What I'm looking forward to this weekend by channel surfing expertly (unless wet snow blocks by satellite signal):
-- Butler-Cleveland State: Want to see how bad a car wreck Butler has become but also Cleveland State has something to prove in this one.
-- VCU-James Madison: I've decided JamMad is as wacky as Seton Hall and I want to see how they react in a big game in the CAA.
-- Illinois-Northwestern: This has at-large bid implications for the Mildcats; should be intense.
-- St. John's-UCLA: Can the Redmen go cross-country and still keep it up? Beating Duke and UCLA in the less than a week is impressive anytime.
-- ODU-George Mason: Good rivalry, major CAA implications. In fact, VCU-JamMad, ODU-Mason is a CAA tournament semifinals preview.
-- UNLV-BYU: You have to ask why I'd watch? Just to see Jimmer do something else fantastic. Plus this is one of those hidden rivalry games. Dislike on both sides.
-- Kansas-Nebraska: Dangerous road game for the Jayhawks and a victory by Nebraska would really help the NCAA profile.
-- Washington-Oregon: Want to see if the Huskies can bounce back from Thursday's stinker in Corvallis and I want to test my mental toughness. Can I watch an entire game looking at Oregon's court without getting a headache.
-- UConn-Seton Hall: The Wild and Wackies will pull off the upset in beautiful downtown Newark.
-- Colorado-Missouri: I'm partial to Mizzou, they need to assert themselves here.
-- Murray State-Austin Peay: The traditional rivalry in the Ohio Valley, one of these two will win the league.
-- Kentucky-Florida: This will no doubt be a wild one in Gainesville. I find Florida's games very entertaining.
-- Santa Clara-San Francisco: I haven't seen either and both have really improved.
-- Rutgers-Notre Dame: I've really become attached to the Irish. Rutgers will challenge them.
-- Michigan State-Wisconsin: Just like Butler, I want to see how bad it can get for Sparty.
-- Ohio State-Minnesota: I predict an upset in the old Barn in Minny.
-- Florida State-North Carolina; We'll see if the Tar Heels have really turned the corner.
Then the Super Bowl: Packers over Steelers 24-10.
Glub, glub, glub in Puget Sound: Washington seemed like a possible Final Four darkhorse, an experienced, athletic team that with a good draw could advance far into the NCAAs. Then in the last six days they lost to arch-rival Washington State in Pullman (no shame in that) but Thursday night they fell to Oregon State 68-56. Really good teams don't do that. The Pac 10 is down, Washington will win it but after they went down meekly Thursday night, it's hard to get excited about them as a tournament team. Oregon State has lost six of seven coming in and the Craig Robinson era has been a disappointment. He needed the win.
On the other hand: Arizona met the challenge on the road in the Pac 10, holding Stanford at bay 78-69. The Wildcats may not win the Pac 10 but they might be the best team in the league. Star center Derrick Williams played with a wrapped right hand because of sprained pinky but he still went for 21 points and eight rebounds.
Zags have life: Gonzaga handed Portland its first home loss of the season 67-64 just six days after the Pilots blasted Saint Mary's on the court.
Surprising scores, amazing margins:
Oregon 69, Washington State 43: Coming off an upset over Washington this is incredibly disappointing for WashState. Maybe the strangely decorated court affect them.
Youngstown State 62, Butler 60: Doesn't even seem possible. The Fightin' Jaworskis had to score the last 10 points to win the game at home. Honestly? There has to be something really wrong at Butler, Loses like this indicate hidden injuries or team discord. No doubt it's the latter.
College of Charleston 79, Wofford 54: A complete beatdown as C of C asserts itself again in the Southern Conference.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell