SATURDAY’S SHOWDOWNS No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 23 Notre Dame, Sat. 12:00 p.m.: This is a fascinating matchup for a couple of reasons. For starters, this is the first real test that undefeated Notre Dame is going to be getting this season. We honestly have no idea how good the Irish actually are, and you wouldn’t be alone in needing to see a team starting Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson prove it before buying in. But we also haven’t see Villanova tested in a while, either. They won at Purdue earlier this season and, since then, have more-or-less coasted to their undefeated mark. This will not only be a nice gauge game for Villanova, but it will also be a chance for them to pad an NCAA tournament
In the past nine years, the Atlantic 10 has never received fewer than three NCAA tournament bids. Only one Atlantic 10 team has notched a victory over an opponent in Ken Pomeroy’s top 50, Rhode Island’s 76-71 neutral-court win over Cincinnati on Nov. 19. The closest thing the league has to a marquee win besides that is Dayton’s road win over middling Alabama, VCU’s rout of disinterested LSU or George Washington’s victory at erratic Temple.
In September, during the Coaches vs. Cancer Gala in Spokane, Washington, there was a live auction, which included the chance to be Idaho’s honorary coach for a regular season during the 2016-17 season. Washington State head coach Ernie Kent’s $2,000 bid more than tripled the next highest bid, according to the Spokesman Review. On Wednesday night, during Washington State’s game against the Vandals, Kent sat next to his counterpart on the Idaho bench. Kent returned to his side of the court following the game’s first possession. Behind 16 points from Ike Iiroegbu, the Cougars defeated the Vandals, 61-48.