Saturday, February 11, 2012

Road to the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans

Selection Sunday is a month out, and with that I’d like to preview the weekend match-ups leading up to March 11, 2012 “Selection Sunday”.

Saturday 02/11/2012
  • UCONN (15-8, 5-6 Big East) vs. #2 Syracuse (24-1, 11-1 Big East) 1PM CBS
    • Wednesday night, Syracuse got an overtime victory against archrival, Georgetown, 64 to 61 in the Carrier Dome. After suffering their only loss of the season, the Orange have won their last four games and sit alone on top of the Big East Standings. Saturday begins a 6-game stretch, in which they play UCONN and Louisville TWICE. UCONN is in serious need of a quality W, currently on a stretch in which they have lost 5 of 6 games. The defending NCAA champs, are closer to the NIT, then the Big Dance of the NCAA.
  • #20 Virginia (19-4, 6-3 ACC) vs. #5 North Carolina (20-4, 7-2 ACC) 1PM ESPN3 
    • With the “River Miracle” Wednesday night (see UNC/Duke Game), the ACC has six teams within a game of the ACC lead. UNC will try to rebound at home after Duke snapped their 31-game home win streak, Wednesday night. Virginia is off to one of its best starts in school history. The winner of this one will keep pace with the other leaders of the ACC.
  • #6 Baylor (21-3, 8-3 Big 12) vs. #4 Missouri (22-2, 9-2 Big 12) 1:30PM ESPN3
    • Round 2 between these two teams, (Missouri winning 89-88 in Waco, Jan. 21) will have plenty of Big 12 implications. With Kansas (19-5, 9-2 Big 12) tied on top of the Big 12, with Missouri, it’s a most win for the Bears in keeping their Big 12 hopes alive (who have already lost twice to Kansas). Baylor is coming off a home defeat to the Jayhawks Wednesday night, 68 to 54, which included a KU 32-4 run at one point. Missouri is running a 4-game winning streak and is undefeated at home this season (13-0).
  • #14 San Diego State (20-3, 6-1 MVC) vs. #16 UNLV (21-4, 5-2 MVC) 4PM
    • A match-up out west, between two of the top three teams in the Mountain West Conference, the Running Rebels host the Aztecs. The second meeting between these two teams (SD State won 69 to 67, Jan. 14) will have a major impact in determining who wins the MVC Regular Season Title. With both teams, still having to face New Mexico (19-4, 5-2 MVC) one more time, Saturday’s meeting is critical for both teams.
Games of the Night
  • #12 Michigan St. (19-5, 8-3 Big Ten) vs. #3 Ohio St. (21-3, 9-2 Big Ten) 6PM ESPN
    • The Game of the Big Ten Season (till they meet in the Season Finale), the Buckeyes host the Spartans in Columbus on Saturday night, that will tell a lot about the two teams and who will have the upper hand towards winning the Big Ten Regular Season Championship. The Buckeyes are riding a 39-game home winning streak, but got a close call in their last one, (87-84 vs. Purdue). After a 15-game winning streak (opened the season 0-2), the Spartans are 4-3 in their past 7 games. The winner won’t walk away with the Big Ten Title Saturday night however; they will be one step closer towards that goal.
  •  #1 Kentucky (24-1, 10-0 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt (17-7, 6-3 SEC) 9PM ESPN
    • In Primetime, the #1 team in the land goes on the road in a historic/hostile environment. The Commodores host the Wildcats, trying to hand them just their second loss of the season. After a slow start to the season (6-4) due to injuries, Vandy has won 14 of 17 games. Kentucky has a star-studded team, with a focus on the defensive end, unlike UK teams of recent years. It will be critical for the Commodores to get out to a fast start and ride the home crowd’s energy. Kentucky’s only loss of the season came on a last-second 3 pointer @ Indiana.