by Jerry Palm
Everyone already has this week's big games on their radar: Texas-Kansas, Tennessee-Connecticut and Villanova-Syracuse. Here are some other, under-the-radar games today that have potential bracket implications.
Michigan State at Purdue. It's hard to call a game being played at the site of Gameday "under-the-radar," but this one can't be ignored. Purdue doesn't have a quality win all year. The Spartans are in danger of losing any realistic hope of the conference title. Both teams need this one. Badly.
Arizona at Washington State. These two were in my First Four last week, and the Wildcats are coming off a loss at Washington. They are a team with a gaudy record, but very little accomplishment.
Boston College at Florida State. Show of hands -- who circled this on their calendars back in November as a battle for first place in the ACC? Me neither. Neither is a sure at-large team yet, so a win today will really help.
Cincinnati at St. John's. The Bearcats have yet to beat a sure tournament team, and winning today wouldn't change that, but it would still be their best win of the season.
Temple at Xavier. Temple is the A-10 favorite, but the Owls will fall two games back in the league if they don't win today. Xavier probably needs the win more than Temple does for its tournament resume.
BYU at Colorado State. The Cougars better not get caught looking ahead to Wednesday's San Diego State game because the Rams are coming off a win at UNLV and pushing for a spot in the field.
St. Mary's at Vanderbilt. The Gaels have quietly climbed to 17-2. It's been a quiet climb because their only win of note came at home over St. John's. They haven't won a road game like this in their recent run of success, so a win today isn't just a statement to the committee, it's a statement for the program.
Oklahoma State at Baylor. If Baylor is ever going to make a run for the NCAA tournament, and start playing to the leve of its talent, today is the day to start. The Bears are 0-5 vs the RPI top 100. They have a lot of catching up to do. The Cowboys' tournament status is far from solid also, so they cannot afford to let down.
Kansas State at Texas A&M. The Wildcats were the preseason favorite in the Big 12, but now they are just trying to hang on and get into the NCAA tournament. They don't have a RPI top 50 win yet. Getting one on the road today would be big.
VCU at Old Dominion. ODU is the best at-large candidate in the Colonial, but probably needs to win the league to have a shot. VCU and Hofstra are a game ahead of the Monarchs at the moment.
Memphis at UAB. If C-USA is going to be a two-bid league, that second bid is coming from either Memphis or UCF. The Tigers need to win today or those hopes are in trouble.
Creighton at Missouri State and Indiana State at Wichita State. MSU and ISU are co-leaders in the Valley after the Sycamores beat the Bears earlier this week. The Shockers were the preseason favorite though. For the Valley to put two teams in the field, there probably needs to be a clear champion. MSU probably has the best chance of getting that doesn.