-OKLAHOMA STATE AT KANSAS (Big Twelve) (***Pod System Implications***). Not only do both of these teams look like pod teams, but both could end up with a #1 seed if they dont get beaten up in conference play too badly. The winner will obviously have a leg up because unless they face each other in the conference tournament this will be their only meeting of the season. Kansas has had some missteps, but they do have some big wins against the likes of Florida and USC. Oklahoma State has some big wins as well against teams like Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Unless one of these teams tanks between now and the end, this would end up being a monster win for whoever comes out ahead. It would easily be considered one of their biggest wins of the season, especially if Oklahoma State can do it on the road.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES
-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT BRADLEY (Missouri Valley). Despite their recent loss on the road at Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois is still looking like one of the best teams in the league and will likely finish near the top. This is a chance for them to pick up a win against Bradley on the road. Bradley has struggled, but theyve been a tough team to beat at home.
-TCU AT BYU (Mountain West). Both of these teams are off to fairly decent starts to the season and are currently unbeaten in conference. They will have a shot at making the dance if they finish at or near the top of the league, but they didnt get the big out of conference wins that Air Force and UNLV got, so their margin for error isnt quite as big. I wouldnt consider either of the teams in the picture just yet, but if they can get some big wins and finish high in the standings they will be in the mix. They both need to win games like this one if they want that to happen.
-MARQUETTE AT CONNECTICUT (Big East). Marquette has been very inconsistent this season. They have some pretty good against the likes of Duke, but have lost two consecutive games and didnt look all that strong in either one. Connecticut has at least been consistent. Theyve beaten up on cupcakes, but looked anything but impressive against the tournament caliber teams theyve faced. They are still nationally ranked, but have done nothing to deserve it. That doesnt mean that they arent as good as their ranking, but they havent proven themselves yet. Both teams have lost two in a row and sort of need this win to get things turned around.
-PITTSBURGH AT DE PAUL (Big East). De Paul already has one big win at home, and has played their way into the tournament mix after a slow start. They are playing very good basketball right now, and this would be another big conference win if they could pull it off, which would continue to improve their resume and status as a tournament candidate. Pittsburgh is still looking like a pod team, but this one wont be easy on the road. Pitt did manage a nice win at Syracuse, but this one might be even tougher.
-SOUTH CAROLINA AT GEORGIA (SEC). Georgia is really struggling right now. Theyve lost four straight, and although three of those came against very good teams (Clemson, Florida, Wisconsin) and they did play well in those games, its still a moral killer whenever you lose four in a row. Its important that they bounce back and get a win against a good South Carolina team at home. They played pretty well in a lot of those games, and it shouldnt hurt them too badly if they can beat teams like South Carolina at home. South Carolina, on the other hand, is 10-3, but has sort of an empty resume. A road win against a team like Georgia is the kind of game solid tournament teams need to win, so its a true test.
-DUKE AT GEORGIA TECH (ACC). Duke is coming off a conference loss to Virginia Tech, but is still in very good shape. It isnt often that they lose two in a row, but they are going on the road to face a very talented Georgia Tech team who will be vamped up for this one. Georgia Tech, like a lot of young teams, have been inconsistent, but they played very well on the road against Clemson and would have won had it not been for a last second shot. This is a team that could end up doing some damage in conference and building up quite the resume by the end. A win here would go a long way toward accomplishing that.
-IOWA AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten). Iowa has won four straight, including a home win against Michigan State, so they have turned it around a little bit after a poor start. Illinois has lost three straight games and desperately needs this win. They dont have a whole lot of credentials to indicate they are a tournament team as of yet, and need to take care of business in games such as this where they are at home against what appears to be a non-tournament team.
-BUTLER AT ILLINOIS CHICAGO (Horizon League). Butler has been rolling all season long, and although they are the road team they clearly appear to be superior and should win this one. Butler could very easily run the table in this conference, and if they do they should make the pod system.
-PURDUE AT INDIANA (Big Ten). Purdue has had a pretty good year, but has struggled on the road. Indiana looks as if theyre getting better and better, and this is a win that would really energize things. Its a conference game against a bitter rival who is having a pretty good year so far. I wouldnt be surprised if both these teams ended up with solid seeds, but this is a big game in terms of where teams could end up being seeded (or if they end up getting in at all). Purdue could really improve their stock if they can win a true road game such as this one.
-WICHITA STATE AT INDIANA STATE (Missouri Valley). Indiana State has been rock solid at home, and has really won some big games. No one really seems to be paying attention to them yet, but they definitely appear to be playing their way into the bracket picture. Wichita State really needs this win. They got off to a great 8-0 start and had some very solid wins, but are backpedaling in a hurry. Theyve lost five of their last six, and a conference win on the road is what they need to turn their season around. Indiana State is looking for their sixth straight win.
-NEBRASKA AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve). Iowa State has won three in a row and won a thriller against Missouri over the weekend. Nebraska is 9-3, but has played a rather weak schedule. Still, theyve won six out of seven and it will be interesting to see what they do in Big Twelve play. The better they do the more consideration they will get. This is the conference opener for them, and winning on the road would be a great way for them to begin.
-AUBURN AT KENTUCKY (SEC). Auburn is a respectable 10-5, but theyve done that against an unrespected schedule. Winning at Kentucky would dwarf anything that theyve accomplished so far. Kentucky, on the other hand, is on the rise and continues to be improving from week to week. This would be their ninth win in a row and keep them unbeaten in SEC play.
-MIAMI, FL AT MARYLAND (ACC). Miami has fallen apart since winning a big game against Georgia Tech. Maryland is an impressive 14-2, but lost their conference opener (which was played back in December) to Boston College, so this is a good way for them to even out their winning streak. They have a strong profile, appear to have a good team, and will get the chances to build on their resume as they go through league play. This is the kind of game you would expect the Terrapins to win, especially at home.
-NORTHWESTERN AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). Michigan State has lost their first two conference games and really needs to improve their credentials between now and the end. This is the kind of game that they really need to win and should win. Northwestern can be tricky though, even when theyre the road team.
-VIRGINIA AT NORTH CAROLINA (ACC). Virginia was having a good season, but fell apart of the Holidays down in the San Juan Shootout and just suffered a heartbreaking loss to Stanford. A win at North Carolina would turn things around in a big hurry. That would give Virginia two monster wins, one against Arizona and the other against North Carolina. Thats much easier said than done though. North Carolina is a national title contender and beating them at home will not be an easy task. They are also competing for a #1 seed with the hopes of being placed in Winston Salem for the first/second round.
-SYRACUSE AT RUTGERS (Big East). Syracuse just won a big game at Marquette, which is something they really needed. Following it up with a win today will continue to add to their resume, which needed some improvement as they came into conference play. Rutgers has won seven of their last nine to improve their record to 8-7 after a terrible start. Still, they have a long way to go before theyll be considered a tournament team and will need to really be impressive in Big East play to do it.
-MISSOURI AT TEXAS (Big Twelve). Missouri is coming off a loss to Iowa State, and desperately needs some big wins to help their profile. They have some nice wins, but have done next to nothing on the road and that will hurt them if that continues. Texas is pretty solid, but needs to keep it up. This is the kind of game they need to expect to win since theyre at home. I get the feeling that Missouri needs this more than Texas simply because they dont have the credentials that Texas has just yet, but its a big game for both teams.
-VIRGINIA TECH AT UNC GREENSBORO. Very oddly timed out of conference game for Virginia Tech. Its also oddly located. Virginia Tech is 10-4 and is coming off a big win against Duke, but it can be dangerous coming off of such a big win and then going on the road to play in what will probably be the biggest home game of the year for a team like UNC Greensboro. They could be in trouble early if they simply show up and sleepwalk. Still, Virginia Tech is clearly the better team and should be able to win this.
-TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT (SEC). Tennessee looks like one of the hottest teams in the country right now. Vanderbilt has been impressive at times, and does have a big home win against Georgia Tech, but all and all they dont appear to be on Tennessees level. Still, this is a rivalry game and the fans will be up for this, so Tennessee needs to be on upset alert. The Volunteers have looked like a pod system team seeing as how theyre 13-2 with some really big wins. They are on the road at Ohio State this weekend, so they dont want to be looking ahead to that one either.
-VCU AT WILLIAM & MARY (Colonial). VCU has a poor RPI, but they are 12-3 on the year and unbeaten in league play so far. They have yet to face the better teams in the conference, but they are pretty good themselves and can get into the bracket picture if they at or near the top of this league. William & Mary has traditionally been one of the poorest teams not just in the conference, but in the country. They are much improved this year at 10-4 and are on a seven game win streak, so things may not be so easy for VCU tonight.
-UNLV AT WYOMING (Mountain West). UNLV is coming off a loss to Air Force, but they are still having a very solid season and appear to be a solid tournament team
for now. This game could be a challenge. It is very hard to win on the road at a place like Wyoming and they have yet to lose a game at home this year. Wichita State did beat them in Wyoming, but it wasnt on their home floor. UNLV does appear to be much better, but they might want to be on upset alert going into this one.
Highlighted Games for Sat 2/17: Bracket Buster Edt
Feb 16, 2007, 09:16 pm
Drew Barnette runs down one of the biggest Saturdays of the college basketball regular season. With the Bracket Buster teams being played today, read about who is on the bubble and could really improve their NCAA Tournament resumes with quality wins today. Also read about teams who are favored to win their conference tournaments, and who are facing each other in games that will have an impact on their seeding, and possibly put them in a better position to pull a big upset.
Other big games include Louisville looking for their second big road win in a row as they travel to Marquette, Vanderbilt plays one of their biggest home games of the year as they host Floirda, Georgetown and Villanova Square off in an important Big East showdown,
All that, and much more in a huge Saturday for college hoops...
Mid Major Ramblings on the Eve of the Buster
Feb 16, 2007, 01:20 am
Drew Barnette gives his thoughts and opinions about the upcoming Bracket Buster, talks about how he feels mid-majors are viewed by the media today, looks at tonight's big game between Winthrop and Missouri State, and more...