Wednesday, February 27th Highlighted Match-ups

Wednesday, February 27th Highlighted Match-ups
Feb 27, 2008, 01:27 am

-After winning an emotional game on the road against Memphis and becoming ranked #1 for the first time ever, Tennessee lost their next game, which was another emotional one, on the road to Vanderbilt last night 72-69. In the grand scheme of things the loss isn’t all that bad. Vanderbilt is a good team who is undefeated at home. With that in mind, and with the fact that Tennessee beat Vanderbilt earlier this year and still leads the division, they are still big time candidates for a #1 seed.

-BYU needed overtime to pull off the win at New Mexico. New Mexico’s RPI is in the 40s, but that is really the only notable thing about their resume. If they can beat UNLV later this week, it will be their first RPI top 50 win, which would make a huge difference. Had they been able to win last night it would have really made a big difference as far as getting the committee’s attention.


-ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA (SEC). Arkansas has lost three out of their last four. Although they have some impressive wins, they've been rather inconsistent all season long and are falling back toward the bubble. Bama has struggled this season and has actually lost four out of their last five. If Arkansas wants to prove they're a solid tournament team then this is the kind of road game they need to win. If they can't pull out of their slump in their final four regular season games then they could end up being passed over.

-MIAMI, FL AT CLEMSON (ACC). Both teams are solid, and this is a chance to add another quality win to their resume. Miami had been in a major slump once conference play began, but they've come out of it in a big way with four straight wins, including victories over Duke and Maryland. This would actually turn out to be one of their better road wins if they're able to pull it off. As for Clemson, they only have two wins against the RPI top 50 (Mississippi State, Purdue), so adding another would really help out their resume.

-GEORGIA TECH AT DUKE (ACC). Duke had been playing as well as anyone in the country, but they've lost two straight in league play and need to snap out of it, especially if they want to make a solid case that they deserve the #1 seed in the Charlotte region over North Carolina. This is a very winnable game for them, especially considering the fact that they're at home, so they should remain within striking distance of North Carolina in the conference standings.

-SAINT JOHN'S AT GEORGETOWN (Big East). This game isn't likely to be all that competitive, but Georgetown is trying to remain near the top of the standings and within striking distance of a first place finish, whereas Saint John's is trying to play their way into 12th place so they can earn a spot in the Big East Tournament, which is being held on their home floor. Georgetown will be in prime position to get at least a #2 seed if they can finish the season strongly.

-KANSAS AT IOWA STATE (Big Twelve). Kansas has lost two out of three, but considering the fact that one of those losses was at Texas, this hardly qualifies as a slump, They did suffer a surprising loss to Oklahoma State in their last game, but I don’t think it’s any reason to be alarmed, although it could end up keeping them from getting a #1 seed, but even that isn’t completely out of reach. They should get Iowa State’s best shot, but it’s still a very winnable game for the Jayhawks.

-TULSA AT MEMPHIS (Conference USA). This is Memphis’s first game since losing to Tennessee, and I’d really hate to be Tulsa. They’re way overmatched against a team that’s angry and is looking for someone to take it out on. Tulsa has won five straight, so they do have some momentum built up, but it probably won’t be enough to upset the Tigers on the road.

-AUBURN AT MISSISSIPPI STATE (SEC). Mississippi State is safely inside the bubble for now, but they need a strong finish in order to secure themselves a spot. This is a very winnable game for MSU, and it can get them within one game of clinching the West Division. A loss to a low caliber team like Auburn would end up hurting their profile, though, and put more pressure on them down the stretch.

-OKLAHOMA AT NEBRASKA (Big Twelve). Oklahoma was beaten handily by Texas in their last game, but they still have a solid profile and with three of their remaining four games being fairly winnable (including this one) they should be safe for a bid as long as they don’t stub their toes too many times. Nebraska has come to life all of a sudden. They are way out of the NCAA at-large picture, but they’re certainly making some noise with recent wins over Kansas State and at Texas A&M. If they can pick up some more big wins and build up some more momentum they could do some damage in the conference tournament.

-CINCINNATI AT PITTSBURGH (Big East). Pitt has lost three straight games, and although they still appear to be safely in the field, their seed will take a hit if they can’t turn things around. This is a winnable game for them, though. Cincinnati is a scrappy team, but they oftentimes struggle on the offensive side of the ball. They didn’t look impressive at all over the weekend against Georgetown and they’re likely going to struggle on the road against a Pittsburgh team who should be really hungry for a win.

-MINNESOTA AT PURDUE (Big Ten). Purdue had an 11 game winning streak snapped last week against Indiana, but they’ve had a week to recover from that and now have a very winnable game on their home court. They’re still right in the mix to finish first in the league along with Indiana and Wisconsin, so all the games down the stretch are big. They’re a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament and are just playing for seeding purposes now. If they can finish strong they’re guaranteed to get a good one. Minnesota has really improved this season, but they still appear to be overmatched in this one.

-TEXAS TECH AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve). Three straight losses for the Aggies is not looking good right now. Prior to that they had been playing outstanding basketball and seemed to be headed toward the pod system. Now, they need to pull themselves out of this slump or they could be in trouble. This is the most winnable game they have remaining on their schedule for the regular season, so it’s very important that they take care of business. The committee looks at a team’s momentum, and right now TAMU doesn’t have all that much. Texas Tech has won three out of four, and the one they lost was on a desperation shot at the buzzer, so TAMU cannot just sleepwalk through this one.


-BAYLOR AT COLORADO (Big Twelve). Baylor picked up a much needed win in their last game against Kansas State, which ended a four game losing streak. They need to finish strong, and take care of business in winnable games like this one if they want to make the NCAAs. Colorado is just 9-16 and has just two conference wins, so a loss for Baylor would be very damaging and look really bad in the eyes of the committee.

-APPALACHIAN STATE AT DAVIDSON (Southern Conference). Davidson won the first meeting between these two rather handily, and has been blowing through conference play all season long. Even if they win out, but fail to win their conference tournament they may not be safe for a bid, but at the very least they'll get some consideration. They can't afford to lose this, or any other game, though.

-WEST VIRGINIA AT DE PAUL (Big East). West Virginia has won three out of four, and with a relatively decent RPI of 38, no bad losses, and a couple of solid wins it looks as though they're inside the bubble, but if they lose to a struggling De Paul team it will really look ugly on their resume. De Paul has lost seven of their last eight, and is currently just one game ahead of Saint John's for 12th place, so they need some wins just to secure a spot in the Big East Tournament.

-RHODE ISLAND AT GEORGE WASHINGTON (Atlantic Ten). Rhode Island has lost four in a row, and is now in a position to where they need to finish strong in order to make the NCAA's. They probably need to win out, and then avoid an early exit in the conference tournament in order to feel safe. As weak as George Washington is, a loss in this game could possibly knock them out of contention for an at-large, so it's very important that Rhode Island take care of business in the final stretch of the season.

-FLORIDA AT GEORGIA (SEC). This is a must win for the Gators, plain and simple. They haven't been impressive at all on the road as of late and are just 2-5 in true road games on the season. They need to take advantage of this opportunity and prove to the committee that they're good enough to beat non-tournament teams away from home. The Gators will be facing some tough competition after this game, and they probably need to win three of their last four just to get inside the bubble.

-CREIGHTON AT ILLINOIS STATE (Missouri Valley). Illinois State has moved up to 41st in the RPI, and will be considered for an at-large if they can win their remaining two games against Creighton and Southern Illinois, and then avoid an early exit in the conference tournament. Creighton is a young team that’s had a good year, and they picked up a nice win in the Bracket Buster over the weekend, but chances are they’ll need to win the conference tournament in order to make the field.

-MISSISSIPPI AT KENTUCKY (SEC). It’s quite simple, really. Both of these teams are on the bubble, and both desperately need this win. The two teams are going in drastically different directions. Ole Miss got off to an incredible start this season, and even played Tennessee tough on the road and had a chance to win that game. Since then they’ve absolutely gone into the tank. Kentucky got off to what has to be one of their worst, most disappointing starts in school history, but have really caught fire lately and have played their way onto the bubble. Both teams have small margins for error and some pretty tough tests ahead, so this game is of huge importance. Both teams know it as well, and should play with a sense of urgency.

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