Bracket Banter is our daily open thread to discuss all things bracket. Readers can post comments and questions during the night's games, and we will answer those questions as the night goes on.
It's not often that a game can be accurately hyped as the biggest game in the history of a conference. But that's what's on tap tonight in Provo as ninth-ranked BYU hosts fouth-ranked and still-unbeaten San Diego State. Both of these teams are locks for the NCAA tournament, but this game is still ginormous for a number of reasons. If the Aztecs win, they would have only three more obstacles standing between them and the first undefeated regular season since UNLV in 1990. They'd also make a very strong case to be a 1 seed in our next bracket. If the Cougars win, they'd jump up to the 2 line, and more importantly, they would get a early leg up in the race for the MWC regular season title. You also may have heard of Jimmer Fredette, who could stake his claim to the POY award with another Jimmeresque performance in front of a large TV audience. The country also gets a chance to watch SDSU's Kawhi Leonard, who looks every bit like a lottery pick in June. Other than that, this game's not that big, really.
Elsewhere, there are two key games in the Big East, as West Virginia plays at Louisville and St. John's plays at Georgetown. The Red Storm, who have now lost four of their last five games after a a 3-0 Big East start, are playing for the bracket lives against the Hoyas. A loss tonight would mean they'd have to upset Duke in the Garden on Sunday to avoid falling out of the field on Monday.
In the Big XII, Oklahoma State hosts new No. 2 seed Texas in what is a make-or-break game for the Cowboys. The Big XII bubble is a mess right now, and with Kansas State winning Monday against Baylor, Oklahoma State can't afford to miss out on chances like this one. In the ACC, Miami begins its quest to get back on the right side of the bubble at home against North Carolina. A 2-0 week for the Tar Heels would keep them even for the moment with Duke and Florida State in the ACC title race. UNC hosts N.C. State on Saturday.
There are also some imporant games tonight in the MVC and Conference USA. Wichita State, our last team in this week, will try to get a bid-saving win at Southern Illinois, and in Conference USA, UAB hosts Marshall and Memphis hosts UCF. C-USA was back to a one-bid league this week after all its contenders beat up on each other last week. Memphis looks like the best team in the league right now after winning at Southern Miss and at UAB last week. They can go a long way in securing that status with a win over the free-falling Knights tonight and a victory at Marshall on Saturday.
Also keep an eye on: Villanova at Providence, Northwestern at Minnesota, Iowa at Penn State, LSU at Tennessee, Rutgers at Cincinnati, George Washington at Xavier, Charlotte at Temple, Old Dominion at Georgia State, Air Force at Colorado State, Tulane at UTEP