Home > Current Updates > Bracket games: Big opening weekend for Chattanooga, Nevada

Bracket games: Big opening weekend for Chattanooga, Nevada

Dave2015It all gets started on Friday, as 351 Division I men’s basketball teams begin building resumes for Selection Sunday.  And while March is a mere speck in the windshield right now, every game matters.  At some point in February, we’ll be talking about a result in November or December that impacts a bubble team.

Although opening night features some delicious matchups in Honolulu, headlined by Indiana-Kansas and Michigan State-Arizona, there are a host of other below-the-radar games that could have a far greater impact a few months from now.  It’s an especially big weekend for Chattanooga and Nevada.  Let’s take a look …

Chattanooga at Tennessee – The Mocs are favored to win the Southern Conference; they’re also a potential at-large team.  They return four starters from last year’s NCAA group, and they should also get Casey Jones back from a medical redshirt.  Although East Tennessee St and perhaps Wofford will offer notable wins within the league, a road victory at Tennessee would do wonders for the Mocs’ resume.  It’s a great opportunity against a rebuilding Vols program – especially with a trip to North Carolina set for Sunday (see below).

Nevada at Saint Mary’s – Nevada begins the season ranked No. 71 on our Seed List – which puts them among the First Four OUT in our preseason bracket. For a while, the Wolfpack occupied one of the final two slots inside the field.  In other words, we’re expecting a good year from this Pack, led by Cameron Oliver.  They should challenge San Diego State in the Mountain West.  Posting a road win at Saint Mary’s, a projected NCAA team, would be one of those remember games next spring.  Nevada’s other non-conference games of note include Oregon State and Washington.

Georgia at Clemson – While there are no bubble games in November, the Bulldogs and Tigers are two squads that could be among the final group of teams under consideration for at-large spots. Thus, it would be a nice boost for either.

Harvard at Stanford – The Crimson might actually be favored in this one.  Coach Tommy Amaker has a strong recruiting class to work with and should have the Crimson back near the top of the Ivy League race.  If all goes well, Harvard – and Princeton – could be both be evaluated for at-large berths.  That would be quite a feat for the Ivy.  As a footnote, Yale plays at Washington.  Opportunity knocks for both of those teams, too.

Toledo at Saint Joseph’s – This isn’t a move-the-needle game, but if the Rockets and their Mid-American counterparts want to regain multiple-bid consideration, these are the types of games they need to win.  Same for Eastern Michigan at SMU, although that will be a taller task.

Chattanooga at North Carolina – This would be a much tougher get for the Mocs, but it would also raise more eyebrows, now and later.  If Chattanooga goes 0-2 after the weekend, a matchup at Vanderbilt in mid-December will loom that much larger.

Welcome back, college hoops!

 

 

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