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Thursday, January 24th Highlighted Match-ups

Thursday, January 24th Highlighted Match-ups
Jan 24, 2008, 08:31 am
NEWS AND NOTES

-I thought the Baylor vs Texas A&M game would be exciting last night, but not THAT exciting. Baylor ended up winning 116-110 after five overtimes, which is the equivalent of playing three halves plus another five minutes. No game has ever gone into that many overtimes. Baylor remains unbeaten in Big Twelve play whereas TAMU falls to 1-3.

-Right after I praise Villanova for the season they’re having and declare them a possible dark horse in the Big East they decided to go to Rutgers and forget to show up. They trailed by as many as 19 in the second half last night, and were never really in the game. Rutgers ended up winning 80-68.

-Cincinnati led Connecticut for most of the game and appeared to have it in the bag late in the second half, but every time it looked like Cincinnati was going to put them away Connecticut would go on a run to get back into it. Led by some big plays by Jerome Dyson, UConn grabbed a lead in the final minute of the game, but Cincinnati’s Rashad Bishop answered with a big shot to give the Bearcats an 83-82 lead with less than ten seconds to go. The only problem was that Bishop followed that up by fouling the UConn player on the in-bounds pass. UConn hit both freethrows, UC was unable to answer and the Huskies escaped with a 84-83 win on the road. Cincinnati had a ton of momentum coming into the game and a win in would have been one more giant step toward coming back from the dead and getting back into the NCAA Tournament picture. They’ll have plenty more chances, but this one certainly stings. It’s a great win for UConn, who needed a nice win on the road.


SPOTLIGHT GAMES

-DAYTON AT XAVIER (Atlantic Ten). These schools are huge rivals and since both teams are ranked in the top 25 there has been quite a bit of build up for this. The game is on CSTV, which is a network that not everyone has yet, but if you have Internet Explorer you can watch the game on CHANNELSURFING.NET for free (click on the CSTV Icons). Two of Dayton’s better players are injured, which is unfortunate because it took some of the excitement and anticipation out of the game. The Flyers haven’t looked nearly as good since losing those two either, and they’re going to have a very tough time against a Xavier team that has been magnificent at home this season. The Musketeers have been inconsistent, but they are a very tough team to beat when they actually show up. Given that this is an important conference rivalry game against a ranked team, I expect that they’ll come out ready to play. Dayton has not beaten Xavier on the road since 1981, and it’s a streak that Xavier fans love reminding Dayton fans of.


HIGHLIGHTED MATCH-UPS

-WASHINGTON STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). Washington State’s next two games are on the road, but after this Arizona swing seven of their final eleven are at home. If they can beat both Arizona and Arizona State one has to assume that they’re in the drivers seat to finish first in the conference. Arizona’s last four games have been on the road, and they’re coming off a much needed win against Cal. The Wildcats appear to be pretty solid, but a win like this would certainly make their resume look even more solid.

-WASHINGTON AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Ten). Arizona State had a ten game winning streak snapped in their last game against Stanford, where they really ran into foul trouble. They’re still 14-3 on the year, but after playing a rather weak out of conference schedule they really need a strong showing in conference. This is a winnable home game and they really need to take care of business because with this league being as tough as it is wins aren’t going to be easy to come by. Washington is 11-7 and coming off two wins against Oregon and Oregon State.

-LOYOLA, IL AT BUTLER (Horizon League). Butler is two games behind Cleveland State in the conference standings, but should still be in solid shape for a bid if they don’t stub their toes too many times between now and the end. They should really dominate this game at home against a struggling Loyola team.

-MICHIGAN STATE AT NORTHWESTERN (Big Ten). Michigan State shouldn’t get much of a fight in this game, but then again they’ve struggled on the road a few times when it didn’t seem as though they would. The Spartans do have a conference loss, but are still good enough to be in the mix to win the league title.

-UCLA AT OREGON (Pac Ten). UCLA is coming off a loss to rival USC, which is their second home loss of the year. Oregon has been a tough place to play for the Bruins in recent years, and this year should be no different. Oregon, who has lost two games in a row, could use a huge win to boost their resume, and they know it. Their fans are always loud, but they’ll be extra loud tonight.

-USC AT OREGON STATE (Pac Ten). USC needed a big win to boost their resume, and they definitely got it when they upset UCLA on the road this past weekend. Oregon State is still looking for their first conference win. In fact, none of their games have really been close. USC may still be floating from the UCLA win and OSU may catch them off guard, but even though their at home they don’t stand much of a chance against the if the Trojans are focused.

-SETON HALL AT PROVIDENCE (Big East). Seton Hall got a big win against Louisville over the weekend, but needs to win some games on the road if they want to get the committee’s attention. Providence has looked a lot better lately, and has won three in a row, including a quality win at Connecticut. They appear to have better credentials than Seton Hall’s, but they aren’t solid enough to where the Friars can relax at all. Both teams need this one.

-DUKE AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC). With North Carolina’s loss to Maryland last week, Duke is suddenly in first place in the ACC and is playing very well. It’s never easy for the Blue Devils to go on the road and win in league play, and they should get Virginia Tech’s best shot tonight. The Hokies are way outside looking in and are coming off a loss to Georgia Tech, but prior to that they’d been playing pretty well.

-CLEVELAND STATE AT WISCONSIN GREEN BAY (Horizon League). Cleveland State has a two game lead in the conference, but this is the first of four straight road games, so it’s not going to be easy to hold on to. All of the games are winnable, though. A first place finish without too many poor RPI losses should secure them a spot in the field. They already have one quality win against Butler, but their RPI needs a boost. Four straight road wins would boost it quite a bit, though.

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