Tag:Today's Specials
Posted on: March 2, 2012 10:48 am

Today's Specials: Tourneys take center stage

Murray State won two close games against Tennessee Tech during the season. Can Tech upset the Racers on Friday? (AP)

By Jeff Borzello

Quite a diverse schedule on the docket for Friday. The Mid-American and Ivy are still in the regular season, eight conferences are in the midst of tournament there’s a top-25 Big East team in action too.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: Tennessee Tech vs. No. 12 Murray State (7 p.m., ESPNU). Outside of the Racers, Tennessee Tech might have the most talent in the Ohio Valley. The duo of Kevin Murphy and Jud Dillard combine to average nearly 39 points per game, and they combined for 42 in the quarterfinals win over SEMO. Murray State won the two regular-season meetings by a combined 13 points. The key could be free throws; Murray State had a 66-38 advantage in the first two games.

Second-best game: Akron at Kent State (7 p.m., ESPN2). A showdown in the MAC between two of the league’s perennial powers. Akron can clinch the outright title with a win on Friday night, while Kent has a chance to tie for second-place with a victory in the finale. Akron won the first meeting by nine points, having one of its better offensive performances of the season. For Kent State, the key will be contesting shots and keeping Akron from getting easy looks inside the arc.

Another one to watch: Butler vs. Milwaukee (8:30 p.m., ESPN3). The Horizon League has a wide-open conference tournament this season, and these two teams have the pieces to make a run and get the automatic bid. The two teams split the regular-season meetings 1-1, with each team winning on its homecourt. Both teams play very good defense, with Milwaukee defending the arc closely and Butler preferring to control the glass and interior.

Guaranteed win: The Ivy League race took a surprising turn last weekend when Penn knocked off Harvard in Cambridge. The two teams are now tied in the loss column at the top of the standings. Both teams should get wins on Friday night, though, as Penn hosts Brown (7 p.m.) and Harvard visits Columbia (7 p.m.).

Potential upset: The Atlantic Sun had its first upset on Thursday, but the fun might continue on Friday. No. 6 Florida Gulf Coast handled No. 3 USC-Upstate by 10 points despite star freshman guard Brett Comer struggling from the field and turning it over five times. Can the Eagles knock off No. 2 seed Mercer at home (8:30 p.m., ESPN3). FGCU can score in different ways, and Mercer has had trouble keeping teams off the glass. Belmont faces East Tennessee State in the other semifinal (6 p.m., ESPN3). 

Three things to keep an eye on:

  • Conferences with tournament action on Friday: Southern, CAA, Missouri Valley, Horizon, MAAC, Ohio Valley, WCC and Atlantic Sun. The best set of games to keep an eye on could be the Missouri Valley quarterfinals. Only one team finished below .500 in the league, and it will be interesting to see if Wichita State and Creighton both survive.
  • BYU likely needs to get to the WCC title game to feel good about an at-large bid. That means the Cougars can’t lose to San Diego on Friday night (11 p.m.).
  • There’s another top-25 team playing Friday: No. 20 Notre Dame is hosting Providence in the season finale for both teams (7 p.m., ESPN3). The Irish want a double-bye in the Big East tourney, while PC is looking for its third win in a row.
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Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:50 am

Today's Specials: Conference tourneys heat up

Florida State and Virginia battle in what should be one of the defensive matchups of the season. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

Thursday is a monster night for conference tournament action, with some of the most intriguing games taking place in the Big South. There’s also some bubble implications on the line.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 22 Florida State at No. 24 Virginia (7 p.m., ESPN2). Neither team is peaking right now, but this should be a tremendous defensive battle. Florida State has dropped two in a row to fall out of the ACC title race, while Virginia has lost four of its last seven. The Cavaliers should win this one on Thursday night just to feel safe about its NCAA tournament hopes as well. Florida State relies heavily on blocked shots and controlling the paint, while Virginia contests shots and doesn’t allow offensive rebounds.

Second-best game: No. 13 Michigan at Illinois (7 p.m., ESPN). Illinois was left for dead after its six-game losing streak, but the Fighting Illini finally got back on the right track with a win over Iowa. With win on Thursday night and then again on Sunday night at Wisconsin, and Illinois could get back in the mix. With that said, Illinois will have trouble stopping Michigan’s 3-point shooting and also need to knock down shots. Can the Wolverines win on the road?

Another one to watch: Colorado at Oregon (10:30 p.m., FSN affiliates). This is essentially an at-large elimination game if either team has a legitimate shot at receiving a bid. Moreover, both teams are still in the mix for the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. Colorado won the first meeting by one point on its homecourt, but Oregon is ahead in the at-large pecking order right now.

Guaranteed win: The only way No. 1 Kentucky really loses to Georgia on Thursday night (9 p.m., ESPN) is if it looks ahead to Florida on Sunday and completely forgets it’s actually playing a game. Georgia has been OK lately, beating Mississippi State and Florida in its past five games, but the Wildcats aren’t falling on Senior Night against the Bulldogs.

Potential upset: I’ll start this section with this: I don’t think this upset will actually happen. However, the top seed in the Big South, UNC-Asheville, will play No. 4 seed Charleston Southern (8 p.m., ESPNU) in a rematch of one of UNCA’s two conference losses this season. Asheville had trouble keeping Southern off the glass in the first meeting, and Kelvin Martin has been dominant on the inside lately. This will be close.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Plenty of conference tournament action on Thursday night. The Atlantic Sun, Big South, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley, America East and West Coast are all in play. Some of the more interesting games include VMI vs. Winthrop (6 p.m., ESPNU), Central Connecticut State vs. Wagner (7 p.m.), and SEMO vs. Tennessee Tech (7 p.m.).
  2. Mississippi Valley State goes for an 18-0 SWAC campaign against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (8:30 p.m.).
  3. Some regular-season championship notes: Washington can clinch a share of the Pac-12 if it beats USC (10:30 p.m.), while Nevada gets the outright WAC title with a win over New Mexico State (11 p.m., ESPN2).
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Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:46 am

Today's Specials: Last chance for bubble teams?

Northwestern could really boost its at-large hopes with a home win over Ohio State on Wednesday. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

There are no top-25 matchups on Wednesday night, but there are plenty of opportunities to get marquee wins. Plus, conference tournaments. What more can you ask for?

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: Iowa State at No. 7 Missouri (8 p.m., ESPN3). If you’re looking for a couple of teams who do the most without having a lot of size, look no further. Both teams utilize four perimeter players most of the time, with Iowa State relying heavily on Royce White to make plays for himself and teammates and Missouri utilizing a lot of penetration and dishing. The key in this one will be Iowa State’s ability to keep Ricardo Ratliffe from getting a lot of easy baskets in the paint, and Missouri guarding Iowa State’s plethora of shooters.

Second-best game: No. 8 Marquette at Cincinnati (7 p.m., ESPN2). After Cincinnati’s late loss to South Florida on Sunday, the Bearcats still need to do some work in order to get an at-large bid. A home win over the top-10 Golden Eagles would certainly do the trick. Marquette is getting plenty of hype as a sleeper Final Four team, and the battle on the perimeter on Wednesday night should be fun. It will be interesting to see how Jae Crowder and Yancy Gates battle each other. Can Gates get out and guard Crowder on the perimeter? Can Crowder body up with Gates?

Another one to watch: No. 10 Ohio State at Northwestern (8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). This is basically a must-win for Northwestern. The Wildcats missed out on its big chance last week against Michigan, and now need a marquee win for their ledger. Ohio State is reeling right now, having lost three of its last five games to drop to third place in the conference standings. Northwestern won’t be able to stop Jared Sullinger down low, but the Wildcats’ host of 3-point shooters – and John Shurna – could create problems at the other end.

Guaranteed win: New Mexico beat Air Force by 39 on the road the last time the two teams played. This time, the rematch is at The Pit (8 p.m., Mountain). The margin might not near 40 points again, but the Lobos should roll. Moreover, Texas-Arlington will look to stay undefeated in the Southland by hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (8 p.m.). Corpus Christi is 5-23 on the season, and won’t pull the major upset.

Potential upset: Colorado State has ignited its at-large hopes on the strength of two big wins over San Diego State and New Mexico. Can the Rams complete the Mountain West trifecta with a win over No. 17 UNLV on Wednesday night (10 p.m.)? A victory would certainly put them in good shape heading into the conference tournament. To pull the upset, they need to slow down the game and defend the perimeter more effectively than they have recently. 

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Plenty of conference tournament action on Wednesday night. The Atlantic Sun, Patriot and Ohio Valley kick things off, while the Big South continues.
  2. Must-wins for bubblers: Saint Joseph’s at St. Bonaventure (7 p.m.); Dayton at Richmond (7 p.m.); Mississippi State at South Carolina (8 p.m., ESPN3); Miami (Fl.) at North Carolina State (9 p.m., ESPN3); Texas hosting Oklahoma (9 p.m., ESPN2). Alabama, Purdue and Southern Miss would also be smart not to lose.
  3. South Florida has a chance to get a big win for its resume on the road at No. 19 Louisville (7 p.m., ESPN3). 
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Posted on: February 28, 2012 11:19 am

Today's Specials: NCAA implications galore

Michigan State can clinch the outright Big Ten regular-season title with a road win at Indiana. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

After a very weak slate on Monday, we have a far better schedule on Tuesday. There are bubble games, top-25 showdowns and more.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Indiana (7 p.m., ESPN). If Michigan State gets a win here, the Spartans will clinch the outright regular-season championship in the Big Ten. Tremendous job by Tom Izzo. On the other side, Indiana is still looking for a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament and a win here would certainly help. The battle between Indiana’s offense and Michigan State’s defense should be fun to watch. The Hoosiers are great from the perimeter, but the Spartans guard the arc very well. Who defends Draymond Green for Indiana?

Second-best game: No. 16 Florida at Vanderbilt (9 p.m., ESPN). Second-place is on the line in the SEC, in a rematch of Florida’s 73-65 win back in early February. The Gators will clinch second if they win, while Vanderbilt will force a tie heading into the season finale. Both teams love to shoot the 3-pointer, and we’ll certainly see a gunning match between Vandy’s John Jenkins and Florida’s Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker. Moreover, the inside players – Festuz Ezeli and Patric Young – could hold the key to each team’s March success.

Another one to watch: Xavier at Saint Louis (9 p.m., CBS Sports Network). A monster bubble game in the Atlantic 10. Saint Louis had a very good profile – until it lost at Rhode Island over the weekend. The Billikens are still in the field, but things could get a little dicey if they lose on Tuesday. On the other side, Xavier really needs to win in order to get a bid. The Musketeers could conceivably finish second in the conference with a win here, which would look good on the Selection Sunday profile. Saint Louis won the first meeting between the two teams, at Xavier in late January.

Guaranteed win: There are a couple of games that should be confident picks. West Virginia hosts DePaul in an absolute desperate setting (7 p.m., ESPN3). The Mountaineers cannot afford another loss if they want to get an at-large bid, and we think they will come out and crush the Blue Demons. Also, even though No. 4 Duke hasn’t been overwhelming lately, the Blue Devils need to win at Wake Forest (9 p.m., ESPNU) in order to keep a hold on a No. 1 seed.

Potential upset: Both Texas A&M and Providence have had some close calls lately, and Tuesday night could be the day they break through. The Aggies host Kansas State (7 p.m., ESPN2) in the final home game of what has been a tumultuous season filled with injuries, disappointments and Billy Kennedy being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It will be an emotional game. Also, Connecticut needs to beat Providence to continue to feel good about an at-large bid, but the Friars have been plucky at home in Big East play. They have the firepower to keep up with the Huskies (7 p.m., ESPN3). 

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. The Big Sky regular-season championship is on the line as Weber State and Montana square off. Both teams are tied at 14-1 in the season heading into the finale (9 p.m., Altitude). The winner gets homecourt throughout the conference tournament.
  2. The Horizon League tournament gets started on Tuesday night, with four first round games to tickle your fancy. The most intriguing? Let’s go with Green Bay vs. Youngstown State (7:05 p.m.).
  3. There are several former bubble teams in action tonight: Minnesota at No. 14 Wisconsin (8 p.m., Big Ten Network); Ole Miss at Arkansas (7 p.m., ESPNU); UCF at Memphis (9 p.m.); TCU at Wyoming (9:30 p.m., Mountain). 
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Posted on: February 27, 2012 11:58 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:02 pm

Today's Specials: Road to Selection Sunday starts

Georgetown will move closer to a double-bye in the Big East tourney with a win over Notre Dame. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

It’s time to start the two-week sprint to Selection Sunday. Conference tournaments kick off today and there’s a top-25 showdown, but it’s a light slate overall.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 20 Notre Dame at No. 9 Georgetown (7 p.m., ESPN). The battle for double-byes in the Big East tournament is really heating up. Both Notre Dame and Georgetown are in the mix for two of those spots, but the Fighting Irish can essentially clinch a spot with a win tonight. They’re coming off a loss at St. John’s, snapping a nine-game winning streak. Georgetown continues to fly somewhat under the radar. The Hoyas guard the perimeter extremely well, and Notre Dame showed it struggles when not knocking down 3-pointers.

Second-best game: No. 4 Kansas at Oklahoma State (9 p.m., ESPN). The Jayhawks can clinch the outright Big 12 title – again – with a win over the Cowboys on Monday night. On the other side, Oklahoma State just wants to become NIT-eligible. Oklahoma State has beat some quality teams on its homecourt, mainly Missouri and Iowa State. Could the Jayhawks suffer the same fate? Barring a heroic effort from Keiton Page or Le’Bryan Nash, that’s unlikely. Looks like eight straight titles for Kansas.

Another one to watch: Texas Tech at No. 13 Baylor (9 p.m., ESPNU). You know it’s a mediocre schedule when this is the third-best game on the docket. So let’s see what’s on the line here. Baylor is only one game out of second-place in the conference, but it lost both games to Missouri so it might be difficult to pass the Tigers. The Bears are still in the mix for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Texas Tech has one Big 12 win this season, but the Red Raiders have shown some fight lately. (I knew I could make the game sound interesting.)

Guaranteed win: Every season, Gonzaga has some random game to finish the regular season. Three years ago, the Bulldogs played South Carolina-Upstate, while they faced Cal State Bakersfield in the season finale the past two years ago. This season, it’s Longwood (9 p.m., ROOT), whose three wins since January 16 have been over non-Division-I teams. Gonzaga should get a nice tuneup before the WCC tournament. Plus, it’s Senior Night, so that’s cool.

Potential upset: There’s not much to choose from, but we’ll go with Hampton over Bethune-Cookman on the road (7:30 p.m.). Bethune-Cookman was gunning for a league title a week ago, but has since lost two games and is now out of the running. Hampton has been up and down this season, but the Pirates play very good defense and have only lost one league game by double-digits this season.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. As mentioned earlier, conference tournaments start tonight, with the Big South featuring two matchups: Radford at VMI (7 p.m.) and Gardner-Webb at High Point (7:30 p.m.).
  2. Mississippi Valley State looks to improve to 17-0 in the SWAC with a road game at Jackson State (7 p.m., ESPNU).
  3. The MEAC race is heating up, with all three title contenders in action tonight. First-place Savannah State hosts North Carolina A&T (8 p.m.), while 11-3 Norfolk State is at Florida A&M (7:30 p.m.) and 11-3 Delaware State welcomes Morgan State (7:30 p.m.).
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Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:47 pm

Today's Specials: WVU needs win vs. Marquette

Without a win at home vs. Marquette tonight, West Virginia could be on the outside looking in for the Big Dance. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

This week doesn’t feature too many marquee matchups, or ranked teams played other ranked teams, but it’s a prove-it week for bubble teams. Wednesday is slightly different, as many teams simply have to avoid bad losses.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 10 Marquette at West Virginia (9 p.m., ESPN). This is a must-win game for West Virginia, which has lost six of its last eight games. A victory would get the Mountaineers back to .500 in the Big East, and would add a quality win. Meanwhile, Marquette is in the running for second-place in the conference. The key in this game will be the Golden Eagles’ defensive rebounding against Kevin Jones and West Virginia’s offense rebounding. Moreover, can the Mountaineers keep up with Marquette when it forcing turnovers and running the floor?

Second-best game: Fairfield at Iona (9 p.m., ESPNU). If you had asked us back in January if Fairfield would be in position to forge a tie for first place with a win on Friday night, we would have looked at you pretty strangely. The Stags have won seven MAAC games in a row, with the last loss coming at home to Iona. Iona has a one-game lead on Fairfield and Loyola (Md.), but gets two home games to finish the season. The pace of this game will be a factor, as Iona wants to speed things up. Scott Machado vs. Derek Needham should be fun.

Another one to watch: Butler at Valparaiso (7 p.m., ESPNU). Valparaiso has already clinched the regular-season title, but the favorite heading into the conference tournament could be Butler. The Bulldogs have won five in a row to move to 11-6 in the league, and could finish in second. Butler has been playing very solid defensively, but it will need to defend the 3-point line and avoid silly fouls. Moreover, it needs to hit outside shots.

Guaranteed win: Manhattan has lost three of its last four conference games to drop to fourth place in the standings, but the Jaspers have a nice bounceback game tonight against Canisius (7 p.m.). Canisius is 1-15 in MAAC play and lost by 12 to Manhattan the last time the two teams played. With the way Manhattan plays defense, this one could get out of hand in a hurry. 

Potential upset: Loyola (Md.) blew its chance to get a stranglehold on the league by losing two in a row after taking over first place, but the Greyhounds are still in the hunt for a title. However, they have to travel to Rider tonight (7 p.m., ESPN2). The Brocs are 5-2 at home in the conference, and they shoot the 3 as well as any team in the league.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  • Harvard looks for revenge against the only team to beat it in the Ivy this season, Princeton (7 p.m.). A home sweep this weekend would put the Crimson in good position to win the automatic bid.
  • Idaho probably won't score 115 points like New Mexico State did on Thursday, but the Vandals need to win at Utah State to keep pace for second-place in the WAC (9:05 p.m., ESPN3).
  • The race is on for second-place in the Ivy League, and a win by Penn at Dartmouth (7 p.m.) would give the Quakers a chance to tie for first on Saturday at Harvard. Yale also hosts Columbia (7 p.m.).
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Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:01 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 11:05 am

Today's Specials: Duke looks for revenge at FSU

By Jeff Borzello

Thursday features plenty of interesting matchups, including no fewer than six teams that can clinch at least a share of their respective regular-season titles. A rematch of one of January's best games is also on the docket.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: No. 5 Duke at No. 15 Florida State (7 p.m., ESPN). Looking back, January 21 is what changed the complexion of the ACC title race. Florida State went into Cameron Indoor Stadium and knocked off the Blue Devils, giving the Seminoles a huge edge heading down the stretch. Florida State has won 10 of its last 11 games, while Duke has become the comeback kids, using late runs to beat North Carolina and North Carolina State in recent weeks. Florida State's defense is usually rock-solid, but it needs to take care of the ball.

Second-best game: BYU at Gonzaga (11 p.m., ESPN2). This is an important game for both teams. A win here for BYU, and the Cougars could feel very confident about their at-large hopes. Moreover, after Gonzaga's loss to San Francisco over the weekend, both the Bulldogs and Cougars are tied at 11-3 in the conference -- one game back of reeling Saint Mary's. BYU won the first meeting by 10, but that was home. The battle inside should be fun to watch, with Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies going against Robert Sacre and Elias Harris.

Another one to watch: No. 17 Louisville at Cincinnati (9 p.m., ESPN). Despite its hideous RPI and computer profile, Cincinnati has won four of its last five and would be in the NCAA tournament if it were selected today. The Bearcats have a chance to really boost their resume with a win over the Cardinals. Louisville has won seven of its last eight to look likely as a top-four seed in the Big Dance. Louisville will need to knock down its outside shots, and also limit the second-chance opportunities for Cincinnati

Guaranteed win: All season long, California has seemed to remain above the Pac-12 fray. The Golden Bears are tied atop the league standings, and should take a half-game lead after tonight as they travel to Utah (9 p.m.). The first time the two teams played, California rolled to a 36-point victory. The Utes have lose three straight single-digit games, but methinks this one will be a bigger margin.

Potential upset: This one shouldn’t surprise anyone, as the first time they played, Iowa won at the Kohl Center on New Year’s Eve. The Hawkeyes are coming off a 12-point win over Indiana, and they have also defeated Michigan at home. No. 16 Wisconsin has actually been better on the road than at home this season, but Iowa’s ability to score inside the arc could be the difference (9 p.m., ESPN2). 

Three things to keep an eye on:

  • Three teams can win outright conference titles on Thursday, in Belmont, Davidson and Middle Tennessee. LIU-Brooklyn and Bucknell can clinch a share of the championship in their respective conferences. Saint Mary’s can also clinch at least a tie at Portland (10 p.m., ESPNU).
  • No. 14 Murray State looks to get revenge for its only loss of the season, at Tennessee State (8 p.m., ESPNU).
  • Bubble games: Alabama at Arkansas (7 p.m., ESPN2), USC at Arizona (8:30 p.m.) and Stanford at Colorado (10:30 p.m., ROOT). 
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Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:02 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 12:05 pm

Today's Specials: Bubblers look to avoid bad Ls

Notre Dame has won eight in a row, and could hurt West Virginia's at-large hopes tonight. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Borzello

If Tuesday night was the chance for bubble teams to get marquee wins and boost their resume, Wednesday is the night where they simply have to avoid bad losses. Several squads are off the bubble with a loss tonight.

Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP poll.

Best game: West Virginia at No. 20 Notre Dame (7 p.m., ESPN2). Interestingly, this is the only game of the night between two projected NCAA tournament teams. West Virginia has lost five of its last seven, but could really solidify its profile with a win at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have won eight in a row, including Saturday’s comeback win over Villanova. They are currently tied for second in the standings. The battle inside between Kevin Jones and Jack Cooley should be fun to watch. Both guys are unbelievable in the offensive glass.  

Second-best game: No. 6 Michigan State at Minnesota (8:30 p.m., Big Ten Network). Minnesota is pretty much off the bubble at this point, as the Golden Gophers have lost three in a row and five of their last seven. They sit at just 5-9 in the league. Meanwhile, Michigan State has planted itself in the No. 1 seed discussion, after five straight wins gave the Spartans the inside track to a Big Ten title. The only way Minnesota wins is if it avoids extended offensive droughts, and also forces Michigan State to turn it over or shoot long jumpers.

Another one to watch: South Florida at No. 2 Syracuse (7 p.m., ESPN3). Despite the lack of quality wins, South Florida finds itself firmly on the bubble with a 10-4 Big East record. The Bulls could really help their resume with a road win at Syracuse, which can clinch a share of the league title with a win tonight. In order to pull the upset, South Florida needs to take care of the ball – Anthony Collins has helped in this area – and keep Syracuse on the perimeter. The Orange will dominate down low.

Guaranteed win: In what might be the weirdest non-conference game of the season, North Carolina Central visits Indiana tonight (7 p.m.). Why? Apparently it was to avoid back-to-back bye weeks in the schedule. It’s February 22, and the Hoosiers could probably use the rest before a tough finishing stretch. If I were NC-Central, I certainly wouldn’t pass the game up. With that said, Indiana will roll. 

Potential upset: The Atlantic-10 is getting more interesting everyday. On Wednesday night, No. 22 Temple travels to La Salle (7 p.m.) in a game that means more than one might think. The Explorers, while not having a great resume right now, have a remaining schedule that makes third-place possible. If they win tonight, and run the table until the A-10 semis, is that enough for an at-large? Temple needs to get out on La Salle’s shooters if it wants to avoid an upset.

Three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Before the season, UC Santa Barbara visiting Long Beach State (11 p.m., ESPN2) would have been must-see hoops. Now, it’s one of the last obstacles remaining for LBSU to go unbeaten through the Big West.
  2. Several bubble teams can kiss their chances goodbye with a loss tonight: Wyoming at No. 25 San Diego State (10:30 p.m., Mountain); Dayton at Duquesne (7 p.m.); Richmond at Saint Joseph’s (7 p.m.); Ole Miss at Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPN3); Houston at Marshall (7 p.m.); Georgia at LSU (8 p.m., ESPN3); UCF at Rice (9 p.m.); and any of the CAA teams. 
  3. Texas-Arlington leads the Southland with a 12-0 record, but it can clinch a share of the league title tonight on the road at second-place McNeese State. A loss, and the race picks up some intrigue. 
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