I just found out that #8 Marquette lost at USF. That is Marquette's first lost in Big East play. I told you I wasn't sold on Marquette as a contender. This just continues a week of upsets of highly ranked teams. Duke and Wake Forest both were blown out by 27 on Wednesday. #5 Louisville lost to #1 UConn, plus number #11 Butler and #12 Purdue lost this week as well. So five of the teams ranked 4-12 have lost this week. With this there are some teams that can move up pretty high in the rankings with key wins on Saturday. Here are the ten games to see this weekend.
Major Mid-Major Showdown In Spokane:
1) #14 Memphis @ #18 Gonzaga-9pm-ESPN-Saturday
Even though Xavier and Butler are ranked higher, these are the two most talented teams from non "BCS" conferences. Both are undefeated in their conference and could stay undefeated throughout the season. They both have won at Tennessee recently as well. There will be a great match ups both down low and on the perimeter. I will especially look forward to the match up between Gonzaga's Austin Daye and Memphis' Robert Dozier, both players are effective inside and out. Daye is more of an offensive threat while Dozier is a great defender. The X factor will be Memphis' PG Tyreke Evans who will be the most talented player on the court. If he is the best player on the court on Saturday night then Memphis is going to be very hard to beat. Its pretty even because it's in Spokane. I think though the talent will prevail and I'm picking Memphis.
Big games influencing the rankings-these games are must see and can have a big effect on the next weeks
2) #20 Syracuse @ #17 Villanova-Noon-ESPN-Saturday
UConn's Haseem Thabeet and Pitt's DuJuan Blair get most of the attention when talking about the Big East best big men, and that might be rightfully so. However Villanova's Dante Cunningham and Syracuse's Paul Harris are two of the top post players in the conference as well. This game should be a great battle between them, as well as a battle of the PG's with Villanova's Scottie Reynolds and The Cuse's Jonny Flynn. Both have similar records, Nova (18-4, 6-3) and The Cuse (18-5, 6-4), and the winner is likely move up a lot in the polls.
3) Miami @ #4 Duke-1:30pm-ESPN360-Saturday
Duke is coming off of a 27 point beat down at the hands of Clemson and Miami is coming off of a huge 27 point win against #7 Wake. However Duke will be ready to redeem themselves at home against this athletic Miami team. Miami is 1-3 on the road in the ACC and Cameron Indoor might be the toughest place to play in all of college basketball. If Miami plays Duke tough or somehow pulls off another upset that will be huge on their tournament resume. You know the crazies' will be ready for this one, but will Miami be ready to pull off a second upset in four days?
4) #12 Purdue @ #23 Illinois-1pm-CBS-Sunday
In the only game worth watching on Sunday, these two teams will play for at least a tie for second place in the Big 10. Both are coming off of losses earlier in the week. Another Illinois loss this week will drop them out of the top 25, while another Purdue loss will at the very least drop them out of the top 20. Obviously only one team can will and the team that shoots the basketball better will likely win. When they met earlier on December 30th, Illinois won at Purdue in overtime.
Looking to make a statement- these unranked teams will try to make a splash on the road against these ranked teams to try to get back on the bubble or feel good while on the bubble:
5) Notre Dame @ #15 UCLA-1pm-CBS-Saturday
The Fighting Irish have lost 6 straight and have 9 losses right now. While UCLA has been inconsistent at times this year, they are still a very talented team and are 12-1 at home. Luke Harangody must have a monster game for Notre Dame to be successful. It will also be interesting to see if an third/forth tier Big East school can go to L.A. and beat the best team in the PAC-10.
6) FSU @ #10 Clemson-7pm-No TV (that's sad)-Saturday
Clemson is coming off of a demolishing of Duke, while FSU is (17-5, 4-3) destined to be on the bubble the rest of the year. Clemson has a better record, ranking, plus their at home, but many teams have fallen after big wins, just look in the ACC with Wake last week. Three of FSU's 5 losses have come to top 10 teams, UNC, Duke and Pittsburgh and FSU lost by less than 10 in each of those games. So the Seminoles can play with the best, its only a matter of time before they beat one of the top dogs.
7) Michigan @ #1 UConn-6pm-ESPN-Saturday
I would be shocked if Michigan can pull off this upset. Now when I say shocked, I mean Michael Phelps getting caught doing the Chech and Chong, Brittany-Federline, Janet Jackson-Jermaine Dupri shocked. But this still is college basketball where anything can happen. Michigan would need to get both Thabeet and Adrien in foul trouble and also just shoot lights out like they did when they upset UCLA in November. It would be shocking, but like I said this is college basketball.
My upset odds for these games are:
Notre Dame 8-1
Big Bubble Games:
8) #19 Minnesota @ Ohio St.-8pm-Big Ten Network-Saturday
But Matt Minnesota is ranked and has only four losses, how are they on the bubble? Well if they follow up their 29 point pounding that Michigan St. gave them with another loss then they will very much so be back on the bubble. Ohio St. on the other hand has won 3 straight and will look to avenge an earlier loss to Minnesota back on January 3rd. Ohio St. F/G Evan Turner has been playing as good as any player in the Big 10 and if he has another big game it could mean welcome to the bubble Minnesota and welcome to the top 25 Ohio St.
9) Cincinnati @ Georgetown-Noon-ESPN360-Saturday
Both teams come into the game with 8 losses, yet both teams have won some good non-conference games so it is not neccessarily a bubble elimination game just yet. Georgetown has a lot of talent, but is young and has lost 5 of 6. Cincinnati is a tough team and they already beat the Hoyas a couple of weeks ago, so another win would be a huge boost for their resume and a huge hit to the Hoyas chances of making the tournament. The game is in D.C. so the Hoyas will be favored but this one should be a very good one to keep an eye on.
10) Kansas St. @ Texas A&M-4pm-ESPN360-Saturday
On paper this appears to be a match up of two teams headed in different directions, Kansas St. has won 4 straight, while A&M has lost 4 of 6. Yet all 4 of A&M's losses have come to the conferences top teams (Oklahoma-twice, Texas, and Kansas). KSU's Denis Clemente had a huge game scoring 44 in their upset over Texas last week. He might not need to have that big of an impact but KSU's guards must play well in order to counteract A&M's advantage down low. This is the only regular season game between these two so this is a big game in bubble land.
Providence @ WVU-4pm-ESPN360-Saturday
Ole Miss @ Vandy-1pm-CBS-Saturday
Charleston @ Davidson-6pm-ESPN2-Saturday
Creighton @ Northern Iowa-2:05pm-ESPN360-Sunday
I was very tempted to pick Nebraska to upset Texas, however I just don't see Texas losing twice this week.
So I'm going with another game in the Big 12.
OK St. over # 21 Kansas-Saturday @ Kansas at 3:30 on ABC
This is Bill Self's first game against OK St. since he met with them in the off-season about their coaching vacancy. Self is an OK St. grad who chose to stay with his Jayhawks after winning the title last year instead of going to his alma mater. Kansas might be a little more talented, however OK St. has 4 guards that average at least 14 points per game. On paper Kansas looks like a huge favorite being at home and having won 7 in a row, however they could have a tough time matching up with all of OK St.'s quick guards. Call it a long shot, I call it a hunch and my upset special, OK St. over Kansas.
Blow Out special
Michigan St. over Indiana-Saturday @ Michigan St at 4pm on ESPN
If the Spartans an beat Minnesota by 29 and Kansas by 13 then the good lord only knows what they'll do to the hapless Hoosiers of Indiana who are (6-15, 1-8). I would not be shocked if Michigan St. wins this one by more than 50 and/or Michigan St. scores 100+ points.
Odds of Indiana winning this game 200-1
Indiana coach Tom Crean is only 2 wins away from his 200th victory. I wonder if he'll get it this year.