I know, it's a Friday night in February. So, you're probably expecting the schedule to be light with few games of impact.
Well, you're right about the quantity of games for tonight, but with a pair of BracketBusters and yet another Big East game on air, there's plenty of punch in tonight's TV slate. My picks for the night are after the jump.
VCU Rams at Wichita St. Shockers, ESPN2/ESPN3 (7 p.m. ET)
The opening BracketBuster of 2011 pits two teams that are in dire need of a late quality win against each other. From an at-large perspective, both VCU and Wichita State have significant flaws in their profiles. The Rams have quality wins (at Old Dominion, UCLA in New York), but also three really bad losses. On the other hand, the Shockers have just one bad loss, but are lacking in the quality win department, as they're 2-4 against the RPI top 100 with the best win coming against fading Northern Iowa. Those issues mean the loser will likely be finished as an at-large candidate. Expect this one to be offensively-oriented, but as a jump shooting team VCU needs to avoid the slow starts that put them behind the eight ball against both VCU and George Mason.
KenPom.com projection: Shockers 76-66, 65 poss.
Connecticut Huskies at Louisville Cardinals, ESPN/ESPN3 (8 p.m. ET)
Both of these teams are playing their second game in three nights, but only the Huskies are coming off a win. UConn has to be careful to not be too high after Wednesday's emotional (and close) victory over Georgetown, as the Cardinals feed off the crowds at their new arena (which will be plenty amped up for a Friday night game). Plus, Louisville already won a double OT classic over the Huskies in Storrs back on January 29th, meaning they're looking to pull of a key Big East sweep.
KenPom.com projection: Cards 71-68, 68 poss.
Kent St. Golden Flashes at Drexel Dragons, ESPNU (9 p.m. ET)
This particular BracketBuster would have been a much bigger deal back in December, when both squads picked up wins over Big East opponents (Kent State at home against USF and former head coach Stan Heath; Drexel at Louisville), but the luster is gone. That's because the Golden Flashes just fell out of first place in the MAC with Wednesday night's loss at Miami University, and the Dragons have faltered to 9-7 record in the CAA, far below the lead pack of George Mason, VCU, ODU, and Hofstra. Defense will be showcased in this one, as both teams are far stronger on that end of the court, particularly Drexel, who's in the top 20 of KenPom's defensive efficiency rankings.
KenPom.com projection: Dragons 62-56, 65 poss.
For broadcast information for the rest of Friday's limited slate, visit Matt Sarz's College Sports on TV site for broadcast information for them. Another good resource is the schedule page at BB State.
Please share your thoughts about tonight's action in the comments, after you sign up for a free SB Nation account, of course.
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