The defending national champs get a chance to avenge a loss in Charlottesville from last season when they host Virginia today after dropping just their second contest of the season at Marquette on Tuesday night. That game highlights some key action as sports fans get their final Sunday off before Super Sunday in Houston next week.
A big day of college hoops is highlighted by a match-up of all-time historical programs when Kansas takes on Kentucky. Let’s take a look at who we like for that one as well as the other 42 games we selected for the final Saturday in January.
A typical quiet Friday night is on tap for college hoops with the exception of a huge match-up in the Atlantic 10 where first-place Dayton travels to third-place Virginia Commonwealth.
You wouldn’t know it based on the last three seasons, but the Marquette basketball program has been very competitive with a winning culture since Hall of Fame Coach Al McGuire took over in 1964. Under McGuire the Golden Eagles won both the NIT Championship in 1970 (when that title was more prestigious) and the NCAA Championship in 1977.
With Amile Jefferson back on the court and playing a team-high 34 minutes in the Blue Devils 12-point win over Miami on Saturday night, I expect Duke is on the verge of regaining their mojo. They get a chance to keep that momentum going tonight at Cameron Indoor Stadium when they face a young and inconsistent NC State squad as a 16-point favorite.
Two of our top six picks today in college hoops feature a pair of programs who have been to a combined one NCAA Tournament Appearance since 1993. Both LaSalle and Northwestern are hungry for a bid this season and are both playing like it. If they can win big road games today their chances become a bit more plausible.
Not many would have imagined that SMU could still have the same type of success after Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown decided to hang it up, but the Mustangs have persevered without Brown and 2-time AAC Player of the Year Nic Moore (graduated) by winning 12 of 13 (7-1-1 ATS, L9) as they host Houston later today in Dallas.
After upsetting Wichita State 76-62 on Saturday in Normal, Illinois State now sits atop the Missouri Valley standings as the lone unbeaten. The Redbirds now need to keep the position as long as possible if they expect to receive an at-large bid to the NCAAs barring a loss in the MVC Arch Madness Tournament later this season.
San Diego State, the beasts of the Mountain West Conference for the past six seasons have struggled with injuries this season, but now the Aztecs are as healthy as they’ve been which should mean trouble for the rest of the conference. After back-to-back blowout home wins can they duplicate that success on the road in Las Vegas tonight? I’m going to wager that they will.
The Villanova Wildcats seek revenge today when they host Seton Hall as the Big East takes center stage on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Pirates upset the Wildcats in last season’s Big East Championship game which is why we’re expecting a big performance from the defending national champions.