Weekly Watch:The Road Ahead

5 Feb

Monday:

Wofford at Davidson-The top 2 teams in the Southern Conference take to the court in Davidson on Monday.  Both teams recently suffered losses at the hands of Samford, and Davidson currently holds a two game lead over the Terriers for the #1 overall spot in the conference, although both teams should secure #1 seeds in the SoCon Tournament’s divisional format.

Tuesday:

Florida at Kentucky-Florida has been on a roll as of late, separating themselves as the SEC’s2nd best team.  Tuesday the Gators get to test their mettle against the top Cat in the conference as they head into Rupp Arena to face Kentucky.  The #1 team in the country continues to impress as John Calipari’s young group passes every test put in front of them with flying colors.   Both teams like to get up and down the court and Florida’s guard heavy will be put to the test facing the Wildcat back court of Marquis Teague and Michael-kidd-Gilchrist.

Campbell at Coastal Carolina-This game had more meaning prior to Campbell’s home loss to Presbyterian on Saturday.  The Camels now sit 1.5 games behind Cliff Ellis’ Chanticleers.  If Campbell wants to avoid falling further behind Coastal and conference leader UNC-Asheville this is a must-win for Campbell.

Wednesday:

Georgetown at Syracuse- The Hoyas head into the Carrier Dome to take on a reinstated Fab Melo and the Orange.  Georgetown are coming a convincing 30-point win over South Florida on Saturday.   Since falling to Notre Dame for their first loss of the season the ‘Cuse have Cincinnati on the road and West Virginia (in controversial fashion) at home, and now get their big man Melo back who missed 3 games due to being academically ineligible.  While he was out, you could see the difference he makes in anchoring Syracuse’s match-up zone. Will Syracuse reaffirm its dominance over the rest of the conference or can the Hoyas find a chink in the armor?

The most heated rivalry in college basketball renews on Wednesday

Duke at North Carolina-When you think college basketball rivalries this is the first one that comes to mind, or at least it should be.  On Wednesday the rivalry is renewed when the Blue Devils head into the Dean Dome.  As it seems like every time these two do battle the top spot in the ACC is on the line, that will again be the case on Wednesday.  The match ups are as good as it gets; Austin Rivers vs. Kendall Marshall, Mason Plumlee vs. Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and John Henson vs. Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelley.  Duke/ North Carolina means automatic excitement and entertainment and this encounter should be no different.

Kansas at Baylor-After a Saturday Night Border War battle with Missouri, the Jayhawks take their road show to Waco to do battle with the other top tier team in the Big 12 the Baylor Bears.  Baylor is long and athletic but if they have one major criticism it’s that for a team so big they aren’t very physical.  Well that will certainly be put to the test with Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey coming to town.    Perry Jones, Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller and company will need to shake the soft moniker if they want hang with Kansas both on the floor and in the Big 12 standings.

St. Bonaventure at Massachusetts- With six teams within 1.5 games of conference –leading Temple in the Atlantic 10, nearly every game left on the schedule will have post-season implications.   A week ago these two teams were the hunted, fast forward seven days and they are both in the pack trying to hunt down Temple.  UMass has a chance to rebound from an overtime loss to Rhode Island.  The Bonnies are looking to get back on the winning track as well, falling to St. Louis by 24 on the road.  The Bonnies are led by Senior forward Andrew Nicholson who averages 15 points and 7 rebounds a contest, both team highs.

Long Island at St. Francis (NY)-The Blackbirds of Long Island, leaders in the Northeast Conference and winners of 12 of their last 13 take their high powered offense (79ppg)on the road to take on the team just a game behind them, St. Francis (NY).  The Terriers are winners of 9 out of 10 in their own right.  Will LIU pad their cushion in the conference or will the rematch on Long Island on Feb. 11 break a conference tie.

Thursday:

St. Mary’s at Gonzaga-The Gaels have proved their superiority in the West Coast Conference this season, 11-0, a 2- game lead over arch-rival Gonzaga and 21-point thumping of the Bulldogs in Moraga. Now the two do battle in the pacific northwest.  You can bet Mark Few and his squad aren’t quite ready to relinquish the WCC title just yet, having gotten at least a share of the crown in 11 straight seasons.  Gonzaga’s chance to lay claim to their thrown comes Thursday night, on their home floor.

Valparaiso at Cleveland State-Butler may have gone to the last two national championship games and put the Horizon League on the national landscape, but Valparaiso and Cleveland State have been nip and tuck all season long.  The visiting Crusaders held serve on their home court with a 72-66 win over CSU, but the Vikings currently hold a half game lead on Valparaiso in the standings.  Can Valparaiso steal a road win and jump ahead in the standings or will CSU extend their lead over the Crusaders?

Arkansas-Little Rock at Louisiana-Lafayette-The UALR Trojans hit the road to the Cajun to battle the Ragin’ Cajuns.  The Trojans lead the West division of the Sun Belt Conference by a half game over the Cajuns.  UALR will have revenge on their minds as well as they suffered a 19-point drubbing on their home floor at the hands to the Cajuns.  Who will leave the Dome with the division lead?

Washington at Oregon-Oregon sits just 1 game back of Pac-12 leading Washington and would like to erase the 16-point loss the Huskies hung on them by the Huskies in Seattle.  With the Pac-12 not guaranteed of multiple NCAA Tournament bids, the Ducks could further muddy the conference waters with a home win.

Friday:

Harvard at Penn-The 23rd ranked Crimson take their unblemished record into one of the most hallowed grounds in college basketball, the Palestra to take on Penn.  The Quakers at 4-1, one game behind the 5-0 Crimson, may have the best chance to challenge Harvard’s path to Ivy supremecy, and in the Palestra this may be Harvard’s stiffest test remaining.

Iona at Loyola (MD)-Iona has a half-game lead over Loyola with a victory over them in their back pocket. Since falling to Iona 74-63 the Greyhounds have won five straight.  Iona is riding a four game win streak of their own and look like they are asserting themselves in the MAAC.  In order to conquer Iona, the Jaspers are going to have to find a way to control the Gaels trio of Michael Glover, Momo Jones and Scott Machado who combined for 57 points in the first meeting.

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