Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weekly Watch-3/2

Mega Showdowns:

Kansas St @ Kansas-Wednesday-8pm-E360
Why this game is not on National TV? I don’t understand. But as of right now, the biggest game left in the season (a game that pits two in state rivals that are both in the top 10) is only available online. Thank You ESPN. Regardless this should be an amazing matchup as Kansas tries to bounce back from a terrible loss at Oklahoma St. Kansas St. however is trying to avoid being swept by their rivals while at the same time eyeing a number one seed. It should be a good one. Have your laptops ready.

Duke @ Maryland-Wednesday-9pm-ESPN
ESPN got this one right. A battle for first place in the ACC is on the line when the Blue Devils travel to Maryland. This could be the game that decides the ACC player of the year as well. Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez and Duke’s John Scheyer are the front runners for player of the year honors along with Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney. A win for Duke will clinch them the regular season conference title in the ACC. This is a must see game to say the least.

Bubble Play-In Games (you win, your dancing):

Louisville @ Marquette-Tuesday-9:30pm-ESPNU
Both teams have 19 wins and are 10-6 in Big East play. Therefore the winner will finish with at least 11 wins in the toughest conference in the nation. That’s good enough to guarantee the winner a spot in the dance. Both of these teams are red hot as well. Louisville has won 4 of 5 while Marquette has won 8 of 9 including 3 straight overtime wins on the road. If this game doesn’t go down to the wire I will be very surprised and disappointed.

UAB @ UTEP-Saturday-9:05pm
Assuming both of these teams win their games earlier in the week, (UTEP goes to Marshall, while UAB hosts Memphis), the winner will be a lock for an at-large while the loser would likely need a very good showing in the Conference USA tournament to get in the dance. UTEP is ranked, is 13-1 in conference and has won 12 straight. The Miners however do not have a good computer profile with a RPI of 49, and only one win over a top 50 RPI team when they won at UAB in OT on January 30th. UAB has a good computer profile with a RPI of 37 and a major non conference win against Butler. If the Blazers get a win against Memphis and then go into El Paso and get another win to close the season it would be nearly impossible for the selection committee to keep them out of the dance.

Possible Bubble Play-Out Games (losers beware your bubble might burst):

Charlotte @ Rhode Island-Wednesday-7pm
Both of these teams have picked the wrong time to start a major slump. Both teams have lost 4 of 5 and both teams lost road games to sub .500 RPI teams this past Saturday. Add that all together and the loser can pretty much kiss their NCAA tournament hopes good bye. Rhode Island has a good RPI at 34 and is 6-6 against the RPI top 100. So if the Rams win here and then follow it by beating UMass to close the season they will be in very good shape for an at-large seed to the dance going into the Atlantic 10 tournament. With a RPI of 67, Charlotte likely needs a win here then an upset over Richmond on Saturday to get an at-large.

UConn @ Notre Dame-Wednesday-7pm-ESPN
Notre Dame is going to need all of the luck of the Irish if they plan on playing in the NCAA tournament which starts a day after St. Patrick’s Day. The Irish took a major step towards helping their bubble situation by beating two ranked teams last week in Pittsburgh and Georgetown. They have a low RPI at 65 and will need at least two more wins to have a shot at dancing. UConn has a solid RPI at 44 but has 12 losses. A loss here and a loss in the Big East Tournament will give them 14 total losses. Not many 14 loss teams make the dance. Arizona did in 2008, but that is very rare. Both teams really need this win to keep their tourney hopes alive.

Middle of the pack ACC games:

After Duke and Maryland, there are 5 teams battling for the #3 spot in the ACC. There are four games this week that pit those 5 teams against each other. Of the five teams, Virginia Tech really needs to win the most this week to keep their tourney hopes alive. The Hokies have a good record (21-7, 8-6), but have lost 3 straight and don’t have a strong RPI at 52. The other four teams, Clemson, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and FSU all have good computer profiles, but if they were to lose two straight to end the season they would find themselves on the bubble along with the Hokies. Here are the games this week.

Georgia Tech @ Clemson-Tuesday-8pm-E360

Wake Forest @ FSU-Wednesday-7pm-ESPN2

Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech-Saturday-4pm-E360

Clemson @ Wake Forest-Sunday-6pm-FSN

Playing for a better seed:

Oklahoma St. @ Texas A&M-Wednesday-9pm-ESPN2

West Virginia @Villanova-Saturday-Noon-CBS

Texas @ Baylor-Saturday-4pm-ESPN

Syracuse @ Louisville-Saturday-2pm-ESPN

Bubble Teams with opportunities to get another statement win:

Florida-They host #13 Vandy on Tuesday night then they go to Rupp to play #3 Kentucky on Sunday. It’s a brutal way to end the season, however if the Gators can win one of these two they will end their 2 year NCAA hiatus.

Illinois-The Fighting Illini are in the same boat as Florida with two tough games against ranked teams as they play at Ohio St. Tuesday night then they host Wisconsin on Sunday. If they win one, they will have 11 wins in Big Ten play. That should be enough to get them into the dance despite their low RPI of 73. The Fighting Illini have crucial non-conference wins at Clemson and against Vandy as well.

Dayton-They travel to Richmond on Thursday night. A win in Richmond will go a long way in getting Dayton into the dance. A loss here will put even more pressure on the Flyers when they host fellow A-10 bubble team St. Louis on Saturday night.

St. Louis-Speaking of St. Louis, the Billikens who have a very low RPI of 86 must win both of their tough matchups this week to keep any at-large hopes alive. They host a ranked Temple team on Wednesday night then have the showdown against Dayton that I mentioned above.

Mississippi St.-With a RPI in the 50’s, a loss at lowly Auburn on Wednesday would all but destroy any chance the Bulldogs have at getting an at-large bid to the dance. However assuming they win, they will have a chance to show they belong in the dance by beating a very good Tennessee team on Saturday. Two wins this week will put the Bulldogs at 23-8 overall and 11-5 in SEC play. That should mean a return for Mississippi St. and star Jarvis Varnado to the NCAA tournament.

Cincinnati-How good is the Big East? Cincinnati is in a four-way tie for ninth place, yet still the Bearcats could still get in the tournament as an at-large. All they have to do is beat #9 Villanova on Tuesday night then go into #19 Georgetown and win on Saturday. Mission impossible, not really, Villanova has lost 3 of 4 while Georgetown has been beat at home 4 times this year. Three of those losses were to fellow bubble teams Old Dominion, USF and Notre Dame. It might be improbable for the Bearcats to win both of these games, but not impossible.

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