Thursday, January 17th Highlighted Match-ups

Thursday, January 17th Highlighted Match-ups
Jan 17, 2008, 05:28 pm
-OHIO AT AKRON (Mid American). Akron has a good team and a good record, but a poor strength of schedule. If they manage a win in this game it will actually be one of their better ones so far. They have a shot at an at-large, but they need to absolutely dominate the league.

-ARIZONA STATE AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Ten). This is the first road game for the Sun Devils in nine games. They’re on an impressive winning streak, but it will be interesting to see what they can do on the road tonight and this weekend.

-BUTLER AT CLEVELAND STATE (Horizon League). Believe it or not, Cleveland State is ahead of Butler in the standings. This game is huge because they have a chance to take a two game lead. If Cleveland State can beat Butler and finish first in the conference, they’ll get to host the conference tournament, but more importantly they may be in the discussion to get an at-large.

-PROVIDENCE AT CONNECTICUT (Big East). These two teams are good, but they both need to improve their credentials if they want to earn a good seed in the NCAAs, or in the case of Providence get inside the bubble.

-MARQUETTTE AT LOUISVILLE (Big East). Marquette blew Notre Dame out of the gym in their last game, but playing on the road against a team playing as well as Louisville is a tough assignment. Louisville beat West Virginia rather handily last week, and defeated Rutgers on the road, so this is a chance for them to pick up a huge quality win and stay at the top of the standings. It would actually be Louisville’s biggest win of the season so far if the Cardinals can pull it off.

-KENT STATE AT MIAMI, OH (Mid American). Kent is 13-3 on the year, but this is their first conference road game. Their last road game was a blowout loss to North Carolina, but that really isn’t too damaging. It’s the same old story. If they can dominate in conference play they should be invited to the dance.

-INDIANA AT MINNESOTA (Big Ten). Indiana struggled more than expected in their last game against Illinois. This is a much tougher assignment considering how good Minnesota has been playing. The Gophers have a lot on the line because this would be a huge quality conference win and it would go a long way toward getting them in the discussion for a tournament spot. This is one of the games I’m really looking forward to. Minnesota fans should be jacked up, so it won’t be an easy game for the Hoosiers to win.

-RHODE ISLAND AT SAINT LOUIS (Atlantic Ten). With Xavier and Dayton both losing last night, Rhode Island has a chance to make up some ground in the conference standings. Saint Louis nearly defeated Dayton in their last game, but other than that they haven’t looked all that good this year.

-ARIZONA AT STANFORD (Pac Ten). Arizona has lost two straight conference games, and doesn’t want this to be #3. With tonight’s game, and this weekend’s game against Cal, I’d say they really need to win at least one of them. Neither will be easy, though. Stanford looked pretty good against UCLA, but they still don’t have any outstanding wins. This would actually be one of their better ones if they can take care of business at home.

-VANDERBILT AT TENNESSEE (SEC). This is a huge rivalry game, and it’s a hugely important game. Both teams are playing well enough to earn a top seed, and as a result get a favorable geographic placement. The thing is that there are only so many teams who will get that, so how they do against each other and where they end up in the conference standings will determine who gets the better seed and placement. Tennessee is red hot and won’t be easy to beat at home. Vandy suffered their first loss of the season to Kentucky in their last game, and even though they were undefeated prior to that I really haven’t seen them play well enough to beat Tennessee on the road. We’ll see tonight, though.

-OREGON AT WASHINGTON (Pac Ten). The Ducks have been playing very well lately, and should be able to take down the Huskies on the road. The Pac Ten race is going to be tight, and the Ducks need to be able to take care of business in games like this if they want to stay in it.

-OREGON STATE AT WASHINGTON STATE (Pac Ten). There aren’t many easy games in Pac Ten play, but this should be fairly easy for Washington State. They are coming off a loss to UCLA, but with Oregon and Oregon State at home this weekend I expect them to recover and keep themselves near the top of the standings.

-SAINT JOHN’S AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big East). West Virginia is clearly much better at home than on the road, and blew out Syracuse in their last game. They shouldn’t have too much trouble with Saint John’s, who has lost four of their last five.

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