Men's Basketball Games of the Weekend 1/28 - 1/29

Indiana at Wisconsin Men's Basketball Action

Men’s Basketball Games of the Weekend 1/28 – 1/29


WEST VIRGINIA at No. 2 SYRACUSE (1 p.m. Saturday at Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York)

West Virginia is off the pace in the Big East Conference, but the funny thing is a loss by Syracuse could jumble the Big East standings a bit. The Mountaineers (15-6, 5-3) are tied with Cincinnati, Notre Dame and South Florida for fourth place in the Big East and just lost 78-62 to St. John’s to break a three-game winning streak. It’s hard to believe just 10 games remain in the regular season, so if West Virginia wants to make a run it has to be now. Georgetown and Marquette are one game ahead of West Virginia’s pack, so a win by WVU and a loss by Georgetown and/or Marquette could be huge. Syracuse (21-1, 8-1) recovered from a loss to Notre Dame by beating Cincinnati 60-53 as Kris Joseph led with 17 points. The Orange are down to nine games remaining, including two meetings apiece with Connecticut and Louisville.


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

This Patriot League matchup should help break up the second-place logjam three schools have. Lehigh, American and Lafayette are all tied for second, two games behind Bucknell, who is unbeaten in league play. American (13-8, 4-2) just lost 67-61 to Bucknell to break its three-game win streak despite 16 points and four assists from Daniel Munoz. American is not a strong offensive team, ranking in the bottom third in every offensive category. Lafayette (9-12, 4-2) has losses to Bucknell and Lehigh in league play but just beat Colgate 82-76 behind 18 points and five rebounds by Ryan Willen. Lafayette is 4-2 in its last six games and it appears to be on the right track.


No. 16 MISSISSIPPI STATE at No. 9 FLORIDA (1:30 p.m. Saturday at Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida)

It may not be Kentucky or Vanderbilt involved in this game, but the winner of this contest will have the upper hand going into the final meetings between the schools. Mississippi State (17-4, 4-2) has won four of its last five, with a loss to in-state rival Ole Miss the only black mark, and MSU has beaten Vanderbilt in this stretch. Arnett Moultrie had a field day in his last game with 28 points and 12 rebounds as Mississippi State topped LSU 76-71. Florida (16-4, 4-1) is a half-game ahead of Mississippi State and 1 ½ games behind Kentucky in the SEC. The Gators overcame a loss to Tennessee to start the month and have won four in a row since. Patric Young scored 15 points as the Gators topped Ole Miss 64-60 in their last contest. Florida does have an upper hand here with a seventh-best scoring average of 81.3 points.


SAINT LOUIS at MASSACHUSETTS (2 p.m. Saturday at William D. Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts)

Boy, is the Atlantic 10 Conference a mess. Eleven of the league’s 14 teams are at or within one game of the league lead, and there is a five-way tie for first in the conference. The other teams with a share of the lead are La Salle, Dayton and St. Bonaventure. The Billikens (16-4, 4-2) are definitely proving their worth against the East Coast schools, and they have a three-game winning streak after a 73-68 win against Xavier. Brian Conklin’s 19 points paved the way in that win. The Minutemen (15-5, 4-2) have losses against La Salle and Duquesne but just beat Richmond 79-68. Chaz Williams had nine rebounds and seven assists. Can someone win a few games in this league and grab the definitive upper hand?


VALPARAISO at MILWAUKEE (2 p.m. Saturday at US Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

It isn’t quite as bad as the A-10, but four teams are within a game of the top spot in the Horizon League. The two teams tied for second place are Valparaiso and Milwaukee, and they meet in Wisconsin this weekend. Valparaiso (14-8, 7-3) hopes it has better luck against another Wisconsin school than it did against Green Bay, which beat the Crusaders 75-60 to snap Valpo’s four-game winning streak. Valparaiso’s other league losses came against Wright State and Milwaukee, which downed Valpo 57-55. Milwaukee (14-8, 7-3) beat Butler 53-42 in its last contest as James Haarsma’s 12 points led the way. Milwaukee lost to Youngstown State and Cleveland State before this, so hopefully it has better luck against the Crusaders.


No. 25 SAINT MARY’S AT BRIGHAM YOUNG (9 p.m. Saturday at Marriott Center in Provo, Utah)

It used to be Gonzaga was the darling of the West Coast Conference and the team that knocked off giants everywhere. Times have changed. Now Gonzaga is one of the well-known clubs and people are wondering “who the hell are the Gaels?” The answer is your WCC leaders, that’s who. Saint Mary’s (20-2, 9-0) is in the top 50 in all four offensive categories, and Stephen Holt led the way in the last game with 19 points as Saint Mary’s topped Loyola Marymount 70-64. Only Denver and Baylor have topped Saint Mary’s this season. In the last game between these teams on December 29, Saint Mary’s won 98-82. Brigham Young (18-5, 6-2) has won six of seven, the only loss coming to Marymount. The last game was a close one but the Cougars topped Virginia Tech 70-68 as Noah Hartsock led with 22 points.


No. 13 MICHIGAN at No. 6 OHIO STATE (1 p.m. Sunday at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio)

The Big Ten picture will thin out a bit at the top when these two teams meet up on Sunday. Michigan (16-5) and Ohio State (18-3) sport identical 6-2 league records with Michigan State, and Wisconsin is a half-game behind in fourth place. The Wolverines have had a little success and trouble in the past two games, dropping a 66-64 setback to Arkansas before rallying to beat Purdue by the same score. Tim Hardaway Jr.’s 19 points paced Michigan in this game. Ohio State recovered from a loss to Illinois with three wins in a row against Indiana, Nebraska and Penn State, Jared Sullinger’s 20 points and 13 rebounds coming up big in a 78-54 win over the Nittany Lions. The league race is far from over; these teams meet again on February 18.


STANFORD at CALIFORNIA (8:30 p.m. Sunday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, California)

Washington and Arizona face off Saturday in a Pac-12 showdown, and depending on how that went this game could have a lot of impact on the conference crown. Stanford (15-5, 5-3) and Arizona are one game behind the four-way tie for first between California (16-5, 6-2), Oregon, Colorado and Washington. This game kind of wins the Pac-12 choice for the week because of its proximity between the two teams in the San Francisco area. Stanford won’t see California again until March 4, the final game of the regular season, so a win here would definitely help. The Cardinal losses have come to Oregon, Washington State and Washington in league play. Josh Owens had 14 points and nine rebounds in the 76-63 loss to Washington. Washington State is playing giant killers in the last week, as the Cougars also took down California 77-75 as Jorge Gutierrez led with 19 points.