Thursday, January 3rd Highlighted Match-ups

Thursday, January 3rd Highlighted Match-ups
Jan 03, 2008, 01:29 am

-OREGON STATE AT ARIZONA (Pac Ten). Oregon State is one of the weaker teams in the league and will struggle tonight against the Wildcats in their conference opener. Arizona is coming off a loss to Memphis, but should be able to rebound with a win in this one. The competition in this league will be stiff, and this is one of the more winnable games that Arizona will have, so they need to take advantage.

-OREGON AT ARIZONA STATE (Pac Ten). Arizona State posted an impressive out of conference record and blew out Xavier in the process, but other than that they did so against a rather unimpressive schedule. Oregon has struggled in their last few road games, so ASU may be able to get off to a good start. They’ll face Oregon State on Saturday, and have a chance to start off 2-0 in league play if they can take care of business tonight, which would give them some momentum. Oregon has been struggling and needs to do well in conference in order to boost their resume.

-USC AT CALIFORNIA (Pac Ten). Both these teams could use a big win because both have quite a bit of room for improvement, especially on paper. Cal is 9-2, but their only two notable wins came against San Diego State and Kansas State, both of which appear to be bubble teams at best right now. USC does have a nice win against Oklahoma, but it’s important that they do well in conference. Getting at least one win in their first two games would be a good start.

-GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT DAVIDSON (Southern Conference). Davidson is much better than their record indicates, or at the very least they are capable of playing much better. It’s just that their schedule was so tough. These appear to be the two most talented teams in the Southern Conference, but right now it looks as though both are long shots for an at-large. Both would likely have to win out to even be considered. That being said, it’s possible that one of these teams is good enough to do so, but to do that they’ll have to win tonight.

-VILLANOVA AT DE PAUL (Big East). Nova is 10-1 on the year, and De Paul has really struggled. Nova should dominate this game despite the fact that they’re on the road. It looks like this is one of the most winnable road games Nova will have in conference this year.

-OHIO STATE AT ILLINOIS (Big Ten). Ohio State appears to be getting better as the year goes along. They’ll actually be in pretty decent shape, at least for the time being, if they can kick things off in conference play with a road win against Illinois. The Illini were embarrassed in their last game when they lost to Tennessee State. At just 8-5 on the year, the Illini need to string together some wins just to get back into the conversation.

-PROVIDENCE AT MARQUETTE (Big East). Both teams have played well, but Providence doesn’t appear to be as proven as Marquette at this point. They also haven’t been quite as consistent. This would be a huge statement win for the Friars and give them a quality conference road win if they can pull it off. Marquette appears to be good enough to make the pod system, and this would be a notable win for them for them as well.

-WEST VIRGINIA AT NOTRE DAME (Big East). Notre Dame has been going to the bakery and loading up on cupcakes since the Paradise Jam back in November. Other than Kansas State, their schedule has been very weak and it’s hard to say for sure how good the Irish really are. We should learn something about them tonight, though. West Virginia has been solid both at home and on the road. They’re coming off a double overtime thriller where they lost a heartbreaker to Oklahoma, but the best way to get over a heartbreaking loss is to win a big game on the road. Both these teams appear to be good enough to make the tournament. Notre Dame has more work to do because they’ve yet to prove themselves, but it should be a very good game.

-CONNECTICUT AT SETON HALL (Big East). Both of these teams have good records, but neither have any really good wins yet. Seton Hall could end up being a sleeper in the Big East, but at this point they have a couple questionable losses and no good wins. Connecticut is 9-2, but lost to the only two quality opponents they faced. Both these teams need to prove themselves in conference because neither has done so yet, which means they should both have a sense of urgency in this game.

-UCLA AT STANFORD (Pac Ten). Both teams have very good records, but it’s been awhile since either team played anyone decent, let alone good. UCLA has a notable win against Michigan State, but right now that’s their only one. Stanford hasn’t really beaten anyone that looks like a solid NCAA team. UCLA is very good and their credentials should improve once they get into conference play. It’s never easy opening with back to back games on the road, but UCLA appears strong enough to win them both. Stanford really needs some big wins in league play because they haven’t managed any yet.

-WRIGHT STATE AT WISCONSIN MILWAUKEE (Horizon League). Wright State is off to an 8-3 start and has an RPI in the 30s. That will likely drop as conference play continues, but they have a quality win over Butler and could end up in the tournament picture if they can keep winning at the rate they have been.

-VIRGINIA AT XAVIER. Both teams have gotten off to very good starts, and Xavier is coming off a game where they absolutely blew the doors off of Kansas State. Virginia has been tested on the road, but it has been awhile since they played a quality opponent. They will certainly be tested in this one. It looks as though both teams are solid NCAA Tournament teams right now, but that also means this game could make a difference in terms of seeding. Xavier would benefit because they don’t get as many chances in conference play, but Virginia would benefit because the ACC is very cutthroat and it would give them something to fall back on if they end up struggling.


-LMU AT BYU. BYU is coming off of a loss to Boise State and really needs to rebound. This win won’t help as much as a loss would hurt, but at the very least it would give them some momentum. They travel to Wake Forest next week.

-SIENA AT MEMPHIS. To be fair to Siena, they’re a pretty decent team by Metro Atlantic Standards and should compete for the title in that league, but they are way overmatched here. Memphis looks to be one of the best in the nation and should win rather easily.

-RICE AT VANDERBILT. Vandy can improve to 14-0, and likely will. They have a tougher test on Saturday when they face Massachusetts.

Recent articles

Twitter @DraftExpress

DraftExpress Shop