Mid-Major Lives Matter (Jan 27-29)

Friday

Iona at Siena
Why You Should Care: Iona and Siena both currently sit at 6-4 in the MAAC, putting them at third in the MAAC. Both teams need this one if they want to climb into the top two in the conference.

Wright State at Valparaiso
Green Bay at Oakland
Why You Should Care: Two huge games in the Horizon between the top four teams in the league. Valpo is first at 6-1, Green Bay second at 6-2 and Wright State and Oakland sit in a tie for third at 5-3.

Dayton at VCU
Why You Should Care: The biggest game in the Atlantic 10 so far this year between the league’s most likely tournament teams. Dayton is 6-1 and at the top of the league while VCU is third at 5-2. This one will go a long way in determining who takes home the regular season title.

Saturday

Morehead State at Jacksonville State
UT Martin at Murray State
Why You Should Care: All four teams are part of a six team logjam in second place of the OVC at 5-3. Belmont is way out in front at 8-0, so right now these teams are playing to be on the opposite side of the bracket of the Bruins. The OVC only plays a 16 game conference schedule, so the conference tournament will be creeping up before these teams even know it.

New Hampshire at UMBC
Vermont at Stony Brooks
Why You Should Care: In the afternoon, the #3 and #4 teams in the America East square off as New Hampshire is 5-2 while UMBC is 4-3. Then later in the evening, the two top dogs face off as undefeated Vermont gets 6-1 Stony Brook. This game is probably Vermont’s toughest game from here on out. A win and the Catamounts have a legit shot at running the table in conference play.

UCF at Tulsa
Temple at Houston
Why You Should Care: While Cincinnati and SMU have clearly established themselves as the top two teams in the American, we’re still trying to figure out who that third team is. These two games could bring some clarity as Tulsa is third right now at 5-2, while UCF is a half game behind them at 5-3. Houston is 5-4 and will get a tough test from a Temple team that is better than their record shows.

Furman at UNCG
Chattanooga at ETSU
Why You Should Care: Another conference that happens to have a Final Four type setup this weekend is the SoCon. Chattanooga’s loss to VMI on Wednesday opened up the door for Furman, UNCG and ETSU as all four teams have two losses. UNCG is a half game ahead of the three with one more win than the others, but Chattanooga is still the favorite. A loss on Saturday could change that, though.

Northern Illinois at Toledo
Why You Should Care: A mid-major weekend has to have some MACtion mixed in at some point. NIU and Toledo are part of a four way tie at the top of the MAC West, along with Ball State and Eastern Michigan. Ohio is also 4-3 in the MAC East, so there is actually a 5 way tie for second behind 7-0 Akron right now.

St Bonaventure at URI
Why You Should Care: URI’s at-large chances have became very slim, but there’s always the Atlantic 10 tournament to get yourself in the Big Dance. So getting yourself in the best seed possible is huge. This game is big for that as St Bonaventure is a game ahead of URI right now at 5-2 and third in the league. A URI loss could drop them into the second half of the league.

New Mexico at Nevada
Why You Should Care: The Mountain West has been crazy and unpredictable this season, but Nevada has chance to create some separation from the rest of the league. They’re 6-2 and in first place while New Mexico is a half game back at 6-3. A Lobo win would put them at the top of the standings.

Morgan State at Coppin State
Why You Should Care: Morgan State currently has a half game lead of first place in the MEAC, while Coppin State is a game back in the crowded top half of the league.

Denver at South Dakota
Why You Should Care: The two teams are tied for second in the Summit at 5-3, two games back of North Dakota State. Any chance of catching the Bison would become very low with a loss in this one.

Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee
Why You Should Care: Middle Tennessee is one of the best mid-majors in the country and are 8-0 in Conference USA play. Louisiana Tech is part of the three team chase (with UAB and Marshall) that are two games back of MTSU. A MTSU win would give them an even firmer grip on the league.

New Orleans at Stephen F Austin
SE Louisiana at Sam Houston State
Why You Should Care: The Southland gives us another slate of games this weekend that have the top four teams in the conference facing another top team. New Orleans is leading the league at 7-1, Sam Houston sits in second at 6-2, while Stephen F Austin and SE Louisiana are in third at 5-3.

UC Irvine at UC Davis
Why You Should Care: This Big West showdown features the only two teams with just one loss in league play. UC Irvine owns a game lead at the top as they have six wins compared to UC Davis’ 4.

Sunday

St Peter’s at Iona
Why You Should Care: Iona has another tough game this weekend on Sunday when they take on Saint Peter’s, who has been a surprise in the MAAC. They’re 8-3 in conference play, just a half game behind Monmouth, who they beat by 10 to start conference play.

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