NEWS AND NOTES
-If you havent checked out the bracket notes, be sure to check them out below.
-Tennessee got another huge win when they took down Oklahoma State. Tennessee hit what appeared to be a game winning shot, but Okie State got it in bounds with 1.9 seconds to play and got off a very good shot just inside the three point line that would have tied it. It didnt go in and the Vols escaped with a big one 79-77. Tennessees full court defense is amazing. Okie State turned it over 22 times, and nearly all of them were forced.
-Saint Louis got a huge win tonight as they upset Missouri State 51-50. Missouri State led by 11 in the second half, but scored no points in the final three minutes and made just one field goal in the final ten. It still took a last second tip in by SLU to win the game. At first the referees ruled that the shot was no good, but after checking the monitor they ruled that it did beat the buzzer. Its a disappointing loss for Missouri State, but they do have a good win against Wisconsin and their only other loss was in overtime against Oklahoma State, so they are still in very good shape. As for SLU, it is a massive win for them. At this point in time it makes them a very solid tournament team. Its certainly the best win of anyone in their conference so far.
-ILLINOIS VS MISSOURI. Its the Braggin Rights Game!!!! This rivalry has been very one sided these past few years, but this year Missouri appears to have the better team. Still, Missouri hasnt left home much and has struggled when they have. Although this is a neutral site, its still much different than playing on their campus. Illinois has struggled at times as well, but is slightly more battle tested and really needs a big win. In fact, both these teams could use a big win. Although both have good records, there really arent that many big wins on their resume yet. Both teams appear to have improved as the season has gone on, especially Illinois. Although they lost two straight to Maryland and Arizona, they played well in both games and have looked great in all their games since. This should be a good one. It usually is.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES
-LOYOLA, IL AT BRADLEY. Both these teams have been decent so far, but will have to string together a lot of wins to get into the bracket picture. Bradley is very young, but plays very well as a team. They are 7-3 and came very close to beating Illinois. Loyola is one of the more talented teams in the Horizon and is 6-3 on the season. One of those losses was at Ohio State and the other was down the stretch against Saint Louis, so they are capable of playing some good ball as well. Id say both are on the outside looking in right now, but both are also having good seasons.
-KENT STATE AT DUKE. Kent State has played very well and will likely be a contender in the MAC, but they are still way overmatched in this game against Duke. They did play well in a game at Butler, but that was Butlers third game in four days after they had won the NIT. Duke is much more rested and much tougher to beat at home.
-STANFORD AT FRESNO STATE. When theyre at home, Fresno State looks like a top 25 team. Stanford is coming off a rather surprising loss to Santa Clara and appears to be very vulnerable. This is one of the tougher challenges theyve faced this season and if they can pull this off it would definitely be their most impressive win. It would be a nice win for Fresno as well, who has played a somewhat weak OOC schedule, but in order to impress the committee Fresno will have to start playing better on the road.
-SANTA CLARA AT KENTUCKY. Kentucky has won two big games in a row against Louisville and Indiana, but they better watch out in this one. Santa Clara is 7-3 on the year and have won six of their last seven, which included a decisive victory on the road against Stanford. Kentucky hasnt looked all that good all the time, and if they overlook Santa Clara they could get beat. It would be a huge win for Santa Clara and could go a long way toward building up a good resume. It wouldnt be a bad win for Kentucky either, especially if Santa Clara does well in conference.
-ILLINOIS CHICAGO AT MISSISSIPPI. Ole Miss is 9-2, but has no good wins yet. In fact, this would be one of their better wins. UIC is just 5-5, which is below where many expected them to be playing, but they appear to have things turned around seeing as how theyve won four of their last five, including one against Akron. This is just a chance to see if Ole Miss can play against a good team who is on a role and very motivated.
-IOWA STATE AT OHIO STATE. If this game is close Ill be shocked. Ohio State is playing like one of the best teams in the country. So long as they dont look ahead to Florida, they should absolutely role in this game. It would do a ton for Iowa State if they pull it off, but that isnt very likely.
-HOLY CROSS AT PROVIDENCE. Holy Cross is 6-3 and has played some really good basketball. Providence is 7-2 with a surprise loss to Brown and another to Florida, but they have been playing well lately. They need to be on upset alert tonight because Holy Cross is a very good team that plays poised and values fundamentals. Its a good opponent for Providence as far as the RPI is concerned because Holy Cross should win a ton of games in conference.
-DREXEL AT SYRACUSE. Drexel is interesting. They are extremely talented, but arent always consistent and that really cost them last year and has cost them a time or two this year. However, they have played some very good ball, are 5-2, and just won a big game against Villanova. If they can win this game it would be outstanding for their tournament resume. Syracuse has struggled somewhat and although they are in no real danger, Im sure they arent at the level where they want to be at. This would be a nice win for them.
-NORTH TEXAS AT WESTERN KENTUCKY (Sun Belt). North Texas is 6-3 and has played some very good basketball this season. They are certainly good enough to pull the upset. Western Kentucky has three losses as well and appears to be the best team in the Sun Belt hands down. The problem is that the Sun Belt isnt all that tough. North Texas is one of the better teams in that league, but other than that there is no one strong enough for WKU to beat to make any big statement about themselves. If they want to make a case that they are a solid team, they have to absolutely blow through the league.
-MARIST AT WRIGHT STATE. Marist is a team to keep an eye on. They are 8-2 on the year and shouldnt have too much trouble against Wright State tonight.
-SOUTH FLORIDA AT UNLV. South Florida is 7-2, but they have no good wins whatsoever and will likely be blown out tonight by a UNLV team that is on fire right now. They are definitely playing like an NCAA Tournament team.
-FURMAN AT CALIFORNIA. Cal needs wins, but they need meaningful wins. Wins like this do nothing for a teams NCAA Tournament profile.
-GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT CLEMSON. Georgia Southern is 5-4 on the year and appears to be a contender in the Southern Conference, but they are still way overmatched against Clemson. Clemson is undefeated and will likely stay that way.
-JACKSONVILLE AT GEORGIA. Georgia is coming off a big win against Gonzaga, but has played a weak schedule other than that and hasnt been on the road much. Put this game in the weak column. Georgia should role.
-WINSTON SALEM STATE AT KANSAS. Kansas should role. They are one of the best teams in the country and Winston Salem State is one of the worst, if not THE worst.
-OAKLAND AT MARQUETTE. Marquette has a tendency to play down to their competition. If they can avoid doing that they should role in this one.
-BELMONT AT MICHIGAN STATE. Belmont is 6-3 and appears to be one of the better teams in the Atlantic Sun, but they are coming off a blowout loss to Illinois. This isnt the A-Sun and theyll likely be blown out again.
-FLORIDA ATLANTIC AT NORTH CAROLINA. ESPNU has been hyping this one for a while. I dont know why. If Matt Doherty were still the coach at UNC it would be somewhat interesting, but he isnt and its not unless you happen to find blowouts interesting.
-PORTLAND AT NOTRE DAME. Notre Dame has played several RPI killers, and this is yet another one. They should role in this game.
-WAGNER AT PURDUE. Purdue is coming off a tough loss to a very good Butler team, but they should rebound and role in this one.
-SAM HOUSTON STATE AT UCLA. Expect a blowout in this one. UCLA should role and remain undefeated.
-KENNESAW STATE AT WICHITA STATE. Wichita State is unbeaten and should have little trouble staying that way.
-APPALACHIAN STATE AT VIRGINIA. UVA should improve to 7-1.
Highlighted Games for Sat 2/17: Bracket Buster Edt
Feb 16, 2007, 09:16 pm
Drew Barnette runs down one of the biggest Saturdays of the college basketball regular season. With the Bracket Buster teams being played today, read about who is on the bubble and could really improve their NCAA Tournament resumes with quality wins today. Also read about teams who are favored to win their conference tournaments, and who are facing each other in games that will have an impact on their seeding, and possibly put them in a better position to pull a big upset.
Other big games include Louisville looking for their second big road win in a row as they travel to Marquette, Vanderbilt plays one of their biggest home games of the year as they host Floirda, Georgetown and Villanova Square off in an important Big East showdown,
All that, and much more in a huge Saturday for college hoops...
Mid Major Ramblings on the Eve of the Buster
Feb 16, 2007, 01:20 am
Drew Barnette gives his thoughts and opinions about the upcoming Bracket Buster, talks about how he feels mid-majors are viewed by the media today, looks at tonight's big game between Winthrop and Missouri State, and more...