No Easing into Conference Play for Some

21 Jan

January 6, 2010

The first week of conference play is upon us already. For a lot of teams there is no rest for the weary, after highly successful non-conference slates there is no shortage of marquee games in this first week of January. We begin with a quartet of games to watch on Wednesday and finish up with a full slate on Saturday. Wednesday night features a battle between two of the top teams in the Mountain West face off in Provo when BYU meets UNLV. In a battle of top 20 teams, Big Ten rivals Wisconsin and Michigan State meet in East Lansing. The Missouri Valley gives us a pair of duels on Wednesday as Northern Iowa travels to Carbondale to face Southern Illinois and Wichita State tangles with Missouri State.
Thursday highlights a couple of important tilts from non-power conferences. In the Sun Belt, stalwart Western Kentucky hits the road to take on the 11-3 Jaguars of South Alabama. In the Big Sky one of the perennial favorites Weber State battles a 13-3 Northern Colorado squad looking to make its mark on the Big Sky, and a victory over the Wildcats would go a long way.
Friday showcases an early-season Horizon League matchup between 3-0 Butler and 3-1 Wright State. In a league where the regular season champion hosts the conference tournament title game, this January square off could prove pivotal in early March.
The week finishes up with a six-pack of conference clashes on Saturday. In the Big East, Georgetown makes the trek to Storrs to take on Connecticut in the first of many conference statement games for both teams. In the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the two favorites face-off for the first time this season as Siena tussles with the Purple Eagles of Niagara. The Big Ten and ACC show off matchups of ranked teams as Purdue travels to the Kohl Center to grapple with Wisconsin and Duke goes on the road to face a young and hungry Georgia Tech squad. Illinois State gives Northern Iowa its second tough test in four days when the two teams battle in a crucial Missouri Valley game. To finish up the week, UNLV bookends its trip to BYU with a venture into the Pit to face New Mexico.
It may be the first week of January but for some there will be no tip-toeing into the conference slate. Its January, its time for league play. Why not jump in feet first and enjoy the next seven to eight weeks of basketball. This first week could prove very important by the time the calendar turns to March.


College Hoops Haven


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