Several teams on the fringes of making the NCAA Tournament have a chance to take one step closer to the dance on Saturday. The biggest game of the day sees Steve Lavin return to Pauley Pavilion, leading St. John’s against his old team UCLA.
The Lavin Bowl It may lack the pomp and ceremony of the Football game in Texas the next day but the first ever Lavin Bowl promises to be a fiery affair. Despite leading UCLA to five Sweet 16 appearances in his seven years at the helm, Steve Lavin is not fondly remembered by Bruins fans. The former UCLA coach recruited the #1 class in the country from 1998-2001. He brought in talents such as Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, and Trevor Ariza but failed to bring the Bruins to a Final Four throughout his seven years at the helm despite the talent at his disposal.
Now older and wiser, Lavin is off to a fantastic start in an effort to resurrect another sleeping giant. Nothing was expected in his first season at St. John’s but the Red Storm are now in with a shot at making March Madness, thanks in no small part to an upset of Duke last Sunday. They need more quality wins however and have a big opportunity at UCLA tomorrow. The Bruins look to be turning things around this season after a painful 2010 campaign but they too need to pad their resume. College Basketball betting fans should take notice of UCLA’s ability to spread the ball around and the Bruins also have a decisive advantage on the boards. With home advantage in their favor as well, bet on the UCLA Bruins to win with Sports Interaction.
Mountaineers and Bearcats must show grit Two Big East teams on the bubble can survive a loss but need to avoid a bad beating this weekend. Cincinnati’s road trip to #4 Pitt looks unwinnable but if the Bearcats can push the Panthers close, it could put them in position to strengthen their case to go dancing down the stretch. West Virginia have a decent chance on the road at #7 Villanova but again, a bad loss here would do a lot of harm. I like Pitt to tear Cincinnati apart but the Wildcats will have a tougher test before finishing off the Mountaineers.
Little trouble in Big 12 #15 Missouri and #16 Texas A&M may be ranked teams with home advantage this weekend but they need some help to secure their standing. The Tigers welcome Colorado on Saturday, where a loss would drop Missouri to 3-5 in conference play. The Aggies take on the bubble contending Baylor Bears. These four teams promised plenty at the start of the year but conference play has shown some serious flaws in all of them. I like Missouri and the Aggies to take care of business on Saturday and take a step closer to the dance.
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