If you decided to watch the three notable games last night (Louisville/WVU, WSU/USC, or Illinois/Wisconsin), you were disappointed. I tried to watch all three games, but found myself instead watching Arkansas/Auburn and UW-GB/Butler, and the inside of my eyelids (near the end of WSU and UCLA). So what did we learn last night?
- Either Louisville has returned to form or West Virginia is just BAD on the road. Louisville did not look overly dominating, and since away from Morgantown the Mountaineer's best win came against either New Mexico St. or Auburn, I tend toward the latter.
- Washington St. is clearly better than USC. We knew this already, but this further confirms it.
- Arkansas is a bubble team, Auburn is an NIT/CBI team at best.
- Butler will probably lose a couple more in-conference games this year. Although they won with a tough OOC schedule, they are not nearly as good on the road, and tend not to play as well in-conference. Because of this, they will not be a 4 seed like most people (including me) are projecting.
- Oregon should be ecstatic about their win over Cal. They now have two wins over tournament-quality teams
- New Mexico St., with their win in Boise, should be considered the favorite to win the WAC.
- With Austin Peay's loss last night, the OVC is wide open, and the champion should expect a 16-seed.
- The three teams from the Southland that were hyped for their lack of bad OOC losses (and a decent OOC win) have all lost their conference opener.
- Siena at Niagara: The only Friday game worth noting matches the two contenders for the MAAC Championship.
- Florida St. @ Clemson: Clemson needs to rebound from the loss to Charlotte to avoid going on a three game losing streak. Florida St. would like to take advantage of the situation to add that quality win they've been looking for.
- Ohio St. @ Purdue: Ohio St. needs this game to maintain position for a top 8 seed. Purdue needs this game to climb closer to the bubble.
- Kansas @ Nebraska: The conference opener for both teams has the 4th lowest combined Pomeroy Ratings of Saturday.
- Kansas St. @ Oklahoma: Two Big XII bubble teams currently on the good side of the bubble.
- Texas Tech @ Oklahoma St: Two Big XII bubble teams currently on the bad side of the bubble.
- UConn @ Georgetown (2:00 EST, ESPN): A match-up of the two Big East teams with starters over 7'. This also matches the team with the 14th fastest pace with the 317th fastest pace, which could be the deciding factor. Neither team is very good at free-throws (UConn has the edge, 66.4% to 60.4%). This should be a very good game, and has the 6th lowest combined Pomeroy Ratings for Saturday, with both teams in the top 34.
- Notre Dame @ Marquette (2:00 EST, ESPN Full Court): The second-lowest combined Pomeroy Rating game of Saturday. Notre Dame has had two impressive home wins over West Virginia and UConn, and has a real chance to go and pick up their first true road win over a Marquette team that lacks the height to stop Harangody and is reeling after a loss to West Virginia and an ugly win over Seton Hall. A win here would establish the Irish as the second best team in the conference.
- UC-Santa Barbara @ CSU-Fullerton: Two of the three best teams in the Big West square off.
- San Diego St. @ New Mexico: This game will help sort out the 5-team jumble at the top of the Mountain West.
- SE Missouri St. @ Austin Peay: The two best teams in the OVC square off.
- Arizona @ Houston (3:00 EST, ESPN2): Arizona is currently 1-3 in true road games, with the win coming against UNLV. That record is deceiving, since those three losses came against Memphis by 13, in OT against Arizona St, and in OT against Kansas. Regardless, Arizona would like to have another OOC road win on their resume. 11-2 Houston needs a quality win to add to their resume. Their best win came against Kentucky, and they've lost to VCU and UMass. A win here would be of great help come Selection Sunday.
- Washington St. @ UCLA (2:30 EST, Possibly Not Televised): I've searched everywhere, and I cannot find out if this game is televised. Seriously... when is the last time a game between two top-5 teams wasn't televised? This is the best game of the week according to the Pomeroy ratings. It's at approximately at the same time as my other 3 highlighted games, so I might not have gotten to watch it, but still... I'm sure that more of the country would watch this game over Arizona/Houston.
- New Mexico St. @ Utah St.: After knocking off WAC competitor Boise St. on Thursday, NMSU has another road game against a team in the upper tier of the WAC.
- Syracuse @ West Virginia: The best game according to the Pomeroy Ratings features two teams that are a combined 3-3 in-conference. They both need this game.
- Illinois @ Indiana: An under-achieving Illinois team heads to Bloomington.
- Stanford @ Oregon (4:30 ET, CBS): This game won't tell us anything about either team, but it will probably be the best game on TV on Sunday (unless you want to watch the football games).
- Alabama @ Arkansas: Arkansas fights to stay on the bubble. Alabama fights just to get talked about.