Must Win Weekend

First off, JJ and myself had the chance to speak with the Washington Post’s NFL Insider Mark Maske today. We talked about Brett Favre’s sudden retirement and NFL Free Agency. Check it out here or subscribe free via Itunes by searching BoxScore Banter in the Itunes Store.

Secondly, this weekend is the last regular season weekend for many teams on the Bubble. With Conference tournaments looming, I break down the five Major Conference teams that MUST win if they don’t want their bubble to deflate.

syracuse.gif SYRACUSE vs. Marquette

RPI: 52

SOS:12

Key Stat: 1-7 vs. RPI Top 50 

Current Position on Lunard’s Board: Last Four Out

Saturday – 4pm, ESPN/ESPN 360

This game is a must win for the Orange because of its complete meltdown against Pittsburgh last Saturday. A week removed from that collapse, the ‘Cuse must now find a way to pull out a game against a very good Marquette squad. The big number that standouts with its resume is the fact that the Orange is only 1-7 against teams in the RPI top 50. This team needs quality wins and it needs them fast because time is running out.

villanova.gif VILLANOVA @ Providence

RPI: 60

SOS: 58

Key Stat: 5-7 in last 12 games 

Current Position on Lunard’s Board: Not Present

Saturday – 7:30, ESPN Full Court/ESPN 360

Like Syracuse, Villanova has really struggled in conference play. After digging itself a huge hole, the Wildcats have bounced back nicely, but need to take care of Providence on the road. The Friars just beat a very good Connecticut team at home and could be poised for another upset. A loss would undoubtedly burst the ‘Nova bubble. At 8-9 in the Big East, Villanova needs to get to .500 in conference to have any shot with its less than spectacular computer numbers.

florida.gif FLORIDA @ Kentucky

RPI: 63

SOS: 91

Key Stat: Non-conference SOS – 273

Current Position on Lunard’s Board: Last Four Out

Sunday – 12pm, CBS

This might be an elimination game for either team, but it is more of a must win for Florida. After getting handled last Saturday at home against Mississippi State and after choking away a big lead against #4 Tennessee at home, this game on the road will be tough to get. If the Gators don’t win this one, they would stand at 8-8 in a less than spectacular SEC. Put that with a awful SOS, especially out of conference, and you have yourself an NIT team.

ohio-state.gif OHIO STATE vs. Michigan State

RPI: 54

SOS: 20

Key Stat: 1-9 vs. RPI top 50

Current Position on Lunard’s Board: NEXT Four Out

Sunday – 12pm

That one win is over Syracuse and that win looks worse and worse as the season goes on. The Buckeyes got a huge win on Tuesday against Purdue at home and must now take care of more business on their home floor. A loss would keep Ohio State without a marquee win and force it to make a huge run in the Big Ten Tournament.

terps-logo.jpg MARYLAND @ Virginia 

RPI:  64

SOS: 14

Key Stat: 1-6 vs. teams ahead of them in ACC; 7-1 vs. teams below them in ACC 

Current Position on Lunard’s Board: 13 Seed, Last Four In 

Sunday – 7:30, FSN

Maryland can ill afford another bad loss on its tournament resume. It has already dropped terrible games to Ohio, Missouri and American and a loss to a terrible Virginia squad would certainly taint its resume. Maryland is currently hanging in the tournament, but if it loses at UVA, then it would have a lot of work to do in the ACC Tournament. Outside of UNC, the Terrapins have beaten nobody. It has simply fed off of the bottom of the ACC.

Other Games to Watch

There are some great games on TV this weekend that I didn’t highlight. But here is a rundown of some games you must watch.

#13 Louisville @ #10 Georgetown, 12pm CBS – Winner takes the Big East

UAB @ #3 Memphis, 1pm – Everybody remembers last game. UAB would lock up a spot with a win.

#7 Stanford @ USC, 2pm CBS – The Cardinals dropped a tough one against UCLA and have a quick turnaround against another LA team.

#6 Kansas @ Texas A&M, 4pm CBS – Kansas is playing for a one seed and the Aggies are playing to lock up an at-large birth

#1 North Carolina @ #5 Duke, 9pm ESPN/ESPN 360 – You don’t me telling you that this game is a must watch

Enjoy

Aneesh

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