Monday, January 24, 2011

The Week Ahead

With February right around the corner, the stretch drive is officially here in college basketball. Some conferences are at the mid-point in league play, meaning it’s time for teams to start making moves with an eye towards the NCAA Tournament. This week is filled with important conference clashes that could make the difference between whether a team is “in” or “on the bubble” come March, as well as important contests that will have a huge impact at the top of the league standings. That “Last Ten Games” category on teams’ NCAA Tournament profiles? It’s just about to start.


No. 16 Notre Dame at No. 5 Pittsburgh: Notre Dame picked up a couple nice wins last week, while Pittsburgh is looking like the Big East favorite.

Furman at Wofford: Wofford was the preseason favorite in the Southern Conference, but it’s just one game ahead of hot-starting Furman.

Baylor at Kansas State: Both teams are in major need of a win here. Neither team is a lock for the NCAA Tournament; both are severe disappointments.


Florida at Georgia: Georgia has been tough at home this season, and Florida has been inconsistent, even in its wins. Can the Gators’ guards shoot?

Richmond at Dayton: The Atlantic-10 is still up in the air right now, but both of these teams have the personnel to become favorites come March.

North Carolina State at Clemson: If either team wants to even stay on the periphery of the bubble, this is a must-win game. NC State won Sunday.

No. 2 Kansas at Colorado: It will be interesting to see how Kansas bounces back from its first loss of the season. Colorado has lost two in a row.

No. 8 Connecticut at Marquette: Connecticut is making its case for a No. 1 seed, which seemed impossible in the preseason. Marquette could use a marquee win.

No. 14 Purdue at No. 1 Ohio State: The personnel battles in this game will be terrific: JaJuan Johnson vs. Jared Sullinger and William Buford vs. E’Twaun Moore.


St. John’s at No. 23 Georgetown: St. John’s desperately needs a win after back-to-back losses last week. Georgetown is starting to right the ship lately.

No. 21 West Virginia at No. 19 Louisville: West Virginia had its latest personnel loss, with Dan Jennings leaving the team mid-game. Louisville lost at Providence.

No. 10 Texas at Oklahoma State: Could Texas be the new Big 12 favorite after blowing out Texas A&M and beating Kansas? Would be a nice win for OK State.

UCF at Memphis: The preseason favorite in Conference-USA battles the favorite heading into conference play. Neither team is the favorite anymore.

Northwestern at No. 15 Minnesota: Northwestern likely ended any change it had of an NCAA bid with its blowout loss to Wisconsin; Minnesota is playing well.

No. 6 San Diego State at No. 9 BYU: The game of the week. San Diego State and its loaded frontcourt head to face Jimmer Fredette and the Cougars.


Hofstra at VCU: A battle for first-place in the CAA. Hofstra has been led by guard Charles Jenkings, who will face tough, pressure-filled halfcourt defense from VCU.

Boston College at No. 4 Duke: Boston College has played very well this season, but it might be too much to ask for a win at Cameron Indoor.

UCLA at Arizona: Can either of these teams chase Washington? Both have suffered losses to the Huskies, and Arizona has the better at-large profile.

No. 22 Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga: The tide has turned in the WCC. Saint Mary’s is now the hunted, while Gonzaga is the hunter after back-to-back league losses.

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