AT KANSAS. Kansas is unbeaten and will likely stay that way.

-CLEVELAND STATE AT KENT STATE. Kent State, along with Miami OH, looks to be one of the better teams in the MAC and has an outside shot at an at-large, but they can’t afford any slipups in games like this. A win will get them to 10-2.

-IONA AT LOUISVILLE. Iona is 5-7 and has won five of their last six, which is a big time improvement from last season, and knows Louisville pretty well since head coach Kevin Williard is a former Louisville assistant. However, an upset is still very unlikely.

-SAVANNAH STATE AT MARQUETTE. Marquette has just one loss on the year and will likely sleepwalk through this one.

-BOSTON U AT MASSACHUSETTS. Boston U was expected to be one of the better teams in the America East and still could be, but has been somewhat of a disappointment so far. UMass has been inconsistent, but I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble winning and getting to 10-2 on the year.

-WISCONSIN GREEN BAY AT MICHIGAN STATE. Green Bay is a modest 7-4, but hasn’t played well against teams at Michigan State’s caliber. The Spartans had a big win against Texas last week and shouldn’t have much trouble today.

-ALCORN STATE AT NEBRASKA. The Huskers are off to a great start and shouldn’t have any trouble improving to 10-2 against 1-10 Alcorn State.

-WESTERN CAROLINA AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE. NC State has strung together four straight wins and beaten some decent teams in the process. They shouldn’t have any trouble extending that streak to five today.

-BROWN AT NOTRE DAME. Brown looks like they could be a force in the Ivy League, but they shouldn’t be much of a match for Notre Dame. The Irish can improve to 9-2 on the year.

-UMBC AT OHIO STATE. The Buckeyes have won four in a row, including a decisive win against Florida, and should be able to make it five in a row today.

-FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL AT PURDUE. Purdue has been inconsistent all year, but should be able to win easily today. It’s their last game before Big Ten play begins.

-JACKSONVILLE AT SOUTH ALABAMA. The margin for error is very small, but if South Alabama can dominate the Sun Belt and avoid any bad losses they will be in the discussion for an at-large bid. They can improve to 8-3 with a win today with their only losses being close games against Vanderbilt, Mississippi and Miami OH.

-WINSTON SALEM STATE AT SOUTH FLORIDA. The road will get tougher for South Florida once conference play begins, but they can win their ninth game out of ten today.

-UC RIVERSIDE AT USC. The Trojans shouldn’t get much of a fight and can improve to 9-3.

-UTEP AT TEXAS SOUTHERN (reverse buy game). The Miners can improve to 9-2 with a win today, and it shouldn’t be that much of a struggle.

-NORTHWESTERN STATE AT TEXAS TECH. Texas Tech is just 5-5 and has been very inconsistent. Their next three games are winnable, and they could really use all three of them heading into Big Twelve play.

-UC DAVIS AT UCLA. This shouldn’t be much of a challenge for the Bruins. They have just one loss on the season and it isn’t likely they’ll pick up their second loss in this game.

-TENNESSEE MARTIN AT VANDERBILT. The Commodores are undefeated and should be able to stay that way after today.

-LA SALLE AT VILLANOVA. This is a Big Five game, but it is also a huge mismatch this year. Villanova should roll in this one and improve to 10-1.

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