Monday, January 31, 2011

The Week Ahead

February begins tomorrow. We all know what that means: just over a month until Selection Sunday – arguably the best day of the year. Moreover, after the week we just had, nothing is written in stone – or pen, or even pencil. Only five of the top 16 teams in Busting the Bracket’s rankings didn’t lose last week, and the back end of the field is getting more and more crowded by the day. Who will show some separation this week? Anyone?


No. 23 Louisville at No. 21 Georgetown: With so many Big East teams losing lately, these two are on the rise – and both are in the mix for a top-four seed.

No. 8 Texas at No. 11 Texas A&M: Texas is looking like a legitimate Final Four contender at this point, while A&M is looking to bounce back.


No. 12 Purdue at No. 15 Wisconsin: After Ohio State, the Big Ten is wide-open, but both of these teams are within striking distance – but for how long?

No. 22 Vanderbilt at No. 23 Florida: Both teams are in major need of a bounce-back win after Vandy lost to Arkansas and Florida fell to Mississippi State.

Penn State at Illinois: The first time these two teams matched up, Penn State won, starting the Illini’s recent struggles. PSU beat Wisconsin on Saturday.

North Carolina at Boston College: North Carolina has won eight of its last nine, while Boston College has lost three of its last four after early momentum.


No. 10 Syracuse at No. 5 Connecticut: Jim Boeheim has never lost five consecutive games, but the Orange have lost four in a row heading into Storrs.

Marquette at No. 7 Villanova: Marquette picked up a huge momentum-changing win over Syracuse this weekend, while ‘Nova has lost two in a row.

Southern Miss at UAB: With Memphis’ loss to Marshall, there is now a logjam at the top of the standings. Southern Miss is 5-3, while UAB sits at 5-2.

Nebraska at Kansas State: Big-time match-up in the Big 12, in terms of staying in the hunt. Nebraska beat A&M over the weekend, while Kansas St. was crushed.

No. 3 Duke at Maryland: How will Duke respond to one of its worst losses in the last decade? Maryland is tough to beat at home – can the Terps pull the upset?

No. 4 San Diego State at Colorado State: San Diego State is still the favorite to win the MWC, while Colorado State could jump onto the at-large radar with a win.

No. 13 Missouri at Oklahoma State: Oklahoma State was an at-large contender prior to Big 12 play, but the Cowboys are fading. Missouri needs a bounce-back win.


Wofford at Charleston: A huge clash of styles. Charleston likes to get out and put up points, while Wofford would prefer a half-court, low-scoring battle.

Valparaiso at Cleveland State: These two are at the top of the Horizon standings, and the winner will put even more distance between itself and Butler.

Liberty at Coastal Carolina: The loss of Mike Holmes hasn’t really affected Coastal so far, but now the Chanticleers face second-place Liberty, led by Evan Gordon.

Murray State at Tennessee State: The Ohio Valley is shaping up like potentially the tightest race in the country, with five teams in the mix. Murray State is still the favorite.

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