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On The Menu: Saturday, February 27, 2016

The final Saturday of February has five Top 25 matchups on its slate. Note that this is the final day of conference play for most leagues that will start their tournaments during the early part of the Championship Fortnight.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Game information courtesy Matt College Sports on TV Website, which has even more games listed and more specific info on coverage for regional sports networks and American Sports Network telecasts.

All times listed are Eastern, adjust accordingly.

ACC

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (16-12, 6-9) at Boston College Eagles (7-12, 0-15), 12 p.m. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)
No. 11 Louisville Cardinals (22-6, 11-4) at No. 12 Miami Hurricanes (22-5, 11-4), 2 p.m. (ACC Network Regional/ESPN3)
North Carolina State Wolfpack (14-14, 4-11) at Syracuse Orange (18-10, 8-7), 2 p.m. (ACC Network Regional/ESPN3)
No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (19-8, 10-5) at Florida State Seminoles (16-12, 6-10), 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 7 North Carolina Tar Heels (23-5, 12-3) at No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers (21-6, 10-5), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)

The two Top 25 matchups in the ACC will go a long way to determining the top seed in the conference tournament. UNC can really put itself in the driver's seat by winning its lone game of the season against Virginia. The Cavaliers will be out of the race with a loss. With Louisville ineligible for the postseason, Miami can put itself in position to tie UNC with a home win over the Cardinals.

Elsewhere, Syracuse cannot afford a home loss to N.C. State, especially with a trip to Chapel Hill following on Monday. Florida State can start to get back on track by topping Notre Dame in Tallahassee, though a single win won't be enough to resusciate the Seminoles' chances at this point. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, can't get caught looking ahead to two games that might get it into the picture late, as it visits winless BC.

Big 12

Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-9, 8-7) at No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3), 12 p.m. (ESPN)
No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners (22-5, 10-5) at No. 25 Texas Longhorns (18-10, 9-6), 2 p.m. (CBS)
Kansas State Wildcats (15-13, 4-11) at No. 17 Iowa State Cyclones (19-9, 8-7), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 14 West Virginia Mountaineers (21-7, 10-5) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-16, 3-12), 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 19 Baylor Bears (20-8, 9-6) at TCU Horned Frogs (11-17, 2-13), 8 p.m. (ESPNU)

Who would have thought that a late February Texas Tech-Kansas game would have any national impact just a few weeks ago? But here we are, with the Jayhawks in strong position to take the top overall seed and the Red Raiders moving rapidly above the cut line. KU won the first meeting by 10 in Lubbock back on January 9th, and it's very likely Tech's two-game Big 12 road win streak ends today, but you never know.

Oklahoma's rematch with Texas is intriguing simply because the Longhorns played the Sooners so close on February 8th, only falling by three. As for the other three ranked teams, they'll be favored to complete season sweeps against the conference's worst three squads.

Big East

Butler Bulldogs (18-9, 7-8) at Georgetown Hoyas (14-14, 7-8), 12 p.m. (CBS)
No. 1 Villanova Wildcats (24-4, 13-2) at Marquette Golden Eagles (18-10, 7-8), 2 p.m. (FOX)
DePaul Blue Demons (9-18, 3-12) at Providence Friars (19-9, 7-8), 4 p.m. (CBSSN)

Butler is one of the last teams in my Friday projection, but it's safe to say the Bulldogs won't be making a return visit with a loss to a Georgetown team they defeated in Indy by 11 on February 2nd. Later, Villanova will look to rebound from Wednesday's loss at Xavier by topping Marquette for a second time, while Providence cannot afford to lose to DePaul again.

Big Ten

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-22, 0-15) at Northwestern Wildcats (17-11, 5-10), 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 10 Maryland Terrapins (23-5, 11-4) at No. 20  Purdue Boilermakers (21-7, 9-6), 4 p.m. (ESPN)

After Northwestern attempts to extend Rutgers' Big Ten regular-season losing streak to 30(!!), the Maryland-Purdue deserves some real attention. The first matchup, three Saturdays ago in College Park, was more thrilling than the 72-61 score indicates, as the Boilermakers held a lead in the second half, until the Terps do what they typically do at home. A Purdue win would dent Maryland's Big Ten title hopes, while boosting Indiana's.

Pac-12

No. 9 Arizona Wildcats (22-6, 10-5) at No. 22 Utah Utes (22-7, 11-5), 2 p.m. (ESPN)
UCLA Bruins (15-13, 6-9) at Stanford Cardinal (14-12, 7-8), 4:30 p.m. (FOX)

Unusually, there are just two Pac-12 games today (and both air on something far more available than Pac-12 Networks), but only one will have an impact on the bid picture. That's the showdown in Salt Lake City, where the winner will be in best position to claim the Pac-12 regular season crown should Oregon stumble. Utah looked incredible in shutting down Arizona State on Thursday, while Arizona needs to respond well to their Wednesday loss at Colorado.

SEC

Ole Miss Rebels (18-10, 8-7) at Georgia Bulldogs (14-12, 7-8), 12 p.m. (SEC Network)
South Carolina Gamecocks (23-5, 10-5) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (12-15 5-10), 2:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats (21-7, 11-4) at Vanderbilt Commodores (17-11, 9-6), 4 p.m. (CBS)
Auburn Tigers (11-16, 5-10) at Alabama Crimson Tide (16-11, 7-8), 5 p.m. (SEC Network)
No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies (21-7, 10-5) at Missouri Tigers (10-18, 3-12), 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Arkansas Razorbacks (14-14, 7-8) at Tennessee Volunteers (13-15, 6-9), 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Florida Gators (17-11, 8-7) at LSU Tigers (16-12, 9-6), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

The two most important games of the seven involve a pair of teams who met on Tuesday. First, Vanderbilt can really give its profile a nice boost by knocking Kentucky off its perch at the top of the SEC. Later, Florida, swept by the Commodores on Tuesday and 2-4 in its last six, really cannot afford to lose to an LSU squad that might just have given up. UF won a 68-62 thriller over the Bayou Bengals on January 9th back in Gainesville.

American Athletic

Cincinnati Bearcats (20-8, 10-5) at East Carolina Pirates (11-17, 3-12), 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
UCF Knights (11-15, 5-10) at Temple Owls (17-10, 11-4). 12 p.m. (ESPNEWS)

The two American NCAA contenders in action this afternoon both encounter winnable games, as UCF has lost six in a row and ECU just snapped a skid of that length.

Atlantic 10

Rhode Island Rams (15-13, 7-8) at Dayton Flyers (22-5, 12-3), 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
VCU Rams (20-8, 12-3) at George Washington Colonials (21-7, 10-5), 12:30 p.m. (NBCSN)

With the third of the A 10's leading trio, the Saint Joseph's Hawks, in action tomorrow, the Flyers and Rams can each jump a half-game up with wins this afternoon. The stakes are slightly higher for the Rams, fresh off a bad loss to George Mason, as they visit a GW squad that's right near them on the bubble. The Colonials already stunned VCU in Richmond, by a 72-69 score on February 6th.

Elsewhere

Vermont Catamounts (18-12, 10-6) at Stony Brook Seawolves (23-5, 14-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)

If the Catamounts lose, they'll likely drop down to the four seed in the America East Tournament, meaning they're likely to meet the Seawolves in the semifinals. While Vermont is currently tied with New Hampshire for third, and swept the season series with their neighbors, the Wildcats play last-place UMBC today.

Winthrop Eagles (20-8, 12-5) at Campbell Fighting Camels (12-16, 5-12), 4 p.m. (BigSouthSports.com)
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (17-10, 11-6) at UNC Asheville Bulldogs (19-10, 12-5), 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
High Point Panthers (19-9, 12-5) at Presbyterian Blue Hose (10-18, 5-12), 4 p.m. (BigSouthSports.com)

We might be headed to a three-way tie for the Big South regular season title, though UNC Asheville has a tough home game. High Point should still be able to win at Presbyterian even if John Brown is out injured (foot), but his status is something to keep an eye on for the conference tournament.

Towson Tigers (20-10, 11-6) at UNC Wilmington Seahawks (21-7, 13-4), 1 p.m. (CAA.tv)
William & Mary Tribe (19-9, 11-6) at James Madison Dukes (20-10, 10-7), 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College of Charleston Cougars (16-12, 8-9) at Hofstra Pride (21-8, 13-4), 4 p.m. (ASN/CSN Mid-Atlantic/CSN Chicago Plus/NESN Plus)

There will be drama on the final day of the CAA's regular season, thanks to Hofstra's stunning rally at UNCW on Thursday. With the Seahawks hosting a Towson squad they lost to by 16 in Maryland and Hofstra taking on a College of Charleston team they lost to on the road, the race for first could come to an unexpected conclusion. Towson would love to spoil UNCW's hopes for the top seed, while securing the third seed for themselves, though they'll have to keep an eye on goings-on in Harrisonburg.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (14-14, 6-9) at UAB Blazers (23-5, 13-2), 12 p.m. (select FSN outlets)

The Blazers can clinch at least a tie for the C-USA regular season title by avenging one of their two conference losses.

Dartmouth Big Green (9-16, 3-8) at Yale Bulldogs (19-6, 10-1), 8 p.m. (ASN/CSN Chicago Plus)

The Bulldogs' home finale should end with them remaining a half-game up on Princeton in the Ivy race.

Illinois State Redbirds (18-12, 12-5) at Wichita State Shockers (22-7, 15-2), 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
Northern Iowa Panthers (18-12, 10-7) at Evansville Purple Aces (23-7, 12-5), 2 p.m. (CBSSN)

While the Redbirds-Shockers matchup is both a potential Arch Madness final preview and the rematch of a particularly controversial ISU win, Evansville has a decent chance of jumping the Redbirds for the two seed in the MVC with a win over the unpredictable Panthers.

Boise State Broncos (18-10, 9-6) at San Diego State Aztecs (21-7, 14-1), 6 p.m. (CBSSN)

The Broncos, currently in a three-way tie for third, are in the position where they may need to defeat the Mountain West regular season champs on their own floor to avoid meeting them again in the semifinals in Las Vegas.

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (14-14, 12-5) at Army Black Knights (18-11, 9-8), 12 p.m. (CBSSN)
Bucknell Bison (16-12, 13-4) at Navy Midshipmen (18-12, 9-8), 4 p.m. (Campus Insiders)

If Bucknell can top Navy in Annapolis, they'll lock up the Patriot League regular season crown and the homecourt advantage for the conference tournament that goes with it. If not, the door is opened for Lehigh.

Samford Bulldogs (13-17, 4-13) at Chattanooga Mocs (24-5, 13-3), 5 p.m. (ESPN3)

The Mocs should be able to lock up at least a tie for the SoCon regular season title this evening. Chattanooga defeated Samford by seven in Birmingham back on January 30th.

Houston Baptist Huskies (16-12, 10-5) at Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (21-5, 14-0), 7 p.m. (ESPN3)

The Lumberjacks look to keep their perfect Southland record intact with a home win over a Huskies squad they edged in Houston on February 6th.

Gonzaga Bulldogs (22-7, 14-3) at BYU Cougars (22-8, 13-4), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Saint Mary's Gaels (23-4, 14-3) at San Francisco Dons (15-13, 8-9), 11 p.m. (CSN California)

Don't look now, but it's possible there's a three-way tie for the WCC title at the end of the night. While it's unlikely that Saint Mary's loses at San Francisco, a tie for second is in play, as BYU is aiming to sweep Gonzaga.

Viewing Picks

Early Afternoon Tips

Texas Tech at Kansas, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
VCU at George Washington, 12:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Butler at Georgetown, 12 p.m. (CBS)
Rhode Island at Dayton, 12 p.m. (ESPN2)
Towson at UNC Wilmington, 1 p.m. (CAA.tv)
Ole Miss at Georgia, 12 p.m. (SEC Network)
Cincinnati at East Carolina, 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
UCF at Temple. 12 p.m. (ESPNEWS)
Georgia Tech at Boston College, 12 p.m. (ACC RSNs/ESPN3)
Lehigh at Army, 12 p.m. (CBSSN)
Western Kentucky at UAB, 12 p.m. (select FSN outlets)

Mid-Afternoon Tips

Arizona at Utah, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
Louisville at Miami, 2 p.m. (ACC Network Regional/ESPN3)
Oklahoma at Texas, 2 p.m. (CBS)
Villanova at Marquette, 2 p.m. (FOX)
North Carolina State at Syracuse, 2 p.m. (ACC Network Regional/ESPN3)
South Carolina at Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Illinois State at Wichita State, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
William & Mary at James Madison, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Rutgers at Northwestern, 2 p.m. (ESPNU)
Northern Iowa at Evansville, 2 p.m. (CBSSN)

Late Afternoon Tips

Maryland at Purdue, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Kentucky at Vanderbilt, 4 p.m. (CBS)
Notre Dame at Florida State, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Bucknell at Navy, 4 p.m. (Campus Insiders)
College of Charleston at Hofstra, 4 p.m. (ASN/CSN Mid-Atlantic/CSN Chicago Plus/NESN Plus)
Winthrop at Campbell, 4 p.m. (BigSouthSports.com)
Coastal Carolina at UNC Asheville, 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
High Point at Presbyterian, 4 p.m. (BigSouthSports.com)
Samford at Chattanooga, 5 p.m. (ESPN3)
Auburn at Alabama, 5 p.m. (SEC Network)
DePaul at Providence, 4 p.m. (CBSSN)
UCLA at Stanford, 4:30 p.m. (FOX)
Texas A&M at Missouri, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

Early Evening Tips

North Carolina at Virginia, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Kansas State at Iowa State, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Boise State at San Diego State, 6 p.m. (CBSSN)
Vermont at Stony Brook, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
Houston Baptist at Stephen F. Austin, 7 p.m. (ESPN3)

Mid-to-Late Evening Tips

Gonzaga at BYU, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Florida at LSU, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Baylor at TCU, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Dartmouth at Yale, 8 p.m. (ASN/CSN Chicago Plus)
Saint Mary's at San Francisco, 11 p.m. (CSN California)
Arkansas at Tennessee, 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network)

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