Wednesday, February 13th Highlighted Match-ups

Wednesday, February 13th Highlighted Match-ups
Feb 13, 2008, 09:12 am

-NOTRE DAME AT CONNECTICUT (Big East). This is probably the game of the night. It has first place finish implications because both teams are right in the race to win the conference. It also will play a big role as far as seeding in the NCAA Tournament goes. It’s very possible that both could end up seeded #4 or better. Notre Dame has been playing much better on the road since being blown out in their first two games, but this would easily be their most impressive win of the season if they can pull it off. Connecticut is red hot as well and a win in this one would be another boost to their already impressive credentials. Expect this one to be intense. We’ve seen some great Big East games this year, and this could turn out to be another one.

-WISCONSIN AT INDIANA (Big Ten). Both of these teams are chasing Purdue, but both are still right in the mix to finish first. Wisconsin is coming off a very rare home loss to Purdue, and although they’ve looked good this season, the road has been a struggle for the Badgers. Indiana is coming off what is easily their most impressive win of the season at Ohio State. They haven’t beaten too many heavyweights, but they’ll face quite a few between now and the end of the year, and it begins tonight. The Hoosiers could really make a case that they deserve a good seed, or they could end up in the #6-#8 range depending on how they finish up.


-MISSISSIPPI AT ALABAMA (SEC). After a great start, Ole Miss has lost four of their last five in SEC play and struggled to beat a very poor Presbyterian in an team in an out of conference game the other night. They’re on the road against an Alabama team that has also really been struggling, and one gets the sense that they need to win it in order to turn things around. If they keep losing at the rate they have been they could end up on the bubble, or out of the tournament entirely.

-XAVIER AT CHARLOTTE (Atlantic Ten). Charlotte is a tough team to beat at home, and although they performed poorly out of conference, they have been a factor in the Atlantic Ten and actually still have an outside shot at finishing first. If that’s going to happen, though, they need to take care of business tonight. Xavier is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now, but their last couple of games have been battles, and the toughest part of their conference schedule lies ahead, beginning tonight, with some very tough road games. If XU can finish strong they’re looking at a very good seed in the NCAA Tournament.

-BYU AT COLORADO STATE (Mountain West). BYU has won six in a row and is in first place in the league. If they keep it up they’ll be safe for an NCAA Tournament bid regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. It’s always a roll of the dice when teams play on the road, and BYU really doesn’t want to add a poor loss like this one onto their resume.

-DUQUESNE AT DAYTON (Atlantic Ten). If Dayton doesn’t feel a sense of urgency than they don’t have a pulse and they’re dead already. They MUST win this game, and several others between now and the end if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. They’ve lost five of seven, and many of those came against bad teams. Granted they aren’t at full strength, but they’re now just missing one player and these are the kinds of games they must win whether they’re shorthanded or not. Duquesne is a good team, but they don’t appear to be an NCAA team, so if UD feels that they themselves are one than they need to win at home.

-MARYLAND AT DUKE (ACC). Maryland is red hot right now and I’d say they can play with just about anyone. The only problem is that Duke is even hotter, and they’re at home. This is a bitter conference rivalry and Duke won the first meeting on the road. The Terps have been playing much better since then, and at least as far as my projections are concerned they’ve played their way safely into the field. They can boost their credentials even more with an upset win in this game. It wouldn’t just be one of Maryland’s better wins. It would be as impressive a win as anyone in the nation currently has.

-LSU AT FLORIDA (SEC). One gets the sense that Florida’s margin for error is small. They are 19-5, but a good number of those wins came against sub par teams. They’ll make the NCAAs with a strong finish, which is a big accomplishment considering how young they are, but playing such a weak OOC schedule has really put this team under a lot of pressure and they’re in a position to where they need to finish strong.

-HOUSTON AT MEMPHIS (Conference USA). Memphis won the first meeting between these two rather handily. Houston is a fairly decent team, but they have zero quality wins. If they can pull off an upset in this game it will completely boost their credentials and get them in the NCAA Tournament discussion. Anything short of that and they’ll have to win the Conference USA Tournament though, which won’t be easy because it’s being held in Memphis.

-OHIO STATE AT NORTHWESTERN (Big Ten). Ohio State has a solid team, and if Thad Matta does what he typically does the Buckeyes will keep improving between now and March. They need to take advantage of a winnable road game in this one against a struggling Northwestern team.

-IOWA STATE AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve). Oklahoma has lost three straight games, have fallen right back onto the bubble according to my projections, and absolutely MUST WIN this game tonight. It’s a winnable conference home game for a team that is struggling and needs to turn it around before they fall out of the picture.

-BAYLOR AT OKLAHOMA STATE (Big Twelve). It was a losing effort, but a respectable showing for Baylor over the weekend in their loss to Kansas. They actually stayed right with the Jayhawks in a hostile environment before running out of gas. This game is big because winning a conference game on the road is a nice way to rebound. The Bears don’t want to make it two losses in a row.

-SAINT BONAVENTURE AT SAINT JOSEPH’S (Atlantic Ten). Saint Joseph’s is coming off a hard fought, heartbreaking, poorly officiated loss to Xavier (not saying that cost them the game, but I’m sure it’s grinding their nerves). This is a very winnable home game, though, and it’s one that they need to take advantage of. A strong finish should guarantee an NCAA spot for the Hawks, but if they slip up in a game like this it would be extremely damaging.

-SYRACUSE AT SOUTH FLORIDA (Big East). Syracuse has played some great basketball, but they’ve also had what seems to be an abundance of near-miss games against good teams. This is a winnable road game against South Florida team that’s struggling mightily. The Orange need to take advantage because it appears as though they’re right on the bubble.

-DRAKE AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (Missouri Valley). Drake is having an outstanding year, but this is going to be one of their tougher tests this season. Southern Illinois is having a down year, but they’re still very tough to beat at home and have improved as the season has gone on. A win like this could help the Salukis build up a big head of steam heading into the MVC Tournament. Drake, on the other hand, appears to just be playing for seeding. Even though SIU isn’t a tournament caliber team, Drake should get some committee kudos for beating a team that plays so well at home.

-ARKANSAS AT TENNESSEE (SEC). Tennessee is still very much in contention for a #1 seed. Arkansas appears to be a solid tournament team, but an upset in tonight’s game would all but make them a rock-solid tournament team. It would be a huge boost to their credentials and would have a big-time positive impact on their seed, not to mention help them out in the SEC West.

-KANSAS STATE AT TEXAS TECH (Big Twelve). Kansas State is one of the nation’s hottest teams right now, and with Texas’s win over Kansas they’re actually all alone in first place in the Big Twelve standings. They have some tough games coming up and they’ll have to win some big games to hold onto that, though. They’ll also have to take care of business in winnable games such as this one.

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