Highlighted Games for Saturday, 1/6

Highlighted Games for Saturday, 1/6
Jan 05, 2007, 09:06 pm

-UCLA AT OREGON (Pac Ten) (DirecTV #651, 2pm, est). Oregon just suffered their first loss of the season to USC the other night. They’ve got another huge test against UCLA today. They have one of the most electric arenas in the country, but UCLA has certainly been tested before so they shouldn’t be affected by it too much. Despite having a good record, Oregon is still lacking for big time wins, and their profile could drop in a hurry if they put together a string of losses in league play. Despite being 13-1, they need some big wins in league play to sort of verify that.

-ARIZONA AT WASHINGTON STATE (Pac Ten) (DirecTV #650, 10pm, est). Look out for Washington State. They are 13-2 on the year with a big win against Gonzaga, and they nearly upset UCLA at UCLA in their conference opener. They have a road win against USC, and they blew out Arizona State last night. Today, they get a shot at a team that is playing like a #1 seed on their home floor. The atmosphere should be absolutely electric and an “upset” (which is a term I don’t like using in games such as this) is very possible. Arizona’s resume is solid and barring anything unexpected between now and the end of the year they should make the NCAAs with a good seed. If they can finish in first place in Pac Ten play it could very likely earn them a #1 seed, so they’ve got a lot to play for as well.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES. Games are in alphabetical order via the home team, and the conference games are indicated in parenthesis.

-UNLV AT AIR FORCE (Mountain West) (DirecTV #608, 3:30pm, est). These are the two best teams in the Mountain West Conference. It’s a good thing for Air Force that there is at least one other tournament caliber team in their league, because their OOC schedule kind of weak. Both teams will have limited chances at quality wins the rest of the way, and their best chances at getting good appear to be when they play each other. It’s a very interesting match up when you look at UNLV’s athleticism vs Air Force’s solid passing and shooting game.

-ALABAMA AT ARKANSAS (SEC) (DirecTV #788, 2pm, est). Arkansas is better than their profile, but they’ll need some big wins in conference play to prove it. Alabama has a great record, but is also lacking in quality wins so far if they want to make a case that they are a solid pod team. Winning this game on the road would be huge for them. It would also give them an all important W in the conference standings.

-WRIGHT STATE AT BUTLER (Horizon League). Wright State is 9-6 on the year with four straight wins and is off to a 2-0 start in conference play, but they haven’t beaten anyone quite like Butler, especially on the road. Butler is 12-1 and looks good enough to run the table in league play. If they do that expect them end up with a #4 seed or better.

-SAN DIEGO STATE AT BYU (Mountain West) (DirecTV #608, 5:30pm, est). San Diego State stuggled out of conference and needs to either win or challenge for the league title to get any strong consideration from the selection committee. They have a tall order today. BYU is a very tough place to win.

-GEORGIA TECH AT CLEMSON (ACC) (DirecTV #629, 4pm, est). Clemson just got a big road win at Florida State which keeps them undefeated on the season. It is easily their most impressive win of the year so far. Georgia Tech is streaky, but they’ve been playing well lately. This will be a very tough test for them on the road, and would be a nice win on their resume if they pull it off.

-TEXAS AT COLORADO (Big Twelve) (DirecTV #644, 4pm, est). Colorado has had a rough go of it so far, but Texas hasn’t played many true road games yet. Still, they have played several at neutral sites away from home and faced some pretty stiff competition. A win gives Texas another road win, as well as a conference win.

-COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON AT DAVIDSON (Southern). Davidson is off to a 10-3 start and has an RPI of 33. They’ve also won eight in a row, including three in conference. CofC was expected to be one of the better teams, but got off to a sluggish start. They have won six straight though, so both these teams are playing very well right now. Davidson would need to pretty much run the table or come close to it in order to get a bid, but they may be good enough to do it.

-UNC WILMINGTON AT DREXEL (Colonial). Drexel has been playing excellent basketball and can remain unbeaten in conference play with a win today. UNCW had a big season last year, but are just 3-8 this year.

-VIRGINIA TECH AT DUKE (ACC) (DirecTV #206, 12pm, est). Virginia Tech has won six of their last seven, but lost a surprising game to Marshall in that stretch. Still, they’ll need to finish with a decent record in conference play and win some big games if they want any consideration. Winning this game would certainly boost their profile. Duke, once again, looks like they could end up with a #1 seed.

-CREIGHTON AT EVANSVILLE (Missouri Valley). Creighton opened conference play by getting a big win against Missouri State. It was huge because they hadn’t done much to establish themselves out of conference. They followed that up with a loss at Indiana State. They need to win this game in order to rebound from that. It is very important for Creighton that they finish high in the conference standings.

-GEORGIA AT FLORIDA (SEC) (DirecTV #786, 12pm, est). Georgia has a good record and a decent win against Gonzaga, but most of their record is due to playing weak competition. They’ll need to get some big conference wins if they want to impress the committee. Florida played some very weak teams OOC as well, but they also played some very tough teams, so they are tested. Georgia would have to play a tremendous game to beat the Gators.

-UTAH STATE AT FRESNO STATE (WAC). These are two teams with inflated records, but are lacking in quality wins. They’ll have to perform well in conference against each other, and against the likes of Nevada and New Mexico State if they want to build up their credentials to make the NCAA Tournament.

-NOTRE DAME AT GEORGETOWN (Big East) (DirecTV #783, 12pm, est). Notre Dame blew out Louisville in their conference opener, and has just one loss on the season at Butler. The bulk of their OOC schedule was weak, but they are a very good basketball team that will likely do quite a bit of damage in Big East play. Georgetown is 10-3 and just blew out Michigan, but most of their wins came against cupcakes, so this is a true test for them.

-LMU AT GONZAGA (West Coast) (DirecTV #651, 4pm, est). Gonzaga has lost five of their last six. They have probably never been so ready for conference play to start. They are still good enough to run the table and make the NCAAs with a solid seed. LMU has lost three in a row and their chances of making the dance without an automatic bid are virtually zero.

-OHIO STATE AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten) (DirecTV #206, 2pm, est). Illinois is closer to the bubble than they’d like to be, and they’ve lost most of their games against other tournament caliber teams. It still looks like they have a ton of potential though, and a win here would really elevate their stock. Ohio State is coming off a gritty win against Indiana, in which they struggled at home. This will be a hostile environment against a team who should really be gunning for them, so it isn’t unthinkable to believe that Illinois could pull the upset. The Illini will need some big wins at some point, and this win would help them a ton.

-INDIANA STATE AT ILLINOIS STATE (Missouri Valley) (DirecTV #647, 8pm, est). Indiana State has won two in a row in league play, including a win against Creighton. They’ve struggled on the road though, so they’ll need to turn their road play around if they want to get any serious consideration from the committee.

-VCU AT JAMES MADISON (Colonial). VCU has won eight out of nine with their only loss coming in a close game to Appalachian State. They are unbeaten in league play, and this is a league that should send multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament, so if they can finish first, they should be okay for a bid without winning the conference tournament.

-MASSACHUSETTS AT LA SALLE (Atlantic Ten) (DirecTV #638, 4pm, est). It’s very possible that the only team that will be safe for a bid in the Atlantic Ten is the regular season champion. Massachusetts is good enough to contend for it, but it won’t be easy. This is a league that tends to beat up on itself.

-CONNECTICUT AT LSU (DirecTV #206, 9pm, est). These are two potential heavyweights looking to prove themselves. Both of these teams could end up making the pod system, but neither have really proven themselves as far as wins go. LSU does have a nice win against Texas A&M, but other than that it’s been a struggle and most of their wins have come against cupcakes. For Connecticut, ALL their wins have come against cupcakes. They lost their only road game rather convincingly to West Virginia.

-KENTUCKY AT MISSISSIPPI (SEC) (DirecTV #630, 8:30pm, est). Ole Miss has a good record, but they’ve built it up against bad teams. Kentucky struggled in the first few weeks of the season, but has improved since then and appears to be continuing to improve. This is a big game for them on the road in conference play. A good showing in conference would assure any SEC team a good seed, and Kentucky looks to be good enough to win the games they need to.

-IOWA STATE AT MISSOURI (Big Twelve). Missouri is 12-2 on the year, but since most of those wins came at home they can’t afford to slip up too badly in conference. They need to take care of business against the non tournament caliber teams, as well as string together some big wins if they want a good seed.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT NEBRASKA. Nebraska is an impressive 8-3 on the year, but it’s still hard to say how good they really are. Western KY pretty much needs to win out if they want an at-large bid, and this is one of their best chances at a quality win for the remainder of the year. Nebraska loves to slow it down, and Western KY loves to utilized their guards, so it’s two very contrasting styles.

-IDAHO AT NEVADA (WAC). Nevada is one of the best teams in the WAC and Idaho is one of the worst. Nevada just needs to be careful not to lose too many games to poor RPI teams in league play in order to sustain their resume.

-COLORADO STATE AT NEW MEXICO (Mountain West). Other than a big win against Wichita State, New Mexico hasn’t been overly impressive, especially on the road. They lost their conference opener to TCU. Colorado State fell to Air Force. It’s possible for these teams to get bids, but they’ll have to finish at or very close to the top in order to do it. New Mexico is tough to beat at home, and they are at home today, but they’ll need to take care of business on the road as well.

-SAN JOSE STATE AT NEW MEXICO STATE (WAC). New Mexico State is playing top notch basketball right now and needs to avoid a poor conference loss in order to sustain their resume and their momentum. They’ll need to be one of the dominant teams in the WAC in order to get a bid.

-BOSTON COLLEGE AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (ACC) (DirecTV #784, 2pm, est). Both of these teams have been rather sluggish and haven’t made much of a case for themselves yet. They’ll need to play well in conference if they want to make the NCAAs. Boston College is very inconsistent, so one never knows what to expect out of them. NC State, just hasn’t been able to beat the tournament caliber teams that they’ve faced so far.

-SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AT NORTHERN IOWA (Missouri Valley) (DirecTV #609, 1pm, est). Both of these teams are 11-2, are unbeaten in conference, and have good RPIs with some good wins to go along with it. Don’t be surprised to see both teams in the NCAA Tournament with some pretty good seeds. This is still another chance to pick up a conference win, and a quality win along with it, which would further help their profile.

-AKRON AT OHIO (Mid American). These are two of the best teams in the MAC. An at-large bid is possible for either team, but both struggled more than they should have at times out of conference, so they’d pretty much need to run the table or come close to it in league play. That would mean winning this game.

-BAYLOR AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve) (DirecTV #783, 6pm, est). Baylor is off to a 9-3 start and is very much improved from last year, but they’ve still struggled against the stronger teams that they’ve played and don’t have a big win yet. Oklahoma State is 13-1, looks like they could make the pod system, and could even challenge for a #1 seed if they keep it up. A win would boost Baylor’s profile through the roof, but winning this game will not be an easy task.

-GEORGE MASON AT OLD DOMINION (Colonial) (DirecTV #629, 2pm, est). Old Dominion is 9-4 on the season with a decent win against Georgetown. They are unbeaten in conference, and this is a league that will likely send it’s regular season champion to the NCAA Tournament, so they are certainly still in the hunt if they can keep themselves in the hunt to finish first.

-USC AT OREGON STATE (Pac Ten) (DirecTV #649, 6pm, est). USC needs to win this in order to improve to 3-1 and certify themselves as an NCAA Tournament caliber team. They have been playing some good basketball and just got a big win against Oregon the other night.

-SETON HALL AT PROVIDENCE (Big East) (DirecTV #621, 8pm, est). Providence just picked up an impressive win against Marquette the other night. It came at home, but they pretty much handled them the whole game to improve to 10-3 and pick up their most impressive win of the year so far. A win against Seton Hall today will keep them unbeaten in conference play.

-PENN STATE AT PURDUE (Big Ten) (DirecTV #784, 12pm, est). Purdue looked impressive out of conference, but lost their conference opener to Minnesota, which was sort of a surprising result. They need to win today in order to even out their record. They should dominate, but they’ll need to win some games on the road in conference play in order to secure a solid bid.

-DUQUESNE AT SAINT LOUIS (Atlantic Ten). SLU lost their conference opener to Saint Bonaventure. That is such a poor loss that if they miss the NCAA Tournament it may be because of that. They can’t afford to lose another like that, and will probably need to win 13 or 14 games in league play in order to feel safe on Selection Sunday. Duquesne does have a big win against Boston College, but they still appear to be one of the worst teams in div1.

-KANSAS STATE AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve) (DirecTV #625, 8pm, est. Kansas State had won six in a row, but is coming off a rather decisive loss to Xavier. They played a lot of games away from home OOC, but they still appear to be overmatched today against TAMU. TAMU could challenge for a pod system spot and has been playing good basketball all year, but still doesn’t have a high quality win. They did blow out a very good Winthrop team in their last game, though, and may end up winning big again today. This would be one fo their better wins so far this season, but with Kansas, Texas and other Big Twelve teams on the horizon, there will definitely be more.

-OKLAHOMA AT TEXAS TECH (Big Twelve) (DirecTV #787, 1:30pm, est). Texas Tech appears to be among the bubble teams right now, but there is a lot of season left. Oklahoma hasn’t really beaten anyone all that strong either and is coming off a decisive loss to Alabama, but they have been improving as the season has gone on. The same can be said about Texas Tech. Both still have some work to do if they want to make a statement to the committee though.

-TCU AT UTAH (Mountain West). TCU is 9-4 and won their conference opener against Colorado New Mexico. This is a league that should send it’s regular season champion to the NCAA Tournament, and possibly another team as well regardless of what happens in the conference tourney, so TCU needs to keep winning if they want to remain in the mix.

-DE PAUL AT VILLANOVA (Big East) (DirecTV #783, 2pm, est). De Paul had been playing well, but surprising lost their conference opener to Saint John’s. Villanova was beaten handily in their league opener by West Virginia, so what we have here is a game between two teams who played pretty well OOC and are looking to avoid getting off to an 0-2 start in conference. Both will have their chances at quality wins the rest of the season, but need to take advantage of some of those chances to win games and establish themselves, and this is one of them.

-ARIZONA STATE AT WASHINGTON (DirecTV #649, 8pm, est). The Huskies are off to an 0-3 start in league play, but unless they completely come apart they should win this one today. They played very well against Arizona in their last game, so all is not lost. They still look like an NCAA Tournament team. They just need to string together some wins in league play.

-SAINT JOHN’S AT WEST VIRGINIA (Big East). West Virginia has been blowing through teams at home. Saint John’s got a big win against De Paul and is a respectable 10-4 on the year. A win here would really be a statement win, but it won’t be easy. West Virginia has beaten Connecticut and Villanova rather handily at home and has done a lot to improve their resume after playing a rather weak OOC schedule.

-MINNESOTA AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten) (DirecTV #784, 4:30pm, est). Minnesota hasn’t looked all that good this season, but they did win their Big Ten opener and given that this is a rivalry could hang with Wisconsin. Wisconsin is looking like a #1 seed, though, and could contend for one.

-TEMPLE AT XAVIER (Atlantic Ten) (DirecTV #638, 7pm, est). Xavier just won two big games against Kansas State and Illinois, but they still need to win the league and avoid any poor losses in league play in order to feel safe, and even that might not be enough. Don’t be surprised if they struggle in this game. Temple has lost two straight, but they were against Villanova and Duke, who are both really good. Xavier also struggles against a zone-oriented team.

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