Set Your Tivo: 01.30.10Posted by THager on January 30th, 2010
***** – 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
#7 Duke @ #11 Georgetown 1:00 CBS (****)
Although John Thompson III has said he does not want to be playing in this out of conference matchup right now, fans have been looking forward to this game for quite some time. In addition to the possibility of President Obama attending the game, this is a matchup between a current #2 seed in the tournament and a #3 or #4 seed in Georgetown. When Duke’s 82.2 ppg offense goes against Georgetown’s 62.0 defensive average, something is going to have to budge. Despite Duke’s top ranking in offensive efficiency, they will certainly not be able to run over the Hoyas. GU held Pitt to 66 points on the road, and held Syracuse, UConn, and Marquette below their season average. Although Duke outscores the Hoyas by over 10 points per contest on average, they also hold opponents to fewer points per game rank higher in defensive efficiency. Nevertheless, the Blue Devils lost their first three road games of the year to Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, and Clemson, none of whom are as dangerous as the Hoyas. GU blew a golden opportunity at the Carrier Dome last week, so look for them to take out some frustration on the Blue Devils. Austin Freeman scored 23 points against the Orange, and the Hoyas will likely depend on him to give Georgetown the win.
Oklahoma St @ Missouri 2:00 ESPN (***)
As George W. Bush once attempted to say, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Oklahoma State made me look foolish when they beat Texas A&M last week, and Missouri embarrassed me with their performance in Lawrence when they kept up with the Jayhawks for the first five minutes and called it a day. The Cowboys have now won three Big 12 games in a row, while Mizzou has now lost two of their last three contests. OSU showed they could win without a strong performance from James Anderson, who didn’t score the first 18 minutes of the Aggie game. The Aggies do have a couple things going for them as well. They will be playing at home, where they are 12-0 this year, and still rank #12 in the country according to Ken Pomeroy with their sixth ranked defense. Their D didn’t look so impressive last week when they gave up 50 first half points to Kansas, as they let the Jayhawks shoot over 49 percent from the floor and 47 percent from beyond the arc. Senior Obi Muonelo is hot for Oklahoma State right now, and look for him to lead the Cowboys to a fourth consecutive Big 12 win.
#23 Vanderbilt @ #1 Kentucky 4:00 ESPN (*****)
Last week RTC said that Vanderbilt was the most underrated team in the country, and they made us look pretty smart with a 85-76 road win against Tennessee. Their current test will be even more difficult, as they have to face an angry Kentucky team in Lexington right now. Barring a complete disaster, if Vanderbilt splits their games with Kentucky this year they could be looking at a #4 seed at the very worst. Depending on how Vanderbilt and their seventh ranked offense perform the rest of the year, they could be looking at potential #2 seed. Kentucky may still be the top team to many, but Ken Pomeroy ranks them at #11 and their RPI has them at #8. With another loss, could Kentucky suddenly be looking at a three seed? It seems unlikely, especially given their resume for the whole year, but they are going to have to prove doubters wrong. In order to beat Vanderbilt, Kentucky will have to avoid another 5-point, 0-assist effort from Patrick Patterson. The Wildcats shot 39 percent in the game, and with the Commodores playing hot right now (10 consecutive wins and they have scored 80 or more points in four of their last five games) they will have to also light up the scoreboard. If VU, led by A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffery Taylor (both have scored double digits in their last six games), is able to contain the Wildcats at all they have an excellent chance to win this game.
Baylor @ #6 Texas 4:00 ESPN 360 (***)
Baylor has fallen out of the Top 25, but that does not mean they aren’t capable of beating solid teams. Just as much as it is hard to see Kentucky lose consecutive games, it seems difficult to think that a Texas team that started 17-0 could then go 1-3. Baylor took Kansas State right to the wire last game, losing in the final minute, but with the loss their NCAA tournament chances took a slight hit. This bubble team is now eighth in the Big 12, which will not get it done come selection time. You don’t always know what you are going to get out of Texas, as UT’s leading scorer in the January 18 Kansas State game had 11 points. In order for Texas to get out of their slump, Texas will need a bigger contribution from Dexter Pittman, who in a five game stretch before Wednesday’s contest had scored a total of 25 points. The Longhorns have not lost at home this year, but will have their hands full this afternoon. The intriguing matchup is Baylor’s 13th ranked offense against Texas’ 13th ranked defense. Baylor’s LaceDarius Dunn was held to nine points in their last game, and he will need to score at least 15 points for Baylor to pull a big upset.
#2 Kansas @ #13 Kansas State 7:00 ESPN (****)
If there was any question if Jayhawks fans were just as pumped up for this matchup as the home crowd, one needs to look no further than the fact KU is busing in their students for College Gameday’s appearance in Manhattan. Kansas head coach Bill Self has mentioned his excitement about the level of play in the conference recently, but we will see how happy he is if he loses in front of the Wildcat fans. When looking at this game on paper, it would seem highly unlikely for KSU to win this game. Kansas ranks second in the country if both offensive and defensive efficiency, but fans also thought that before KSU faced an undefeated Texas team. With the influx of RTCs lately, will Kansas State once again show the sophistication of their student section? When Kansas State defeated Texas, they won despite shoot ingeight percent from three point range and committing 18 turnovers. How? They held Texas to an equally abysmal shooting percentage at 37 percent, something they would like to repeat against Kansas’ 84.9 ppg average and 49.6 percent shooting. Jacob Pullen, KSU’s leading scorer at 19.2 points per game on the year, lit Baylor up for 25 on Tuesday, and look for the Wildcats to go to him as they attempt to pull the biggest upset another huge upset this year.