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Weekend Preview: Wofford and Furman highlight huge matchups

Here’s everything you need to know for this weekend’s slate of college basketball.

Mitchell Northam, Mid-Major Madness

The penultimate weekend to the college basketball regular season has a little bit of something for everyone.

Do you want big matchups that have conference title implications on the line? There’s plenty of those to go around.

Are you looking for games that could have an effect on a team’s at-large hopes on Selection Sunday? No problem, we have some of that too.

Maybe you’re just interested in some individual stars putting up big numbers and reaching historic milestones? You guessed it. This weekend will have that as well.

It’s impossible to catch everything that encompasses a single weekend of basketball, but it certainly helps to optimize your viewing experience with the good stuff. Here’s what you should be keeping an eye on this weekend.

Wofford travels to Furman for a massive SoCon tilt

Wofford, as you all know, has solidified themself as a legitimate contender for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament if they do not receive the SoCon’s autobid. As winners of 14 straight, the Terriers have absolutely been torching the league and have put up one of the best raw efficiency margins in the country this year.

On Saturday, they’ll get their toughest SoCon test to date as they travel to face a Furman team that could have a sneaky chance of slipping into the bubble discussion. It’s a rare opportunity for a Quadrant 1 win for both teams. A win for Wofford only confirms what we’ve been saying for weeks: this team deserves to be in the at-large discussion and has the resume to back it up. A win for Furman gives them another marquee win to add to a resume that would feature two Q1 wins, a 3-0 record in Q2 games and a NET ranking of 44 that continues to creep closer to the at-large discussion. We’re in for a ton of fun in Greenville on Saturday.

Mike Daum chases 3K

Following a monster 38-point, 20-rebound performance against Purdue Fort Wayne on Thursday night, Daum inched ever closer to the illustrious 3,000-point mark. As he now sits at 2,981 career points, it seems likely that he’ll crack 3K on Saturday against South Dakota, making him the second player to reach such a mark this month (Chris Clemons being the other).

MAAC Madness

The top of the MAAC standings is insane, as we wrote about on the site the other day. With six teams within a game of first place, there will be plenty of games that have an impact on how the standings shake out, including some head-to-head matchups between such teams.

This weekend features a couple of such matchups. It gets started on Friday night with Canisius traveling to Monmouth to try and complete the season sweep of the Hawks. On Sunday, the Golden Griffins will have a chance to avenge a loss to Iona from earlier in the conference season. Monmouth will also face Quinnipiac on Sunday. Come Monday morning, the MAAC race could have a slightly clearer picture than it did heading into the weekend.

Will Nevada bounce back?

The Wolf Pack delivered an atrocious performance on Wednesday night against San Diego State, which led to their second loss of the season. The loss may cost them a seed line on Selection Sunday, but it shouldn’t change the long-term outlook for Nevada. It did, however, highlight some of the key concerns that could ultimately be their downfall.

Nevada struggled from behind the arc on Wednesday, which has been the case for much of the season. They’re shooting just 34.2 percent from distance on the year, and a seven-for-25 showing on Wednesday led to the Wolf Pack’s worst offensive outing of the season. Caleb Martin was the only player to crack double figures.

The bounce back game won’t be a cakewalk. Nevada hosts a good Fresno State team on Saturday that’s 10-4 in Mountain West play and still among the best teams in the league. We’ll find out if Nevada’s loss was just a blip to a hot team, or signs of bigger concerns moving forward.

Ivy League heavyweights clash

At different points in the season, Yale and Harvard could make a claim to the best team in the Ivy League. The preseason hype surrounded a talented Harvard team, but Yale has been the best team to date and sits atop the standings at 7-1. The two will meet in New Haven on Saturday as Yale looks to avenge a 65-49 loss to the Crimson at the start of February. Yale has won five straight, and wins over Dartmouth and Harvard would create some breathing room in the conference (not that seeding necessarily matters since Yale is hosting the Ivy League Tournament).

Harvard will likely look to Bryce Aiken to carry the load once again. Since returning from injury, Aiken has led the Crimson to a 7-1 record and has been filling it up in the process. Over the last four games, Aiken is averaging 31.5 points per game that was highlighted by a 44-point outburst against Columbia. Saturday’s bout should feature some of the league’s most talented players with Aiken, Miye Oni and others taking the floor.

Conference USA Bonus Play

This weekend will be the start of Conference USA’s new scheduling format. We discussed how the format works and what the potential impact could be, and also why the Conference USA race is worth paying attention to. It should hopefully lead to some high quality games between the league’s best teams.

Other notable games to monitor:

Friday:
Kent St. at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Davidson at Rhode Island, 9 p.m.

Saturday:
Western Kentucky at Old Dominion, 1 p.m.
Saint Louis at Dayton, 4 p.m.
Liberty at North Florida, 5 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky at Jacksonville St., 5 p.m.
Saint Mary’s at San Diego, 9 p.m.
San Diego State at UNLV, 10 p.m.
BYU at Gonzaga, 10 p.m.

Sunday:
Drake at Illinois State, 2 p.m.
East Tennessee St. at UNC Greensboro, 3 p.m.
Loyola Chicago at Southern Illinois, 4 p.m.