Saturday’s Spectacular Slate-A Real Quick Look

9 Feb

Kentucky at Vanderbilt-There is no hotter team in the country right now than #1 Kentucky.  After totally dismantling #7 Florida they travel to Memorial gym to take on Vanderbilt.  The ‘Dores could use a signature win, with their best win being over Marquette in Milwaukee.  This is the first of two chances they have at Anthony Davis and company.  Can Vandy do what so many others have failed to, take down Kentucky?

Michigan State at Ohio State-Both teams are coming off injury scares to their stars; the Spartans Draymond Green and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger.   The top 2 teams in the Big Ten square off for the first time this season.  Will Tom Izzo be able to find a chink in the Buckeye armor? Or will Thad Matta’s crew show Sparty who the boss of the Big Ten is.  A Michigan State win means a deadlock at the top of the standings, and with these two facing off in the regular-season finale, positioning for the Big Ten Tournament is vital.

Baylor at Missouri-Missouri has won four straight including a 3-point win over Kansas and are tied for the Big 12 lead at 9-2 with Kansas.  Baylor is coming off a drubbing at home by Kansas, can the Bears rebound in Columbia? Or will the loss to Kansas be a turning point sending Baylor in the wrong direction heading towards March?

Virginia at North Carolina-Speaking of psyches, how is UNC’s after that dramatic, heart-breaking loss at the hands of Duke?  It won’t take long to find out as Virginia sits just 1 game back of the 3-team logjam at the top of the ACC.  Will Mike Scott and Virginia join the party at the top?  Or will the Tar Heels bounce back and keep Virginia at bay?

San Diego State at UNLV-San Diego State got 24 points, including a jumper at the buzzer, and 10 rebounds from Jamaal Franklin in beating UNLV 69-67 in their first meeting.  That game is currently the difference between the 2 teams in the battle for first place in the Moutain West Conference.  The Aztecs also held UNLV’s Mike Moser to 9 points in that game, the only time he has been held under 10 in conference play.  Can SDSU repeat the feat, this time at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas or will the Rebels exact revenge and pull into a tie for first place?

Wichita State at Creighton-Creighton may be ranked 15th in the country, but its the Shockers who have a 1 game lead over the Bluejays in the Missouri Valley Conference.  The good news for the Shockers, in the first game they held Creighton star Doug McDermottDoug McDermott to just 12 points, while only getting five from theirs, Garrett Stutz.  The bad news is they still lost the game 68-61. This time in Omaha can Wichita solidify their lead or will Creighton pull even?

Miami at Florida State-Miami coming off an overtime win at Cameron Indoor against Duke, travels to Tallahassee to take on a Florida State team that spit the bit against Boston College.  A win for the Hurricanes gets them into the ACC at-large picture, and the Seminoles can’t afford anymore hiccups if they want to keep pace with UNC and Duke in the ACC title race.

Arkansas-Little Rock at Middle Tennessee State-The two division leaders in the Sun Belt square off for the only time this season.  MTSU has a comfortable lead in the East, UALR goes to Lafayette to face the Ragin’ Cajuns who sit just a half game back of Little Rock on Thursday.  With the top 3 teams receiving byes to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament this is an important stretch for UALR to avoid that #4 seed.

Virginia Commonwealth at Old Dominion-Old Dominion sits a game back of the 3-way tie at the top of the Colonial (VCU, George Mason and Drexel), the Monarchs can get that game back by avenging a loss at VCU and at the same time make things in the CAA a real mess with just 5 regular season games remaining.  VCU in addition to the road game with ODU also has a home-and-home with George Mason remaining.  Things in the Colonial are about to get real bumpy.

St. Louis at LaSalle-The good news for LaSalle is that they have 3 of the 4 teams in front of them in the A-10 standings still on their schedule so the Explorers’ fate is in their own hands.  A win by LaSalle would put 5 teams within a game of each other at the top of the standings.  St. Louis winners of 6 of 7 would like to keep that roll going and keep the pressure on Temple, UMass and Xavier to keep pace.

Xavier at Temple-Xavier seems to have righted the ship somewhat since its December 10th brawl with Cincinnati.  Despite giving up an 11-point lead at Memphis in which the Musketeers were outscored 21-6 to end the game, Chris Mack’s team is a half game back of Temple as they head into Philly to face the Owls.  This is a game in November some thought we feature the 3 best teams in the A-10, and after all the trials and tribulations, they may still be right.

Central Florida at Southern Mississippi-After losing back-to-back games to Southern Miss and Tulsa, the Golden Knights have bounced back and have a chance to get right back in the C-USA race with a win over the Golden Eagles.  A loss however could open the door for Tulsa to turn a two-horse race into a 3-team fight to the finish.

Honorable Mention (Sunday):

Stony Brook at Vermont-The America East leading Seawolves travel to Patrick Gym to take on Vermont with the #1 seed in the conference tournament at stake.  Stony Brook walked away with a 65-59 home win on January 2nd, a repeat of that would all but lock up the #1 seed, allowing them to host the conference championship, should they make it.

Other Notable Games:

Stephen F Austin at Texas- San Antonio- Saturday

Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga-Saturday

St. Francis NY at Long Island-Sunday

College Hoop Haven

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