Viewer's Guide: Minnesota, St. John's face must-wins
Tuesday features multiple bubble teams in serious need of a win, while Wichita State looks to remain unbeaten as it heads on the road.
The bubble is the major theme of Tuesday’s action. There are two huge games between bubble teams, while another one is looking for a marquee win to bounce back and get on the right track. Moreover, the top two teams in the rankings are in action – and on the road.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: No. 20 Iowa at Minnesota (7 p.m., Big Ten Network). This has become essentially a must-win for Minnesota, which has lost two in a row and six of its last eight games. After this, the Golden Gophers have to head to Michigan before returning home to face Penn State. Iowa is obviously going to make the NCAA tournament, but the Hawkeyes have been inconsistent lately and need to get back on the right track. A road win against a desperate Minnesota team would be nice. Iowa won the first meeting by 21 points, lighting up the Gophers’ defense to the tune of 94 points. Minnesota can’t let Iowa get easy baskets in transition, while also getting hot from 3-point range.
Second-best game: Xavier at St. John’s (7 p.m., FOX Sports 1). Both teams need a win here. Xavier got blown out at Georgetown on Saturday, which was its second loss in three games and fifth in eight games. Meanwhile, St. John’s lost for only its second time in 11 games, at Villanova. If the Red Storm had pulled out that one, they would be in really good shape for the NCAA tournament. The winner of this will likely be in most projected brackets next week; the loser, maybe not. The key could be the availability of Rysheed Jordan; he had a close relative pass away recently and his status for Monday is up in the air. If he plays, his battle against Semaj Christon will be terrific.
Another one to watch: Dayton at Saint Joseph’s (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network). This is a monster bubble game in the Atlantic 10. Saint Joseph’s has won four in a row and 15 of its last 18 games to put itself in good position for an NCAA tournament bid, but the upcoming four-game stretch isn’t easy: vs. Dayton, at St. Bonaventure, at George Washington, vs. La Salle. Meanwhile, Dayton has a much better resume than most people think, winners of six in a row with previous wins over Gonzaga, California and George Washington. A win in Philadelphia would really boost the resume.
Guaranteed win: San Jose State at No. 13 San Diego State (11 p.m., CBS Sports Network). The Aztecs had won 20 in a row from November to February, but they have now lost two of their last four – including Saturday night’s 14-point loss at New Mexico that created a tie at the top of the Mountain West. They shouldn’t have much trouble against San Jose State on Tuesday. The Spartans won their first Mountain West game of the season last week. They won’t make it two on Tuesday.
Potential upset: Missouri at Georgia (9 p.m., ESPNU). At first, I was leaning toward going with Georgia in the upset. But the Bulldogs – surprisingly in third-place in the SEC at 9-5 – are favored, and therefore I’ll go with Missouri in the slight upset. This is a game the Tigers can’t afford to lose, especially after falling at Alabama over the weekend. They are still likely in the NCAA tournament field, but things could get seriously tricky with a loss in Athens.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- No. 2 Wichita State looks to move to 30-0 on the season when it travels to Bradley (9 p.m., ESPN2).
- No. 1 Florida had some struggles last week, and now the Gators head on the road to face Vanderbilt (7 p.m., ESPN).
- Wisconsin is playing some of the best basketball in the country right now, and the 14th-ranked Badgers host Indiana (9 p.m., ESPN).
Other games to watch:
- Virginia Tech at No. 6 Duke (7 p.m., ESPNU)
- Kansas State at Texas Tech (7 p.m., ESPN2)
- Clemson at Wake Forest (7 p.m., ESPN3)
- Utah State at No. 25 New Mexico (9 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
|2004 SAINT JOSEPH'S VS. 2014 WICHITA STATE|
|Team||Record||SOS||Non-con SOS||RPI||Sagarin||KenPom||Road/neutral wins||Wins vs. top 50||Margin of victory|
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