Under the Radar College Basketball Games This Week

Toledo guard RayJ Dennis goes up for a shot against Kent State forward VonCameron Davis during an NCAA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 at the Kent State M.A.C. Center. University Of Toledo Rockets At Kent State Golden Flashes Ncaa Men S Basketball

This past weekend the NCAA released their current Top 16 seeds. Everyone is aware of the powerhouse teams such as Kansas, Houston, and Alabama. However, as the season’s end comes closer and closer, there are many teams fighting for bubble spots and fighting to win their conference’s automatic bid. Some conference tournaments begin as early as next week, and other conferences only have a few regular-season games left. There is a significant amount of under-the-radar games this week that have NCAA Tournament berth implications.

Under the Radar College Basketball Games This Week


Lights, Camera, Maction. The top four teams in the MAC battle it out on Tuesday as current leader Kent State (12-2 in MAC) travels to Indiana to take on current four-seed Ball State (10-4). Kent State has won four in a row, and Ball State was on a six-game win streak prior to this past weekend. Kent State is led by Sincere Carry, who averages over 16 points and 5 assists per game. Ball State counters with Payton Sparks, who has three double-doubles in his last five games. Toledo (12-2) is currently tied for first and hosts Akron (11-3), who is currently the three-seed. Toledo is red hot, winning their last 11 games under the radar, as the MAC gets no love. Additionally, Akron had an eight-game winning streak back in January. Akron has the potential MAC Player of the Year in Xavier Castaneda, who shoots 41% from behind the arc, but Toledo has a more well-rounded team led by Rayj Dennis. The MAC will be a one-bid conference, increasing the importance of winning these games and improving seeding for the MAC Tournament.

Prediction: Ball State wins in an upset over Kent State. Toledo extends their streak to 12 consecutive wins.


After the sun sets in the Shenandoah Valley on Wednesday night, there will be an intriguing matchup in the Sun Belt. The Marshall Thundering Herd take the short 40-mile trip to head to Harrisonburg to take on the James Madison Dukes. JMU won their earlier matchup in West Virginia, 72-66, behind a great game from Terrence Edwards. Marshall is currently the two-seed in the Sun Belt, and JMU is the three-seed. The winner of this game drastically improves their chances of avoiding falling to the four seed. Avoiding the four-seed is critical in order to evade Southern Miss (24-5 overall) until the Sun Belt Tournament final. Marshall last made the NCAA Tournament in 2018. Meanwhile, JMU last made the dance in 2013, and So. Miss hasn’t made it since 2012. This is also each team’s first season in the Sun Belt, as the conference’s drastic improvement has flown under the radar all year.

Prediction: JMU sweeps the season series and moves to 21-9 overall.


Looking past Purdue, there’s one word to describe the Big Ten this season: mediocre. Six teams are currently 9-7 or 8-7 in the conference, with every seed from four to nine being completely up for grabs. The top four seeds in the Big Ten Tournament get double-byes, making the four-seed this year so much more pivotal. That being said, Michigan travels to the RAC to take on Rutgers in a battle of teams with 9-7 conference records. Rutgers is an impressive 13-3 at home this year, thanks to Clifford Omoruyi and his rebounding abilities. Also, Michigan struggles away from Ann Arbor, being 1-6 in their last seven road games. Rutgers appears to be safe from the bubble, but Michigan’s season is hanging on by a thread. In order for the Wolverines to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, they’ll have to win the Big Ten Tournament, emphasizing their need for the four-seed.

Prediction: Rutgers wins to solidify their chase of a double-bye.


In Richmond, the Capital City Classic showcases VCU and Richmond, who both have memorable cinderella runs in the past. VCU shocked everyone and made the final four in 2011, followed by another six consecutive tournament appearances. Richmond, also in 2011, made the sweet sixteen, and just last season, upset Iowa in the dance. This year VCU is being led by Adrian “Ace” Baldwin Jr. and currently sits at top of the Atlantic-10 standings, with their eyes on the A-10 auto-bid. Richmond has struggled overall, as they are 6-8 in the A-10 and unfortunately just lost their head coach, Chris Mooney, for the rest of the season as he underwent heart surgery this past week. Tyler Burton and Richmond have struggled significantly on the road this season, as they have lost five straight. VCU’s phenomenal 13-3 home record and 20-7 overall record have gone under the radar, although they have lost two of their last three home games.

Prediction: Richmond pulls off the shocking upset and avenges their earlier loss to VCU.