Saturday, December 30, 2006

Baby TBB Has Arrived!

Sorry for the slow post-Christmas posting, but my first child was born on Wednesday! Mom and baby are doing well.

I will resume as time and sleep allows. New bracket soon after New Year's.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Duke/Gonzaga Highlights GOI

No time for a long post today. More coming tomorrow and/or Friday.

Last Night's GOI
--at Arizona 79, Memphis 71. The win over Kentucky is likely the best win Memphis is going to have this season.
--at Texas 80, Arkansas 76. Solid win by the 'Horns, and not damaging to Ark.
--at Washington 88, LSU 72. Tigers end Pac-10 swing on a sour note.
--Nebraska 73, Wyoming 58. Huskers have been money at home. They will need some road wins for serious At-Large consideration. This neutral court win helps a bit.
--at Utah 94, Virginia 70. Whoa. Cavs are getting plowed under in San Juan (by 11 to Appalachian State and 24 here).

Tonight's GOI
--Gonzaga vs Duke. Duke is 1-1 away from Cameron. Zags are 2-3 away from the Kennel.
--Pittsburgh vs Oklahoma State. Huge neutral court win for one of these teams.
--Tulsa vs Oklahoma. In-state rivalry alert!
--San Diego State vs Washington State. Both have realistic At-Large hopes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Lockbox Is Born

Many conferences have started play at this point, and that means that it is time to start seriously thinking about teams' accomplishments in the non-conference. Therefore, I have put some teams into the Lockbox for thought. This first Lockbox is merely a list of teams from each conference that have put themselves in some sort of a position to make a run at an At-Large bid, so there is no color-coding at this point. It is still too early for that. I have plugged in the conference favorite in some of the "one-bid" conferences even though some of them have no real shot at an At-Large bid. There will be a Lockbox link to the right for the rest of the season. I will take a crack at a bracket sometime between Christmas and New Year's.

I also should mention that WTBB is 36 weeks pregnant. Keep an eye out for the big announcement in coming days/weeks.

Meanwhile, enjoy this first stab at the 2007 Lockbox. I realize that there are some teams that I may have left off that have a legitimate shot. I will continue to think through teams in the coming days. Feel free to email and make suggestions. I like nice people, so keep that in mind when you write in.

Tonight's GOI
--Memphis at Arizona. MUCH bigger for Memphis. There are not many quality wins to be had in CUSA this year.
--Arkansas at Texas. Someone will snag a quality non-conference win.
--LSU at Washington. The Tigers took down a lesser Pac-10 team in Oregon State on Sunday. Much tougher row to hoe in this one.
--Wyoming at Nebraska. Both on the fringe of At-Large hopes.
--Virginia at Utah. Dicey game for the Cavs.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Weekend Forecast

First, we need to praise the REAL forecast: 67 degrees and sunny tomorrow in Bowling Green, KY! Folks must take advantage of these days in December.

OK, onto the weekend in college hoops.

Weekend GOI
--Texas Tech at Arkansas. Knight is closing on Dean Smith. I do not think he gains in Fayetteville, though.
--Utah State at BYU. In-state rivalry alert! Cougars have not lived up to expectations. USU is 8-1.
--Creighton at Fresno State. Creighton has also struggle a bit early, but the Bulldogs are blazing at 8-1, albeit with no impressive wins.
--Gonzaga vs Georgia. Both Bulldog teams have looked good early. UGA lost its only game a stiff competition, however (a home loss to WKU).
--Kentucky at Louisville. See yesterday's post.
--Western Kentucky at Tennessee. WKU needs a signature win to bolster At-Large hopes.
--Pittsburgh at Wisconsin. Probably the game of the weekend. These two are a combined 20-1.
Wooden Tradition
--Purdue at Bulter. Who would have dreamed this game would mean this much?
--Ohio State vs Cincinnati. Big test for the Bearcats.
--Southern Illinois at Indiana. Indiana gets a chance to upset SIU at home.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dream Game Nightmare

As veteran readers of this blog know, I am a Kentucky boy through and through. Born and raised in the rural, rolling land of central Kentucky, I grew up driving tractors, working on farms, and enjoying the beautiful woods and rivers (Rough River was my local body of water) of our great state.

Growing up in Breckinridge County also meant that your college basketball team was the Kentucky Wildcats. That, in turn, meant that it was your duty to hate Louisville. And, every year, these two clubs hook up for the "Dream Game" in December. The two did not play in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Louisville accused Kentucky of dodging them for most of those years. But, when UK and UL met in the 1983 Mideast Region Final of the NCAA Tournament, their relationship changed. The two clubs played to a draw in regulation, but Louisville ran away in overtime for an 80-68 victory. The two clubs have played every year since the original "Dream Game."

I have never failed to watch a "Dream Game." Although my heart lies with Western Kentucky, this is still one of the most important non-conference games in the country. But, I cannot a remember a game with less national impact than this year's edition which will take place on Saturday. Kentucky is 6-3 with losses to UCLA, Memphis, and North Carolina. Their best win is over 5-3 Indiana. Coach Tubby Smith is, rightly or wrongly, under intense pressure from fans due to his lack of deep tournament runs and multiple double-digit loss seasons. Many fans feel that his style simply turns off top recruits and that UK lacks elite talent. The situation is becoming more tumultuous at Louisville as well. The Cards are 4-3 with losses to Arizona, Dayton, and a home loss to UMass last night. All of their wins have occurred in Freedom Hall and only Ohio has a winning record to date. For most of the college basketball world, it was unthinkable that Rick Pitino's sixth Cardinal team would be unranked at any point during a season.

Neither team is ranked. Neither will be ranked regardless of the outcome on Saturday. Neither figures to challenge for their conference title. Louisville is coming off of an NIT and fears are growing that they will return there. UK was an 8-seed last season and fans fear a similar fate or worse this season.

But, in a strange, bizarro-world way, this "Dream Game" has MORE meaning than many past meetings. Most years, both teams are ranked and will clearly dance in March. Alas, the loser of this game will be in full panic mode. UL could conceivably drop to 4-4 with two straight home losses. UK could drop to 6-4 with a loss to a struggling rival.

One team will put out the fire at least for the short term. One team will have kerosene poured on its already spreading blaze.

The game is on CBS at 12.30 CST on Saturday.

Last Night's GOI

--at Cincinnati 67, Xavier 57. The Bearcats sprung an upset in Mick Cronin's first big win. Great timing for the Bearcats.
--UMass 72, at Louisville 68. This looks like a huge road win for UMass, but something is up at Louisville. A loss to Arizona is one thing. A neutral court loss to Dayton is not disastrous. A loss at home to UMass alone might not break their backs, but the three combined are puzzling. And the three combined say that UL is not an NCAA team right now.
--at Florida Atlantic 91, Troy 87. FAU wins their Belt opener at home.
--at New Orleans 80, UL-Lafayette 76. Bo McCalebb went for a career high 36 in this one. He fires the salvo in Courtney Lee's direction for Sun Belt POY honors.

Tonight's GOI
Sun Belt Slate
--Denver at Arkansas State. The Pioneers (1-9) have been playing some of the worst basketball in the country. ASU's (3-7) preseason buzz has been silenced.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

State of the Sun Belt Address

Greetings my fellow Americans and Sun Belt enthusiasts...

Hello? Is this thing on? Oh. OK.

The start of conference play normally brings excitement, anticipation, and the general feeling that basketball is in full swing. Unfortunately, for the Sun Belt Conference, the swing resides on a broken-down playground overgrown with weeds and chiggers.

In the mid-to-late 1990s, the Belt was consistently ranked #14-16 in Conference RPI. It was the classic hard-nosed one-bid conference. Then, the Belt started to slide in 2000, falling to #19 by season's end. Part of this can be attributed to WKU's slippage after Matt Killcullen's disastrous, soul-crushing tenure. It makes sense that the conference would slip with one of the conference stalwarts hobbled. Plus, Denver (is that in the "sun belt"?) was added to the conference and promptly went 6-22, further damaging the conference RPI. However, the Toppers were back to their old 20-win tricks in 2001...and the conference still slipped to #20. In 2002, WKU was in the top 30 RPI, yet the conference only moved up one slot to #19.

This is where is gets interesting. From 2003 to 2005, the conference looked to be on the uptick by moving from #19 in '02, to #15 in 2003, #16 in 2004, and up to #13 in 2005. Then, the conference added Troy last season and the conference slipped back to #18. This season, the Belt has added both Florida Atlantic and UL-Monroe and the conference currently sits at #20.

Division I-A football has been the motivating factor behind the addition of Troy, FAU, and UL-Monroe. In the short run, it is hurting basketball. In addition to bringing in poor hoops teams, some traditionally strong basketball schools are in disarray or transition. UALR has struggled mightily early on. South Alabama's NCAA team from last season was gutted by graduation. UL-Lafayette lost three senior starters from a fairly mediocre team. MTSU is trying to mesh a lot of young players. Denver has hit rock(y mountain) bottom after losing C Yemi Nicholson. Hurricane Katrina has left an indelible mark on New Orleans' program. Arkansas State and FIU have not been relevant for a long time.

The Belt currently has only TWO teams with winning records: WKU (8-2) and North Texas (6-2). It remains to be seen what will happen in the long run with the IA football additions. Hopefully, those schools will improve and the old conference standard-bearers will again find their way. But, even through the sunny-beltiest of lenses, this looks like a bad year for the league.

That said, conference play begins tonight. On the bright side, many of this year's clubs are young, so this season could lay a good foundation for some good teams in the next couple of years, especially at WKU, MTSU, UL-Lafayette, and South Alabama.

May God bless you, and may God bless (have mercy on?) the Sun Belt.

Tonight's GOI
--Xavier at Cincinnati. In-city rivalry alert! The Crosstown Shootout usually plays out nicely. The X is certainly the favorite this season.
--UMass at Louisville. If the Minutemen are going to make a serious run at an At-Large bid, they could use this one. The Cards simply need a win over a solid team, and they are tough at home.

Sun Belt Slate
--Troy at Florida Atlantic
--UL-Lafayette at New Orleans

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

It is just 13 days until Christmas, so I figured I had better get my letter in the mail. I have been a very good boy this year. I watched a lot of November basketball even when most folks were more concerned with that sport with the oblong ball and chattering about which teams will play for its (pseudo) "championship." I have attended all of my team's home games. I have endured Dukevision as gracefully as any boy should. I religiously scour and and will continue to do so on a daily basis as those numbers become more and more relevant. I am wearing my Mid-Majority shirt as I type this letter. Like I said, I've been the model fan so far this year.

As a college hoops junkie, I have several items on my wish list this year.

1. A Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Now, Santa, I know that YOU know that I do not play baseball. This is for me to use in case the NCAA Selection Committee shafts the Missouri Valley again this season. I could use this bat to either A) smash my television in frustration or B) drive to Indianapolis and use said bat to bludgeon Gary Walters and the Selection Committee in person. I realize that this could jeopardize my "very good boy" status for next Christmas.

2. A Magic Muzzle. To be used on Digger Phelps, Dick Vitale, or Billy Packer as I see fit.

3. An NCAA bracket line for Western Kentucky. And, if it's not too much to ask, could it come opposite a bloated, overrated, power conference team?

4. Continued success and high "rankings" for Wichita State and Butler. We need to know what the committee will do with Top 15 (Top 10?) teams from non-power conferences.

5. A "sleep bank." My first child arrives in a month and I'd like to save some sleep in the coming weeks. Or, better yet, a "basketball-to-sleep converter," which cashes in "hours of basketball watched" for sleep. Yeah, that's the ticket!

6. An All-American card for Courtney Lee.

7. A white Christmas.

8. A "make-up" call. From: The Selection Committee. To: Missouri State.

OK, that is enough for now, Santa. I hope that you enjoy the milk and cookies that I left out for you. They are organic, fat-free, trans fat free, and tempo-free. Safe travels.

Your friend,


Monday, December 11, 2006

Salukis Survive Toppers

When Egyptian dogs and Big Red Blobs collide, something wonderful has to happen. Coming into the contest, Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky both had just one loss on their otherwise pristine resumes. SIU had a tough overtime loss to Arkansas on Thanksgiving Day and WKU was walloped by Florida on November 25. These are two teams are expected to be playing in the NCAA Tournament in March. This match up had a lot going for it and it did not disappoint.

It was widely understood that the winner of this game would be the team that dictated the pace and terms of the contest. The Salukis came into Diddle and set their methodical pace right out of the gate. They rolled up a 33-17 lead with under five minutes to play in the first half with some blistering shooting in addition to their ballyhooed half-court defense (If there is a team with better half-court defense than SIU, I have yet to see them.). WKU responded behind a raucous crowd and some demonic D of their own to storm back and actually take a one-point lead late in the game. Ironically, they never truly pushed SIU out of their comfortable tortoise pace during this run. The Toppers chipped away by letting All-American candidate Courtney Lee do this thing: read, score the ball. He did it from Three, with stop and rise mid-range jumpers, with gliding forays to the rim, and with one of the filthiest follow-up dunks in the history of humankind.

A comeback from 16 down, a seething crowd in a foamy frenzy, and a team with depth is too much for most road teams to overcome. But SIU calmly regrouped and do what championship teams do. Senior PG Jamal Tatum hit a fade-away 16-footer with a defender draped all over him as the shot clock expired. Senior 2G Tony Young saved a ball from going out of bounds that led to a Saluki threeball. Tatum sank critical free throws down the stretch. Ballgame.

The young Toppers undoubtedly learned a lot in this game. While this loss stings, it is a loss that should pay dividends as the season wears on. SIU is a team that should be carefully watched this season. It will become easier to keep tabs on them because they likely will have little numbers next to their name this week. If their outside shooting holds up, the sky is the limit. More on Saturday's WKU/SIU tilt here, here, and here.

It's finals week for most of the country, which means fewer games and a lot more grading (for me, at least). The GOI is going to be sparse this week. There is a big Saturday coming up. More on that later this week.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Weekend Forecast

It's been a busy week. The recording of my band's (Redfoot) album begins tonight, so I must head out of town. I'll be in the studio all night tonight and tomorrow, but will return to Bowling Green for the monster game between WKU and Southern Illinois in Diddle Arena tomorrow night. That should be a great one. I'll have a full report on that game on Sunday or Monday.

Enjoy the weekend.

Last Night's GOI
--at Eastern Kentucky 72, Murray State 66 (OT). EKU trailed by 10 at the break before storming back in the 2nd half and winning in the extra frame.
--Michigan 62, at Miami (OH) 56. The Wolverines held off a late surge to win a road game.
--at Notre Dame 99, Alabama 85. ND is officially an At-Large contender.
--at Vanderbilt 59, Lipscomb 50. Vandy gets a not-so-easy win.

Weekend Forecast
--Iowa State at Iowa. The consolation game of the Iowa State Championship. Northern Iowa has already beaten both of these teams.
--Xavier at Creighton. The Jays could use a big win about now. This certainly qualifies.
--Washington at Gonzaga. Should be a battle royale. Zags lost to Wash State earlier this week.
--Indiana at Kentucky. This stakes have been much higher, but it's still a big game for both.
--Wisconsin at Marquette. In-state rivalry alert! Simply a great college hoops match up.
--Missouri at Purdue. Two teams that have been off the NCAA radar for awhile that are off to blazing starts.
--Arizona at San Diego State. Massive game for SDSU. This would go a long way on their resume.
--Southern Illinois at Western Kentucky. One of the top non-power conf games of the early season.
--Wichita State at Wyoming. Dangerous roadie for the juggernaut Shockers.
--Texas A&M at UCLA. TAMU took an "L" at LSU and has a second chance to collect some quality road hide.
--Maryland at Boston College. The Eagles need it more.
--LSU vs Texas. Great bowl game or hoops match up these days.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

WKU Runs Past Montana

The Hilltoppers (8-1) scored a huge road win over the Montana Grizzlies (2-5) last night in Missoula. Wooden candidate Courtney Lee racked up 25 points, 12 rebs, and 5 steals to power the Tops to victory. Reserve forward Matt Maresca came off the bench to toss in a career high 16 points in the win as well.

The Tops got off to a slow start and trailed 27-15 with just over 8 mins to play in the first half. But, from that point, the Topper depth did it's job and methodically wore down the Grizz. Montana was outscored 66-38 the rest of the way. Read the WKU take here and Montana's thoughts here.

In other news, the Sun Belt is still struggling. Although, the conference did go 2-2 last night including two road wins. In addition to the Tops' win at Montana, North Texas won at Stephen F. Austin by a 76-70 count. The Mean Green are getting it done despite missing their best player. Kendrick Davis tore a flexor in his wrist after punching a window following the Green's loss to TX-Arlington. He will be out a couple of more weeks at least. He may even miss North Texas' game in Diddle Arena on December 19. Temper, temper.

Last Night's GOI

--UMass 56, at Boston U 54. In-state games rarely disappoint.
--at Dayton 60, Creighton 54. The Rhyme Game goes to Dayton. The Flyers have been solid in the non-conference. The Jays will have to pick it up to compete in the MVC.
--Villanova 67, at Oklahoma 51. Oklahoma looks to be in official rebuilding mode.
--at Tennessee 76, Memphis 58. Chris Lofton is a one-man-gang. Definitely UT's best game of the season to date.
--at Utah State 60, Utah 57. Another tight in-state rivalry game. The Aggies are 7-1.
--at Virginia Tech 72, Old Dominion 55. Good win for VT that they desperately needed.
--at West Virginia 71, NC State 60. 'Eers are 6-1 now. Pack has dropped two straight.

Tonight's GOI
--Murray State at Eastern Kentucky. In-state rivalry alert! Cross state OVC rivals kick off their conference season.
--Michigan at Miami (OH). Why this game? Because this is a game that NCAA teams win. Michigan has a good record (8-1) but ALL of those wins came at home against weak competition and the Wolverines lost their only road game at NC State.
--Alabama at Notre Dame. The Irish are stirring up some talk. A win here would send a clear message that they are for real this year.
--Lipscomb at Vanderbilt. In-city rivalry alert! Vandy has been shaky and Lipscomb is probably the best team that the Atlantic Sun has to offer.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jimmy V Classic

Were we watching four NCAA Tournament teams in the Jimmy V Classic last night? My Magic 8-ball says, "yes." Oklahoma State defeated Syracuse and Arizona held off Louisville in Madison Square Garden last night amidst the annual celebration of the life of Jim Valvano and the V Foundation for cancer research.

To say that these four will be tourney teams is no stretch, but remember that neither OK State nor UL made the Dance last year. Furthermore, the Cuse was OUT of the bracket until their monster run through the Big East Tournament. So, these were not teams that were in great position last year.

I wrote about the state of basketball here in Kentucky yesterday and I also said that we would know more about Louisville after tonight. What did we learn?

1. The Cards have young talent. Guard Edgar Sosa (FR), wing Terrence Williams (SO), and freshmen forwards Earl Clark and Derrick Caracter have loads of athleticism. Coach Rick Pitino still has work to do into making them basketball players.

2. Perpetual injury. Center David Padgett has two surgically repaired knees that may never be 100%. PG Andre McGee was out with injury as well. The Cards have had LOTS of injury problems over the last two seasons.

3. Where is the defense? So far this season, the Cards are ranked #190 in defensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy. They also play a slow pace (#243). Let's see, poor defense and slow ball...their coach is Rick Pitino, right? Maybe this will turn around as the season wears on.

The Cards now settle in for TEN (10!) straight games at home in Freedom Hall. I guess that is good for a young team, but how will that look when Big East play begins with two straight road games at Notre Dame and South Florida? The Cards were terrible on the road last season (1-8) and they made no effort to get any road experience before conference play this season. We shall see if this hinders them in conference play again this year.

Last Night's GOI

--at LSU 64, Texas A&M 52. Aggies first real test results in an "L." No real shame in losing in Baton Rouge, however.
--at Washington State 77, Gonzaga 67. The Cougars recovered from their loss to Utah to grab a huge non-conference win. We'll be watching Wash State.
Jimmy V Classic
--vs Arizona 72, Louisville 65. Not quite the statement Louisville wanted to make, but the potential is there with this team if these youngsters learn to defend a bit better. 'Zona's Chase Budinger and Ivan Radenovic were both impressive.
--Oklahoma State 72, Syracuse 68. Cowboys are going to contend in the Big XII.

Tonight's GOI
--UMass at Boston U. In-state rivalry alert! UMass is supposed to win, but this is a rivalry game.
--Creighton at Dayton. Both have just one loss and starting to have At-Large thoughts dance in their heads. Plus, they rhyme.
--Villanova at Oklahoma. Two teams that figure to need all of wins they can get for at-large purposes.
--Memphis at Tennessee. In-state rivalry alert! As far as the east is from the least within the borders of Goreland. Should be a dandy.
--Utah at Utah State. In-state rivalry alert! Always a nice match up.
--Old Dominion at Virginia Tech. VT was a sexy pick to make noise this season, but they aree just 3-3 and ODU is dangerous.
--NC State at West Virginia. See Villanova at Oklahoma.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

State of the Bluegrass

The state of Kentucky can undoubtedly be called a "basketball state." Football in the Bluegrass is on the rise on both the high school and college levels (see Louisville's BCS game, Kentucky's bowl trip, and WKU's recent move to I-A status), but this is still basketball country. For most of the state, they fly the flag of the Big Blue Flagship in Lexington. A healthly number of Louisville folks fly cardinal red and a good number have the WKU Hilltoppers in their heart in south central Kentucky. Murray State, Morehead State, and Eastern Kentucky all have a handful of diehards, too. Most seasons, it is only Kentucky and Louisville that enjoy the little numbers next to their names when their games show up on the tube.

This season is a bit different. For the first time in a very long time, Western Kentucky garnered more votes than either UK or UL in the AP popularity contest, I mean, poll. Readers of this site know that TBB pays virtually zero attention to the polls, but this does serve as a marker since both UK and UL have been virtual mainstays for decades. After Kentucky's 13-loss season last year and their 4-3 start this season, many bluebloods in the state are foaming at the mouth. Louisville has already lost to Dayton in the early going and received zero votes in the latest AP poll. WKU, EKU and Morehead State are on the uptick this season. Murray State is rebuilding, but has cleaned up their image. UK and UL have plenty of season left to move in a positive direction, but while the rest of the state seems to be improving, fanbases for the two traditional powers are becoming restless. Both have highly paid, highly visible coaches who had subpar seasons last year and are off to less-than-stellar starts this year. UK, UL and WKU all have huge games coming up:

Kentucky: Sat., host Indiana
Louisville: Tonight vs Arizona
WKU: Wed., at Montana; Sat., host SIU

We will learn a lot about these three this week.

Last Night's GOI

--at Kansas 72, Southern Cal 62. The Jayhawks bounce back after their loss to DePaul.
--at Wisconsin 82, Winthrop 79. The Eagles missed another big upset by a hair. They have played North Carolina and Wisconsin very tough in road games. They were handled more easily by Maryland, but beat Mississippi State in Starkville. They still have trips to ODU and Texas A&M left.

Tonight's GOI
--Texas A&M at LSU. The Aggies have yet to lose, but this is their first game against high-caliber competition.
--Gonzaga at Washington State. In-state rivalry alert! This one would have a lot more luster if WASU had not lost to Utah on the weekend.
Jimmy V Classic
--Louisville vs Arizona. Louisville needs to make a statement in this game to get back onto the national scene.
--Oklahoma State vs Syracuse. Cowboys are back in the national picture and this game could establish them as a contender.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Sorry for the brevity, but TBB is under an avalanche of papers and other commitments this week. I will set aside time for a "real" post tomorrow.

Tonight's GOI
--Southern Cal at Kansas. Every game is interesting for the up-and-down Jayhawks.
--Winthrop at Wisconsin. The Eagles continue their punishing tour versus top teams. And they are a threat to the Badgers.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Battle for the Bluegrass/Weekend Forecast

One of the best moves of the Darrin Horn era at WKU was the renewal of the basketball series with Eastern Kentucky University three years ago. WKU holds a monster lead in the all-time series, but EKU has a couple of historic wins that sting Topper souls. This cross-state rivalry game brings loads of fun for the players, fans, and alumni of both schools. The Tops have taken the first two games of this renewed series by handling Travis Ford's NCAA-bound EKU team two years ago, and the Tops held off Eastern in Richmond last year despite a furious second half comeback by the Colonels. Another edition of the Battle for the Bluegrass heats up tomorrow night in Bowling Green. WKU again will be favored to win, but EKU will undoubtedly pack a lunch and come to play. EKU is off to a decent 3-1 start including two road wins, but WKU's depth is going to be tough to overcome in this one.

Last Night's GOI

--at Missouri 86, Arkansas 64. Mike Anderson has Mizzou in a nice spot. They are 8-0 and seem to be recovering from the Quin Snyder debacle more quickly than expected. These are the kinds of losses that keeps pressure on Stan Heath in Fayetteville.
--The Sun Belt has been so bad to this point, readers can just assume that all Belt teams lost unless otherwise noted. Enough with me giving you the painful game-by-game embarrassment. Hey, by the way, Middle Tennessee won at home over Indiana State last night, 65-58. That secured a 1-3 record for the Belt last night. Yippee.

Weekend Forecast (All times CST)
--Illinois vs Arizona. [4.15 pm, ESPN]. The Illini are likely to be without Jamar Smith.
--Northern Iowa at Bucknell. This figured to be another nice home win for the Bison, but the Panthers have performed better in the early going. Bucknell is 2-4 and desperately needs this one.
--Georgetown at Duke. [6 pm, ESPN2]. The Hoyas could really use a prestige win. Indiana nearly got Duke in Cameron earlier this week.
--Texas vs Gonzaga. [2pm, ESPN]. Tasty little matchup that is a great resume builder.
--Boston College at UMass. This is the Minutemen's chance to announce their NCAA At-Large viability.
--Kentucky at North Carolina. [11 am, CBS]. Battle of Bluebloods looks to have a powder blue tint this year. Kentucky still seems to be searching at this point.
--Villanova at Penn. Ah, a Big Five matchup. College hoops is officially in full swing.
--Clemson at South Carolina. [12 noon, FOX South]. In-state rivalry alert!
--Wichita State at Syracuse. The Shockers have already won at LSU. The Orange have not been challenged to date.
--Eastern Kentucky at Western Kentucky. In-state rivalry alert!

--Nevada vs California. Both off to blazing starts.
--Florida at Florida State. In-state rivalry alert!!!
--Bradley at Michigan State. I'm not sure how good either of these teams are.
--NC State at Virginia. [2.30 pm, FOX]. Important ACC opener for both clubs.