While yesterday was a relatively light day for college basketball, today will feature a much more interesting slate of games. While there are no matchups of top 25 teams today, there are 39 games overall and today we have decided to highlight the four best games we see on the slate. While we do not have any big time national games there are several very intriguing matchups today between teams fighting for lower level NCAA tournament bids as of now.
National Game of the Day:Memphis (11-6, 4-2 American) @ Tulsa (12-5, 5-0 American)
Memphis and Tulsa are two of the premiere teams in the AAC this year, which is proving itself to be a much better basketball league than it was being given credited for. Memphis and Tulsa figures to be a very low scoring game as these are two of the best defensive teams in the country. Memphis only has one double digit scorer on its team this year and that is sophomore forward Austin Nichols, who is averaging 12.7 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds per game and an incredible 3.4 blocks per game. Nichols presence in the paint is a big reason why Memphis is so good defensively. Tulsa gets almost half of its scoring from its two leading scorers, James Woodard and Shaquille Harrison. Woodard is a junior shooting guard averaging 15.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Harrison is a junior combo guard averaging 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. This Tulsa team goes as these two go and I think they will have decent games today. Tulsa wins a close, defensive battle, 63-59.
Tulane and SMU are two very solid teams whose resumes for the tournament are a little thin right now due to both teams losing close games in the out of conference schedule to ranked teams. Both teams are around average nationally defensively and offensively. SMU is riding a four game winning streak due to stifling defense and they will try and continue that today vs. Tulane. There best player is easily there star junior point guard Nic Moore, who is averaging 14.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The team rides him often and he has not let them down. Tulane shoots the three ball very well and there best player is Louis Dabney who is averaging 14 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting a blistering 43.6% from the three point line. If he can get hot today, Tulane can pull this slight upset. However, I think SMU shuts him down and wins 70 to 58.
#3 Game of the Day: Marquette (10-7, 2-3 Big East) @ St. Johns (12-5, 1-4 Big East)
St. Johns started the year phenomenally getting as high as 15th in the country but recently, they have been on a major snide. Ever since being upset by Seton Hall and losing Rysheed Jordan for unknown reasons, this team has been awful. However, the talent is still there and if they can turn things around, they are still easily a tournament team. Marquette has been playing better of late and they are led by two totally different guards. Matt Carlino is a sharpshooting senior guard formally of BYU who is averaging 13.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Duane Wilson is a freshman point guard averaging 11.3 points and 2.1 assists per game. These two have been getting better recently and will test the talented St. Johns back court. St. Johns is led by two players, senior guard D’Angelo Harrison and junior center Chris Obekpa. Harrison is averaging an impressive 20 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 45% from the field. Obekpa is a force, averaging 7.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per game. When he plays well, the team does as well. I say he has a huge game and St. Johns gets back on the winning track with a 78 to 64 win over Marquette.
Top Mid Major Game of the Day: Evansville (13-5, 3-3 MVC) @ Loyola (IL) (13-5, 3-3 MVC)
Evansville and Loyola are two of the best in what is sure to be a 3 bid league with Northern Iowa and Witchita locking up two of the spots. This game is a huge one in the Missouri Valley conference. Evansville is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country and is led by junior guard D.J. Balentine. He is averaging 20.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game and has carried the team to its impressive season thus far. Loyola wins with its defense and only has two double digit scorers on the team. Christian Thomas is there best player and has been ridiculously efficient this year. The senior forward is averaging 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game on a staggering 56% from the field and 54% from three. This is going to be an exciting game and I say Evansville wins on the road, 71 to 69.