February 10, 2007

Weekend Samurai Shodown!!!

Yes, it is misspelled on purpose, giving props to a great arcade game back in my teens. However, the notion fits that this weekend is filled with teams going against each other with plenty of importance.

Without further adieu...

(31) Virginia at (36) Virginia Tech, 84-57 Virginia Tech
(137) Wake Forest at (2) North Carolina, 104-67 UNC
(27) Boston College at (18) Florida State - 68-67 BC
(90) Connecticut at (56) Georgia Tech - 65-52 Tech
(13) Duke at (37) Maryland - 72-60 Maryland

Interesting that UVA-Va.Tech is for the ACC lead whereas Duke-Maryland is an NCAA Tournament bubble game on Sunday. North Carolina will look to get back on track after an emotion win at Cameron on Wednesday. Boston College, co-leaders of the ACC, head to the snake pit that is Florida State, while Georgia Tech steps out of conference against Connecticut, needing the win to get some momentum for their fading hopes of an NCAA berth.

Virginia Tech comes through with the hammer at home, ditto for UNC, honoring their 1982 national championship team at halftime. Sunday's results produced a nice win for BC on the road, winning their second last-gasp game against Florida State. Duke now is completely on the bubble in the conference at 5-6. The Devils still travel to BC, Clemson, and Chapel Hill with home games against Georgia Tech and Maryland. They also head back to MSG to face St. John's. A 7-9 conference record will probably give the Devils their due. Anything less than that would be blatant favortism.

Big Ten
(42) Illinois at (15) Indiana, 65-61 Indiana
(83) Iowa at (6) Wisconsin, 74-62 Wisconsin
(180) Minnesota at (57) Michigan, Michigan 82-80
(38) Purdue at (4) Ohio State, 63-56 Ohio State

Illinois and Purdue could make a big jump with road wins, but all four home teams should hold serve. Four home games, four wins.

(216) Colorado at (43) Kansas State, 78-59 K-State
(129) Iowa State at (55) Texas, 77-68 Texas
(19) Kansas at (84) Missouri, 92-74 Kansas
(70) Oklahoma at (143) Baylor, 68-64 Oklahoma
(12) Texas A&M at (82) Nebraska, 66-55 A&M
(41) Texas Tech at (26) Oklahoma State, 93-91 OSU (2 ot's)

Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline accurately states the stakes at hand for the Texas Tech-Oklahoma State game. The winner gets back into the NCAA talk, the loser is on the outside looking in. Kansas has a serious trap game in Columbia. Kansas State needs to keep this roll by locking up home court, ditto for Texas. A&M heads to Nebraska as conference leaders, and Oklahoma needs to prove that they belong after a win over OK State last week put them above .500 for the conference.

The Kings of Overtime (OSU) prevail again, erasing a six-point lead in the first overtime to get the win. Oklahoma gets themselves fully into the picture, while A&M and Kansas were road warriors.

Big East
(21) Marquette at (32) Georgetown, 76-58 Georgetown
(52) Providence at (3) Pittsburgh, 74-68 Pittsburgh
(152) South Florida at (72) Louisville, 83-63 Louisville
(1) UCLA at (46) West Virginia, 70-65 West Virginia
(17) Villanova at (118) Seton Hall, 78-69 Villanova
(90) Connecticut at (56) Georgia Tech - 65-52 Ga. Tech
(132) St. John's at (62) Syracuse - 76-74 Syracuse

The bottom five games involve higher ranked Big East teams that all need wins. West Virginia would force the country to look up their roster if they upset UCLA. Marquette and Georgetown is about conference tournament positioning. Providence could make a big splash but their 1-5 record in road and neutral games suggests they won't.

West Virginia got their tournament resume win over UCLA. Villanova avoided the stumble, while Georgetown continues their rise in my bracket with a strong win over Marquette. Georgia Tech hurts UConn's bounce back opportunity while Syracuse stays alive with the win.

Missouri Valley
(25) Creighton at (11) Southern Illinois, 72-68 Southern Illinois
(34) Missouri State at (81) Northern Iowa, 62-58 Missouri State

If Kentucky-Florida at 9:00 p.m. is the main course for today, then the heavy appetizer comes in the form of Creighton at Southern Illinois at 6:05 on ESPN 2. Enjoy. Missouri State could become lock city with a win over Northern Iowa, who themselves are trying to play their way back into consideration.

SIU goes to 52-1 on their homecourt since 2002 while Missouri State gets a strong road win. The Mo Valley has three teams clear at the top, locks for NCAA bids.

Mountain West
(14) Air Force at (110) New Mexico, 60-51 USAFA
(23) BYU at (189) Texas Christian, 85-72 BYU
(124) Wyoming at (10) UNLV, 80-70 UNLV

BYU leads the conference at 8-2 and needs to maintain focus on the road at TCU. UNLV comes home after a 90-63 loss at BYU earlier in the week. Air Force last went on the road earlier in the week and lost by 21 at San Diego State. The Pit is not a great place to be needing a bounce back win.

Air Force goes to the Pit and survives. BYU and UNLV survive and advance.

Pacific 10
(7) Arizona at (20) Oregon, 77-74 Arizona
(66) California at (28) Washington State, 59-46 Wazzu
(1) UCLA at (46) West Virginia, 70-65 West Virginia
(35) Stanford at (78) Washington - 64-52 Washington

The RPI says Arizona is a good to great team. I earlier called them elite. They need this game at Oregon to avoid negative perception that is starting to form that the Wildcats are good - on paper. Washington State needs to hold home court while UCLA runs into a trap at West Virginia. The Bruins could lose their #1 seed if they lose. Washington is trying to make a late run, so they need this game, but Stanford isn't a lock either. Both scenarios provide for a good game.

Arizona rises from the ashes to bury Oregon. Now its the Ducks who are slipping on perception. Washington State held serve at home, while UCLA will never again travel east for a 10 a.m. (PST) game. The Huskies have held serve at home pulling themselves back on the bubble with a 6-7 conference record. Washington can get in by beating Washington State and UCLA at home in the coming weeks while finding a road win either in-conference against Oregon or out-of-conference against Pittsburgh.

(9) Florida at (5) Kentucky, 64-61 Florida
(29) Alabama at (68) Mississippi, 75-69 Ole Miss
(33) Arkansas at (88) LSU, 71-67 LSU
(51) Georgia at (79) South Carolina, 73-54 Georgia
(48) Vanderbilt at (16) Tennessee, 84-57 Tennessee

Florida's chance at an undefeated SEC season vs. Kentucky's claim to legitimacy is at stake in Lexington. Mississippi is quietly moving up the standings while Alabama can't win away from Tuscaloosa. LSU is only a spoiler now and Arkansas is hanging by a thread. Georgia and South Carolina has the exact storyline. Tennessee, with Chris Lofton, needs to show the world that they can get it back on track. Vanderbilt is 6-3 in the SEC and they would make themselves a lock with a season sweep over the Vols.

Kentucky missed their chance, literally, going 4-of-22 from three-point land. Florida is beatable, but they will now run the table in the SEC regular season. Ole Miss is quietly a bubble team, while Alabama continues to lose on the road. LSU ends Arkansas' hopes of a bid and Tennessee gets back to life with Chris Lofton. Oh, and Georgia did the job over the Gamecocks.

February 05, 2007


Sometimes pictures leave nothing more to say...

February 02, 2007

Super Saturday...

The weekend is a huge day for ball... conferences all in action, fates decided each and every hour of the day. We're in February now, and admist the crucial "last 10" games that the NCAA holds so dear.

(23) Clemson at (65) Georgia Tech, 80-62 Tech
(30) Maryland at (114) Wake Forest, 79-72 Maryland
(165) Miami, FL at (39) Virginia, 81-70 UVA
(2) North Carolina at (118) N.C. State, 83-79 State
(34) Virginia Tech at (32) Boston College, 80-59 BC
(27) Florida State at (7) Duke, 68-67 Noles

A funny thing happened along the way to the Duke-UNC showdown with both programs losing the game before the matchup. It won't cost Carolina a #1 seed, but it might cost the Tarheels the #1 overall from ever being in their possession when factored in against UCLA and Wisconsin who now have much stronger SOS.

Three games feature teams with good RPIs heading on the road to play terrible teams - well, okay Georgia Tech isn't terrible, but they are 2-6 in the conference. Virginia Tech and Boston College represent the most even game of the weekend, with Duke needing to hold serve.

Big Ten
(13) Indiana at (94) Iowa, 81-75 Iowa
(164) Minnesota at (43) Illinois, 59-49 Illinois
(150) Northwestern at (4) Wisconsin, 69-52 Wisconsin
(6) Ohio State at (33) Michigan State, 63-54 Ohio State

The mark of a good team is when you can register a big home win over a Top 5 program and then go back out on the road and take care of business. As much as Indiana's win got them over Wisconsin, the loss to Iowa only puts them right back to where they were before. Illinois and Wisconsin held serve, while Ohio State is positioning themselves for a #1 seed if they can knock off Wisconsin at home later in the year.

Michigan State will look to bolster their resume, Wisconsin and Illinois should maintain status quo and Indiana will be on letdown alert after their win against Wisconsin.

Big XII Conference
(48) Kansas State at (46) Texas, 73-72 K-State
(12) Oklahoma State at (241) Colorado, 89-77 Colorado
(20) Texas A&M at (15) Kansas, 69-66 A&M
(29) Texas Tech at (87) Oklahoma, 75-61 Oklahoma

Texas will start from scratch to rebuild their resume as Kansas State climbs to third in the conference with a signature win. A five-win Colorado team destroyed Oklahoma State in a puzzling result that will damage State's seeding by a line or two. A&M got their big win on the road in Lawrence, conquering the fans, GameDay, and Bill Self's inept coaching. Oklahoma won big but they need a miracle to get in - a tough loss for Texas Tech.

Kansas State needs a resume win, Texas will look to keep climbing. Oklahoma State will take their act on the road, losers of their last two trips out. A&M and Kansas will be a great game, A&M needs it more. Texas Tech could start a slide putting them back on the bubble with a loss in Norman.

Big East
(69) DePaul at (57) Syracuse, 75-69 Syracuse
(59) Louisville at (22) Villanova, 57-53 Villanova
(38) Notre Dame at (163) South Florida, 69-63 South Florida
(53) Providence at (19) Marquette, 69-62 Marquette
(45) West Virginia at (107) Seton Hall, 81-70 West Virginia

West Virginia goes ahead of Notre Dame for securing a win on the road over a 100+ team. Notre Dame should not be ranked in today's poll (Monday). Marquette, Syracuse, and Villanova prove there is no place like home in the Big East.

The 'Cuse needs to make the Carrier Dome fearsome again. Louisville has the better conference record and could make an RPI jump over a good RPI, but losing conference record Villanova squad. Notre Dame and West Virginia need to maintain focus away from home, while Providence will seek a big win at Marquette.

Missouri Valley
(49) Bradley at (123) Illinois State, 70-62 Bradley
(28) Creighton at (119) Drake, 67-62 Creighton
(37) Missouri State at (89) Indiana State, 71-42 Missouri State
(61) Northern Iowa at (104) Evansville, 79-71 Northern Iowa
(11) Southern Illinois at (54) Wichita State, 54-46 SIU

Five-for-five. We now have a clear split in the Valley after all five teams hit the road and pick up wins. Creighton and Southern Illinois stand at 10-3 in the Valley, making them absolute locks for the NCAAs if they keep it up.

Saturday is a day for road warriors in the Valley. I would guess that all five teams will not get wins. Bradley and Northern Iowa can't afford to lose. Wichita State can jump back into the race with both feet by downing the Salukis.

Mountain West
(9) UNLV at (35) BYU, 90-63 BYU
(115) Wyoming at (18) Air Force, 88-43 USAF

UNLV gets destroyed, but they get the conference tournament on their home floor, while the Air Force posted the biggest win by margin in conference history.

UNLV-BYU loser will be in trouble, while Air Force should survive and advance.

Pac-10 Conference
(16) Oregon at (55) USC, 71-68 USC
(184) Oregon State at (1) UCLA, 82-35 UCLA
(40) Stanford at (56) California, 90-71 Stanford
(72) Washington at (8) Arizona, 84-54 Arizona
(27) Washington State at (234) Arizona State, 48-47 Wazzu

USC gets the season sweep over Oregon. UCLA holds OSU to 35 points. Stanford gets a nice win on the road, Arizona kills Washington's momentum as the Huskies had won three straight, and Washington State only needs 12 second-half points to hang on in Tempe.

Oregon seeks revenge for a home loss to USC earlier in the year. UCLA will cruise. Stanford and Cal each need the win. Washington catches a reeling Arizona, looking to conquer the Cats for an RPI jump, while Washington State needs to get it done against ASU.

(42) Georgia at (51) Vanderbilt, 66-61 Vandy
(7) Kentucky at (25) Arkansas, 82-74 Kentucky
(81) LSU at (90) Mississippi State, 85-78 Miss. State
(80) Mississippi at (85) Auburn, 82-59 Ole Miss
(78) South Carolina at (26) Alabama, 64-61 Alabama
(14) Tennessee at (17) Florida, 94-78 Florida

Vandy gets to 6-3 while Kentucky races past Arkansas in the second half to secure the status of the second-best team in the conference. Miss. State bombs LSU out of the picture as the Tigers now stand in last place in the West with a 2-6 conference mark. Ole Miss is quietly moving into contention. The Rebels are 15-8 overall, 4-5 in conference. Alabama wins and will remain the most overrated Top 25 team in the land, while Florida proves their dominance over Tennessee.

The Georgia-Vandy winner will stand at 6-3 in conference play, the loser will start to have doubts creep into their recent success. Kentucky needs the win to keep up their RPI, while Arkansas needs it to get to .500 in the conference. LSU is facing a must-gotta have-absolute-need win. Lose here and you won't be in the list next time. Auburn could get to 5-4 in conference play with a win. Alabama needs the win over South Carolina to get closer to .500 while Tennessee and Florida won't the showdown that their RPI's suggest with the Vols missing Chris Lofton.

(95) Hawaii at (31) Nevada, 69-68 Nevada

Nevada accomplishes the mission, barely.

Pack looks to keep rolling.

West Coast
(41) Gonzaga at (223) Pepperdine, 82-57 Gonzaga

Gonzaga's next/only statement game left is against Memphis in two weeks.

Zags will need to keep focus after an emotional, double-overtime win at Stanford.

February 01, 2007

Begin the games of February

Thursday is traditionally "Pac-10 Night" as the conference plays a Thursday-Saturday regimen for their conference tilts. There are a few other games sprinkled in, but generally Thursday is a light night for the East Coast.

(5) Duke at (48) Virginia

No home clock operator to save the Blue Devils here. For Virginia this would be a signature moment to give legitimacy to their 5-2 conference mark.

Big East
(38) Georgetown at (146) St. John's

Georgetown needs to avoid the bugaboo that is MSG and NYC. St. John's took out Syracuse and Notre Dame in their last two home games.

(18) Oregon at (1) UCLA
(187) Oregon State at (53) USC
(72) Washington at (231) Arizona State
(34) Washington State at (6) Arizona

The first game is a monster. Please tell me that the Columbus BlueJackets are off tonight so I can watch that on FSN Ohio. Please, please, PLEASE! USC just needs to protect home turf, while Washington has to prove they can beat anybody on the road. Washington State and Arizona is a sneaky good game. Both teams are coming in off losses so momentum is at stake.

(32) Nevada at (221) Louisiana Tech

Nothing dumb, Wolfpack.

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Heavenly time period: College football season until the championship game of March Madness.