-ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). Arizona State won the first meeting between these two, but that was at home and Arizona wasnt at full strength. ASU is on their way up as a program and the season has had its highlights, but they are pretty far outside the NCAA Tournament picture right now. Arizona, on the other hand, has been playing really well and can keep it up with a conference win against a big rival today.
-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT CREIGHTON (Missouri Valley). Creighton will get some consideration for an at-large if they win out, but anything short of that and theyll probably have to win the conference tournament in order to get in. Southern Illinois won the first meeting between these two, and the Salukis have been playing well lately and could make quite a bit of noise in the conference tournament, but they still have a tendency to struggle on the road. Creighton is tough to beat at home and should be able to pull this one out.
-RHODE ISLAND AT FORDHAM (Atlantic Ten). Rhode Island is coming off of a loss to Massachusetts, but their place in the NCAA Tournament still looks to be fairly safe. This would be a damaging loss, though, because Fordham is not a strong team. The Rams really need to rebound and take care of business in this one.
-CLEMSON AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC). The first meeting between these two turned out to be a thriller, but North Carolina pulled off the win in overtime. Without Ty Lawson
the Tarheels arent nearly as good of a team, but if hes able to play and contribute in this game it should give UNC a big advantage. Theyre coming off a loss to Duke, but are still an excellent team. Clemson has a history of crumbling down the stretch, but theyve actually played pretty well in conference this year and may be able to give North Carolina a fight.
-INDIANA AT OHIO STATE (Big Ten). Indiana is an impressive 19-3, but they dont have a win on their resume as good as this one would be. They are coming off an emotional win against rival Illinois, so they do have some momentum, but their seed in the NCAA Tournament will be lower than theyd like it to be if they cant add some quality wins to their profile between now and the end. Its a big game for the Buckeyes as well, who have won four out of five and will want to take advantage of the opportunity to add another quality conference win to their resume as well.
-MASSACHUSETTS AT TEMPLE (Atlantic Ten). UMass just won a big game against Rhode Island, which really helped them out as far as being on the bubble, but they need to keep it up. Picking up another conference road win in this one would really help them out. Its a pivotal game because whenever a team is on the bubble, wins seem to help more and losses seem to hurt more. Temple wont be a walk in the park either. Theyve won five out of seven and have been playing pretty well at home.
-UCLA AT WASHINGTON (Pac Ten). UCLA picked up a big win the other night against a pretty tough Washington State team and is in a race with Stanford for first place in the Pac Ten. They should get a good seed in the NCAA Tournament barring a collapse, and even a loss in this game wont eliminate them from the picture. As well as the Bruins have been playing, they could win this one decisively despite the fact that theyre on the road. Washington has lost four straight and at just 12-11 is a long shot to make the field.
-SAINT JOSEPHS AT XAVIER (Atlantic Ten). These are the top two teams in the league and first place is on the line. For Saint Josephs its a chance to make a big time statement to the selection committee by winning on the road against a red hot Xavier team. Theyre coming off a somewhat surprising 102-88 loss to Duquesne, which will hurt their credentials a little bit, but an upset win in this game would be more than enough to offset that. Xavier is in the hunt for a very good seed in the NCAA Tournament and if theyre able to finish first in the league it would be a strong statement to the committee. These two will meet later in the year as well, but this is still a very big game.