Rothstein: 5 Questions Heading Into Busy Night In College Hoops; Villanova, Michigan & More
By Jon Rothstein
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1. WHICH TEAM HAS THE MOST ON THE LINE?
The Wildcats have had two opportunities in the past nine days to lock up a bid to the NCAA Tournament, but suffered two close road losses to Seton Hall and Pitt.
I’ve said all season that Villanova would have to win 10 games in Big East play to reach the field of 68, and Jay Wright’s team sits at nine conference victories heading into tonight’s game in Philadelphia against Georgetown.
The Hoyas are as hot as any team in the country and could very well be a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown has won 11 games in a row, and might have the Big East and national player of the year in sophomore forward Otto Porter.
It will take a huge effort for Villanova to win — but if they do — they’re all but assured of a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
2. WILL MICHIGAN HAVE A LETDOWN?
The Wolverines had a big time win on Sunday against Michigan State, but they’ll be in a dangerous spot tonight when they take on an upstart Purdue team on the road.
Matt Painter’s squad beat Wisconsin at the Kohl Center on Sunday, and have several young players that have terrific upside.
I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a competitive game from start to finish.
3. HOW WILL IOWA STATE RESPOND AT HOME?
We expect well.
The Cyclones may have had their worst game of the season when they lost at Oklahoma last Saturday, and a win against Oklahoma State should be more than enough to get Fred Hoiberg’s team into the field of 68.
We hear so much this time of year about RPI, strength of schedule, and other ancillary factors that come into play when discussing teams competing for spots in the NCAA Tournament. Yet, not enough people talk about what might be what might be the most important thing when evaluating a team competing for a spot in the bracket — the “eye test”.
If you watch Iowa State play, you’ll see why they belong in the field of 68.
4. CAN RICHMOND SWEEP VCU?
It all depends on how they handle the ball.
The Spiders only committed 11 turnovers when they beat the Rams on January 24th, and they’ll need a similar type of performance to beat VCU at the Siegel Center.
The real wildcard in this game?
Richmond sophomore guard Kendall Anthony.
The 5-8 Anthony scored 26 points in the first meeting between the two teams, and has had 11 games this season where hasn’t committed a turnover.
To have a chance against the Rams, you have to have multiple guys who can handle the ball — and Richmond has just that with Anthony, Darien Brothers, and Cedrick Lindsay.
Tip off is at 8 PM on CBS Sports Network.
5. WHO IS THE BEST TEAM PLAYING THAT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE TALK ABOUT?
It’s no longer an oversight that more people aren’t talking more about the Lobos — it’s an insult.
Steve Alford’s team came into the season as an afterthought in the Mountain West Conference, and all they’ve done is win the league outright.
New Mexico is in Reno tonight to take on Nevada. Tip off is at 10 PM ET on CBS Sports Network.
What’s your prediction for Nova-Georgetown? Be heard in the comments!