Snowed in today? Darn. Now you have no choice but to watch some great games.
After a week of absolutely no earth-shattering match-ups and almost no men’s basketball drama (on the court at least), we have some great games today and tomorrow. And wasn’t it great of Mother Nature to send the mid-Atlantic and northeast a nor ‘easter that will bring blizzard-like conditions to America’s hotbed of basketball? Now you can’t be dragged out of the house for Christmas shopping and can kick back, remote in hand and get in on all the action. Here’s how I think things will play out today and tomorrow.
Michigan at No. 1 Kansas. There’s a lot of talk about how good the Big 10 is
Bill Self might be puzzled, but the rest of us know why his team is No. 1.
this year. They won the Big 10 – ACC challenge this year. Wisconsin scored a big upset over Duke. OSU and Michigan State each gave UNC a game and didn’t give up. However, Michigan has been struggling. And no matter how much people yell, “Play somebody!” Kansas is currently demonstrating why they’re number 1 by winning with huge margins against their cupcakes. Therefore, I’m giving Kansas an easy win here.
No. 10 North Carolina vs. No. 2 Texas. For many fans, this is the game of the day, but not for me. I’m only happy when I can watch Tar Heels beat the crap out of teams. If the game is close, I suffer. Anyway, I hate picking against my own team almost as much as I hate Rick Barnes, but I don’t see an option here. I love my Tar Heels, but I don’t think they can play a complete game against the Longhorns. While we’re improving, we’re still inconsistent and error-prone. To beat a team with the talent of Texas, we need to play flawless basketball for 40 minutes. Also, no team that I really love has won at the Taj Mahal the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium yet.
Austin Peay at No. 3 Kentucky. This is a no-brainer. By the way, here’s a message for my friend Flopped: This is why I like John Calipari: “Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson said he was surprised by Knight’s comments but that Knight’s words seem to be part of the national perception of his coach. ‘People hear stuff about him and they kind of guess what he’s like, but playing for him and actually being around him, he’s a great guy,’ Harrellson said. ‘He’s fair to everybody.’” You can read more about this here. A good measure of a coach is how his or her players feel about him or her.
Ball State vs. No. 4 Purdue. Okay, I’ve been caught napping here. I didn’t realize the Boilermakers were ranked so high. But as I look at their schedule, I can see that this is a deserved ranking, although I personally would put them in the No. 5 spot and bump Syracuse up to No. 4. This will be an easy victory for Purdue and will put Ball State at 3-5.
St. Bonaventure at No. 5 Syracuse. Poor St. Bonaventure. That’s all that needs to be said here.
The defeat of St. Bonaventure the University will be a lot less mysterious than the saint's death.
No. 6 West Virginia at Cleveland State. Kudos to West Virginia for traveling to the home court of a cupcake. And before an angry Cleveland State Viking fan objects to their school being called a cupcake, citing last season’s success, I have this retort: “You lost to Virginia. Case closed.”
No. 15 Gonzaga vs. No. 7 Duke. I’ve decided that this is my game of the day and even the week. I’m also going to enjoy this match the most of any played today because I loathe both teams. I loathe Gonzaga for always busting my NCAA brackets in the office pool by winning when I pick them to lose and losing when I pick them to win. I don’t think I need to explain why I loathe Duke. And for that reason, I have to pick Gonzaga, even though I know that, at the end of this game, I’ll be furious with them. Because now that I’ve picked them to win, they’ll lose by 20 points. Oh, well, at least the Duke fans I like will be happy with the outcome of my reverse mojo.
No. 8 Tennessee at USC. On paper, Tennessee looks to be the much better team. But, for some reason, I’m sensing an upset here.
No. 9 Villanova at Fordham. I would really like to give a hand to the Big East teams like WVU and Villanova for not mandating that their cupcakes all travel to play them.
Old Dominion at No. 11 Georgetown. Will Georgetown score 20 points before the half? Tune into this yawner to find out.
What does IPFW stand for and why is their mascot this extinct guy?
IPFW at No. 12 Michigan State. This game is full of question marks (with the exception of who will win). What the heck does IPFW stand for? And why are they the mastodons? Are they some special kind of archaeology institute?
Richmond vs. No 13 Florida. I think Florida’s ranking is too low. In my mythical poll, I would put them at No. 11 and move Georgetown and Michigan State down a rank. If any team in the SEC is going to beat Kentucky this year, I think it’ll be Florida. Sorry Vols fans, but that’s how I feel. Of course, I’m not completely ruling out that spoiler team called Mississippi either as one that might upset Kentucky.
Xavier at No. 17 Butler. If Texas Tech and Wichita State weren’t playing today, I’d dub this the mid-major game of the week. Butler has a better record and will probably pull it out in the end, but I think Xavier will play them close. This looks to be a fun game and one that most can watch dispassionately.
Delaware State at No. 18 Ohio State. The Buckeyes should sleepwalk to a win against 4-4 Delaware State.
Creighton at No. 19 New Mexico. Creighton’s one of those teams that espn.com loves to pump up (along with Butler and Dayton) in the most annoying way to try to generate excitement over the mid-majors. Sadly, these teams rarely have the success that espn.com claims they will have. Anyway, New Mexico has this one in the bag.
No. 20 Texas Tech at Wichita State. This is my mid-major game of the day and if Gonzaga and Duke weren’t playing today, it would be my game of the day period. Texas Tech is undefeated and won one of the most exciting games of the season when they beat Washington. Wichita State has only lost to Pitt. I like Wichita State for the upset, but it’ll be close.
Portland at No. 21 Washington. This is a tough call. Portland started the season out with a bang but has kind of fizzled of late, dropping three straight before beating Denver. Washington hasn’t beaten anybody of note. I think Washington will pull it out in the end, though.
No. 22 Kansas State at Alabama. Kansas State is having a great season. Alabama, not so much. However, I sense another upset here, maybe because Kansas State’s one loss has come at the hands of another SEC team, Mississippi.
USC Upstate at No. 23 UNLV. I’ve lived adjacent to South Carolina all my life and this is the first I’ve ever heard of USC Upstate. However, I just looked them up and found out that they used to be the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg. Mystery solved. Anyway, they’ve only won one game this season, this should be an easy win for UNLV.
Charleston at No. 24 Clemson. Charleston’s having a decent season, but they’ll be no match for the Tigers.
Centenary at No. 25 Mississippi. I’m still basking in the fact that I predicted that the UTEP-Mississippi game would be close and I was right. Today, however, the Rebels have what should be a breather against Centenary.
UCF at No. 14. Connecticut. This should be a fun C-USA – Big East match up. UCF has some good wins and an inexplicable loss to Niagara. Connecticut has had some great games and have only lost to two heavy-hitters: Duke and Kentucky. I think UCF will keep it close for awhile, but Connecticut will start to dominate midway through the second half as UCF starts to get tired.
Florida State at No. 15 Georgia Tech. This early ACC match up should also be a fun one. Georgia Tech has only lost one game and Florida State has only lost two. Florida State’s losses (Florida and OSU) have been respectable while Georgia Tech’s loss (Dayton) was inexplicable. I’m giving Georgia Tech the edge only because they’re playing at home and not because I think they’re the better team.
I don’t know about you all, but I’m ready for some basketball now. I’m going to go finish decorating the tree and prepare for six hours of bliss mixed with angst (the UNC – Texas game).