Super Tuesday is a big one for four WAC schools, especially now that the first NET rankings of the 2022-23 season have been released.
As we see from the NET rankings, Quad I wins are huge. And road wins are huge.
Well, the WAC gets three Quad I opportunities on Tuesday night and a Quad II opportunity.
So, Super Tuesday presents super opportunities for WAC schools.
Sam Houston at Oklahoma State – 8 p.m. CT ESPNU
The Bearkats are off to a really good start to the 2022-23 season. Sam Houston is 7-1 with the lone loss at Nevada on Nov. 28. The Bearkats have road wins over Oklahoma and Utah, and dominated the Fort Myers Tip-Off with a pair of 30-plus point wins.
And with those two wins over Power 5 schools, Sam Houston is one of 10 teams with multiple Quad I victories. Which is the reason the Bearkats are ranked 7th in the first NET rankings of the 2022-23 season. Now, Jason Hooten and his squad get another opportunity for a Quad I win in Stillwater on Tuesday night.
The Bearkats face Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena on national television. Oklahoma State is 5-3 overall and coming off a road loss at UCONN in the Big 12/Big East Battle.
The key for the Bearkats will be on the offensive side of the floor. When Sam Houston wins games, it is because the Bearkats hit shots. Yes, Sam Houston can defend. But, that defensive effort only goes so far. Look at the Oklahoma upset on opening night. The Bearkats did not hit a 3-pointer in the first half and trailed by double digits at the break. But, then Lamar Wilkerson knocked down some 3-pointers in the second half, including the game-winner. At Utah, Sam Houston was able to knock down shots. Qua Grant was lights out down the stretch.
In the loss at Nevada, the Bearkats offense struggled in the second half, which allowed Nevada to pull away. Keep an eye on the Bearkats offense on Tuesday night. If they are knocking down shots, they have an opportunity for another Quad I win.
Abilene Christian at Kansas State – 7 p.m. CT ESPN+
There are not a lot of big opportunities left in the non-conference slate for ACU. So, that makes Tuesday night’s trip to Manhattan that much bigger. Add in that ACU came in at 321 in the first NET rankings of the season, and you can see there is some pressure on the Wildcats to pull the upset over the other Wildcats.
It is the second time this season that ACU will play another team called the Wildcats who also wear purple and white. ACU lost to the Weber State Wildcats on Nov. 22 at the Vegas 4.
With four games remaining on the non-conference slate, ACU needs one of those big wins. The Wildcats host Texas A&M-Commerce on Dec. 10, go to CSU Bakersfield on Dec. 17 and host Howard Payne on Dec. 21 to round out the non-conference slate.
So, Tuesday is huge. Kansas State sits at 52 in the NET. So, an upset would be a Quad I road win. Considering CSU Bakersfield is 211 and Texas A&M-Commerce is 203, Tuesday night at Bramlage Coliseum is a big one for ACU.
North Texas at UT Arlington – 7 p.m. CT ESPN+
UT Arlington is coming off a good showing at LSU on Friday. Greg Young’s squad held their own in a 63-59 loss to the Bayou Bengals. But, outside a quality win over Northern Kentucky at the Gulf Coast Showcase, getting a Division I win has been hard to come by for the Mavericks.
On Tuesday, at College Park Center, the Mavs have an opportunity to get a big time win. The Mavs host North Texas who sits at 68 in the first NET rankings of the 2022-23 season. So, a win over the Mean Green would be a Quad II win and give the Mavs a lot of confidence heading into the final stretch of the non-conference slate. Following North Texas, the Mavs finish up with Texas State at Dickie’s Arena, at San Francisco and at Cal.
North Texas has won three straight in the series including a 64-36 win in 2021. Prior to that, UTA won five straight and 10 of 12. Tuesday would be a good night to start another streak for the Mavs.
Tarleton at No. 13 Baylor – 7 p.m. CT ESPN+
Every year since joining the Division I ranks, Tarleton has played a top-10 team. Or, at the very least, had a top-10 team on the schedule. In its first season in 2020-21, Tarleton was slated to play No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5. The following season, Tarleton played No. 3 and No. 1. And technically, Tarleton’s Tuesday opponent was in the top-10 before a loss last week.
And, in year three, the Texans get a shot at No. 13 when they travel to Waco to take on Baylor on Tuesday. Tarleton has already held its own against two Power 5 opponents. The Texans lost at Arizona State to open the season. Freddy Hicks did not play in the season opener due to a foot injury. And then, at the Paradise Jam, Tarleton led wire-to-wire in a 70-54 win over Boston College.
Now, the Texans have an opportunity for a Quad I win. It won’t be easy as Baylor has size that Tarleton can’t match. Can Freddy Hicks, Jakorie Smith, Lue Williams, Shamir Bogues and company hang with the Bears? History has shown that the Texans may be small but they play like giants.