Set Your Tivo: 02.06.10Posted by THager on February 5th, 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
#8 Georgetown @ #2 Villanova – 12 pm on ESPN (*****)
Is Villanova the best team in the country? Many voters are split between the Jayhawks and Wildcats, but if VU wins its next two games at Georgetown and West Virginia, they will at least cement their standing as a top seed, if not the number one ranking. Georgetown can be a dangerous team, with wins over Butler and Duke, but also have losses to Old Dominion and South Florida. Villanova, largely due to their #60 defense in terms of efficiency, rank only 13th overall according to Ken Pomeroy. The Wildcats score 85 points per contest (second nationally), but if they have an off night against a GU team that surrenders only 63 ppg, they could find themselves in real trouble. The last time the Wildcats scored below seventy points, they lost to Temple. Since then, Nova has won 11 games in a row, one of which was a five-point victory against the Hoyas in Philly. On that afternoon, Georgetown actually outscored VU 46-36 in the second half and Greg Monroe scored 29 points. In addition to Monroe, four Hoyas average in double figures and they rank second in the country in field goal percentage at over 50%. If the Hoyas can make their shots and hold the Wildcats to less than seventy points, they will have a great chance to win the game.
Xavier @ Dayton – 12 pm on ESPN2 (***)
With wins in their last four games, Xavier has not only played itself back to the top of the Atlantic 10 (temporarily), but they have also gotten back into the conversation of an at-large berth. All of the wins were by double digits, while Dayton appears to be heading in the opposite direction. Although the Flyers are coming off a win at lowly Saint Bonaventure, they had lost three of their previous four games. They average an acceptable 70 points per game, but are ranked 112th in offensive efficiency. The A-10 will send a few teams to the tournament this year, but at currently sixth in the conference, Dayton will need to get it going to earn an at-large bid. In their last meeting on January 16, Xavier came back in the second half to preserve a 25-game home winning streak against the Flyers. Today’s matchup will be at Dayton Arena, where the flyers are 10-1 this year. If the Flyers want to win this time around, they will have to make the Musketeers shoot outside of their comfort zone. Led by Dante Jackson, Xavier shot 53% from beyond the arc and 80% from the line against Dayton in the first game. Dayton’s leading scorer, Chris Wright, only scored five points in their last game, so he will have to play one of his best games of the season to pull off the win.
Wake Forest @ Virginia – 12 pm on ESPN360 (***)
ESPN has only one team as an NCAA lock in Duke, but if Wake Forest keeps up their recent play, the Deacs will appear on that list as well. If Virginia builds on their two-game winning streak, they could also rank among the top of the bubble teams. The Cavs are actually third in the ACC despite their early season struggles. These teams faced each other just two weeks ago, and Wake Forest never trailed in the 12-point win. WFU, who has the ninth best defensive efficiency, gave up just 15 points in the first half and held Virginia scoreless over a seven-minute stretch. However, the Deacons rank 99th in Ken Pomeroy’s offensive rankings, and will have to play smart against a UVA defense that gives up an equally stingy 60.2 points per game. Virginia has the luxury of playing at home, but the Hoos have played only decent in Charlottesville with victories over a bunch of mediocre teams. Wake Forest is the stronger team, and should come out of John Paul Jones Arena one step closer to a tournament lock.
Wright State @ #15 Butler – 8 pm on ESPN2 (**)
This may not be the most glamorous matchup on a busy Saturday, but this will be one of the only opportunities for fans to watch Butler in the Horizon League all year. Luckily for fans, the conference opponent is a respectable one. Wright State has won four games in a row, and is second in the conference behind the Bulldogs. Butler has a winning streak of their own, as they have won 11 consecutive games by not giving up more than 67 points in any of the contests. Both teams are among the top in defenses in the country as the Raiders surrender 60 points per game and Butler gives up 61.5 points per contest. During WSU’s current win streak, they gave up 48 points in one game and only 43 in another, and if they keep future NBA draft pick Gordon Hayward below 15 points, they will have a chance to win this game. Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to Wright State is that the game will be played at Hinkle Fieldhouse, where Butler is undefeated on the year and historically tough. Butler has seven games left (including a BracketBuster game against Siena) and if they win out the Bulldogs could sneak into a #4 NCAA seed.