KPI seeding in use again. All game times are Eastern time.
Louisville (8) at Cincinnati (5) (12pm, CBS/CBSSports.com) - It is interesting to compare & contrast the KPI again Joe Lunardi and Jerry Palm. There is one glaring item with both schools' that knock down their seed as of today: Both have non-conference strength of schedules below 300. The beauty of the American in 2013-14 is the round-robin nature of the schedule, so everyone's conference strength of schedule should "normalize" itself in that area. That said, Cincy is one game in the loss column on the Cardinals. A win gives the Bearcats a sweep over them and a two game lead over the team closest to them in the conference standings.
CBSSports.com is noted above because this Saturday's 12pm window is a split regional window. The only one CBS scheduled this year with Florida-Ole Miss as the other game. The good news is that both games should be available online.
Wisconsin (1) at Iowa (6) (12pm, ESPN2) - The Badgers have been able to get a lot of mileage out of their non-conference scheduling with wins over neutral site wins over Saint Louis & a surging St. John's, a home win vs. Florida and a road win at Virginia. Also had wins vs. West Virginia (neutral) and Marquette (home). Coupled with recent wins the two Michigan schools, going for the sweep vs. Iowa puts them in a very good place to be seeded, in my opinion, on one of the top two lines.
St. John's (NIT 2) at Villanova (1) (1:30pm, FOX Sports 1) - The Wildcats are not making things easy for themselves. Providence, looking at every game as a NCAA tournament game from here on out, took VU to 2OT the other night. St. John's is making a case for the Big East to get a fourth NCAA team, winning nine of their last ten conference games (six in a row) after starting 0-5. During the ten game span, the Red Storm split with conference-leading Creighton.
UTEP (NIT 5) at Southern Miss (12) (6pm, CBS Sports Network) - When a conference gets to a large size like the ACC or C-USA, each conference games means so much because you don't always get a return game. In C-USA, your tiebreakers could become a single game, then a standings countdown (how you did vs. 3rd place, 4th place, etc). Southern Miss needs this in the event of a three team tie alongside UTEP and Middle Tennessee as a loss puts them a two games behind that pairing. Southern Miss still has an at-large profile, but it is declining. Winning C-USA should be the priority.
Ohio (NIT 2) at Akron (NIT 7) (6pm, TWSports/ESPN3/MAC DN) - Buffalo is also in the three team race with these two schools to win the MAC East and secure bye through to the MAC semifinals. The Zips defeated the Bobcats in 2OT earlier this year.
Syracuse (2) at Duke (5) (7pm, ESPN) - Syracuse a two seed because of one extremely bad loss? Maybe we'll find out more about the Orange is this three game road swing to Durham, College Park and Charlottesville. Don't sleep on the season ending trip to Tallahassee either.
Don't have a lot to say about this one. UNC's upset of Duke, along with Syracuse's loss to Boston College, has taken some of the shine off this game, but the first one was amazing. Use that as the springboard for this one.
Texas (6) at Kansas (1) (7:30pm, ESPNU) - More of a TV placement comment, but it is interesting that this game became an ESPNU telecast as Texas didn't have great expectations coming into the year, but has already beaten the Jayhawks once and it wasn't really that close. On the other hand, a Kansas win puts them up three games on Texas with four games to play for both the Longhorn and KU.
George Washington (7) at Saint Louis (3) (8pm, FSMidwest/CSN MA+/SNY) - SLU has received a tremendous amount of good publicity this week by cracking the top ten in both major polls, something their late coach Rick Majerus said they would be. GW earned a really solid win at Richmond on Tuesday. The A-10 has really been strong this year.
Note: This game will be available through the Atlantic 10's Campus Insiders portal free of charge.
San Diego St. (6) at New Mexico (5) (10pm, ESPN2) - I don't agree that San Diego St. is a six seed at the moment and do not believe New Mexico would be seeded ahead of them if the tournament started today, but what drags the Aztecs down compared to other seeding projections which may factor the RPI? San Diego St.'s two wins vs. Division II school are factored into the KPI. The RPI only counts games played vs. Division I competition.
These two schools face each other twice in fifteen days, so both of them will benefit from playing each other. A win for the Aztecs might make the return game at Viejas less meaningful. An upset by Lobos ties both at the top of the conference standings and puts The Show, SDSU's student section, on alert.
Keep an eye out on: Kansas St. (10) at Oklahoma (7) (4pm, Big 12 Network/ESPN3) & Arizona (1) at Colorado (9) (9pm, ESPN)
Michigan St. (3) at Michigan (4) (12pm, CBS) - Virtually even. Have been hearing a lot about Michigan St.'s injuries being a factor. Fact is, the Spartans have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games, a string that started...with a loss at home to Michigan.
SMU (NIT 1) at Connecticut (7) (2pm, CBS Sports Network) - SMU needs to prove they can win away from Moody Coliseum. They'll have two more chances with this game and their regular season finale at Memphis.