Thursday, February 28th Highlighted Match-ups

Thursday, February 28th Highlighted Match-ups
Feb 28, 2008, 07:21 am

-NOTRE DAME AT LOUISVILLE (Big East). There is a very close four way race for first place in the Big East, and both these teams are right in it. Louisville has been sensational as of late. They’ve won seven in a row, and three of those seven wins came against the RPI top 25, and this is a chance for them to pick up another. Notre Dame is red hot right now as well having won eight out of nine. As impressive as the Irish resume is, this would be their most impressive win of the year up to this point, and really come into play in terms of seeding. I’d say they’re looking at about a #4 right now, but a road win like this would move them up even higher. Both teams are safely in the field, and both are likely to earn seeds of #4 or better, but it’s still a big game because it’s a chance at a high quality win, not to mention a shot at first place in the Big East.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten). With a three way tie for first in the Big Ten standings right now, this is a huge game against a high quality opponent for Wisconsin. Michigan State is two games back of the three way tie in the conference standings, but with four games remaining and with the Spartans having both Wisconsin and Indiana on the schedule it’s not entirely out of the question. Even if they can’t catch them in the standings, putting quality wins like this one on their resume will really help out their seed. This is the first and only regular season meeting between these two teams. The Spartans have struggled in some of their road games, and the Badgers have been outstanding at home, so it would take a tremendous effort on the part of Michigan State to pull it off.


-USC AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). USC managed two wins last week against Oregon and Oregon State, and appear to be back on track. Injuries have effected the team, but it looks as though they’ll be back at full strength pretty soon. Arizona picked up a huge, much needed win against Washington State in their last game. Prior to that they’d lost four out of five, so they really needed that last win. Both teams appear to be solidly in the field, but both could help out their potential seeding with a win in this game. They’re also just separated by one game in the conference standings, which is something else the committee looks at. Arizona could either pull even or USC could pull ahead.

-WRIGHT STATE AT BUTLER (Horizon League). Butler is coming off a Bracket Buster loss in an intense game against Drake, but they know that this is a great opportunity for them to rebound. A win for the Bulldogs clinches the outright regular season conference championship, and awards them home court advantage in the conference tournament. Wright State beat them earlier in the year, and this has actually turned into a nice conference rivalry over the past couple of years. The fans should be up for this one. Wright State is still mathematically alive to host the conference tourney, but they’ll need to win this one and hope Butler loses to Detroit (which is not likely) over the weekend.

-WASHINGTON STATE AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Ten). Wazzu fell to Cal at home earlier this year, and it appeared to be the kind of win Cal needed to turn their season around. Unfortunately, nothing much ended up turning around for Cal and they come into this game having lost three out of four and pretty much needing to win out the regular season in order to secure an at-large spot, which isn’t too likely to happen. Wazzu is in a tie for third place, but it’s a pretty distant third to Stanford and UCLA. Still, they’ve been outstanding on the road throughout conference play and this is a chance to add another road win to their already impressive resume.

-SAINT LOUIS AT SAINT JOSEPH’S (Atlantic Ten). One never knows what to expect out of Saint Louis, so Saint Joseph’s doesn’t want to overlook them. The Hawks need to finish strong in order to secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament and dropping a game like this would be costly. Their next three games are at home, so they should be able to rack up a few wins.

-WASHINGTON AT STANFORD (Pac Ten). Stanford is right behind UCLA in the conference standings, and will have a shot at tying them for first place if they can keep winning, which would assure them a great seed. This is a very winnable game for them against a Washington team that has played well at times, but has just three road wins on the year, none of which were against teams on Stanford’s caliber.


-UCLA AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Ten). UCLA still holds a one game lead over Stanford, and will be in pretty good shape for a #1 seed if they can win out. That won’t be easy though, and they have some pretty tough challenges this weekend. Arizona State is right on the bubble, and although they have a few good wins, there are still some holes in their resume. The biggest is that they’re just 3-7 in their last ten games, and with four games remaining before to the conference tournament I believe they need to win at least two of them. A win in this game would be enormous because it would be another huge quality win on their resume. ASU has been somewhat inconsistent this season, but if they can finish strong they’ll be safe for a bid.

-NEW ORLEANS AT SOUTH ALABAMA (Sun Belt). When the season began New Orleans looked to be one of the better teams in the league, but they’ve struggled in conference play and that early season win against North Carolina State doesn’t look as impressive now as it did then. South Alabama needs to continue to win. They have just two regular season games remaining, and both are winnable. If they take care of business in both games and can win at least one game in the conference tournament I believe they’ll make the NCAAs.

-MARYLAND AT WAKE FOREST (ACC). Both teams are on the bubble, and although both could make it in, the loser of this game will undergo a setback whereas the winner will have some breathing room. This is especially important because if both teams are still on the bubble come Selection Sunday, head to head competition and conference standings will go a long way toward deciding who gets in ahead of who. Seeing as how they’re separated by just a half game in the standings, this game means quite a bit. Wake is coming off a loss to North Carolina, but the game was closer than the score indicated, and they’ve actually been playing really well. Maryland is in a bit of a slump after getting off to a good, early start in conference play. They’ve lost three out of their last four and really need a road win like this to help them out.


-CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE AT CAL STATE FULLERTON (Big West). These are the top two teams in the Big West, and since just a half game separates the two this will go a long way toward determining who finishes first. Both will receive byes to the semifinals so long as they don’t drop out of the top two, though. CS Fullerton won the first meeting, so they should have the upper hand playing at home tonight. A sweep would obviously give them the tiebreaker.

-NEW MEXICO STATE AT NEVADA (WAC). Both teams got off to terrible starts this season, but have turned it on in conference play. New Mexico State is just a half game out of first (tied in the loss column, though) and Nevada is just a game behind them, so this game has first place implications in the conference. It has no bearing on the location of the conference tournament, though. That will be held at New Mexico State.

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