Friday, February 17, 2012

Road to the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans

This past week provided us with some upsets (St. Mary’s, San Diego St.) some close calls (Florida St., Duke), and with that another weekend is among us with Conference and NCAA Tournament implications all around. This weekend provides us with some interesting “Bracketbuster” games, along with key Conference matchups. It’s hard to get  “W’s” on the road, and with 16 of the Top 25 teams playing away from home this weekend, we will see which teams are/were up for the challenge.

Games of interest over the Weekend:
1-5 Stars
1: Check the Box Score 2: Couple of Minutes to Check the Score 3: You may want to watch 4: Watchable 5: Don’t Miss this Game

#21 Florida State Seminoles (18-7, 9-2 ACC) vs. NC State Wolfpack (18-8, 7-4 ACC)

How are both of these teams going to follow up their performances from Thursday Night? Florida State needing a last second 3-pt basketball, to beat VA Tech 48 to 47 @ home, at one point were trailing by 15. NC State blew a 20-point 2nd half lead @ Duke losing 78 to 73. With Florida State still in position to win the ACC over the two powerhouses UNC/Duke, they need to win this game. NC State could benefit from winning this game, and keep their chances of an NCAA berth alive. Stars: 1

#11 UNLV Rebels (22-5, 6-3 MWC) vs. New Mexico Lobos (21-4, 7-2 MWC)

After this past week’s upsets (UNLV losing @ TCU in OT) and (New Mexico beating San Diego St. on the road), the winner of this matchup will have the upper hand in the MWC. In what has turned into a three-team race (if you include San Diego St 20-5, 6-3 MWC), this game could be a fun game to watch. Each of these teams likes to get up and down the court (UNLV 80 ppg) and (New Mexico 73 ppg), which should provide this game with some high-pace action. Check it out; it’s going to be on CBS. Stars: 4

#3 Missouri Tigers (24-2, 11-2 Big 12) vs. Texas A&M (13-12, 4-9 Big 12)

Missouri under 1st year Head Coach Frank Haith, has the Tigers in position for a Big 12 Championship along with a potential #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament (Both first since 1994). Led by leading-scorer Marcus Denmon (18 ppg) the Tigers offense has four players averaging double figures in scoring. The Tigers should not look over this game vs. the Aggies (losers of 4 out of 5 games), have the potential for an upset, but if the Tigers want to keep pace with their Big 12 rivals Kansas on top of the standings they will take care of business in College Station on Saturday afternoon. Stars- 2

BracketBuster of the Weekend

#16 St. Mary’s Gaels (23-4, 12-2 WCC) vs. #14 Murray State Racers (25-1, 13-1 OVC)

In what most are calling, “The Greatest BracketBuster of All-Time”, pits two top 20 teams and potential March darlings. The Racers of Murray State are having one heck of a season winners of 25 of 26 games, started the season 23-0. Led by Guard Isaiah Cannan (19 ppg), the Racers want to capitalize on the National spotlight hosting this BracketBuster matchup. The Gaels are coming into this game losing 2 of their last 3 games, started the season 22-2 and are co-leaders of the WCC. It will be interesting to see how their handle having to play across country and the atmosphere that the Murray St. fans/students will have during this game. Stars: 5

College GameDay Live From Ann Arbor, Michigan
Game of the Week

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes (22-4, 10-3 Big Ten)
#19 Michigan Wolverines (19-7, 9-4 Big Ten)

With the win by Michigan State last weekend (vs. Ohio St.) and then again Thursday night vs. Wisconsin, the focus turns now to Ohio State and its game vs. the Wolverines. Primetime on ESPN, this one should be a goodie (think football), the Buckeyes won the first meeting (Jan. 29, 64 to 49) in Columbus. Jared Sullinger will look to atone for his sub-par performance from the first meeting (13 pts. and 5 rebounds). If the Buckeyes win, they hold serve with Michigan State on top of the Big Ten Standings with just two weeks to go in the regular season. The Wolverines are looking to stay undefeated @ home this season and with the win would toss their name into the Big Ten Championship race. Stars: 5!