NEWS AND NOTES
-Be sure to check out our forums throughout the day for an ongoing discussion of today's games.
-PITTSBURGH AT GEORGETOWN (Big East). Both these teams look to be headed toward the pod system and will be very dangerous teams come March. As for now, first place is on the line in the Big East, and this game could determine who gets the better seed or the better S Curve ranking. Both teams are trying to get into the Buffalo pod, so its a big game in terms of where theyll likely be placed for the first/second round. Expect a great atmosphere for this one as well.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTED GAMES (games are in alphabetical order via the home team. Conference games are indicated in parenthesis)
-AUBURN AT ALABAMA (SEC). Alabama has a decent RPI in the 20s, but has lost three of their last four and has struggled on the road. The last time these two met Auburn won in a landslide, so Bama must win this game tonight. They are squarely on the bubble despite having a very good RPI. They are just 6-7 in the conference, but the West Division has been so beaten up that theyre just one game out of first. Their last three games are winnable, and they probably need to win them all in order to feel safe.
-TENNESSEE AT ARKANSAS (SEC). Both of these teams really need this win. Tennessee has yet to win a conference road game, and although their profile appears to be solid, their poor play on the road is a major issue and will really hurt their seed. If they cant win at least one between now and the end, an early loss in the conference tournament could get them left out altogether. Arkansas probably needs this even worse than Tennessee does. They are right on the bubble, and from my estimate are just on the outside looking in right now. They are in contention for the SEC West title, and winning that could make a big difference in whether they get in or not.
-NEVADA AT BOISE STATE (WAC). Nevada has perhaps their three toughest conference games coming up against Boise, Utah State and New Mexico State. They are a virtual lock for the NCAA Tournament, but if they want to make any sort of statement at all to the committee that they deserve a good seed, they probably need to win all three of these and step up big in the WAC Tournament on top of that. Boise has won seven of their last nine, and will definitely be up for this one. Its not every day a top ten team comes to Boise.
-CLEMSON AT BOSTON COLLEGE (ACC). Both of these teams really need this one because both need to turn their seasons around. Clemson has lost eight of their last ten and is in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament entirely. Boston College is in better shape, but theyve still lost three in a row and their potential seed has taken a hit. They dont want to make it four in a row at home, especially against a team that has been struggling lately.
-INDIANA STATE AT BRADLEY (Missouri Valley). Indiana State has a good enough RPI to be in the discussion, but they probably need to win out until the conference championship game to get serious consideration. They certainly cant afford to lose this game at home.
-DETROIT AT BUTLER (Horizon League). Butler lost home court advantage for the conference tournament with their surprising loss to Loyola, IL the other night. Theyre still safely in the NCAA Tournament and need to win this game to avoid adding another bad loss to their resume, which would hurt their seed.
-WINTHROP AT COASTAL CAROLINA (Big South). This is Winthrops final regular season game. If they win this theyll be posting a perfect record in the Big South. They are good enough to be in the discussion for an at-large, but they need to win out until the conference title game, and even then theyll be cutting it close. Nevertheless they are the hands down favorites to win the conference tournament and get the automatic bid.
-KANSAS STATE AT COLORADO (Big Twelve). Kansas State has lost three of their last five games and is squarely on the bubble. They need to win this game on the road. Colorado is such a poor opponent that a bad loss like this could make the difference as to whether theyre in our out.
-WICHITA STATE AT CREIGHTON (Missouri Valley). Creightons RPI is good, but their resume has taken quite a hit lately seeing as how theyve lost three of their last four games. They really need to win this one, which is their final regular season game, and probably avoid an early loss in the conference tourney in order to feel safe.
-XAVIER AT DAYTON (Atlantic Ten). Big rivalry out of the Atlantic Ten. Dayton is not an at-large caliber team, but they are very tough to beat at home and will most likely give Xavier fits today. Xavier is pretty close to the bubble and should be okay for a bid so long as they win out, but a loss today could really hurt their chances.
-NORTH CAROLINA STATE AT FLORIDA STATE (ACC). Florida State has lost five games in a row and needs to win their final two regular season games. They may need a win in the conference tournament in addition to that, but they cannot afford a loss to a non-tournament caliber team like NC State at this point in time.
-VCU AT GEORGIA STATE (Colonial Athletic). VCU is right on the bubble, but needs to win out and avoid any poor losses in the conference tournament to be seriously considered. They dont face any solid NCAA Tournament teams between now and the end so it will be very difficult for them to offset any sort of loss.
-IOWA STATE AT KANSAS (Big Twelve). This was a close game the first time these two met, but it was also at Iowa State. Kansas remains a solid pod system team that is probably looking at a #2 seed if they can avoid any big time slipups between now and the end.
-FLORIDA AT LSU (SEC). The disaster that is LSUs season continues. Theyve lost nine of their last ten and are just 14-13 on the year, which is pathetic considering many expected them to be a possible Final Four team. Florida, on the other hand, is looking very much like a Final Four team, and should be able to add another road win to their resume today. They are very much in the discussion for ending up #1 seed and should be able to get it so long as they finish strong.
-INDIANA AT MICHIGAN STATE (Big Ten). Both of these teams have struggled on the road, which is the biggest problem they have with their resumes. Both appear to be in good shape for the NCAAs, especially after Michigan States big win over Wisconsin earlier this week, but both resumes could still use some improvement, which would help out either teams seed. A road win for the Hoosiers in a game like this would be huge.
-DRAKE AT MISSOURI STATE (Missouri Valley). Missouri State needs to win this game and avoid an early loss to a poor team in the conference tournament in order to feel safe for a bid. They are pretty close to the bubble as it is and dont want to add another loss to their resume.
-PURDUE AT NORTHWESTERN (Big Ten). Purdue has struggled on the road all year long and desperatley needs some wins in order to solidify their case. At the very least they need to be able to beat a struggling Northwestern team on the road. A loss in this one may be too much to rebound from.
-MARQUETTE AT NOTRE DAME (Big East). Marquette is cruising as far as getting an NCAA Tournament bid is concerned, but they are still trying to play their way into the pod system and need some big wins down the stretch. Notre Dame is in, but closer to the bubble than theyd like, so a big win over Marquette would really make a world of difference. Expect a great game given the rivalry that these two teams have, and how much a win would help both teams either on or off paper.
-TEXAS AT OKLAHOMA (Big Twelve). Texas needs some big road wins in order to improve their resume. Their status for a bid appears to be okay, but they can really improve their potential seed with a strong finish. Winning on the road against Oklahoma would really help them out.
-WASHINGTON AT OREGON (Pac Ten). Oregon had been struggling, but they picked up a much needed quality win against Washington State the other night. If they can follow up on that it would have done a great deal to improve their profile. Washington is still very much on the outside looking in, but they have improved and could be a tough team to beat between now and the end.
-WASHINGTON STATE AT OREGON STATE (Pac Ten). Wazzu is coming off a loss to Oregon, but still appears to be okay as far as making the pod system goes so long as they finish strong. They dont want to lose this game because Oregon State is not a tournament caliber team by any means, and that would blemish their resume and hurt their chances of being seeded #4 or better.
-ILLINOIS AT PENN STATE (Big Ten). Illinois appears to be solid, but a loss like this to Penn State would really hurt since theyre so close to the bubble and Penn State is a low caliber opponent. Illinois has struggled on the road, and Penn State has been playing tough although theyve been losing, so they really cant afford to overlook them.
-SYRACUSE AT PROVIDENCE (Big East). Both these teams are on the outside looking in, and the only way either will be considered is if they finish strong and win some games in the conference tournament. Neither can avoid a loss today.
-BYU AT SAN DIEGO STATE (Mountain West). BYU has a two game lead for first place in the conference standings and can clinch at least a share of the title with a win today, but it wont be easy. San Diego State has been playing very well lately, especially at home, and is beginning to make their own case that theyre an NCAA Tournament team. A strong finish will get them in the discussion, but as well as theyve been playing they may be able to take home the automatic bid. This will really be a true test for BYU on the road.
-MISSISSIPPI AT SOUTH CAROLINA (SEC). Ole Miss is making a charge toward the NCAA Tournament. Theyre leading the SEC West, and if they can finish strong and get another quality win or two in the conference tournament that will probably be enough. They need to be able to take care of business on the road today, though. South Carolina is not a tournament team, but its never easy to win on the road.
-EVANSVILLE AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (Missouri Valley). Southern Illinois has already rapped up the regular season title for the Missouri Valley, and is simply playing for seeding in the NCAA Tournament right now. They should be a lock for the pod system if they can win this game and avoid any losses to poor teams in the conference tourney.
-AIR FORCE AT TCU (Mountain West). Air Force has struggled in some big games recently, but their spot in the NCAAs is still pretty secure, and they should be able to get a good seed if they can avoid any more bad losses. This is a game that they should be expected to win, despite being the road team.
-BAYLOR AT TEXAS A&M (Big Twelve). Baylor is still tied with Kansas for first place in the conference, and is a solid pod sytem team that appears to be headed for a #2 seed. They should be able to take care of business in this one. Losing to Baylor at home wont drop them out of the pod system, but it could end up moving them down a line or two.
-OKLAHOMA STATE AT TEXAS TECH (Big Twelve). Both teams really need this game. Okie State has yet to win a true road game all season, and it is a glaring blemish on their resume. A quality road win in a game like this would go a very long way in improving their resume. Theyve also been struggling down the stretch lately. Texas Tech was just blown out by Texas and needs some wins down the stretch in order to solidify their case. Winning this game would also go a long way in helping them out. In short, this is a game between two teams who are in danger of sliding out of the tournament.
-DAVIDSON AT THE CITADEL (Southern). Davidson can improve to a very impressive 24-4 against div1 teams on the season with a win today. Its hard to say whether or not thatll be enough to get them an at-large, but they are a very dangerous team who should at the very least be in the discussion. In the event that they do win the SoCon tournament they will not be an easy first round opponent.
-STANFORD AT UCLA (Pac Ten). Stanford won the first meeting between these two, which was one of the more exciting upsets of the season. It wont be so easy for them to get this one on the road though. Theyre coming off a loss at USC where they played very well, but came up just short. They appear to be safe as far as making the NCAAs, but a win today would be a huge statement win that would really improve their seed. As for UCLA, they are still fighting for a #1 seed and need to finish strong if they want to wrapt hat up.
-CALIFORNIA AT USC (Pac Ten). USC is coming off a big win against Stanford, and is in position to get a very good seed despite their poor RPI. Cal has really struggled lately, and USC should be able to take care of them at home. The pod system is not out of the question for the Trojans.
-RUTGERS AT VILLANOVA (Big East). Villanovas RPI is very good, and although they dont have anything else on their resume that is as impressive as that, theyre still in very good shape for a bid and will remain that way so long as they dont have a meltdown. If anything, theyll have several opportunities between now and the end to improve their seed. They just dont want to lose at home to a team like Rutgers.
-GEORGIA TECH AT VIRGINIA (ACC). Virginia has been playing much better lately, and is still in a position to potentially be seeded #4 or better if they can finish strong and rack up some quality wins down the stretch. Georgia Tech had been struggling in a big way, but has gotten themselves back into my bracket by having won five of their last six. Their remaining schedule is very difficult seeing as how theyre on the road at Virginia, and they face Boston College and North Carolina prior to the conference tourney. Wins arent going to be easy to come by.
-MIAMI, FL AT VIRGINIA TECH (ACC). Virginia Tech has been very inconsistent at times this year, but when theyve played well theyve loked as good as anyone. They need to focus and take care of business against a sub-standard Miami team in order to avoid any damage to their resume.
-OLD DOMINION AT WILLIAM & MARY (Colonial Athletic). Old Dominion is squarely on the bubble, and in order to stay there they need to win out and win some games in the conference tournament. Losing any game would be very damaging.
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