Wednesday, January 30th Highlighted Match-ups

Wednesday, January 30th Highlighted Match-ups
Jan 30, 2008, 12:54 pm
-BYU AT AIR FORCE (Mountain West). BYU is right on the bubble and needs to keep winning if they want to be safe for an NCAA bid. Air Force is having a bad year, so in addition to losing some ground in the conference standings, BYU would also have a bad loss on their resume if they can’t take care of business in this one.

-MISSISSIPPI STATE AT ARKANSAS (SEC). Mississippi State is on an impressive winning streak and just blew out Ole Miss in their last game. They’ve cracked the rankings, their RPI has taken a big time jump, and they’re in to my most recent NCAA Tourney projections. They are also unbeaten in conference play. Arkansas has been inconsistent this year, and needs a good conference win such as this one to boost their profile back up. Their only RPI top 50 win was against Baylor, so they need to rack up some more between now and the end.

-SAINT LOUIS AT DAYTON (Atlantic Ten). Dayton has been absolutely awful since becoming injured. They’ve lost three games in a row and were beaten handily in all three. If they can’t play any better than what they have been this could easily become their fourth straight loss. They need to win a few games before they’re back at 100%. Otherwise they may not be able to recover and will fall out of the at-large picture.

-SYRACUSE AT DE PAUL (Big East). Syracuse is currently right on the bubble and needs to cash in a winnable road game like this one. They’ve played well in their last three games, but only managed to win one of them. Picking up a conference road win in this one would really help them out.

-CREIGHTON AT DRAKE (Missouri Valley). These two met just two weeks ago and the game turned out to be a thriller as Drake picked up a big road win. Creighton is right on the bubble and a road win against a solid NCAA team like Drake would go a long way toward helping them get in as an at-large. The Bluejays should be feeling a sense of urgency coming into this one.

-MASSACHUSETTS AT DUQUESNE (Atlantic Ten). UMass has lost four of their last six and appears to be one of those teams that’s right on the bubble. They need to win this one to pick up a conference road win, build some momentum back up, and keep pace in the conference standings. Duquesne is having a good year as well, but would really need to finish the season strong if they want to be in the discussion for an at-large bid. It should be an interesting one tonight.

-SAINT JOSEPH’S AT GEORGE WASHINGTON (Atlantic Ten). SJU is another A-10 team that appears to be on the bubble, and could really use this conference road win. GW isn’t having a strong season, but they have played well at home so it won’t be a walk in the park as far as SJU is concerned.

-MEMPHIS AT HOUSTON (Conference USA). Houston has a great record, but they’ve obtained that record against a weak schedule. They’re at home against the #1 team in the country and if they want any serious consideration when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament they really need to win a big game like this one. Memphis is a solid candidate for a #1 seed, and even if they happen to lose this game they could still end up in the mix for a #1. Houston needs this much more than Memphis does.

-KANSAS AT KANSAS STATE (Big Twelve). This is a huge game in the Big Twelve conference. Kansas is one of the best teams in the country and appears to be squarely in position to earn a #1 seed. Kansas State has been playing outstanding basketball recently, and is actually unbeaten in Big Twelve play, so first place in the conference is on the line tonight. Bragging rights in a huge intra-state rivalry are on the line as well. This one should be fun. Kansas is among the nation’s best, but Kansas State has a lot of young talent that’s really beginning to come together.

-VIRGINIA AT MARYLAND (ACC). Both of these teams are outside the bubble, and need to string together some conference wins if they want to get back into the picture for an NCAA bid. Maryland has been playing well lately, and just missed a chance to upset Duke in their last game.

-ILLINOIS AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). As poorly as Illinois has been playing this appears to be a big mismatch. Michigan State is among the best in the conference and is in the mix to win the league and obtain a very high seed. This is a winnable conference home game for them and I’d be surprised if the Spartans didn’t take care of business.

-VANDERBILT AT MISSISSIPPI (SEC). Vandy has struggled since conference play began, and is actually coming off a blowout loss to Florida. They still appear to be a solid NCAA team, but their credentials have been sliding. Ole Miss has three conference losses, and although they look to be a solid NCAA team, they need to finish well in the conference standings if they want to earn a good seed, so there is quite a bit on the line for them tonight as well.

-ILLINOIS STATE AT NORTHERN IOWA (Missouri Valley). Illinois State is outside the bubble and doesn’t have any quality RPI wins. They really need to finish strong if they want to be in the discussion. Any losses between now and the end would be damaging.

-VILLANOVA AT PITTSBURGH (Big East). Both of these teams are having big years, but Nova has been in a slump recently. Picking up a quality conference road win would go a long way toward helping them turn things back around. Nova won the first meeting in an overtime thriller, and we could be in for another exciting game tonight between these two tournament caliber teams.

-IOWA AT PURDUE (Big Ten). Purdue has been playing outstanding basketball lately and just picked up a huge win against Wisconsin over the weekend. They’re at home tonight against a very beatable Iowa team, and they need to take advantage of a winnable conference home game.

-RICHMOND AT RHODE ISLAND (Atlantic Ten). Rhody has won three out of their last four and has a very winnable conference game at home tonight. A loss would really cause them to slip, and Richmond is coming off a decisive win against Dayton, so they don’t want to sleepwalk through this one, but it is a game that they should be able to win.

-SETON HALL AT RUTGERS (Big East). Seton Hall has been playing great over the past two weeks, and has actually won four straight conference games. This is a big rivalry, so picking up a win like this on the road would continue to contribute toward Seton Hall’s momentum. They’ve played their way into the NCAA at-large discussion, and are right on the bubble as far as my projections go. If they can keep winning they’ll find themselves safely inside the bubble by Selection Sunday. Rutgers has won two in a row as well, and they should be up for the game tonight, so it won’t be a cakewalk for Seton Hall by any means.

-GEORGETOWN AT SAINT JOHN’S (Big East). Georgetown is coming off a big road win against West Virginia, and should be able to pick up another conference road win against a struggling Saint John’s team. The Hoyas are squarely in the mix to get into the pod system and a win tonight will keep them on track.

-UNLV AT TCU (Mountain West). UNLV has won eight of their last nine and looks to be in position to earn an at-large bid if they fail to win the conference tournament. They can’t afford to stub their toes and lose to poor RPI teams like TCU, though.

-TEXAS AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve). This is another huge Big Twelve rivalry, and it’s one that TAMU could really use. The Aggies are coming off a road win against Oklahoma State, but other than that it’s been a huge struggle for them away from home, which means they really need to do a good job of defending their home floor. It seems as though it’s always exciting when these two teams lock horns, and tonight should be no exception. Texas is still in the mix to make the pod system, and picking up a quality win on the road would be a nice addition to their resume.

-CINCINNATI AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big East). Cincinnati has played well in their last two games, but unfortunately for the Bearcats they both turned out to be losses in the final minute. They’d really need to do something remarkable between now and the end of the season to get themselves into the NCAA Tournament, but seeing as how they’ve come a long way since November I guess it isn’t impossible. This is a big game because it’s the first time West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins has coached against the Bearcats since leaving UC. It’s also big from an NCAA Tournament perspective because West Virginia is clearly in the mix to earn a bid and since they’re coming off a heartbreaking loss themselves they could really use a conference win at home.

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