I. Renko is an RTC columnist. He will kick off each weekend during the season with his analysis of the 26 other non-power conferences. Follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops.
Given this past week’s special Bracketbuster edition, this week’s regular column will be a bit shorter than usual. We’ll hit the highlights of what you should be watching for this week right after the updated Top 15.
Looking Forward: What to Watch
- Xavier at Memphis (2/4, 1 PM) — What looked like a premier non-conference matchup in November has lost its luster, but will still be a critical game for two teams looking to bolster their at-large resumes.
- Middle Tennessee State at Denver (2/4, 4 PM) — The Blue Raiders put their undefeated Sun Belt mark on the line against a tough Denver squad.
- Dayton at St. Louis (2/4, 5pm) — At various points, each of these teams has looked like the A-10’s best, but neither has been consistent enough to hold on to the claim.
- Oral Roberts at North Dakota State (2/4, 8:30 PM) — ORU looked invincible just a few days ago, but after a 15-point whipping at South Dakota State, they lead the Summit League by just one game. Their tough road trip continues at the league’s third place team, and the pressure will be on, as a loss will drop the Golden Eagles into a tie with South Dakota State for first.
- Iona at Manhattan (2/4, 7pm) / Iona at Loyola (MD) (2/10, 7p PM) — This may not be known, given the relative hype for Iona this year, but the Gaels are in a three-way tie for first in the MAAC. And this week, they will travel to play their co-leaders on the road.
- Valparaiso at Cleveland State (2/9, 7 PM) — The Horizon League’s top two teams square off, with CSU trying to avenge a six-point loss at Valpo a few weeks ago.
- St. Mary’s at Gonzaga (2/9, 11 PM) — A bit of a role reversal from years past, as the Zags will be trying to catch the ranked Gaels in the standings.
- Harvard at Penn (2/10, 7 PM) — This may be the toughest league game the Crimson play all year. If they lose at one-loss Penn, the race for the League title may be tougher than they hope.