Set Your Tivos: 01.14.09

Posted by nvr1983 on January 14th, 2009

Set Your Tivos

Game of the Night
#8 Syracuse at #12 Georgetown, 7:30 PM on ESPN2 and It’s hard to believe that these two powerhouses are only the 3rd and 4th highest ranked teams in their own conference. [Calm down ACC folks. I realize that you have 4 teams ranked ahead of Georgetown, but the ACC doesn’t even come close to the Big East in terms of depth. Look for the next ACC team in the top 25. There are none.] Looking at these teams, I still have a hard time believing that the Orangemen can compete with Pittsburgh, UConn, or Georgetown if all of those teams are playing up to their potential. However, Jim Boeheim has his team playing solid basketball and is one miracle 60-footer away from being undefeated (or at least being in OT to stay undefeated). Syracuse has been able to do this despite the distraction created by the suspension of Eric Devendorf for assaulting a female student as noted extensively here at RTC. Boehiem has been able to do this thanks to solid play from Jonny Flynn (seen below getting away with the most blatant charge that wasn’t called that you will ever see) and Devendorf (when not interacting with the co-eds) on the perimeter and Paul Harris and Arinze Onuaku on the inside. The embarrassingly weak early schedule (SOS: 56th in the nation) has certainly helped the Orangemen have a gaudy record.

Tonight the Orangemen will face their first true test against the Hoyas on the road. Unlike Syracuse, Georgetown has already faced a difficult schedule (SOS: #2 in the nation behind only 6-10 Oregon) including 3 brutal games in the Big East (road games at Connecticut and Notre Dame and at home against Pittsburgh). While the Hoyas lack the depth inside (or thugs according to JT2), they will have the most talented player on the court playing for them on the inside in Greg Monroe who has shown glimpses of brilliance this year. Having seen him in person at the Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving Break, I can definitely see why he has NBA scouts drooling, but at times he appears too passive at times to dominate games. While neither Harris nor Onuaku can match Monroe’s talent, it will be interesting to see if he can match their intensity the entire game. The other key match-up will be how DaJuan Summers, Chris Wright, and Austin Freeman do against Flynn and Devendorf on the perimeter although I’m not sure how John Thompson III will utilize Summers if Boeheim opts for his patented 2-3 zone. I’m not sure what to make of his experiments with man-to-man, but I would venture that he will go with the more familiar now that he is finally playing some solid teams. I’m guessing that Georgetown has too much talent, the home court, and experience from playing actually competition to lose this game. Syracuse should be able to keep it close until the final 5 minutes when the Hoyas should pull away.

Others to Watch
#2 Duke at Georgia Tech, 7 PM on ESPN and This has trap game written all over it. Duke just came off a win at FSU, which has shocked Duke several times this year, and the Blue Devils have a nationally televised showcase at Cameron against the aforementioned Hoyas on Saturday. Georgia Tech is mediocre enough (9-6) that the Blue Devils may overlook them, but just talented enough that they could shock Duke particularly since the game will be played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The key thing to watch here will be how the Yellow Jacket bigs–Gani Lawal (16.8 PPG and 10.0 RPG) and Alade Aminu (13.5 PPG and 9.4 RPG)–do since interior play will continue to be Duke’s Achilles’ heel (except when they go 3 for their first 27 from 3-point range). If Lawal and Aminu can dominate inside against Kyle Singler and Brian Zoubek, Paul Hewett just may be able to pull out the win.

#3 Wake Forest at Boston College, 9 PM on ESPN Full Court and RTC will be at this game (look for the male equivalent of Erin Andrews typing away on his keyboard) to bring you the latest scoop on Wake Forest, the most intriguing team in college basketball. Even after the Demon Deacons win at BYU to end the Cougars nation-leading 53 game home winning streak, there remained a healthy skepticism of Dino Gaudio‘s young squad. However, after they held off everyone’s national title favorite UNC people have really started to come around on this team (I don’t think their rise of 1-2 spots in the polls reflects the magnitude of the change in perception). On the other hand, Boston College may be the most confusing team in the nation. After pulling off one of the bigger upsets of the season (and ending the media’s speculation of an undefeated season for UNC), the Eagles followed it up with a loss at home against Harvard and then to Miami. While the loss to Miami (preseason #17) is excusable, the loss to the Crimson isn’t. Wake will try avoid a letdown similar to the one BC had by relying on Jeff Teague, James Johnson, and Al-Farouq Aminu. Teague will likely be guarded very closely after his explosion against UNC. Wake also hopes to get a big contribution out of Chas McFarland, who was last seen outsprinting Ty Lawson down the court for a crucial lay-up on Saturday. If the Eagles are going to rebound for their back-to-back defeats, they will need a huge game out Tyrese Rice along with solid contributions out of Joe Trapani and Corey Raji. Much like the Duke-Georgia Tech game, this is one to watch to see if the favorite is looking ahead to their next game, which is also a monster match-up for Wake (against undefeated Clemson).

#21 Baylor at Texas A&M, 9:30 PM on ESPN2 and A match-up of two lightly regarded teams with impressive records (13-2 and 14-2, respectively). These two teams are my pick to compete with Kansas for the #3 spot in the Big 12 this year. Baylor appears to have recovered from the Dave Bliss fiasco and comes into the game with a top 25 ranking. They have done this with their entire starting 5 averaging double figures, but the unquestioned leader of this team is Curtis Jerrells who will need to have a big game tonight to get a win on the road. Looking through their results so far, I’m having a hard time finding any good wins. A win at College Station would mean a big jump for the Bears in the eyes of the voters. I think a lot of people forget just how good Texas A&M was last year. They were one blown call against UCLA away from potentially forcing OT in the Sweet 16. The Aggies will rely on a balanced attack with Josh Carter, Donald Sloan, Bryan Davis, and Chinemelu Elonu to try and defend their home court.

#24 Michigan at Illinois, 8:30 PM on The Big Ten Network: It looks like a year after his program looked like it was going implode after the Eric Gordon recruiting disaster, Bruce Weber has his team headed in the right direction. Tonight he will try to avenge one of the Fighting Illini’s 2 losses (the other was by 2-points to undefeated Clemson). This should be a close game as the Wolverines won by 10 at Ann Arbor a little over a week ago. Outside of the big guys from each team (Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims for Michigan and Mike Davis and Demetri McCamey for Illinois), my player to watch tonight is Alex Legion, who has shown signs of becoming a big-time scorer since his mid-season addition to Illinois after his transfer from Kentucky.

nvr1983 (1398 Posts)

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7 responses to “Set Your Tivos: 01.14.09”

  1. Jay says:

    Ummm, did you just call SU’s schedule “weak”? Because beating three ranked teams on the road, including the two teams who were in last year’s national championship game, is a godawful, easy schedule, right?

  2. cusey says:

    Yeah, what the fuck was with that Syracuse right up? Are you a GTown fag or something? Why the hate?

  3. Brian says:

    Not a Syracuse fan but Flynn’s dunk was not a charge. He was already in the air before Rosario established his position.

  4. Brian says:

    Syracuse has played a better non-conference schedule in my opinion. Georgetown’s SOS is helped mightily by the difficult start to the BE season (@ conn, vs pitt, @ ND, vs. prov) while Syracuse has had about as easy a go of it early (vs SH, @ USF, vs Dep, @ RU) as possible.

    Syracuse played Florida and Kansas at a neutral site and beat both, although the KU game was basically a home game for the Jayhawks in KC. That makes it an even better win. Syracuse played a good mid major in Cleveland State (even though they lost) and played Memphis on the road.

    Georgetown played Memphis at home and played Tennessee and Maryland in the Old Spice Tournament. Those are the only quality games on Gtown’s non-conference schedule. Tennessee will definitely drop out of the top 25 this week while Maryland is a bubble team at best. That’s not the greatest schedule.

  5. nvr1983 says:

    Yes. I called it weak. Winning on the road is nice (only one of those three games was actually a road game), but none of those teams were as good as their ranking at the time indicated. none of those three are ranked right now, which is one of the reason why I don’t care about early season polls. Kansas and Memphis are a shell of what they were last year. You can argue all you want about how bad computers are, but I think they do a pretty good job at analyzing SOS and Georgetown’s SOS is far superior to Syracuse’s SOS.

    Um, thanks for the comment? No. I am not from Georgetown (turned them down for undergrad). And sorry, but I’m not really interested. I’m not really “hating” on Syracuse. I think they’re a good team, but just not the level of Pittsburgh, UConn, or Georgetown. Maybe they will prove me wrong.

    Re: Flynn. It was a ridiculous dunk, but that gets called a charge 99% of the time (maybe I’m exposed to too much Duke).
    Re: Schedules. I’d say the non-conference schedules are pretty comparable. I would say Florida, Kansas, and Memphis is only marginally tougher than Tennessee, Maryland, and Memphis although I think when Tennessee was on (and they were that day–I was there) they are much better than Florida, Kansas, or Memphis. As for the early Big East schedule, I don’t think you can just take that out of the equation. If you switch their early Big East schedules, then Georgetown is probably 13-1 and Syracuse is probably 14-3.

  6. tyus says:

    Never gets old hearing about the refs from last years tourney. Oh wait. It is old. Really? Baylor is going to struggle because snapshot confirms the refs missed one call in last years tourney? If you believe in the predictive ability of statistics to date A and M will win 3 more games this year.

  7. nvr1983 says:

    Mr. Edney–
    Thanks for dropping by. That makes 2 famous basketball players (you and Mr. Curry) who have commented in the past week. I don’t remember saying that Baylor would struggle just that they don’t have any really impressive wins to date. A win at College Station wouldn’t blow me away, but I’m sure it is something that would be a major plus for the Bears on Selection Sunday (either to get in or to get a higher seed).

    As for the getting all worked up over the fact that I pointed out just how close Texas A&M came to forcing OT against UCLA, I’m not sure what your reason is. Just enjoy the fact that the Bruins got away with one and keep a smug look on your face like all the Duke fans do.

    And I have no idea where your last sentence/tidbit came from.

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