College Basketball Saturday: BracketBusters And Big Ten Rivals Take Center Stage

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: Jared Sullinger #0 and Deshaun Thomas #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes react against the Michigan Wolverines during the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Need to know who's playing where, at what time and on what channel? We've got you covered on a loaded BracketBuster Saturday in college basketball.

It's mid-to-late February in America. Everything below is your life right now. All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time.

Drexel at Cleveland State (11 a.m./ESPNU)

Easily the biggest hot/cold matchup of BracketBusters Weekend. Drexel has won 14 straight and suddenly has at-large aspirations, something which could have been said for Cleveland St. before the three-game losing streak it is currently riding. Although the teams have similar RPIs, this one probably means more to Drexel.

Bryant at Saint Francis (Pa.) (11:30 a.m. /MSG)

Bryant is 1-14 in the NEC and 2-25 overall. Saint Francis is better. Moving on. What's that? You want to know what their record is? Really? Because you're going watch? It's 5-21 (4-11). That was pretty cold, man. I'm just letting you know that I'm gonna keep going...but I don't want to.

No. 12 Marquette at Connecticut (Noon/ESPN)

It's hard to see a gigantic turnaround for the ultra-talented Huskies that doesn't begin here. The defending national champions have two surefire lottery picks, zero eye-catching wins and a losing conference record (6-7).

No. 24 Wichita State at Davidson (Noon/ESPN2)

Wichita St. may be the BracketBuster team most suited to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, while Davidson owns the best win of any team in the field, an 80-74 toppling of No. 4 Kansas in Kansas City back in December. This game is all about seeding for the 24th-ranked Shockers, while Steph Curry University absolutely has to have a win to keep their razor thin at-large hopes alive.

No. 19 Louisville at DePaul (Noon/SNY/MASN)

Louisville fans celebrate what they call "DePaul Day" every time their beloved Cardinals face the Blue Demons on the hardwood. U of L has taken 20 of the last 22 from their long-time conference foe and haven't lost to DePaul since the pair joined the Big East together in 2005.

No. 11 UNLV at New Mexico (1 p.m./CBS Regional)

Since losing at UNLV on Jan. 21, New Mexico has won six straight games by an average of 20.8 points, including a 77-67 victory at No. 13 San Diego St. on Wednesday. The Lobos now sit in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West and are a victory over the Runnin' Rebels away from all but assuring themselves of a spot in the field of 68. Vegas, meanwhile, is looking to avoid the road woes that have led to it dropping two of its last three games.

UCLA at St. John's (1 p.m./CBS Regional)

Do we really have to this, CBS? Do we really have to split coverage here? How about you just tell the two teams that they're still playing on TV and let the rest of the country watch good basketball. LA vs. New York? That's like saying A Good Year vs. Funny People is Ridley Scott vs. Judd Apatow. Technically, it's accurate, but...just let us watch UNLV/New Mexico.

UTEP at Memphis (1 p.m./FSN)

UTEP is one of 19 teams in Division I still searching for its road win. The Miners are an imperfect 0-8 away from home. Memphis, for what it's worth, is 13-1 at the FedEx Forum. That one loss came to No. 16 Murray State.

Buffalo at South Dakota State (1 p.m./ESPNU)

South Dakota St. will be one of the darlings of Championship Week so long as it makes it to the Summit League title game. It is incredibly fun to watch get up and down the floor and Nate Wolters has absolutely no conscience. If you're bored (St. John's/UCLA!), this is worth at least a brief flip over.

Kansas State at No. 9 Baylor (1:30 p.m./Altitude)

Rodney McGruder dropped 30 points, but K-State snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when these two met in Manhattan on Jan. 10. The Wildcats will again look to attack Baylor inside and out-tough them around the rim. The Bears have been hard to beat to beat at home, but motivation and focus are concerns for a team that knows it has no shots left at MIssouri or Kansas before the Big 12 Tournament.

Tennessee at Alabama (1:30 p.m./MSG)

The team formerly known as Alabama is in desperate need of a victory here. The Tide will again be without the still-suspended duo of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, and their three next-most important players -- Trevor Releford, Nick Jacobs, and Andrew Steele -- are all dealing with injuries.

No. 3 Missouri at Texas A&M (2 p.m./ESPN)

Classic SEC matchup.

Akron at Oral Roberts (2 p.m./ESPN2)

Easily the most underrated BracketBusters game, in the opinion of your faithful narrator. Oral Roberts has lost just once since Dec. 15, winning 17 of its last 18 games, while Akron has won eight straight and 12 of its last 13. The Golden Eagles (24-5, 16-1) own victories over Xavier and Texas Tech and have made winning in dramatic fashion a habit over the past few weeks. If this isn't one of the day's more competitive tilts, then it'll be a mild shock. Then again almost everything is a mild shock to me, I have have anterograde amnesia.

Duquesne at Temple (2 p.m./CSS/Comcast)

Temple will try to maintain its slim lead over Saint Louis at the top of the A-10 standings against a Duquesne squad that has won three of four.

Arizona at Washington (3 p.m./FSN)

The "How Are We Not Better? Classic," live from the McKale Memorial Center. The 2005-06 Michigan State Spartans will be honored at halftime.

Drake at New Mexico State (3 p.m./ESPNU)

Still can't buy teams like New Mexico St. and Nevada as "mid-majors" or "bracket busters." Pretty obvious that The U is only in this one for Drake's SEO power.

Clemson at No. 8 North Carolina (4 p.m./ESPN)

It's been beaten to death, but Clemson's 0-55 record at North Carolina truly is one of the more remarkable streaks in sports. I mean, it's so much easier for the little guy to prevail in a single basketball game than it is in a sport like football, and Clemson isn't even a little guy. There have been some bad UNC teams over the past few decades, and some good Clemson squads have still been beaten by them at the Dean Dome. Zero-for-FOR-EV-ER. Absolutely unreal.


Nevada at Iona (4 p.m./ESPN2)

The greatest amateur show in New York gets a shot on the national stage against perhaps the nation's quietest four-loss team in Nevada. These are two very solid squads that don't have a whole lot to gain either way here, a situation that has been one of the biggest complaints about BracketBusters in recent years. Still, watching the Gaels is about as rewarding an experience as there is in college basketball this season.

No. 13 San Diego State at Air Force (4 p.m./NBC Sports Network)

Coming off a disappointing home loss to New Mexico, the Aztecs will now look to avoid losing three consecutive games for the first time in four years. To do so, they'll have to knock off an Air Force squad that took UNLV to overtime last month and is coming off an upset win over Wyoming.

Lafayette at Lehigh (4 p.m./CBS Sports Network)

Not much of a counter-punch here in the budding NBC Sports Network/CBS Sports Network rivalry. Although it is one of mid-major basketball's best rivalries and Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum is fun to watch.

TCU at Boise State (4 p.m./The Mountain)

At this point in conference realignment, it's almost shocking to be reminded that this is a Mountain West league game. There's a joke about Boise St. missing a late field goal to be made here, but I don't have the heart for that kind of thing anymore. Maybe before you made me look up Saint Francis of Pennsylvania's record, but not now. Yeah, the amnesia thing was a joke. Don't act like you thought I was serious. We're getting nowhere here.

Texas at Oklahoma State (4 p.m./Altitude)

Texas is looking for its fifth straight win and a season sweep of The Pokes. Oklahoma St. has already gotten the better of Missouri and Iowa State in Stillwater, and this is a loss the Longhorns can't afford to take.

Ole Miss at No. 1 Kentucky (4 p.m./MSG)

Ole Miss is coming off a game where two of its players got into a fight after Vandy dropped 102 points on them at home. This is probably going to go to well, though.

Seton Hall at Cincinnati (4 p.m./SNY/MASN)

Cincinnati is 8-5 in the Big East, but desperately needs this win over a Seton Hall team the computers still love in order to boost its dismal RPI of 93.

Louisianna-Lafayette at North Texas (4 p.m./CSS)

I thought about just leaving this one out since it's essentially more work for zero reward, but then I imagined this scenario where six years from now this couple who is absolutely perfect for each other meets at a coffee shop, and the entire basis of the conception of their ultimately perfect relationship is a conversation about how they watched this game on CSS in February of 2012. See, the woman is a die-hard North Texas fan (Mean Green!) and the guy is a casual gambler who wanted to check in on the game when he noticed it was close with about five minutes left. He had no idea if it was being televised or not, so he ran a quick Google search and wound up landing on this feature. Then I ate a pack of Welch's fruit snacks and wrote this paragraph. You're welcome, Brian and Jeanine.

Colorado at Utah (5 p.m./FSN)

Still hard to believe that Colorado has a legitimate shot at the Pac-12 crown. Yeah, they're in the league now. First year. No, it's a league game. Yes, both of them are in the conference.

Old Dominion at Missouri State (5 p.m./ESPNU)

Another BracketBusters game between solid teams with virtually nothing to play for.

Illinois at Nebraska (5 p.m./Big Ten Network)

Bruce Weber has an established reputation of being a "straight shooter," but it was borderline bizarre to hear him speak after the Purdue loss on Wednesday as if both this season and his career in Champaign were already over. I can't imagine it instilled a great deal of enthusiasm in his players.

No. 21 Saint Mary's at No. 16 Murray State (6 p.m./ESPN)

Obviously, the BracketBusters headliner, but a game which has lost a great deal of luster since it was originally announced. First, Murray St.'s undefeated season came to a crashing halt with a stunning home loss to Tennessee St. Then Saint Mary's dropped games to Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount by 14 and 15 points, respectively. Now SMC star guard Matthew Dellavedova is doubtful to play because of an ankle injury, potentially ruining his much-anticipated showdown with the Racers' Isaiah Canaan. Still, there are enormous NCAA Tournament implications riding on the final score, regardless of who plays.

No. 14 Florida at Arkansas (6 p.m./ESPN2)

Arkansas can't lose at home (literally) and can't win on the road (literally). Florida had not lost at home before last Saturday, and has been nearly as dismal on the road. The Gators have a notable edge in talent. This might be the worst gambling opportunity of the season.

LaSalle at Massachusetts (6 p.m./CBS Sports Network)

UMass has the best zone in the Atlantic 10, but the Explorers are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the country. Both teams are squarely in the middle of a league where at least nine teams appear fully capable of getting hot and winning the conference tournament

BYU at Santa Clara (7 p.m./ESPNU)

The Cougars can't get caught looking ahead to next week's showdown at Gonzaga, because a loss to Santa Clara would essentially render an otherwise crucial win over the 'Zags meaningless.

Minnesota at Northwestern (7 p.m./Big Ten Network)

This game's defining picture:


So close to being good, but...not.

Sacred Heart at Saint Francis (NY) (7 p.m./MSG)

I'm not doing it ... I'm not looking up their record ...14-12 overall and 11-4 in the Northeast Conference. And I spent at least $200 more than you on Valentine's Day. Also, a Sacred Heart win almost assures it of a spot in the NEC Tournament.

East Carolina at UCF (7 p.m./CSS)

Central Florida won the first meeting by 18 on the road. The Knights are battling for one of Conference USA's four conference tourney byes. East Carolina is not.

No. 10 Georgetown at Providence (7 p.m./MASN/SNY)

Georgetown will look for its seventh straight victory in this series over a Friar squad it already held to 40 points on New Year's Eve. That output was 30 points below Providence's season average, and their worst overall scoring performance since 1948. For the season, the Hoyas are limiting opponents to 58.9 points per game, the second-best mark in the Big East.

Dayton at Xavier (8 p.m./CBS Sports Network)

Dayton embarrassed the Musketeers at UD Arena in January, but the Flyers haven't beaten their arch-rivals from Cincinnati in the Queen City since 1981. X desperately needs the win, not just for payback, but to keep hope alive for winning its sixth straight A-10 regular season title and making its seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

Texas Tech at No. 4 Kansas (8

Texas Tech finally has a win in the Big 12. They won't get another one on Saturday.

Mississippi State at Auburn (8 p.m./FSN/FS Regional)

The Bulldogs, who haven't appeared especially interested in guarding anyone in weeks, are suddenly reeling after losses to Georgia and LSU in the past week. A third loss to hapless Auburn and Rick Stansbury's leather recliner (I'm guessing) will become exponentially warmer.

No. 6 Ohio State at No. 17 Michigan (9 p.m./ESPN)

The Maize Rage is one of the best student sections in the country, and it's nice to see both them and the basketball version of the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry grab the national spotlight for once. The Wolverines (9-4), who have lost six straight in this series, sit just a game-behind the Buckeyes and Michigan St. (10-3) at the top of the Big Ten standings. Trae Burke was rattled early and often by Aaron Craft in the first meeting between these two, something UM's freshman star can't have happen again if he wants his team to have a shot at springing the upset.

No. 23 Notre Dame at Villanova (9 p.m./ESPNU)

Mike Brey and the Irish appear poised to continue their improbable Big East run, as 'Nova will be without leading scorer Maalik Wayns and fellow starter James Bell in this game. Both players recently suffered injuries.

Wyoming at Colorado State (9 p.m./The Mountain)

Leonard Washington went off to the tune of 32 points and 14 rebounds as Wyoming blew out their rivals in the season's first installment of the Border War. Now, the Cowboys are still hurting after a stunning loss to Air Force on Wednesday that likely knocked them over to the ugly side of the bubble. I heard they do a lot of "poking" over there. I'm not sure what that entails. I don't want to find out.

Southern Mississippi at Houston (9 p.m. /CSS)

Southern Miss will look to keep pace with Memphis at the top of the C-USA standings by beating a Houston squad that might have football revenge on its mind. They probably won't, but they've only won three conference games so maybe they should. I miss Tom Penders.

Long Beach State at Creighton (10 p.m. /ESPN2)

The Bluejays looked like the best mid-major in the country before an inexplicable three-game losing streak that was snapped earlier this week. Long Beach St., meanwhile, hasn't lost in Big West play after a non-conference schedule that saw it face approximately 40-45 ranked teams on the road. Doug Mcdermott is probably going to wind up a first team All-American and there isn't a guard in the country who Casper Ware can't hang with. Both teams are fully capable of winning at least one game in the big dance. This should be a fun way to cap the evening.

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