Another huge week in local college basketball begins Wednesday with five great matchups including UConn and Seton Hall. UMass, Harvard and Boston University all continue their hunt for the top spot in their conferences and Northeastern looks to make some noise in the CAA.
With February about to begin, there's a month left in the college basketball regular season and several local teams are poised at or near the top of their respective conferences. UMass and Harvard will look to hold on to the top spot in their conferences, Boston University will look to avenge an early-season loss in a battle for second place and UConn will look to get back on track against Georgetown and Seton Hall. Here's a look at all the game's this week, including a guide to which games you can't miss:
Wednesday February 1st
N.C. State (15-7, 4-3 ACC) @ Boston College (7-14, 2-5 ACC) 8 p.m. EDT (All times EDT) TV 38
You know Wednesday is going to be a great night of college basketball in the hub, when a game between two traditionally strong programs in the ACC is the least intriguing of the bunch. These two teams played less than two weeks ago in Raleigh with the Wolfpack taking away a 76-62 victory. Since that loss, the Eagles have dropped three in a row, all by double-digits, and have seemed to have lost all the momentum they had going into ACC play. Significance: 1 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 4 of 10
UMass (16-5, 5-2 Atlantic 10) @ Rhode Island (4-18, 1-6 A10) 7 p.m. Cox Sports
First-place UMass will take the road to take on a Rhode Island squad that no longer looks like such a pushover. While the Minutemen earned their biggest win of the year Saturday against St. Louis, the Rams earned their second win of 2012 (2-6) when they knocked off then first-place Dayton on the road 86-81. While Rhode Island has been pretty bad all year, the Thomas Ryan Center has never been an easy place for road teams to play and UMass might have their guard down after Saturday. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 6 of 10
Drexel (17-5, 9-2 CAA) @ Northeastern (11-10, 7-4 CAA) 7 p.m. ESPN3
Despite their struggles on the road against stronger competition, Northeastern has already taken down one first-place CAA team at home and have won four in a row at Matthews Arena. The Huskies will look to avenge their 71-53 loss less than two weeks ago in Philadelphia and take down a Dragons squad that has won nine in a row. Significance: 3 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 6 of 10
Vermont (13-10, 7-2 America East) @ Boston University (11-12, 7-2 AE) 7 p.m. ESPN3
This is the second best game of the night and maybe the week; Boston University and Vermont are not only rivals, but sit in second place in America East, just a game behind 8-1 Stony Brook. The Catamounts handed the Terriers an 83-69 loss to begin the conference season in Burlington, but that was a Boston University squad playing with little confidence and a still recovering D.J. Irving. A month later the Terriers are playing their best basketball and are eager for revenge. Significance: 5 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 8 of 10
GAME OF THE WEEK: UConn (14-6, 4-4 Big East) @ Georgetown (16-4, 6-3 Big East) 7 p.m. ESPN2
The showcase of Wednesday's action comes in the form of a good old-fashioned Big East battle between two of the perennial powers (who are actually staying part of the Big East). UConn is in desperate need of a win, after losing their past three in a row and winning just two of seven games in January. On the other side is a Georgetown squad that is sitting in third in the Big East at 6-3, but fell 72-60 to a struggling Pittsburgh team. If UConn wants to make some noise in the Big East or the NCAA Tournament they're going to have to start winning games like this one. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 5 of 5, Overall: 9 of 10
Friday February 3
Cornell (7-11, 2-2 Ivy League) @ Harvard (18-2, 4-0 Ivy League) 7 p.m.
The only ranked team in New England makes it's first appearance at home in over two weeks, when they take on a Cornell program that is still rebuilding after the departure of Steve Donahue. Harvard earned a big win Friday night in blowout fashion over Yale, before putting away Brown Saturday on the road, moving them to 4-0 in the Ivy League. Cornell shouldn't pose any great threat to the Crimson, but Tommy Amaker might have a few more kind words than usual for Cornell head coach Bill Courtney, after the Big Red knocked off Princeton in their Ivy League opener. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 6 of 10
Saturday February 4
Boston University (11-12, 7-2 AE) @ Binghamton (0-21, 0-9 AE) 7 p.m.
As good as the Terriers matchup is on Wednesday, they'll play in by far the least intriguing matchup of Saturday. If Boston University loses to Vermont Wednesday they'll be riding a two-game losing streak and likely take it out on the Bearcats, if they win Wednesday they'll get a chance to move over .500 for the first time all year. Binghamton? Well the Bearcats are the final winless team left in the nation and already lost in Boston by 19, don't expect the Bearcats to copy Towson's wild Saturday (Boston Terriers don't run through windows). Significance: 3 of 5, Quality: 1 of 5, Overall: 4 of 10
Boston College (7-14, 2-5 ACC) @ Georgia Tech (8-13, 1-6 ACC) 1 p.m. ESPNU
The two worst teams in the ACC clash for the first time, as they try to avoid the title of worst team in the conference. While every other team in the conference holds a winning record, the Eagles and Yellow Jackets have combined for just three wins in 2012 and have lost to the likes of: Rhode Island (BC), Tulane (GT), Holy Cross (BC) and Fordham (GT). Both teams come into the game on losing streaks of at least four games, which means that at least one team's fan base will be able to celebrate a long-awaited victory Saturday. Significance: 1 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 4 of 10
Columbia (12-8, 1-3 Ivy League) @ Harvard (18-2, 4-0 Ivy League) 7 p.m.
Harvard goes for their third straight 20-win season (assuming they beat Cornell Friday) and looks to continue their push towards their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. While the Lions only had an O.K. non-conference season, they haven't been pushovers in Ivy League play. In losses to three of the top four teams in the league, Columbia has lost by two at Penn, four at Princeton and five at Cornell. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep that going on the road, especially at the Lavietes Pavilion where Harvard has won 23 in a row. Significance; 4 of 5, Quality: 2 of 5, Overall: 6 of 10
Holy Cross (3-4, 9-12 Patriot League) @ Lehigh (17-6, 5-2 Patriot League) 2 p.m.
The Crusaders lone game of the week pits them against one of the top three teams in the Patriot League in a tough road setting. It's good Holy Cross has an entire week to prepare of this game because they've been brutal on the road this season. Holy Cross is just 1-10 in road games, including three Patriot League losses; the Crusaders did defeat Lehigh 74-68 in their Patriot League opener for one of their best wins of the year. Significance: 3 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 6 of 10
Northeastern (11-10, 7-4 CAA) @ Virginia Commonwealth (18-5, 9-2 CAA) 7 p.m. Comcast Sports New England
If Northeastern is going to make a run in the CAA this is the week to do it; a win against Drexel would put them on a three-game winning streak heading into their showdown against the second-place Rams. The Huskies' Achilles heel in conference play has been their struggles against quality road opponents (0-2) and VCU certainly fits the bill. Shaka Smart's squad has won seven in a row and have dominated opponents at the Stuart Siegel Center, winning eleven of their past twelve games. Significance: 4 of 5, Quality: 3 of 5, Overall: 7 of 10
Seton Hall (15-6, 4-5 Big East) @ UConn (14-6, 4-4 Big East) Noon
UConn continues their big week with a chance to avenge an earlier loss against Seton Hall and move up the Big East standings. Surprisingly the Huskies have lost two in a row at home after opening the season 10-0 in Connecticut, and Jim Calhoun's squad desperately needs a win to right the ship. After beating the Huskies 75-63 in New Jersey, the Pirates have lost four of six, including their past four games. Significance: 3 of 5, Quality: 4 of 5, Overall: 7 of 10