Men's Basketball Weekend Preview 1/21 - 1/22

Michigan State Men's College Basketball Draymond Green

Men's Basketball Weekend Preview 1/21 - 1/22

A schedule top-heavy with Saturday action dominates the weekend agenda. There is only one game of note on Sunday but it is a good one, as control of the Horizon League will be on the line in a Great Lakes matchup between Milwaukee and Cleveland State. As for Saturday, there are a few strong NCAA-major conference games as well as a few high-major contests to satisfy basketball fans’ appetites.


PURDUE at No. 11 MICHIGAN STATE (12 p.m. Saturday at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan)

With four teams at 4-2 in the Big Ten, all a half-game behind league-leading Michigan, the race for success in the league has been a good one. Ohio State and Illinois are the other teams jockeying for supremacy, but that second-place tie will be thinned a bit thanks to this game. Purdue (14-5, 4-2) had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds from Robbie Hummel in a 75-68 win over Iowa, which helped the Boilermaker wheels get back on track a bit. Purdue’s conference losses have come against Penn State and Wisconsin. Michigan State (15-4, 4-2) has back-to-back losses against Northwestern and Michigan but they were by a combined eight points. Derrick Nix’s 13 points and Draymond Green’s 11 boards couldn’t prevent a 60-59 loss to the in-state Wolverines. If Michigan State wins here and takes care of Minnesota, the Spartans have Illinois and Michigan next up and can do some damage.


XAVIER at DAYTON (1 p.m. Saturday at University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio)

The top two teams in the Atlantic-10 meet up in a battle of arch-rival schools in the strong Dayton/Cincinnati college basketball market. Both teams sport identical 13-5 overall records, and Xavier (4-1) is a half-game ahead of Dayton (3-1). Massachusetts and Duquesne are a game back in third place. The Musketeers can put a bit of distance between themselves and the rest of the league with a win here. Xavier brings a four-game winning streak into this game, including a 68-55 win over St. Joseph’s as Mark Lyons scored 17 points and Tu Holloway had 12 assists. Dayton is coming off a narrow 79-75 win over La Salle, as Matt Kavanaugh just missed a double-double with 23 points and nine rebounds. These teams meet again on February 18.


No. 8 MISSOURI at No. 3 BAYLOR (2 p.m. Saturday at Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas)

The tie for second place in the Big 12 will be broken Saturday, with the winner maintaining a one-game deficit against Kansas (unless the Jayhawks fall to Texas, in which case there would be a two-way tie atop the Big 12). Missouri (17-1, 4-1) has a modest three-game winning streak since its Kansas State loss, and it includes victories over Texas and Texas A&M. Missouri’s red-hot 50.7 shooting percentage (second in the nation) has helped the Tigers win some impressive games. Baylor (17-1, 4-1) tried and failed to dethrone the Jayhawks but lost 92-74 on January 16 in a game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. Perry Jones III managed 18 points and five rebounds for the Bears.


FLORIDA STATE at No. 5 DUKE (4 p.m. Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina)

There are some who believe the Seminoles don’t stand a chance against Duke. Those people didn’t see last week’s Atlantic Coast Conference game, where Florida State absolutely annihilated North Carolina. Florida State (12-6, 3-1) is tied with North Carolina and NC State for second place in the ACC, all one game behind Duke. The Seminoles have a three-game winning streak, including the 90-57 thrashing of the Tar Heels and an 84-70 win over Maryland behind Michael Snaer’s 19 points. Duke (16-2, 4-0) has a four-game streak built up since its last loss against Temple, including a 91-73 victory against Wake Forest, a team that has given Duke trouble in the past but is toward the bottom of the ACC this year.


ARIZONA at COLORADO (6 p.m. Saturday at Coors Events Center in Boulder, Colorado)

The first of two Pac-12 games with implications on the league race takes place in Colorado, as the surprising Buffaloes welcome Arizona to campus. Arizona (13-6, 4-2) is in a tie for fourth with Colorado and Washington but is only a game and a half back of league-leading Stanford. Arizona rallied after a heartbreaking 59-57 loss to Oregon to pound Utah 77-51 and maintain a hold on a high standing in the league. Colorado (12-6, 4-2) recovered from losses to California and Stanford with a 69-54 win over Arizona State as Andre Roberson’s 12 points and 10 rebounds led the way. The Pac-12 has been a pretty busy conference this year, but it should thin out a bit after Saturday.


STANFORD at WASHINGTON (6 p.m. Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle, Washington)

If Washington can upend the Cardinal on Saturday, all bets are off as to who will be the big leader in the Pac-12. Stanford (15-4, 5-2) is a half-game ahead of Arizona, Colorado and Washington and is tied with Oregon for second place in the league. The Cardinal had 19 points and seven rebounds from Josh Owens in Stanford’s 81-69 upset loss to Washington State. Washington (11-7, 4-2) had a three-game winning streak broken when it lost 69-66 to California behind 15 points from Terrence Ross. Both teams are looking to get back on a winning track and this game could be a close one.


COLORADO STATE at WYOMING (6 p.m. Saturday at Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyoming)

The Mountain West Conference is only two games into its season for most schools, and thanks to San Diego State’s win over UNLV the Runnin’ Rebels are not atop the MWC. Not yet, anyway. Colorado State (13-4, 2-0) shares the league lead with San Diego State and travels over the border to face a Cowboys squad that started strong but since has cooled slightly. The Rams have an eight-game winning streak, with Dorian Green’s 20 points leading the way in a 66-55 win over Boise State. Wyoming (15-3, 1-1) lost 72-62 to New Mexico but recovered to beat Air Force 64-53 in its last game behind Francisco Cruz’s 15 points. San Diego State takes on Air Force Saturday and if AFA can score a win, this league will tighten up significantly.


SOUTH DAKOTA STATE at NORTH DAKOTA STATE (8 p.m. Saturday at Bison Sports Arena in Fargo, North Dakota)

So far, Oral Roberts has been perfect in Summit League action with a 9-0 record. These two teams aren’t far behind and hope Oral Roberts trips up eventually so one of them can gain a foothold in the league. South Dakota State (15-5, 7-1) is a game and a half back of Oral Roberts in the league standings, with decisive victories against South Dakota and Missouri-Kansas City in its last two games. SDSU has 79.3 points per game, good for 20th in the nation in scoring. North Dakota State (13-5, 6-2) is two and a half back of Oral Roberts and could use a win to narrow its gap in the standings. The Bison lost 59-54 to North Dakota in their last matchup.


MILWAUKEE at CLEVELAND STATE (2 p.m. Sunday at Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio)

The lone Sunday game that has significant meaning in a league takes place in the Horizon League, where the top two teams meet to break the tie. These teams meet again on February 14, but there will be no love lost between them in the meantime. Milwaukee (13-7, 6-2) just lost to Youngstown State 68-66 in a heartbreaking game despite 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists from Kaylon Williams; the loss caused the Panthers to fall into a tie with Cleveland State. The Vikings (16-4, 6-2) have won four of their last five games, including a 78-68 victory over Green Bay as Trevon Harmon had 19 points and Anton Grady pulled down 13 rebounds. Youngstown State and Valparaiso are the two teams to have tripped up Cleveland State.