Viewer's Guide: Stanford needs to prove itself at UConn
No marquee games on Wednesday, but Stanford and Indiana State look to prove themselves on the road. Plus, can Massachusetts stay unbeaten?
Nice night of hoops on Tuesday. We had the marquee game between Florida and Memphis, plus a few great finishes along the way. Wednesday lacks the high-profile contest, but there are a few games that could be proving grounds for several teams. Moreover, a couple of undefeated teams put their status on the line.
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: Stanford at No. 10 Connecticut (9 p.m., ESPN2). This is an important game for Stanford. The Cardinal came into the season with fairly high hopes, expecting to be an NCAA tournament contender in a key year for head coach Johnny Dawkins. However, they gave up 112 points to BYU early on, and also got blown out by Pittsburgh. They need to at least keep it close against Connecticut – especially since a matchup with Michigan is coming up next. Stanford has been guarding the perimeter very poorly, and Connecticut is arguably the best 3-point shooting team in the country. Not a good recipe for an upset.
Second-best game: Indiana State at Saint Louis (8 p.m.). A couple of teams who were projected to finish second in their conference back in the preseason. Indiana State has a win over Notre Dame, although it’s balanced out by two one-point losses to Belmont and Tulsa. On the other side, Saint Louis has lost to Wisconsin and Wichita State – and doesn’t have a very good win all season. Despite having one of the best point guards in the country in Jake Odum, the Sycamores could find it tough to break down the Saint Louis defense, especially at home. The Billikens don’t beat themselves, and will make life difficult for Indiana State.
Another one to watch: Texas at No. 14 North Carolina (7 p.m., ESPN2). An interesting contest between two teams with plenty of storylines. We came into this season thinking that Texas would be pretty bad and Rick Barnes would probably be gone after this season – but the Longhorns are 9-1 heading into a couple of big chances this week: at North Carolina and home against Michigan State. Can Texas sneak a big upset? Meanwhile, North Carolina has beaten each of the preseason top three teams, and might be finding some consistency. Texas needs to own the offensive glass and also get the Tar Heels into foul trouble – while also keeping North Carolina out of transition.
Guaranteed win: Southern Utah at No. 24 San Diego State (10 p.m.). Since losing at home to Arizona in the second game of the season, San Diego State has reeled off six wins in a row – including victories over Creighton and Marquette. Southern Utah will make it seven in a row. The Thunderbirds don’t have a Division-I win this season, with the closest loss coming by 15 points.
Potential upset: No. 22 Massachusetts at Ohio (7 p.m.). Massachusetts is one of only 13 undefeated teams still remaining, but the Minutemen will have a test on Wednesday. They have only played one true road game this season, at Eastern Michigan. Ohio hasn’t done anything all that impressive, but the Bobcats contest shots and don’t make mistakes defensively. Nick Kellogg and Maurice Ndour have to come up big.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Delaware at No. 3 Ohio State (7 p.m., Big Ten Network) might not be close, but it’s a chance to see one of the most explosive scoring perimeters against arguably the best defensive backcourt.
- Jon Rothstein special: Drexel at Saint Joseph’s (7 p.m.). Drexel has won four in a row, and transfer Freddie Wilson has only one game under his belt.
- We might not get a bigger tempo disparity than Northwestern State at No. 12 Baylor (9:30 p.m.). Northwestern State is No. 1 in tempo; Baylor is No. 336.
Other games to watch:
- Texas Southern at Temple (7 p.m., ESPN3)
- North Carolina State at Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPNU)
- San Francisco at St. John’s (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1)
- LSU at Texas Tech (9 p.m., ESPNU)
- Towson at Oregon State (10 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
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