Thursday’s Pregame Shootaround: Memphis-Cincinnati, Iowa-Michigan State
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 20 Memphis at No. 15 Cincinnati, 7:00 p.m.
Earlier this season, Cincinnati made a name for themselves when they went into FedEx Forum and put a whooping down on the Tigers. Might it be time for Josh Pastner’s club to exact their revenge? At this point, the only thing on the line for Memphis is seeding. Where will they be slotted in the NCAA tournament? Can they manage to avoid the 4-5 game in the AAC tournament? Cincinnati, on the other hand, needs a win to keep pace with Louisville in the conference standing.
THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 24 Iowa at No. 22 Michigan State, 9:00 p.m.
Are there two teams in the Big Ten that are sputtering more than the Hawkeyes and the Spartans? The Hawkeyes can’t stop anyone lately, and the Spartans are playing like a JV team in recent weeks. They’ve lost at home to Nebraska and Illinois in the last ten days. That’s not a good sign. Will Keith Appling’s wrist ever be right again?
WHO’S GETTING UPSET?: No. 6 Villanova at Xavier, 7:00 p.m.
The Musketeers will be playing without Matt Stainbrook, who strained his MCL on Saturday. That’s certainly not good news, as he was their third-leading scorer and lead rebounder. Xavier needs this game badly, however, as their loss to Seton Hall over the weekend has put them in a bit of a predicament when it comes to making the NCAA tournament.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:
1) There are four Conference USA teams sitting at 12-3 in the league right now. They are all on the road tonight, and will all play at 8:00 p.m.: Louisiana Tech is at Rice, Southern Miss is at Tulane, Tulsa is at North Texas and Middle Tennessee State is at UAB.
2) George Mason will be squaring off with La Salle on the NBC Sports Network tonight at 8:00 p.m.
3) Who doesn’t love a good rivalry game? VCU-Richmond will be wild tonight, especially considering that Richmond’s tournament chances will be dead and gone without a win tonight.
4) UCLA caps off their season with a trip to the Washington schools. They play the Huskies tonight.
5) There are five conference tournaments taking place tonight: The Atlantic Sun semifinals, the Ohio Valley quarterfinals, and the first round for the MAAC, the MVC and the WCC.