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Men’s Preview: Deciding conference battles

Article Written by J.R. Eskilson
Published: October 13, 2016

It’s only mid-October but it already seems like conference races will be decided this weekend. With a few programs getting off to great starts to conference campaigns, there is plenty on the line from this weekend’s games. 

In the ACC, Louisville heads to North Carolina on Saturday for a game against Wake Forest. The Cardinals are trying to bounce back after losing 2-1 to Indiana on Tuesday, the first home loss of the season for the Cardinals. In conference play, Louisville is top of the ACC Atlantic Division with 13 points from 5 games. Wake Forest sits in second place with 10 points from 5 games. After losing the first home game of the season, Wake Forest is 7-0-1 in its last eight games at home and 9-0-1 in games played in North Carolina since that opening day loss to Saint Louis. A win for Wake Forest would put them back on level footing with the Cardinals with two games left in conference play. 

In the Big Ten, Maryland hosts Wisconsin on Friday. After playing to a 1-1 draw in the first conference game, the Terps are running through the Big Ten. Maryland is top of the table with 16 points from six games. Wisconsin is hoping to reel them in this weekend with a result in College Park. Wisconsin is tied for second in the conference with 10 points from five games. The Terps would clinch at least a share of the conference regular season title with a win on Friday. 

In the Big West, UC Santa Barbara heads up the 101 to take on Cal Poly on Saturday. The Blue-Green showdown typically brings in the crowd, but this has not been a typical season for either program. To put it lightly, Cal Poly has struggled mightily in 2016. The Mustangs are 3-7-2 on the season and 1-3-1 in conference play. UC Santa Barbara, meanwhile, started the season strong, but then dropped off quickly with a five-game losing streak. The Gauchos need to do well in conference play with an RPI at 72 entering into the weekend. 

The CAA has a big game this weekend between Hofstra and UNC Wilmington. Hofstra is first in the conference heading into the weekend, but UNC Wilmington has the best RPI of any team in the conference. 

The WAC also features a great game this weekend with Air Force hosting Utah Valley n Friday. Both programs are chasing Seattle in the standings after the Pacific Northwest squad raced out to a 4-0 record to start conference play. Air Force is 3-0 on the campaign and needs a win over Utah Valley to keep pace. 

Games to Watch

No. 10 Wake Forest (9-2-2, 3-1-1) vs. No. 3 Louisville (9-2-2, 4-0-1), Saturday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m. (ET), WatchESPN

No. 2 Maryland (10-0-2, 5-0-1) vs. Wisconsin (7-2-2, 3-1-1), Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. (ET), Big Ten Networks

Cal Poly (3-7-2, 1-3-1) vs. UC Santa Barbara (7-5-2, 3-0-2), Saturday, Oct. 15, & p.m. (ET), Live Stream

No. 14 UNC Wilmington (6-2-2, 1-0-2) vs. Hofstra (8-4-1, 6-0), Saturday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m., Live Stream

Air Force (9-3, 3-0) vs. Utah Valley (9-3, 2-1), Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. (MT), Live Stream 

 
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