Highlighted Matchups, News and Notes for 11/24

Highlighted Matchups, News and Notes for 11/24
Nov 24, 2006, 10:27 am
-The biggest game yesterday was Arkansas’s overtime win over Southern Illinois in the Old Spice Classic 61-53. I actually didn’t get to see any of it, but it’s important because both of those teams likely to make the NCAA Tournament and this gives Arkansas a leg up if it comes down to head to head competition.

The Old Spice Classic is being played in Orlando, FL, but none of the teams in this tournament are within 800 miles of its location. I did catch a few of the later games and I don’t think there were 100 people in attendance. It’s also odd that they would have Arkansas and Southern Illinois squaring off in the first game since those appear to be the two best teams in the field.

Marist also defeated Minnesota, and will face Arkansas in the semifinals. Western Michigan also got past a Virginia Tech team, who has high expectations this year, but isn’t off to the best of starts. Western Michigan will take on West Virginia, who had no problems defeating Montana. That was the only game of the day that wasn’t exciting as far as this tournament was concerned.

-In Alaska, California had all kinds of trouble with Marshall, which is surprising, but held on to win. Marshall is a team that has been very poor the past few seasons, and hasn’t looked all that good this season until today. On the flip side Cal feels that they’re a tournament caliber team, so it’s a good thing they held on to win.

Hofstra is still looking for their first win. They fell to Hawaii 80-79, which does not help their cause at all. With a schedule as weak as theirs they don’t have a big margin for error, and that margin is getting smaller and smaller. They must win their final two games in this tournament, especially considering the competition they’ll be facing.

-The Preseason NIT third place game and championship game are today. If Butler can upset Gonzaga they’ll be off to a great start to not only becoming an NCAA Tournament team, but possibly being a well seeded team. Tennessee will face North Carolina in the third place game, which is just as important as the first place game as far as the committee is concerned.


-WISCONSIN VS MISSOURI STATE. Big game for both teams, but especially Missouri State. They just missed making the NCAA Tournament last year, but have most of that team back and a big statement win early can go a long way for them. Wisconsin is trying to get into the pod system, and a win over a quality opponent like Missouri State can help out their profile. This game is part of the South Padre Island Classic, so the fact that it’s a win away from home would be big for either team as well.

-OKLAHOMA STATE AT AUBURN. These are two unbeaten, but unproven teams. It’s possible we won’t be hearing from either one of them in March, but at least for now the winner remains unbeaten and that would help them get into the picture. Oklahoma State appears to be a better team, but one never knows for sure this early.

-LOUISVILLE VS DAYTON. This game is being played in Cincinnati, which is a neutral floor. Dayton already has a loss to SMU, whereas Louisville 1-0 with a win against Northwestern State. Dayton does not appear to be an NCAA Tournament team, but a win today would go a long way in helping them make a case for themselves. Louisville, who missed the tournament a year ago, cannot afford too many losses like this if they want to get back in this year.

-FLORIDA STATE AT PITTSBURGH. Both teams are unbeaten and for the most part untested, but Pitt clearly appears to be the better team. They’ve won more decisively and do have a win over a fairly decent Massachusetts team. It would be a huge win for Florida State, who has looked like an NCAA Tournament team at times in year’s past, but been left out due to a poor OOC schedule and lack of quality road wins. This game addresses both issues and would be a HUGE quality win for them.

-WESTERN KENTUCKY AT FLORIDA. Western Kentucky has a very good basketball team and should be able to make a strong case that they can get to the NCAA as an at large in the event that they don’t make the NCAA Tournament. They are likely overmatched today though. Florida is untested, but they still look like the best team in the country. Western KY is the best team they’ve played so far, but it isn’t likely they’ll have too much trouble winning this one. WKU does not have a huge margin for error due to the fact that they play in a weak conference. This loss won’t hurt them, but a win would certainly go a long way in boosting their profile and widening that margin of error a bit.

-Maryland, Xavier, North Carolina State, Georgia, Clemson, Mississippi, Kansas, Ohio State, Washington, Northern Iowa and Illinois are all playing in Buy Games and should win without too much trouble.

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