Game of the Night: No. 12 Syracuse at No. 22 Marquette (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Thanks to a Syracuse loss to Georgetown and Marquette succumbing at Villanova, this game lost a bit of its luster. It’s no longer for first place in the Big East. That said, it is still a crucial game in the Big East standings. Louisville, Marquette and Syracuse are in a three-way tie for second in the league right now. A loss would drop either the Golden Eagles or the Orange into a tie with Notre Dame for fourth place. The top four teams get a double-bye in the Big East tournament.
Syracuse should have an advantage in this game. DaJuan Coleman is expected to be back in the lineup tonight, and Marquette’s weakness this season is their ability to shoot from the perimeter. Good luck trying to penetrate that Syracuse zone and finish around the basket without having the threat of the three-ball as a deterrent.
More than anything, this is a statement game that both teams need. Losing two in a row at this point in the season is concerning with March right around the corner.
Who’s Getting Upset?: No. 6 Kansas at Iowa State (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
This isn’t too difficult to figure out. Iowa State nearly knocked off Kansas in Lawrence earlier this season, and they’ll be getting their rematch in Hilton Coliseum, which is as tough a place to win as there is in the Big 12.
But there’s more to it than that. The Cyclones happen to match up really well with Kansas. Fred Hoiberg has a group of bigs that can step out on the perimeter and shoot, meaning that they are able to pull Jeff Withey away from the basket. That not only opens up lanes of penetration, but by screening actions, it creates open looks for the myriad of three-point shooters that ISU has.
Five Things to Watch For
1) Villanova is on the road against Seton Hall tonight. The Wildcats can all-but lock up a big to the NCAA tournament by knocking off the Pirates. (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
2) No. 13 Kansas State will be hosting Texas Tech, a game the Wildcats should cruise in. (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
3) Bryant and Sacred Heart had a league game from a month ago postponed due to Nemo. At the time the game was supposed to be played, SHU was threatening to make a run in the NEC. They’ve now lost four straight and are under .500 in conference play. (7:00 p.m. ET)
4) Grambling visits Mississippi Valley State tonight. MVSU has just four wins on the season. Grambling is still winless. This may be their best chance. (8:30 p.m. ET)
5) Central Connecticut is the only team in the country that has had two different players score 40 points in a game this season. The Blue Devils head to Quinnipiac for an intra-state battle tonight. (7:00 p.m. ET)
- No. 6 Kansas at Iowa State (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- No. 12 Syracuse at No. 22 Marquette (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Texas Tech at No. 13 Kansas State (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.