LMBF College Hoops Update: February 6th6 min read
Butler (AP: 22 Coaches: 21)
Butler dropped its only game of the week against Creighton at Hinkle. The Dawgs have now dropped back-to-back home games at one of the toughest venues in America. Butler has a nice chance at a bounce-back week as they head to Milwaukee to play Marquette Tuesday night and then to Providence. Both the Eagles and Friars have had rather turbulent conference slates thus far, but are absolutely capable of beating Butler.
Creighton (AP: 23 Coaches: 23)
A giant exhale was heard throughout Omaha after the road win against Butler, only to have the Jays drop a crucial home matchup against Xavier. Kyhri Thomas is emerging as a legit option at point guard for the Jays as he can facilitate and score well. The defense, however, continues to be a massive issue for Greg McDermott’s squad. Creighton will head to Rosemont to take on DePaul on Saturday.
Dayton (Coaches: RV)
Archie Miller’s squad picked up a pair of wins over Fordham and a blowout of Duquesne at home. Dayton is tied atop the A-1o with VCU at 8-2 and has an important week ahead if they hope to take home that title. A Tuesday night home game against St. Joe’s could be a trap game as the Flyers look ahead to a massive road match-up against Rhode Island. While the Rams have been incredibly underwhelming this season, they are easily one of the most talented teams in the conference, Dayton will need a solid effort from Kendall Pollard.
Somehow, someway, the Illini’s dancing hopes were still alive heading into some crucial games last week and Illinois laid an egg dropping both. Now, they will need to be perfect the rest of the way, if they want even an outside chance at getting into the Tourney. Believe it or not, it isn’t completely over for John Groce’s team. It all starts in Evanston on Tuesday night as Illinois takes on a March-bound Northwestern squad. A win here and a home win over Penn State would breathe new life into Illinois.
The Birds had a chance to cement their regular season MVC title in Wichita on Saturday night and got absolutely manhandled. ISU currently sits at 19-5 (11-1) on the season and still is in good shape for an at-large bid if they do not win the Valley. No McIntosh could hurt, but the schedule is soft outside of a trip to Missouri State in a few weeks. This week the Birds head to Drake before hosting Bradley for a real late game on Saturday night.
A triple OT win kept the Hoosiers from a devastating, and in my opinion, season-ending loss at home against Penn State on Wednesday. They followed that up with a tough loss at Wisconsin, a game that would have righted the ship, if at least for a moment, and renewed faith in Bloomington. Now, IU has home games against a good Purdue team and a Michigan squad that dropped 90 on them last time they met in Ann Arbor. Two wins would do wonders for the Hoosiers, but I think Michigan is teetering on “can’t lose” territory.
Three straight wins for the Hawkeyes and all-of-a-sudden they vault themselves into 6th place in the Big Ten. Peter Jok returned to the lineup Sunday in their win over Nebraska, but only scored 12 points. Iowa has a chance to continue to climb up the standings this week with road trips to Minnesota and Michigan State. Both would be deemed “good wins” and could help Iowa join a rather weak bubble this season.
How about the rise and fall of Marquette? They have now lost 2 of their last 3 after taking down #1 Villanova. The Golden Eagles looked well on their way to a Tourney appearance and have seemed to stabilize things after a win over lowly DePaul. Big chance this week to help their resume as Marquette hosts Butler on Tuesday and then will head to DC to play Georgetown for a Saturday matinee, a game the Hoyas desperately need.
Notre Dame (AP: RV Coaches: 24)
And just like that, the Fighting Irish are on a 4 game losing streak and have fallen to 7th place in the ACC. Last week, ND dropped a home game against Duke and a road matchup with North Carolina, which was postponed and moved to a new location due to a water pipe burst in Chapel Hill. The Irish defense has not played well of late and the disappearance of Steve Vasturia has caused many problems offensively. Fortunately, it is early February and Brey and company have plenty of time to sort out their issues. There are no easy weeks this year in the ACC as ND hosts Wake Forest and Florida State this week.
It was a must-win Saturday afternoon for the Pirates in the nation’s capital and the Hall was able to gut out a win over Georgetown thanks to a monster 26 point 17 rebound performance from Angel Delgado. Hey, remember when I told you guys that Delgado is the best player you aren’t paying attention to? Yeah, well he’s pretty damn good. He is the nation’s leading rebounder over an absolute stud by the name of Caleb Swanigan, ever heard of him? For as good as Angel has been, the team around him hasn’t played clean or consistent basketball. That is the key for Kevin Willard’s squad down the stretch. The Pirates host Providence and then head to Madison Square Garden (yours truly will be there) to take on St. John’s this week.
St. John’s (MN)
St. John’s went 2-1 last week in three road matchups beating Concordia and St. Olaf before dropping their week finale against Bethel in a 90-83 shootout. The Johnnies are now 14-6 (10-5) on the year and have a pair of home games this week against Augsburg and Gustavus Adolphus (yes, those are real schools).
Washington University (St. Louis)
The Bears continue to roll through conference play as they improved to 9-0 in UAA play. They lit up the scoreboard on the way to a 2-0 week where they scored 93 and 102 points. 15 total players saw action for Wash U in their win against Case Western. Wash U has worked their way into the top 5 at #5 this week and they will play Emory and Rochester at home.
Northwestern (AP: RV Coaches: RV)
The Cats broke into the top 25 after rattling off 6 straight wins. They promptly got blown out by Purdue in West Lafayette 80-59. Leading scorer and Fenwick alumnus Scottie Lindsey did not play in the loss but should be good to go this week. Big week for the Cats as they host Illinois for in-state supremacy, they will follow that game up with a trip to Wisconsin.