-OHIO STATE AT WISCONSIN (Big Ten) (***#1 Seed Implications***) (DirecTV #206, 9pm, est). It may be a little early to be saying a game has #1 seed implications, but as of now it sure looks that way. I wouldnt be surprised if one or both of these teams ended up with a #1 seed in the end. Whoever wins this game would certainly have a leg up for the time being. Wisconsin is a very tough place to play, and the crowd should be electric tonight. Ohio State has played at North Carolina and Florida (both were losses) so they are no stranger to hostile environments. They just won at Illinois, and that is a very tough place to play. This would be a massive road win for the Buckeyes if they can pull it off. Wisconsins wins are actually better than Ohio States at this point in the season. They have defeated Pittsburgh and Florida State at home, and Marquette and Georgia on the road. Thats no guarantee that they will be able to beat Florida State head to head though. These teams will face each other again in February, and you can pretty much guarantee that the committee will look closely at both games when it comes to deciding who gets the better seed, and possibly better geographic placement.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES
-NEW MEXICO AT AIR FORCE (Mountain West). Air Force just got a big win against a very good UNLV team, and appears to be winning the race early of finishing first in the league standings. New Mexico continues to struggle, especially away from home. They are off to an 0-2 start in league play, have yet to win a true road game, and have lost three in a row. Theyll have to turn it around in a big way if they want to be considered a tournament caliber team.
-LSU AT ALABAMA (SEC) (DirecTV #209, 9pm, est). Both of these teams are ranked pretty high, but both are somewhat lacking when it comes to quality wins. LSU just got a nice win against Connecticut, but Im kind of skeptical as to how good Connecticut is and how good a win that will end up being. Both teams appear to be tournament caliber, but they just are off to a late start when it comes to building their profile, so there is something at stake in tonights game. With first/second round games in New Orleans, both of these teams could benefit from being seeded #4 or better.
-TEXAS A&M AT BAYLOR (Big Twelve) (DirecTV #660, 8pm, est). Baylor really hung with Oklahoma State in their conference opener, which was sort of surprising. It would have been a big time win on their resume and been a huge step forward as far as making the NCAAs. The crowd should be lively for this game tonight. TAMU is highly ranked and trying to solidify a spot in the pod system themselves. TAMU had a big challenge from Kansas State in their league opener, but they pulled it out. They could be in for another fight tonight. Baylor tends to play tough at home. TAMU could stand to add some road wins to their profile as well.
-DRAKE AT CREIGHTON (Missouri Valley). This is the kind of game that Creighton cannot afford to lose. They are playing a very beatable conference team at home. They do have some good wins, but they need to build themselves up more in order to be considered a solid team. Losing a game like this is certainly not the way to do that.
-ARKANSAS AT FLORIDA (SEC) (DirecTV #206, 7pm, est). Florida got a fight from Georgia for about the first thirty minutes, but managed to pull away. Arkansas absolutely blew out Alabama in what was a surprising result. Granted they were at home, but if they play like that they can probably beat anyone. Its usually a festive crowd at Florida, and if the fans arent too partied out from the football national championship (is Givony reading this??), it shouldnt be any different tonight. A win for Arkansas would really boost their profile through the roof. Floridas RPI is low due to a lot of the weak teams they played OOC, but it is definitely on the rise. They are solid contenders for a #1 seed.
-NORTHERN IOWA AT ILLINOIS STATE (Missouri Valley). These are two teams that are going in opposite directions. Northern Iowa is really playing well, and Illinois State has lost five of their last seven games. UNI is unbeaten in league play, but they havent played many true road games. Still, they got a pretty good win against Wichita State in their last true road game, so they should be able to take care of business tonight and sustain their already solid resume.
-EVANSVILLE AT MISSOURI STATE (Missouri Valley) (DirecTV #609, 9pm, est). Missouri State is playing like a top 25 team, and with an impressive win against Wisconsin on a neutral floor they could find themselves in the pod system if they do well in conference play. Evansville is a decent team, but will struggle on the road in this one. Missouri State does have a loss at Creighton, but they are still in great shape overall and will likely finish at or near the top of the league. They just cant afford to drop a game like this one.
-CLEMSON AT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (ACC) (DirecTV #634, 7pm, est). It seems like its always exciting when Clemson plays. They are unbeaten, and appear to be much better all around than NC State, but sometimes its hard for teams to win a big game in the final seconds, and then turn around and play on the road in a game like this. They may be overlooking NC State a little bit, and that could be dangerous. We have a long way to go, but Clemson is the only remaining unbeaten team and they have played like a pod team most of the year.
-WEST VIRGINIA AT NOTRE DAME (Big East) (DirecTV #209, 7pm, est). Notre Dame has looked pretty good in nearly every game theyve played except their last one. West Virginia has been playing outstanding basketball, but theyve been doing so at home. Theyve only played one true road game, and that was at Duquesne, which is hardly a hostile environment. It will be interesting to see how they react to what should be a hostile environment. Theyre going to have to win on the road if they want a solid seed. Notre Dame will be trying to avoid a second straight loss. A win against a quality West Virginia team is a good way to do that.
-BOSTON COLLEGE AT WAKE FOREST (ACC) (DirecTV #634, 9pm, est). This is a winnable game for Boston College that they really cant afford to lose. They won decisively against North Carolina State, and won another conference game against Maryland earlier this year, but their losses to Vermont and Duquesne were very damaging and they need to perform well in the ACC in order to be in the mix.
NEWS AND NOTES
-It was announced that Bill Walker
has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season for Kansas State. They looked pretty good against Texas A&M without him, but struggled against Texas Tech last night, especially on offense, and ended up losing the game. He had only played in six games this season, but some of their better wins came with him on the court, so this is bad news for the Wildcats.
-If you haven't seen the new bracket projections yet, you can check them out below.
I accidentally had Texas Tech in the bracket twice initially, but that has been corrected. One of them was supposed to be Texas. Thanks to bostonsmith for pointing that out.