Friday, February 12, 2010

Weekend Preview

With conference tournaments and Selection Sunday right around the corner, teams are entering their final six or seven games of the season. That means that bubble teams face must-wins across the board, while several other teams are fighting for seeds – both in conference tourneys and in the NCAA Tournament. None of the major conferences have been completely decided, and there are plenty of teams looking to make a move in the league standings to get back in the title hunt. This weekend features an abundance of games with postseason implications – perfect for those looking to spend some alone time before Valentine’s Day.

Top Games

Maryland at Duke (Saturday, 1:00 PM, CBS): Maryland and Duke at the top of the ACC? It’s like a throwback to the early 2000s. Look for plenty of points and fast-paced hoops in this one. Prediction: Duke 85, Maryland 77

Missouri at Baylor (Saturday, 1:45 PM, Regional TV/ESPN FullCourt): Another game that will feature and up-and-down game, both teams need a win to stay in the NCAA Tournament bracket. Prediction: Baylor 82, Missouri 75

Rhode Island at Temple (Saturday, 4:00 PM, Regional TV): The Atlantic-10 has potentially the best race in the country this season, and these two teams are at the top of the standings. URI could really use a road win. Prediction: Temple 67, Rhode Island 60

Georgia Tech at Wake Forest (Saturday, 8:00 PM, Regional TV/ESPN FullCourt): Wake Forest is still in the ACC title hunt, while Georgia Tech has been sluggish lately, including a bad loss to Miami Wednesday. Prediction: Wake Forest 74, Georgia Tech 69

Tennessee at Kentucky (Saturday, 9:00 PM, ESPN): Can Tennessee knock off another highly-ranked team? The Vols were obliterated at Vanderbilt earlier in the week, and Kentucky is rolling right now. Prediction: Kentucky 82, Tennessee 71

Ohio State at Illinois (Sunday, 1:00 PM, CBS): After its wins over Michigan State and Wisconsin, Illinois is now 9-3 in the Big Ten. Ohio State continues to win games, and the Buckeyes could make a run at the conference title. Prediction: Ohio State 65, Illinois 62

Bubble Battles

Cincinnati at Connecticut (Saturday, 12:00 PM, Regional TV/ESPN FullCourt): Connecticut blew a big shot to improve its resume with its late loss to Syracuse on Wednesday, while Cincinnati has lost three of four. Prediction: Connecticut 71, Cincinnati 63

Texas A&M at Texas Tech (Saturday, 5:00 PM, ESPN2): A&M might be the third best team in the Big 12 right now, behind Kansas and K-State. Tech has won two in a row to get back into the at-large hunt. Prediction: Texas A&M 74, Texas Tech 70

Xavier at Florida (Saturday, 6:00 PM, ESPN): The best non-conference game of the weekend (the only remotely noteworthy one, too.) Florida can’t afford a home loss after falling at South Carolina on Wednesday. Prediction: Florida 76, Xavier 72

Memphis at Tulsa (Saturday, 7:00 PM, ESPN2): A Conference-USA bubble showdown. The loser might be out of the discussion for the time being, while the winner keeps pace with UTEP and UAB in the standings. Prediction: Tulsa 76, Memphis 69

South Florida at Marquette (Saturday, 8:30 PM, Regional TV/ESPN FullCourt): The Big East has about a half-dozen bubble teams with similar resumes, and games like this will provide separation for the Selection Committee. Prediction: Marquette 68, South Florida 65

Minnesota at Northwestern (Sunday, 5:00 PM, Big Ten Network): Both teams suffered bad losses this week, with Minnesota losing to Michigan and NW falling at Iowa. The loser can forget about the Big Dance. Prediction: Northwestern 57, Minnesota 50

Conference Clashes

George Mason at Old Dominion (Saturday, 4:00 PM, Regional TV): George Mason had the lead in the CAA a couple of weeks ago, but now the Patriots are tied with at-large hopeful ODU in second place. Prediction: Old Dominion 72, George Mason 60

UNLV at San Diego State (Saturday, 4:00 PM, Versus): UNLV dropped a home game to New Mexico on Wednesday, falling into third place, and just one game in front of surging San Diego State. Prediction: San Diego State 75, UNLV 71

Cornell at Princeton (Saturday, 6:00 PM): Both teams are undefeated in the Ivy League, although no one expects Princeton to stay that way. Can the Tigers keep it close against the Big Red? Prediction: Cornell 72, Princeton 61

Northeastern at William & Mary (Saturday, 7:00 PM): Northeastern is absolutely rolling, winning 14 of its last 15. On the other side, W&M has faltered in CAA play, going from an at-large lock to a team well on the outside. Prediction: William & Mary 68, Northeastern 65

Northern Colorado at Weber State (Saturday, 9:00 PM): The top two teams in the Big Sky standings go head-to-head. Weber State is 9-2 and in first place, while Northern Colorado sits a game back. Prediction: Weber State 81, Northern Colorado 74

Other Games to Watch

Miami (Fl.) at Clemson (Saturday, 12:00 PM, Regional TV): Miami broke out of its slump with a home win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday, while Clemson stopped its swoon by beating Florida State. Prediction: Clemson 78, Miami (Fl.) 62

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 2:00 PM, ESPN): It will be Bedlam in this rivalry game. Oklahoma is not an NCAA threat, but Oklahoma State is still on the bubble and can’t afford a home loss here. Prediction: Oklahoma State 76, Oklahoma 65

Dayton at Saint Louis (Saturday, 4:00 PM, ESPNU): Saint Louis is going to be a spoiler in the Atlantic-10 and at-large race. Dayton knocked off Xavier and Charlotte, and the Flyers need to keep winning. Prediction: Dayton 61, Saint Louis 52

Virginia at Virginia Tech (Saturday, 8:00 PM, Regional TV/ESPN FullCourt): Virginia has fallen back after starting 3-0 in ACC play; the Cavaliers have lost three of five. VT has won six of seven to stay in the hunt. Prediction: Virginia Tech 69, Virginia 58

Marshall at UAB (Saturday, 8:00 PM): Marshall’s recent five-game losing strak ended its hopes for an NCAA bid, but the Thundering Herd can still hurt UAB’s chances. The Blazers have lost two of three and might not be as good as their record indicates. Prediction: UAB 72, Marshall 66

Louisville at Syracuse (Sunday, 1:00 PM, ESPN): Louisville was thumped at St. John’s on Thursday, with rumors of Rick Pitino to the New Jersey Nets swirling around. They need to bounce back against the Orange to stay in the mix. Prediction: Syracuse 86, Louisville 73

1 comment:

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