1. Indiana goes to Minnesota in what couldn’t be more of a trap game. When the two teams met in early January, the Gophers were a top 10 team and the battle for the Big Ten had just begun. Minnesota trailed by 23 at the half before making it interesting, eventually losing 88-81. Since then the Gophers have struggled to a 6-8 record in Big Ten play which includes a loss at Northwestern. So how high is the panic meter for Minnesota? Probably around an 8. They’re still a tournament team because of their strong strength of schedule and RPI, but this could be the beginning of the end. If Minnesota lays down to Indiana tonight, then this may be a team destined to part ways with Tubby Smith in April. It’s a big game for Indiana too, as they can move a game closer to clinching the Big Ten, with three games (two at home) to go.
2. If Indiana vs. Minnesota doesn’t do anything for you, then flip on over to ESPN2. The Memphis Tigers will try to silence some doubters at Xavier, never an easy place to play. The Tigers put their 18 game winning streak on the line against a Xavier team desperate for a quality win. If Memphis loses this one, against a Xavier team without guard Dee Davis, then the naysayers will have all the ammo they need to tear down Memphis’s resume. If Memphis wins, then maybe they can win over some believers and get pundits to look past Conference USA. Either way, this another big game for both teams.
3. Finally, let’s go to the SEC. A huge game awaits for the Florida Gators in Knoxville. UT is again putting together a late season push to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, and a win over #8 Florida at home would go a long way towards doing that. Florida needs to remain calm after a loss to Missouri last week, and they did a good job rebounding against Arkansas over the weekend. But the Gators still have a road date at Kentucky on March 9th, and would like to wrap the SEC up by then. They have a two game lead over the Wildcats, and can’t afford a slip up tonight in Big Orange country. My friends, tonight will tell us a lot about each one of these teams. I can’t wait.