College Basketball Saturday Preview: Top 5 Must-Watch Games

    
February 5th, 2010

Some games are simply more interesting than others, whether it be to the quality on display, the importance of the game, or the pace of play. These fives games will get you excited, not just for 2 hours, but for what's to come in March.

#12 BYU at UNLV - 4:00 Versus
-- UNLV has one bad loss this season (at home to Utah), and one huge win (at New Mexico). A 2nd win against a Top 25 RPI team in BYU should help ensure that the Rebels lock up an NCAA Tournament bid. Plus with New Mexico heading to town next, the Rebels have a chance to make a strong push for 1st in the MWC. BYU loves to push the pace, and UNLV can score as well, so points will not be hard to come by.

#13 Gonzaga at Memphis - 4:00 ESPN2
-- Sure, this ain't Cal's Tigers, but its not like Memphis can't play. Wednesday's win over Top 25ish UAB was a sign that Memphis can play with the best.. so long as someone other then Elliot Williams comes to play. In the UAB game, Wesley Witherspoon exploded for 29 points and the good news is that he performs much better at home then on the road. Gonzaga isn't the best defensive team out there, so there should be a fair amount of points scored here.

#17 Temple at Richmond - 2:00 ESPNU
-- As mentioned in the Top 5 Bubble Games article, this matchup has major March implications. Richmond is firmly on the bubble despite a Top 40 RPI and wins over quality teams like Missouri, Mississippi St, and Florida. A win against Temple may be enough to push them into the tourney field. Kevin Anderson, the Spiders underrated junior guard, is coming off 2 subpar games but I expect him to bounce back in a big way here.

#2 Villanova at #8 Georgetown - 12:00 ESPN
-- Georgetown's loss to USF takes some lustre off this game, but its still one to watch. This begins a tough final stretch for Villanova, as their toughest games of the season all fall in the final month. After heading to DC, they play at West Virginia, before facing Syracuse and Pittsburgh on the road later in the month.

Xavier at Dayton - 12:00 ESPN2
-- Like the Temple/Richmond game above, this is another top-quality A10 matchup with major NCAA Tournament implications. On top of both teams being "bubble" squads (Dayton desperately needs a win here), this is also a rivalry game (Dayton is a short trip up I-75 from Cincinnati), as well as one that will strongly impact the race for the A10 title. (If Xavier and Temple both lose, which I expect, Charlotte would most likely end the day as the conference leader.) As an added bonus, Xavier guard Jordan Crawford is one of the country's best guards, while Dayton F Chris Wright is a bona fide NBA prospect.