Thursday, February 14th Highlighted Match-ups, News and Notes

Thursday, February 14th Highlighted Match-ups, News and Notes
Feb 14, 2008, 09:43 am

-Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson (assuming he’s still the coach at the time you’re reading this) is in deep dodo. In a nutshell, it appears as though he violated the terms of his probation in which he was not permitted to place phone calls to recruits, and continued to break the same rules he’d gotten himself in trouble for at Oklahoma. What made it worse in the eyes of the NCAA is that he lied about it. It’s been my experience that with the NCAA a person will get themselves in more trouble stealing a bag of chips from the NCAA Headquarters Lobby and lying about it than they will throwing keg parties for students and potential recruits and telling the truth about it. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but the NCAA doesn’t like being lied to. I’ll have more on this tomorrow.

-As for the Hoosier’s team last night, they lost an exciting game at home to Wisconsin. The lead went back and forth, but Brian Butch banked in a three point shot for the Badgers in the final seconds to give the team the lead. Indiana had a shot at the buzzer to win, but it didn’t go down. Despite the loss, the Hoosiers played well. To their credit it doesn’t seem to be a distraction for the players on the team…at least not yet.

-Maryland made a few runs at Duke, but couldn’t get over the top and Duke ended up winning, which keeps them unbeaten in conference play and on pace to earn the #1 seed in the Charlotte region.

-Notre Dame and Connecticut went back and forth in a Big East thriller. Notre Dame had several chances to get keep themselves in the game down the stretch, but kept coming up empty and UConn held on for a huge win. It isn’t all that damaging for Notre Dame, but a win would have been really helpful in terms of potentially boosting their seed.

-Xavier played yet another Atlantic Ten game that came down to the wire, but held on to win at Charlotte. Charlotte is a tough team to beat at home, but this is twice in three games Xavier has struggled to get past a non-tournament caliber team. In the other game, they struggled to get past Saint Joseph’s. Granted this is typical for a lot of teams as they go through conference play, but Xavier hasn’t exactly been mowing them down lately.


-CALIFORNIA AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). Cal appears to be one of those teams that is right on the bubble, so this weekend (and probably every weekend from here on out) is hugely important. Arizona was on a roll, but has now lost two straight games and is looking to rebound. They’re still safely in the NCAA Tournament picture, but a strong finish will earn them a strong seed.

-STANFORD AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Ten). Despite going through a period where Arizona State lost five in a row, they can still play their way inside of the bubble, and a win at home tonight against a Stanford team that’s right in the race to finish first in the league would do the Sun Devils a world of good. ASU is coming off a somewhat surprising road win against rival Arizona, which snapped the losing streak and put a huge quality win on their resume. This would certainly be another. For Stanford, they appear to be pretty much locked in barring them losing the rest of their games, and a #1 seed isn’t out of the question if they can overtake UCLA and add some more big time wins to their profile. This one should be a good one tonight.

-NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC). BC is in a tailspin having lost six games in a row. NC State appears to be playing better now, at least for the most part, but they still don’t bring it as strong as they need to every night. They’re right on the bubble, and they need to be winning these types of games to prove to the committee that they belong.

-YOUNGSTOWN STATE AT BUTLER (Horizon League). Butler needed overtime to get past Wisconsin Milwaukee in their last game, but are back at home tonight against one of the poorer teams in the league and shouldn’t have too much trouble putting together a win.

-GEORGIA TECH AT CLEMSON (ACC). Georgia Tech really played well against Connecticut over the weekend, but ran out of gas down the stretch and simply couldn’t hold on. Clemson is coming off yet another heartbreaking loss to North Carolina in double overtime, and needs to rebound with a win in this game. It’s a winnable conference game for the Tigers, and these are definitely the ones they need to take advantage of between now and the end if they want to remain safely in the bracket projections.

-FORDHAM AT MASSACHUSETTS (Atlantic Ten). UMass is having a good season, but they’re still closer to the bubble than I’m sure they’d like to be. This is a winnable home game for them, and they don’t want a slipup here. It would drop them in the conference standings, and it would be another questionable loss added to their resume.

-SOUTH ALABAMA AT MIDDLE TENNESSEE (Sun Belt). South Alabama responded to their recent loss with three decisive wins in a row, and have a shot at number four tonight. If they can win out the regular season they should be okay for a bid barring an early exit to a really bad team in the Sun Belt Tournament.

-WASHINGTON AT OREGON (Pac Ten). Washington is coming off a surprising upset win against UCLA over the weekend, so they do have some momentum coming into this game. Still, they need to win out or come close to it in order to play their way into the NCAA Tournament picture. This is a winnable home game for an Oregon team that’s right on the bubble. Like most bubble teams, one gets the sense that this is a pivotal game. A win would help, and a loss would hurt.

-WASHINGTON STATE AT OREGON STATE (Pac Ten). Wazzu ended their losing streak in a big way with a blowout win against USC. This is another winnable conference game against one of the worst in the league. If they can win both of these games this weekend they’d be right back on track to earn a good seed in the NCAA Tournament.

-RUTGERS AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big East). West Virginia has lost three of their last four, but two of those three losses came at the buzzer, so they’re still a pretty good team. They have a winnable game at home against a struggling Rutgers team tonight and really need to cash it in. They’re closer to the bubble than they’d like to be, so they need to string together some wins. Having said that, their next five games are all pretty winnable.

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