#8 Wright State (13-18, 7-11) at #5 Butler (18-13, 11-7)
Light schedule tonight with Ivy League Fridays not really getting going on a consistent basis until next weekend, but there are some entertaining matchups to keep fans occupied. Both MAAC matchups consist of top-half (of the standings) teams taking on squads hoping to avoid "First Round Friday" in March's conference tournament. One such game is Iona hosting Rider on ESPNU, and while Tommy Dempsey's Broncs have been a major disappointment this year they have the firepower necessary to keep up with the Gaels.
The game between Top 5 teams and in-state rivals Louisville and Kentucky was expected to be a high-intensity affair played at a good pace. Well thanks to the "third team" we got the intensity but not the pace, but by the end of the afternoon at Rupp Arena it was clear that Kentucky's 69-62 victory would be long remembered for the play of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist, who has emerged as the leader of John Calipari's talented squad, stole the show with 24 point and 19 rebounds in leading Kentucky to their 44th straight home victory.
Suspense was expected in the matchup between Georgetown and #12 Alabama, and that's exactly what the two teams provided as the Hoyas beat the Crimson Tide 57-55 on a Hollis Thompson three-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining. Instead of simply giving Jason Clark (22 points) the ball and telling him to shoot, Georgetown used the senior guard to run a dribble hand-off with Thompson on the right wing and the junior rose up and knocked down the shot. Levi Randolph's shot from half court missed just left of the rim at the buzzer, ending the Tide's 24-game home win streak.
Butler, with legitimate Elite Eight aspirations, should be the dominant force in the Horizon. An infusion of Juco talent and returning injured players should help the quality of play throughout the league.
2009 Speedway Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship
Tuesday, March 3 / First Round / at campus sites
Game 1 - #10 Detroit at #3 Cleveland State, 7 p.m. ET (HLN)
Game 2 - #7 UIC at #6 Youngstown State, 7 p.m. ET (HLN)
Game 3 - #9 Valparaiso at #4 Wright State, 7 p.m. ET (HLN)
Game 4 - #8 Loyola at #5 Milwaukee, 8 p.m. ET (HLN)