Bracket Bits: Weekend games beyond the headlines
CBS will continue its December hoops warm-up with Kentucky at Indiana on Saturday. You can bet Assembly Hall in Bloomington will be rockin’ for an upset. Come March, however, several other games could have more impact on selection and seeding. Those are the games we take a look at in this posting of our newest quick-hitting column: Bracket Bits.
- Purdue @ Alabama – First true road game for the Boilermakers. Equally important, Alabama could use a marquis win on its non-conference resume. The Crimson Tide have beaten Baylor and Michigan, but neither of those teams are in Purdue’s class at this point.
- Texas A&M @ New Mexico – Winning at The Pit is never easy. This might be the Aggies’ toughest test. Before the season, both teams were projected as possible at-large teams, but certainly not NCAA locks. The Lobos have fewer in-conference splash games, so it’s best to make good on these opportunities.
- Oklahoma @ Utah – While the Utes have managed to beat Illinois (neutral) and Michigan (home), much doubt remains about the club’s NCAA chances. As for the Sooners, a very slow start puts extra pressure on OU to win these types of games, especially on the road.
- Marquette @ Wisconsin – Hard to imagine the Badgers dropping a home game here. Marquette has November tournament wins over Xavier and Michigan, but neither has the impact it once did (at least for now). The Big East will be a grind and the Golden Eagles will need every good win they can get to stay in the at-large picture.
- Richmond @ Virginia Commonwealth – If this game were played in February, it might be part of the BracketBusters. That pretty much sums up the importance. Both teams still have the chance to be at-large contenders.
- Cincinnati @ Xavier – Maybe this is a headline game, but it’s a Sunday night affair away from the national spotlight. After a slow start, Xavier could really use boost. What better than beating your cross-town rival? The Cintas Center will be electric. A miss here could leave the Muskies with Kent State and Creighton as their best non-conference wins. Not an ideal resume builder.
Another Bracket Bits on Tuesday (9/15) as we wrap up the weekend and prepare for a quieter week around college hoops. Many schools will be in finals mode heading into the Christmas break. Have thoughts? Send a rebound. A new Power 24 arrives Monday.