Monday, January 8, 2007

The Week Ahead

Wow, what a start to the conference season. After one of the best weeks of the college basketball season, including a wild weekend that saw four Top 10 teams fall, the fun doesn't stop as league play heats up some more. There are numerous key battles that could have a huge impact on the conference races even though it's only the second week in January.

Old Dominion at Hofstra (Monday): Key battle in the CAA. Both teams have had a good start to the league season, sitting in a tie for first place at 3-0. Hofstra's guards have the edge, but the Pride need to find a way to stop ODU's Valdas Vasylius up front.

Villanova at Georgetown (Monday): Two teams seemingly going in opposite directions. Villanova has lost two in a row, including a home defeat to DePaul. Georgetown, on the other hand, has won seven in a row, including a throttling this past weekend of Notre Dame at home.

Texas Tech at Kansas State (Monday): Two potential bubble teams in the Big 12. Texas Tech is playing some of its best basketball of the season, led by Martin Zeno and Jarrius Jackson. Kansas State went 0-2 on the road last week, and may have lost Bill Walker to a knee injury.

West Virginia at Notre Dame (Tuesday): Another Big East battle between two teams that might be going in different directions. WVU is 3-0 in the Big East, but all the wins were at home. Notre Dame is coming off of a blowout loss to Georgetown, and is still without starting point guard Kyle McAlarney.

Arkansas at Florida (Tuesday): This game got a little more interesting over the weekend, after Arkansas' dominant performance against Alabama. The Razorbacks are improving every game. Florida has had a target on their backs the whole season, but have responded well.

Clemson at North Carolina State (Tuesday): Will Clemson's undefeated season continue on the road in the ACC? The Tigers won 2 conference games last week on last-second lay-ups, over Florida State and Georgia Tech. NC State was blown out at home by Boston College, and are falling quickly.

Ohio State at Wisconsin (Tuesday): The game of the year in the Big Ten, and the game of the week in college basketball. Two of the best teams in the country do battle in what is another chance for OSU to beat a marquee team. The Buckeyes are coming off of a big road win at Illinois, while Wisconsin is flying under the radar as a potential Final Four contender.

LSU at Alabama (Tuesday): A big game in the SEC West. LSU has been playing well lately, and looked very good in their win over UConn on Saturday. Alabama is struggling, coming off of an awful loss on the road at Arkansas. Ronald Steele is still not completely healthy at the point for the Tide.

Pittsburgh at DePaul (Wednesday): An upset in the making? DePaul might be the hardest team in the country to figure out, and last week exemplified that. The Blue Demons looked terrible in a loss to St. John's, but turned right around to beat Villanova on the road in impressive fashion. Pittsburgh looks like the best team in the Big East--and it's not really close.

Duke at Georgia Tech (Wednesday): Could Duke lose back-to-back ACC games? It could happen, as the Blue Devils did not look good in their home loss to Virginia Tech. Georgia Tech lost a heartbreaker to Clemson, and has looked better and better as their young players mature.

Purdue at Indiana (Wednesday): Two teams in the middle-of-the-pack in the Big Ten go at it. Purdue had an up-and-down week, losing to Minnesota but winning a close one over Penn State, while Indiana has improved since December. The Hoosiers played well against Ohio State, and dominated Michigan State.

Marquette at Connecticut (Wednesday): Two teams in need of a win. Marquette is 0-2 in the Big East after their home loss to Syracuse and a blowout loss to Providence. Connecticut could use a decent win on their resume, but looked very good in their road loss to LSU Saturday night.

Wichita State at Indiana State (Wednesday): Arguably the biggest surprise and the biggest disappointment in the Missouri Valley. Wichita State is 1-3 in the conference after their loss on Sunday to Missouri State, and is struggling. Indiana State is 3-1 in the MVC, and own wins over Butler, Purdue, and Creighton.

Missouri at Texas (Wednesday): Both Big 12 teams are young, but one is improving while the other looks destined to be a bubble team. Texas has looked better and better since November, and Kevin Durant is easily the best freshman in the country. Missouri blew a 16-point second half lead to Iowa State on Saturday at home.

Southern Illinois at Bradley (Wednesday): If Bradley does not win this one, they likely won't contend in the MVC. As it stands, the Braves are 2-3 in the conference, but have lost to the three good teams they faced. Southern Illinois is 3-1 in conference after a tough loss to Northern Iowa over the weekend.

Virginia at North Carolina (Wednesday): Virginia is a team, like DePaul, that is hard to figure out. They obliterated Gonzaga during the week, but turned around to lost on a shot with 0.9 seconds left to Stanford. UNC likely won't feel sorry for them. The Tar Heels are hitting their stride, and could run away with an ACC title.

Oklahoma State at Kansas (Wednesday): One of the best games all season in the Big 12. Oklahoma State has surprised many this season, starting 15-1 with the only defeat a tough loss at Tennessee. Kansas started off slow, but is playing much better lately, beating South Carolina handily on the road on Sunday.

Hofstra at Drexel (Thursday): The second tough game for Hofstra in a four-day span. The Pride started the season 0-3, but have won 11 in a row. Drexel has wins over Syracuse and Villanova, and could be the favorite in the CAA. The winner of this has the edge in the title race early on.

Washington at Stanford (Thursday): A big game for both teams in the Pac-10. Washington is only 1-3 in the conference, and need to show they can win on the road. Stanford is coming off of a road win over Virginia, but the Cardinal are only 1-2 in the league, and 9-4 overall.

Washington State at California (Thursday): Both teams are doing better than expected in the Pac-10. Washington State looks like a legit contender after their overtime win over Arizona this weekend to move to 3-1 in the conference. Cal is still 2-1 despite the loss of starting center Devon Hardin, with both wins coming on the road.

Creighton at Northern Iowa (Friday): Another big-time game in the Missouri Valley. Northern Iowa's unblemished conference record is on the line against a 3-1 Creighton team that is hitting their stride. Anthony Tolliver of Creighton against Eric Coleman and Grant Stout of Northern Iowa will be a great match-up down low.


  1. Hi,
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  2. What, no Belmont vs. Lipscomb on Friday? This is the best (unknown) rivalry in the country!

  3. Actually, you're right, I forgot about that game. It's also probably the game of the year in the Atlantic Sun.