Monday Jan 9th, West Virginia @ #8 Connecticut: Kevin Jones and West Virginia is coming off a big win over #9 Georgetown and UConn is coming off a disappointing loss to an unranked Rutgers team. UConn plays very well at home as they are 9-0. Look for them to bounce back, but also for West Virginia to continue their momentum. This is definitely going to be a Big East bloodbath.
Tuesday January 10th, #5 Baylor @ #22 Kansas St: Kansas St. ended Missouri’s perfect season and will have the chance to do the same against Baylor. Kansas St. is a tough team led by junior guard Rodney McGruder. The key for an upset is to shoot the 3 effectively against Baylor’s zone. Will Spradling, the team’s leading 3 point shooter (44%), will have to avoid a poor shooting performance like in the Kansas loss (1-4 FG). Look for this game as the possible upset of the week.
Wednesday January 11th, #1 Syracuse @ Villanova: Yes, there is no question Villanova has struggled this season. But remember that these are two huge Big East Rivals and Jay Wright is going to have his Wildcats ready to play at home. For the Wildcats to pull off this upset, they’re going to need a lot of help from junior guard, Maalik Wayns. He is averaging 17.2 PPG and has been a part of this rivalry for two years now. Anything can happen, especially in a rivalry as heated as this one.
Thursday January 12, 2012, #23 Virginia @ #3 Duke: Duke has struggled as of late and Virginia is no “walk in the park”. Duke will have their hands full if they continue playing to the level of their opponents. Andy Katz has said, “If Virginia can go in and steal one at Cameron, which is certainly plausible, then Virginia legitimately could be the 2nd best team in the ACC and a potential challenger to North Carolina.”
Saturday January 14 2012, #17 UNLV @ #25 San Diego State: Both mid majors will be looking to get a key win against a ranked opponent. It is games like these that really help the mid majors get respect when it comes time for the committee to make the brackets. San Diego has key wins against #23 Arizona and #24 California, but losses to #12 Baylor and #22 Creighton. On the other hand, UNLV led by Mike Moser and Chase Stanback, has a huge win against #1 UNC and another good win against #19 Illinois.