Selection Sunday is 70 days away. Between now and then, here’s a phrase you’ll hear a lot: “This game’s crucial for _____’s NCAA tournament hopes.” Like on Monday with Northwestern’s matchup against Michigan State.
The Wildcats are one of five teams who’ve been in D-I since ’48 who have never made the Big Dance. A win against the Spartans wouldn’t end that drought, but – as the cliché goes – it sure would help. They shoot absurdly well (they make 41.7 of their 3s and 53.9 percent of their 2s), take care of the ball and have one of the nation’s most efficient scorers in John Shurna.
I didn’t mention Northwestern’s defense on purpose. We’ll see how those shooters fare against the Spartans.
Georgetown at St. John’s ESPN2, 7 p.m.: Everything I wrote about Northwestern’s shooting also applies to Georgetown. But better. Still, don’t expect a blowout against Steve Lavin’s Red Storm, who’ve quietly established themselves as Big East spoiler and Big Dance crasher. Wins at West Virginia and Providence might not be overly impressive, but they’re road wins in conference. Those shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Savannah State at Kansas State, ESPN3, 8 p.m.: If there’s a who could use an easy game, it’s Jacob Pullen. The Beard returns from a three-game suspension in time to play an exhibition. Time to bust out of a slump?
Iona at Siena, 7 p.m.: The Saints have owned the MAAC the last three seasons, but Iona may take over that title this season. The Gaels can start here, then worry about taking care of Rider later.
(All times ET)
Dartmouth at Army, 7 p.m.
Massachusetts at Cent. Connecticut St., 7 p.m.
Buffalo at Cornell, 7 p.m.
Hofstra at Drexel, 7 p.m.
St. Francis, NY at Hartford, 7 p.m.
Marist at Loyola, Md., 7 p.m.
Bryant at Monmouth, N.J., 7 p.m.
Wagner at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.
Manhattan at Rider, 7 p.m.
Iona at Siena, 7 p.m.
Georgetown at St. John’s, 7 p.m.
Canisius at St. Peter’s, 7 p.m.
Old Dominion at Towson, 7 p.m.
Brown at American U., 7:30 p.m.
Niagara at Fairfield, 7:30 p.m.
Florida Memorial at Florida Atlantic, 7 p.m.
Virginia-Wise at Furman, 7 p.m.
Delaware at George Mason, 7 p.m.
Va. Commonwealth at Georgia St., 7 p.m.
Northeastern at James Madison, 7 p.m.
Penn at Kentucky, 7 p.m.
East Carolina at N.C. Central, 7 p.m.
UNC Wilmington at William & Mary, 7 p.m.
Lipscomb at Stetson, 7:15 p.m.
Jacksonville at Campbell, 7:30 p.m.
Wilmington, Del. at Coppin St., 7:30 p.m.
Belmont at Florida Gulf Coast, 7:30 p.m.
S.C.-Upstate at Kennesaw St., 7:30 p.m.
ETSU at Mercer, 7:30 p.m.
Toledo at Alabama, 8 p.m.
Florida St. at Auburn, 8 p.m.
Chattanooga at Austin Peay, 8 p.m.
Rhode Island at Florida, 9 p.m.
Oral Roberts at Akron, 7 p.m.
SIU-Edwardsville at Ball St., 7 p.m.
Michigan St. at Northwestern, 7:30 p.m.
Anderson, Ind. at E. Illinois, 8 p.m.
N. Illinois at Iowa St., 8 p.m.
Savannah St. at Kansas St., 8 p.m.
Tenn.-Martin at SE Missouri, 8 p.m.
Houston Baptist at Wis.-Green Bay, 8 p.m.
Butler at Wis.-Milwaukee, 8 p.m.
Md.-Eastern Shore at Oklahoma, 8 p.m.
UTSA at Oklahoma St., 8 p.m.
Wiley at Stephen F.Austin, 8 p.m.
Nicholls St. at Texas A&M, 8 p.m.
Bethany, Calif. at Santa Clara, 10 p.m.
Nevada at Fresno St., 11 p.m.
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller.