Set Your Tivo: 01.21.10Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2010
SYT Star System
***** - quit your job and divorce your wife if that’s what it takes to watch this game live
**** - best watched live, but if you must, tivo and watch it tonight as soon as you get home
*** - set your tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game
Louisville @ Seton Hall – 7 pm on ESPN (**)
It appears the basketball gods are punishing us for such a great night of basketball on Wednesday. These two teams are both battling losing streaks right now, and it is highly likely that one or both of these teams will not make the tournament. Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa have both scored above their season averages in their last two games, but they lost at home to Villanova and on the road to Pitt. Seton Hall started out the season 8-0, playing teams like Monmouth and the infamous NJIT, and is now being punished for not challenging themselves early on. Since scoring 134 points in a win against VMI, the Pirates have gone 2-6. One reason to watch this game is the play of Seton Hall’s Jeremy Hazell, who can torch defenses in a hurry (five games of 30 points or more including a 41-point outburst against West Virginia). Also working in SHU’s favor is the home court advantage, as Louisville is just 1-3 on the road this season. We know Louisville has talent, but they are also the team that followed up a 22-point embarrassment against Charlotte with a loss against Western Carolina. This is Louisville’s game to lose.
Indiana @ Penn State – 7 pm on ESPN2 (*)
This is the definition of a one-star game. I am not sure why ESPN is broadcasting this, except to show a Big Ten matchup in which both teams are so bad there will be no chance of rushing the court. With three losses in their last four games, Indiana joins the Nittany Lions at 8-9. Penn State comes into tonight as losers of their last five games, all of which came against Big Ten teams. This game will also likely be in the sixties, as Indiana gives up 69.7 points per game on defense while Penn State allows 61.6 points on average. If you like missed shots and turnovers, this game may actually be entertaining for you. Maurice Creek, Indiana’s leading scorer is injured, so this game actually has the possibility of the 40s, like Indiana did against Michigan. Penn State’s go-to scorer, Talor Battle, can shoot from anywhere and is a threat to rebound and distribute as well, so fans may see some fireworks. After Battle, Penn State has three guys that average 7.9, 7.9, and 7.8 points per game in David Jackson, Chris Babb and Jeff Brooks, so it may be difficult to pinpoint where to attack such a well-balanced team. Indiana has shown signs of life this year, including their win against Pitt, so look for Verdell Jones III and Christian Watford to lead Indiana to an ugly win.
Florida @ Arkansas – 9 pm on ESPN (***)
Arkansas may be off the bubble at 8-9, but the Gators at 12-5 are definitely looking to return back to their first tournament since back-to-back national championships. Both of these teams average similar numbers offensively, and both distribute the ball effectively. Arkansas has four players averaging over 10 points per game, while Florida has five averaging in double figures. The Gators are extremely streaky, as they won eight games to start out including an upset of Michigan State. They have also gone on a three-game losing streak, and had it not been for a miracle shot against NC State, they would have had a second three-game losing streak. Although both teams can push the tempo, there are a decent amount of big men on these squads. Forwards Alex Tyus and Chandler Parsons join center Vernon Macklin as part of Florida’s core of five scorers, while Arkansas features forward Marshawn Powell and center Michael Washington in their offensive attack. Arkansas won their last game against Auburn, but entered that contest as losers of four straight, and I predict the Gators escape with a road win.
Oregon @ California – 10:30 pm on CSN California, Oregon Sports Network, and CSN Northwest (***)
You’ll have to live out west to enjoy this game, but this game will be big in the Pac-10 standings. When the best team in the Pac-10 has two losses in conference play and the worst team has three losses, you know it is a highly contested league. Cal is tied for second in the conference at 3-2, and Oregon is tied for last with three other teams at 2-3. Everything about these teams has similarity written all over it. Oregon’s overall record is 10-7, while Cal’s is 11-6. Oregon averaged 76 points per game while Cal averages 79. Oregon gives up 69.9 points per game while Cal surrenders 69.8 points per contest. One of the few things that separate these teams is that the Ducks feature a player in Michael Dunigan that is 6’10—taller than Cal’s top six contributors. In fact, Cal’s lineup is especially small, as their leading scorer, Jerome Randle, stands at just 5’10”. However, Cal tends to rebound pretty well, and with the home crowd on their side, I have to think the second place Golden Bears will stay among the leaders in the conference.