Men's Basketball Games of the Weekend 1/14 - 1/15

Minnesota at Indiana Men's Basketball

Men’s Basketball Games of the Weekend 1/14 – 1/15


The weekend men’s games feature a couple of solid Big 12 contests and one good Big Ten showdown that was slightly spoiled when Indiana was upset earlier this week by Minnesota. Still, there are some good games in both leagues this weekend, but the main highlight comes from off-the-radar conferences with strong showdowns taking place.


ST. BONAVENTURE at XAVIER (12 p.m. Saturday at Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio)

The day begins with an Atlantic-10 Conference matchup involving two of the league’s top teams. Six teams have identical 2-1 records, and two of them are playing in this game. For the record, Massachusetts, St. Joseph’s, Charlotte and Dayton are the other four, and all six are a half-game in back of league-leading LaSalle. St. Bonaventure (9-6, 2-1) has beaten George Washington and Dayton in league play but lost to Duquesne. Andrew Nicholson lit up the scoreboard for 30 points and 13 rebounds in the 81-73 win over Dayton. Xavier (11-5, 2-1) started league play with a loss to LaSalle but won over Fordham and Duquesne, as Dezmine Wells’ 16 points and nine points were key in the 78-50 Duquesne victory. This league will thin itself out over time, and the winner could have a chance at first place if LaSalle falters against Dayton.


BUCKNELL at LAFAYETTE (1 p.m. Saturday at Allan P. Kirby Arena in Easton, Pennsylvania)

Bucknell has a much stronger overall record than Lafayette, but the teams are two of three that are tied at 2-0 atop the Patriot League. Holy Cross is the other, and it faces American on Saturday. Bucknell (12-6, 2-0) hasn’t really been tested yet in league play. Its wins are against Army and Colgate, which have lost both of their league games so far. Bryson Johnson had 17 points against Colgate, but Mike Muscala is the leader of the team with 14.9 points and 9.2 rebounds. Lafayette (7-10, 2-0) has a two-game win streak against Army and Navy after a 2-8 stretch of subpar play. Rob Delaney had 19 points and six rebounds in a 75-63 win over Army, but the Leopards’ 31 rebounds per game place it toward the bottom among Division I schools.


TEXAS at No. 10 MISSOURI (1 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Missouri)

The first of two solid Big 12 contests taking place on Saturday has Texas traveling to take on the Tigers in Missouri. Baylor and Kansas are the teams on top at 3-0, but four teams – Missouri, Texas, Iowa State and Oklahoma State – are 2-1 at the moment. That means there could be a lot of movement in the Big 12 standings when all is said and done Saturday. Texas (12-4, 2-1) lost its Big 12 opener to Iowa State but recovered for wins over Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Julien Lewis scored 16 points in the Longhorns’ 61-51 victory over A&M. Missouri (15-1, 2-1) just lost to Kansas State on January 7 but recovered for a 76-69 win over Iowa State behind Matt Pressey’s 14 points. This is still a top-five team in points and field-goal percentage, so Missouri can’t be ignored.


IOWA STATE at No. 6 KANSAS (4 p.m. Saturday at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas)

The day’s other top Big 12 game involves the Jayhawks, who are undefeated in the conference but still face a stiff test from Iowa State. A mid-winter tornado could blow through Allen Fieldhouse if Kansas is not careful. Iowa State (12-4, 2-1) beat Texas and A&M to start the Big 12 season before falling by seven points to Missouri. Still, that game was close, so the Cyclones could be loaded for bear. Scott Christopherson’s 19 points led Iowa State, but leading scorer Royce White contributed six rebounds and six assists. Kansas (13-3, 3-0) still has losses to just Kentucky, Duke and Davidson, and the team is on a six-game winning streak following its 81-46 win over Texas Tech. Thomas Robinson, whose 17.6 scoring average leads Kansas, chipped in a leading 19 points and 12 rebounds in the Tech triumph.


No. 16 UNLV at SAN DIEGO STATE (4 p.m. Saturday at Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl in San Diego, California)

The Mountain West Conference is one of the latest-starting leagues in college basketball, but what better way to begin the league than to have two top teams going at it? UNLV (16-2) is enjoying one of its finest seasons in years and has losses to only Wichita State and Wisconsin. The Runnin Rebels are on a seven-game roll at the moment, including an 89-57 win over Cal-Santa Barbara. Justin Hawkins scored 17 points and Mike Moser grabbed 11 rebounds in that contest. San Diego State (14-2) is still among the nation’s elite West Coast programs with losses to just Baylor and Creighton. SDSU also has a seven-game win streak, the last one a 73-65 win over Chicago State behind Chase Tapley’s 24 points and Jamaal Franklin’s 10 rebounds.


OHIO at AKRON (4 p.m. Saturday at James A. Rhodes H&PE Building in Akron, Ohio)

Mid-American Conference play, or at least domination of part of the state of Ohio, is on the line Saturday as these two Buckeye schools face off. Ohio (13-3, 1-1) is one game behind Akron (10-6, 2-0) in the MAC East Division. The Bobcats have lost two of their last three games, to Robert Morris and Bowling Green, but Ohio beat Buffalo 60-52 in its last game behind 15 points and five assists by D.J. Cooper. Akron has won seven of eight since a 3-5 start to the season, with a 76-75 overtime loss to Virginia Commonwealth the only thing standing between the Zips and an eight-game winning streak. Nick Harney scored 12 points in the Akron victory.


CENTRAL FLORIDA at MARSHALL (7 p.m. Saturday at Henderson Center in Huntington, West Virginia)

This is the first meeting between the last two unbeaten teams in Conference USA, so whoever wins this game will have sole possession of first place at its conclusion. Central Florida (13-3, 3-0) has won nine of its last 10 games, broken up only by a 61-60 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Knights are coming off a 74-63 win over Houston as Isaiah Sykes scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Central Florida’s other losses came against Florida State and Harvard, so the Knights have faced a fairly strong schedule. Marshall (12-4, 3-0) has a more modest three-game winning streak, the last win coming in a 61-59 victory over Alabama-Birmingham as Deandre Kane scored 21 points and Dennis Tinnon grabbed 19 rebounds. Marshall’s losses were to Ohio, Syracuse, Belmont and Akron, so the Thundering Herd have had a strong schedule as well.


STETSON at BELMONT (8:15 p.m. Saturday at Curb Event Center in Nashville, Tennessee)

The Atlantic Sun Conference’s standings are jumbled up right about now. Belmont (11-6, 4-1) and Mercer are tied for first place, although Mercer’s league record is 5-2. Stetson (7-9, 4-2) is only a half-game off the first-place pace although the Hatters have an overall record below .500. There won’t be a quiz on this later. All you need to know is if Stetson wins the standings will still be a mess. Stetson has won three of four after dropping five in a row, with a loss to Mercer the only thing standing between the Hatters and an 8-8 mark. Willie Green had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in a 68-64 win over North Florida. Belmont just had its four-game winning string busted by Lipscomb in an 85-74 setback, despite 28 points and five assists from Ian Clark.


HAWAII at NEVADA (10 p.m. Saturday at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada)

The Western Athletic Conference has a few leaders emerging a few games into the season. Nevada (13-3, 3-0) is a half-game ahead of New Mexico State and Hawaii (10-6, 2-0), so a Hawaii win coupled with a New Mexico State loss could send Hawaii back to the island in first place. The Warriors’ wins have come against San Jose State and Fresno State, two teams that are winless in WAC play. Hawaii has lost to Gonzaga and UNLV, among others. Nevada has a 10-game winning streak after early losses to Missouri State, UNLV and Brigham Young. In its last victory, an 81-57 win over San Jose State, Jerry Evans scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Nevada has also beaten Idaho and Utah State in WAC play.


CLEVELAND STATE at VALPARAISO (2:35 p.m. Sunday at Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Indiana)

Six games into the Horizon League season, Cleveland State is tied with Milwaukee at 5-1 for first place in the league, and Valparaiso and Youngstown State are one game behind. A win for Cleveland State (15-3, 5-1) and a Milwaukee loss could put the Vikings in a solid position. Cleveland State just beat Butler 76-69 as Jeremy Montgomery scored 18 points and dished off five assists. The Vikings have lost to Hofstra, South Florida and Youngstown State but did take Vanderbilt down at the start of the season. That’s still a feather in the Cleveland cap. Valparaiso (11-7, 4-2) has losses against Milwaukee and Wright State in league play, but the Crusaders beat Youngstown State 76-62 behind Kevin Van Wijk’s 23 points and seven rebounds.


No. 11 INDIANA at No. 5 OHIO STATE (4:30 p.m. Sunday at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio)

The weekend’s big action concludes with a Big Ten game that might have meant a little more had Indiana not coughed up a 77-74 furball against Minnesota last week. Cody Zeller still had 23 points, eight rebounds and two assists in the game despite Indiana’s lackluster play. This doesn’t mean Indiana’s season is over, but the Hoosiers (15-2, 3-2) had enough trouble losing to Michigan State, and two league losses could mean the end of the line for a conference title. Ohio State (15-3, 3-2) lost to Indiana 74-70 earlier in the season and also has losses to Illinois and Kansas on its schedule. Deshaun Thomas had 23 points and six rebounds in the Illini loss. The winner of this team will get a boost to 4-2 in league play, but the winner also needs a lot more help. Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan stand ahead of both Indiana