College Hoops Wednesday: Your Commentary
While the best game of the night is the Top 5 battle between rivals Kansas State and Kansas, in regards to a conference title Duke visits Maryland with the winner either winning the ACC outright (Duke) or taking a step towards earing the top seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament (Maryland). Duke dominated the first meeting with Brian Zoubek playing an excellent game against a team that lacks the size required to deal with a seven-footer. Jordan Williams, the reigning ACC Rookie of the Week, will need to play arguably his best game of the season in the paint for the Terrapins. As for the headline matchup, Jon Scheyer and Greivis Vasquez will likely determine ACC Player of the Year at the Comcast Center. Maryland needs an almost freewheeling style of game that negates the impact of the Blue Devils' big men (primarily Zoubek) if they're to defend their home court.
As for the Wildcats and Jayhawks, Kansas has already clinched a share of the Big 12 title but there's still a little work to be done in regards to both the outright title and the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament. Sherron Collins and company had their hands full in the first meeting, needing some big plays in overtime to escape the "Octagon of Doom" with the win. Denis Clemente did not have his best game from the field in that matchup, but he and Jacob Pullen have to ability to take over a game due to their scoring and ballhandling abilities. But the most important players for Frank Martin Wednesday night will be his frontcourt, especially Jamar Samuels and Curtis Kelly. They've got to win the matchup with the likes of Cole Aldrich and the Morris twins if the Wildcats are to win at Allen Fieldhouse.
Other games of importance on Wednesday include Connecticut visiting Notre Dame in a crucial game for both. The Huskies have already been swept by two other Big East bubble teams (Cincinnati and Louisville) but a season sweep of the Irish would conceivably give them a leg up on at least one team in the muddled Big East picture. Notre Dame will look to build upon the momentum gained in their impressive win at Georgetown on Saturday and as of today they've got the final single bye spot in the upcoming Big East Tournament. Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are safe at this point but a win for either, especially the visiting Cowboys, would be a nice boost in regards to seeding come Selection Sunday. And Charlotte, Rhode Island and St. Louis are all in need of wins with regards to the bubble. The 49ers visit the Rams while St. Louis has a golden opportunity in the form of visiting Temple on Wednesday night.
7p ESPN Connecticut at Notre Dame
7p ESPN2 Wake Forest at Florida State
7p ESPNU Alabama at South Carolina
7p CBS-College Holy Cross at Bucknell
9p ESPN Duke at Maryland
9p ESPN2 Oklahoma State at Texas A&M
9p ESPNU Virginia at Boston College
9p CBS-College BYU at Utah
7p Arkansas at Tennessee
7p Charlotte at Rhode Island
8p Kansas St at Kansas
8p Kentucky at Georgia
8p Temple at St. Louis
9p Memphis at UAB
Two more one-bid leagues get their conference tournaments underway on Wednesday, with the Atlantic Sun tourney taking place in Macon, GA (at Mercer) and the Patriot League quarters all being played on the floor of the higher seeded team. Top two seeds Lipscomb (with A-Sun POY Adnan Hodzic) and Jacksonville play in the day/night doubleheader, but the Bisons could have their hands full with Kennesaw State. Lipscomb split the two games with KSU, losing 97-91 back in December and winning on February 25th 74-66. Hodzic and company are playing much better now than they were in December but the Owls know that they can knock off Lipscomb. As for Cliff Warren's Dolphins, they're led by Ben Smith (19.5 ppg) and beat quarterfinal opponent North Florida twice during the regular season.
As for the Patriot League, regular season champ Lehigh hosts an Army team they beat by double figures twice in the regular season. And with CJ McCollum leading four Mountain Hawks averaging double figures with just under nineteen points per game it's tough to envision the Black Knights having enough offense to keep up with Lehigh. Navy visits American in what sets up to be the closest of the four quarterfinals due to their matching 7-7 league records. However, Jeff Jones' Eagles won both regular season meetings including a 69-59 home win in late-January. Looking for a possible upset? How about Colgate at Lafayette, where they fell to the Leopards by one point (74-73) on February 10th. Jared Mintz leads Fran O'Hanlon's squad while the Raiders will rely on Kyle Roemer. Rounding out the round is Holy Cross visiting Bucknell with the Bison and Crusaders splitting their two games (home team won both).
Kansas over Kansas St: A win in Lawrence would not only snap their bitter rival's 58-game home win streak but also vault the Wildcats into the conversation regarding the fourth one-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. But the Jayhawks will survive on Senior Night for Sherron Collins and his classmates, winning by four.