NCAA Weekly Dish - 02/25/06 With the college basketball regular season winding down, Matt Fargo takes a look at three big games on tap that you cannot miss this Saturday. Miami Ohio RedHawks at Kent St. Golden Flashes 2:00 PM ET One game separates three teams in the MAC East and two of those squads square off on Saturday. Miami and Kent St. both come into this huge game with impressive runs going.
If the RedHawks can win on the road, there will potentially be a three-way tie for first place heading into the final week. A Kent St. win keeps it in first place with a showdown next Saturday at Akron likely to decide the championship. Miami has won seven in a row including a big home win over Akron on Wednesday that put it in a second place tie with the Zips.
This could potentially be a problem spot for the RedHawks who are a respectable 6-6 on the road but have not traveled since February 4th, a span of three weeks. The comforts of home might have gotten a little too familiar for Miami as it heads to one of the toughest venues in the conference. The Golden Flashes have won four straight to keep a hold on first place and this will be their toughest stretch of the season.
Following Miami, Kent St. faces Ohio and Akron, the only three teams in the division with a winning conference record. The Golden Flashes are 10-2 at home this season with a surprising loss to Bowling Green being the most recent setback since an opening loss to MEAC leader Delaware St. Kent St. handed Miami one of its two home losses this season back in January so the RedHawks will be looking for some payback.
It's never easy to attain on the road, especially in a game that is so crucial for both teams. Kent St. has covered seven of its 10 games at home against the number while Miami is a very solid 8-2-1 ATS on the road this season. Something has to give in what should turn out to be a barnburner.
Kansas Jayhawks at Texas Longhorns 9:00 PM ET It doesn't get any bigger in the Big XII than this. Everyone knew Texas would be on top at this point but Kansas has been a huge surprise. In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year, the Jayhawks are right there once again. It is officially a two-team race for the regular season championship as the winner of this game takes over sole possession of first place heading into the final week of the season.
Kansas started the season rather slow going 3-4 in its first seven games but it has been nearly unbeatable since. The Jayhawks have gone 17-2 in their last 19 games with both losses being games they should have won. A home loss to Kansas St. was a huge shock while an overtime loss at Missouri was tough to take as Kansas blew a seven-point lead with 30 seconds remaining. The Longhorns have struggled in their last two games, losing at Oklahoma St. by 21 points and then escaping at Kansas St.
by a single point on Wednesday. Texas returns home however where it is 14-1 on the season including a 6-0 record in Big XII play along with a victory against Villanova in the mix. The conference wins haven't been close as Texas won those six games by an average of 25.3 ppg.
Kansas is 5-1 in true road games this year with the aforementioned loss at Missouri being the only setback. The Jayhawks have what it takes to get the job done on the road but this is easily their toughest test of the season. Not only is it tough to win in Austin but it is even more difficult facing a Texas team coming off two subpar efforts. The 1st ranked Kansas defense will not make things easy for Texas however. Nevada Wolf Pack at Utah St.
Aggies 9:00 PM ET In order to keep hold of first place in the WAC as well as a national ranking, the Wolf Pack will need to fend off conference newcomer Utah St. The Aggies are a game behind Nevada with three games remaining and a win here would likely give it the crown. Utah St. won the first meeting so a series sweep would give it the tiebreaker if the two finish the season with identical 12-4 records. Utah St. is 12-1 at home this season, the one defeat coming at the hands of New Mexico St.
which was a real shocker. As a matter of fact, two of its four conference losses have been against New Mexico St. which are its only two losses in its last 12 games. Included in that run was a win at Nevada, the only home loss the Wolf Pack have suffered all season long.
Nevada is 9-3 on the road this season including four straight in WAC games. A lot of those wins aren't cupcake victories as they include Pacific, UNLV and most impressively, Kansas. The conference road wins have not been overly dominating against much weaker competition however. Nevada closes the regular season with two home games so a win over the Aggies all but assures the regular season WAC title.
This could be considered one of the biggest games in Utah St. history due to the fact that this is its first year in the WAC. The Aggies have the second best shooting percentage in the country and the top percentage from behind the arc and those numbers only get better at home. Even with impressive non-conference road wins at some tough places, this will be the toughest test for Nevada hands down.
By: Matt Fargo