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A game a day for the 2016-17 season: February

November 10, 2016 Columns No Comments

We conclude our look at our favorite games for every day of the season from November through February, our ultimate dream road trip through an entire college basketball season.

To refresh: in some cases they’re the biggest matchup of the day, in others they may be what we think will be the best game to watch. Some days the picks are obvious, others are unquestionably up for debate, but we limited it to one pick and one special mention each day. We started this on Monday with November, continued with December on Tuesday, January and Wednesday, and today we finish with February:

Feb. 1: Richmond at VCU. Quickly rising as one of the better current rivalry series in the sport, as almost every game between them of late seems to be a classic. Honorable mention: Northern Iowa at Illinois State

Feb. 2: Stephen F. Austin at Sam Houston State. One of the biggest games of the year in the Southland. If the Bearkats are going to keep SFA from another league title, here’s a chance to make a statement. Honorable mention (tie): Gonzaga at BYU and Belmont at Murray State

Feb. 3: Rhode Island at Davidson. The Atlantic 10 has made good use of these Friday nights for some big matchups, and here’s another with the Rams’ tough D against the Wildcats’ superb offense. E.C. Matthews against Jack Gibbs is an awesome individual duel, too. Honorable mention: St. Peter’s at Monmouth

Feb. 4: Princeton at Harvard. On a very busy Saturday, we head to the Ivy League for a matchup of two teams that could truly have NCAA at-large credentials. Honorable mention: Valparaiso at Wisconsin-Green Bay

Feb. 5: Indiana at Wisconsin. Just six games on Super Bowl Sunday, but some good ones, including this offensive bonanza. Honorable mention: Colorado at California

Feb. 6: Kansas at Kansas State. It’s always a hornet’s nest for the Jayhawks when they travel to Manhattan to meet their in-state rival. Honorable mention: Virginia at Louisville

Feb. 7: Siena at Iona. Two of the more entertaining offensive teams out there, led by two coaches who do it more colorfully than just about anyone else. Honorable mention: Ball State at Akron

Feb. 8: UNLV at Nevada. Already an underrated rivalry, and expect it to pick up even more steam in the next few years as the Wolf Pack get the upper hand while the proud Runnin’ Rebels rebuild. Honorable mention: South Dakota State at North Dakota State

Feb. 9: North Carolina at Duke. We refuse to fawn over this series like some do, but there’s no denying it’s a great rivalry and always a worthy watch, even on a Thursday that will have a quietly strong slate. Honorable mention: New Hampshire at Vermont, the two America East favorites

Feb. 10: Dayton at Rhode Island. Could wind up being the game of the year in the A-10. Honorable mention: Oakland at Detroit

Feb. 11: Villanova at Xavier. Should be electric in Cincinnati for this one with two very experienced teams, especially in the backcourt. Honorable mention: Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s

Feb. 12: Virginia at Virginia Tech. Just imagine how fired up Cassell Coliseum will be for this one if Buzz Williams has his team clicking and in NCAA Tournament consideration at this point of the season. Honorable mention: Nevada at San Diego State

Feb. 13: Monmouth at Siena. Another big game in the MAAC which should be a blast to watch, and could be a preview of the MAAC tourney final and at the site of the final, too. Honorable mention: Arkansas-Little Rock at Texas-Arlington

Feb. 14: Ohio at Eastern Michigan. Ohio’s Antonio Campbell against EMU’s James Thompson is a must-see matchup in the post, and it’s possible these two could shake out as the MAC’s two best teams. Honorable mention: Texas at Oklahoma

Feb. 15: LIU at St. Francis (N.Y.). The Battle of Brooklyn, where the two schools are so close they often bus or sometimes even walk to the opposing campus, where they play in front of charged up crowds in bandbox gyms. Love it. Honorable mention: North Carolina at North Carolina State

Feb. 16: Middle Tennessee State at Western Kentucky. A rather blah Thursday schedule, but if Rick Stansbury’s talent is clicking by this time of the season, this suddenly will be a big one in Conference USA. Even if not, Diddle Arena will be a tough test for MTSU. Honorable mention: Wisconsin at Michigan

Feb. 17: VCU at Richmond. Can’t get enough of these two playing in recent years. It takes the cake on a 12-game slate that includes a number of strong games, including Bay Area rivals Cal and Stanford as well as Valparaiso at Oakland. Honorable mention: Princeton at Yale

Feb. 18: Northern Iowa at Wichita State. The Panthers snapped WSU’s long homecourt winning streak last year. You can bet Koch Arena will be even more charged up than usual for this one. Honorable mention: Villanova at Seton Hall

Feb. 19: Lehigh at Lafayette. Two old, old rivals (they’ve been playing since 1901) meet for the 233rd time. Honorable mention: Maryland at Wisconsin

Feb. 20: Iowa State at Texas Tech. On a quiet Monday night we’ll go with this one, with Monte Morris facing what should be a tough defensive team under Chris Beard at Tech. Honorable mention: Texas at West Virginia

Feb. 21: Indiana at Iowa. Good old-fashioned Big Ten midweek hoops, the way it ought to be. Honorable mention: Oklahoma at Baylor

Feb. 22: Xavier at Seton Hall. The biggies just keep coming in the Big East, and this is the second in a Villanova/Xavier homestand for the Pirates where they can make serious hay for postseason positioning. Honorable mention: Louisville at North Carolina

Feb. 23: Saint Mary’s at Pepperdine. Tricky road test for the Gaels, as the Waves defeated SMC twice last year. Honorable mention: Jacksonville at North Florida in the battle of Jacksonville

Feb. 24: Manhattan at Iona. If the Jaspers are as improved as Steve Masiello seems to think they’ll be in the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, then this rivalry should once again be a big deal in the NYC area. Honorable mention: Oakland at Wisconsin-Green Bay

Feb. 25: UCLA at Arizona. Still as good as any series on the West Coast. Honorable mention: VCU at Rhode Island

Feb. 26: Monmouth at Iona. Round two between these two burgeoning rivals, and again, the folly of TV contracts shines through. East Carolina vs. Tulsa is on national television this day; this game, with storylines that could have national significance if the networks had even an ounce of creativity and promoted them, will not. Honorable mention: Middle Tennessee State at UAB

Feb. 27: Oklahoma at Kansas. You can bet last year’s classic played at Allen Fieldhouse between these two will be mentioned a few times around this one. Honorable mention: North Carolina at Virginia

Feb. 28: Indiana at Purdue. Sadly, this rivalry has been diminished a tad by the Big Ten’s greed/expansion which has led to unbalanced schedules. These two only played once each of the last two years; fortunately this is their second meeting this year. Honorable mention: St. Bonaventure at Davidson

Other game of the day picks for 2016-17:
November
December
January

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