College basketball today: Purdue, Ohio State meet in crucial Big Ten matchup
Tuesday’s results certainly had an effect on races and bids:
Xavier picked up a win where Villanova did not — at Butler — and remains within striking distance of the Wildcats in the Big East.
Tennessee is a legit SEC title contender. Kentucky is not.
Northwestern kept its faint NCAA bid hopes a live with a home win over Michigan.
Penn is likely going to win the Ivy League after a sweep of Princeton, which would be quite the resume for Steve Donahue after what he did at Cornell.
Wichita State may have picked up its most important win by beating Memphis on the road and re-establishing itself in the AAC as a threat with two to play against Cincinnati.
Nebraska keeps winning — on the road too. The win over Minnesota adds to wins at Wisconsin and Rutgers recently. Road wins just mean more in the quest for a bid.
Oklahoma State’s momentum from the Kansas road win was stunted by a home loss to Baylor, meaning the Cowboys will continue to sweat out the bid chase.
Missouri’s case continues to grow with another road win, this time at Ole Miss, after winning at Alabama last week.
Miles Bridges has game. He scored 25 in a Michigan State win at Iowa to show that he’s still a star.
Boise State won a wild comeback game at New Mexico that ended in a scuffle. But more importantly the Broncos got another road win in the league and enhanced their chances for a bid.
Now, onto Wednesday night...
Game of the night
Ohio State at Purdue, 8:30 p.m., ET, Big Ten Network: Purdue has a chance to cement itself as the Big Ten champs and a No. 1 seed this week with this game and a road game at Michigan State Saturday. But the Buckeyes aren’t pretenders. If there is one team that could go into Mackey other than Michigan State and take one from Purdue this season it is Ohio State. Now, not having Kam Williams (suspended) at the point is an issue for the Buckeyes. But C.J. Jackson, Andre Wesson and Andrew Dakich can pick up the slack. The matchup with Vincent Edwards and Keita Bates-Diop should be one to watch. Purdue has the size advantage with Isaac Haas, but the Buckeyes have also done a great job of handling pressure situations, save the crazy end to Penn State. Mackey Arena should be off the charts. Mackey is the best place to see a game this season. No question. The best.
The other four of importance
Virginia at Florida State, 7 p.m., ET, ACC Network: The Cavaliers are undefeated in the ACC, are the toughest defensive team in the country and show no signs of being a different team on the road than at home. They just held Syracuse to 44 points in their own building! But if you’re looking for the one or two spots left where Virginia could lose in the ACC then this is one. The other is at Miami on Feb. 13. The Seminoles have the size and length to be an issue, but they still have to make shots when they get them. That won’t be easy. The inconsistency of this team is an issue as seen by losing at Wake Forest but then winning at Louisville. They do seem to win the harder games this season (lost at Boston College, but beat North Carolina). FSU should have a crazed crowd for this one. The Seminoles still play host to Clemson, but this is the best remaining home game and the chance to show that the Seminoles can be a threat in the ACC tournament.
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LSU at Florida, 6:30 p.m., ET, SEC Network: The Gators have lost two straight and their chances of winning the SEC are fading fast. LSU and Tremont Waters have shown they can be a spoiler in this race. Florida needs to shoot well, defend and get back to its identity fast. The Gators still have extremely tough road games at Tennessee and Alabama, let alone South Carolina, which beat them at home. The Gators have surprisingly lost four home games already this season to Florida State, Loyola, South Carolina and Alabama.
Drake at Loyola-Chicago, 8 p.m, ET, ESPN3: The Ramblers can create more distance among the top of the Missouri Valley with a sweep of the Bulldogs after beating them in Des Moines by 13 two weeks ago. But a Drake win draws everyone a bit closer to first-place Loyola. Drake is two games back in the loss column and any chance to catch Loyola has to start by winning this game on the road. The MVC will get only one bid, but the winner has a chance to be a first-round NCAA upset team (see: Loyola beating Florida for a result).