Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday's Pregame Beat

Every important game tonight involves at least one bubble teams, meaning that there may be a few bids earned, and lost, tonight. We are just going to just right into the Bubble Watch.

Bubble Watch

9:00 pm: Oklahoma State @ Texas: Despite all of their struggles, Texas is a lock for the dance. OK State, on the other hand, still has some work to do. The Big XII looks like it is going to get seven teams into the dance, but OK State is the seventh. They are 19-7 and 7-5 in the league, but with Kansas and Texas A&M still on the schedule, the Cowboys could very well end up the year at 8-8 in the conference. Is that going to be enough to get in? It may not be, which is what makes this game so important. Kansas in the best team in the country, and Texas A&M (a game played on the road) has been playing well of late. Texas hasn't, and now they are going to be playing their first game without the services of Dogus Balbay. The Pokes would be doing themselves a great service by stealing this one on the road.

9:00 pm: Texas A&M @ Baylor: I'm not sure you can really call this one a bubble match-up, as both teams are firmly in the tournament right now. But as both teams also have fairly difficult schedules down the stretch, every win becomes that much more important. Regardless of the bubble implications, this should be an exciting game to watch. Baylor has a talented back court and a big, athletic front line while the Aggies have their own star guard and have won five of their last six, with the only loss coming to Kansas.

9:00 pm: SDSU @ BYU: There is a lot to play for in this game. BYU is working their way towards the MWC regular season title and a top three or four seed in the NCAA Tournament. SDSU is simply trying to get into the tournament. The Aztecs probably need this win if they are going to get an at-large bid, but that is much easier said than done - BYU hasn't lost at home since Jan 3rd last season, when Wake Forest beat them. A loss would drop the Cougars a game behind UNM in the MWC standings.

9:00 pm: Clemson @ Maryland: The Tigers have made a bit of a resurgence, winning their last three games and four of their last five. The problem is that all four of those wins came at home. Clemson has just one road win in the league, and plays three of their last four games on the road. With four games against potential tournament teams, I think its very likely that Clemson will be headed to the NIT. Maryland, on the other hand, has established themselves as the second best team (for now, at least) as the second best team in the ACC. They aren't exactly on the bubble right now, but they also are not a lock at this point as they don't have much in the way of quality wins. The Terps are going to have their hands full dealing with Trevor Booker inside.

  • 6:30 pm: Dayton @ Temple: This is a huge game for the Flyers. Right now, Dayton is out of the tournament. They have too many head scratching losses (St. Joe's, St. Louis, Duquesne) and not enough quality wins to offset them. Dayton is currently in seventh place in the A-10, and with two tough roadies left (tonight and at Richmond), the Flyers could very well find themselves with seven league losses. Beating Temple, the No. 12 team in the RPI, on the road would go a long way towards strengthening that resume.

  • 7:00 pm: Virginia Tech @ BC: The Hokies loss to Duke drops them to third in the ACC, but it doesn't do anything to change the fact that Va Tech has its sights set on a trip to the dance. The Hokies do not have a very strong resume of wins, but they have a gaudy record and a spot near the top of the ACC. I get the feeling that with a thin resume lacking quality wins (and bad losses), the Hokies have a slimmer margin for error than some other bubble teams. BS has beaten Clemson at home already this season.

  • 7:00 pm: Florida State @ UNC: The Seminoles are another one of the ACC's multitude of bubble teams. They don't have as good of a record or as good of a win as Virginia Tech, but they have played a much tougher schedule than the Hokies. Like Tech, FSU can simply not afford to lose to a team near the bottom of the ACC.

  • 7:00 pm: UAB @ UCF: The Blazers are all but out of the running for a C-USA title, but they still have a pretty good shot at earning an at-large berth. They are in the exact same boat at Va Tech. The Balzers have the pretty record, but they have played just one game against the RPI top 50, a win over Butler. UAB cannot lose to a team like UCF if they want to get to the dance.

  • 7:00 pm: DePaul @ Cincinnati: The Bearcats are close to crisis mode right now. They have lost two in a row and four of five and are on their way out of bubble contention. What a perfect time to get DePaul at home? Lose, and Cinci may as well start booking rooms for the NIT.

  • 7:30 pm: St. Joe's @ Charlotte: The 49ers are in trouble as they have lost three straight to drop into fifth in the A-10. With Richmond and URI to close out the season, Charlotte cannot afford a let down against St. Joe's or GW.

  • 8:00 pm: Auburn @ Ole Miss: Ole Miss has effectively played themselves into terrible a position. Losers of five out of six, the Rebels are now at a point where a loss clinches a .500 or worse finish in the SEC West. The SEC West is not a place where you want to finish .500.

  • 8:00 pm: Memphis @ Houston: So is Memphis actually still a bubble team? If they win out and make the finals of the C-USA tourney, do they get in? More losses to teams outside the top 100 (two) than wins against the top 50 (one) may make that difficult.
  • 8:30 pm: Purdue @ Minnesota: For the Gophers to get back onto the bubble, they need to win this game. Purdue is 22-0 when playing on dates outside of Jan. 9th-16th.

  • 9:00 pm: UTEP @ Southern Miss: UTEP is one of those eye test teams. They have the size, the skill, and the look of a tourney team. They don't exactly have the resume. There may not be a hotter team in the country (10 straight wins), however, and Miners fans better hope that hot play continues tonight.

  • 11:00 pm: TCU @ UNLV: UNLV finishes the season against the bottom three teams in the MWC. After losing three in a row in February, they cannot afford another slip-up.
Other notable games
  • 6:30 pm: Ohio State @ Penn State
  • 7:00 pm: Pitt @ Notre Dame
  • 7:00 pm: George Mason @ Delaware
  • 7:00 pm: Towson @ William & Mary
  • 7:30 pm: Colorado @ Missouri
  • 8:00 pm: Xavier @ St. Louis
  • 9:00 pm: South Florida @ Villanova

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