There are quite a few bubble games for such a light night of college hoops, so Tuesday night could have legitimate bracket implications.
Best game — Texas at Oklahoma (-6), 9 ET, ESPN2: In the first meeting between these two teams, Oklahoma won by 21 in Austin. That gave the Sooners their third consecutive win over the Longhorns for the first time since 2005-06, which goes to show the great strides this program has made since Lon Kruger took over. However, this game is exceedingly more important for Texas, who could really use another quality win in order to solidify its NCAA Tournament position. They’re certainly on the right side of the bubble (probably an 8 or 9 seed at this point), but can’t afford another skid.
Second-best game — LSU at Texas A&M (-2.5), 9 ET, SEC Network: These two couldn’t have more different profiles. LSU has horrible losses to Mississippi State, Auburn and Missouri, but also wins road wins over West Virginia, Mississippi and Florida. The Aggies have a more bland profile, having taken no bad losses but also only holding only a win vs. LSU among potential NCAA Tournament teams. With a win over the Tigers in hand, the Aggies probably need it a bit more this time too.
Another to watch — St. John’s at Georgetown, 7 ET, FS1: Just when you thought St. John’s would struggle to make the tournament, they rip off four of five, get to .500 in the Big East and get back on the right side of the bubble. That’s a great start, but the Red Storm need to keep winning. The Hoyas need this win for seeding purposes. They’re safely in the tournament at the moment, but probably can’t afford to drop more home games.
Matchup to watch — Josh Richardson vs. Kentucky backcourt: Tennessee’s Richardson is one of the country’s most underappreciated players. He’s a terrific defensive player who can shut down nearly anyone in the country. Plus, he’s taken over for Jordan McRae as the Vols’ primary ball-handler and scoring option, and has done so with excellent efficiency. He’s going up against the Harrison twins, Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker. If he can slow down Booker and Aaron Harrison, plus score 20-plus points, the Vols could stay in the game.
Potential upset: Michigan is seemingly in free fall, having lost 5 of 6. However, three of the losses have been in overtime, including one to Michigan State in East Lansing. The in-state rivals play Tuesday, and I’d look for the Wolverines to get revenge on the Spartans.
Pick of the night — San Diego State -4 over New Mexico: The Lobos have lost four in a row to less-than-stellar competition. Plus, The Pit is not nearly as scary as in the past, as New Mexico has already dropped three games to sub-top-50 competition there this season. Oh, and the first time these two played, the Aztecs won by 14.
- Baylor goes to Texas Tech for a tricky game it can’t lose for seeding purposes.
- Notre Dame hosts Wake Forest, which could be a fun offensive matchup.
- Oh yeah, like I mentioned above Kentucky plays Tennessee. The Wildcats should roll, but it’s worth mentioning they’ve struggled there somewhat in the recent past, having dropped games in 2010 (the Cousins/Wall/Bledsoe team) as well as 2013.
- VCU gets a light night in the A-10 against Saint Louis.
- Wichita State should make somewhat easy work of Southern Illinois.
- Finally, 20-win Wyoming is still without Larry Nance and will go into Nevada looking to avoid a bad loss. Although, at this point they might just be holding out for MWC seeding for the conference Tournament.
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