Set Your Tivo: 02.07.10Posted by THager on February 7th, 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
South Florida @ Notre Dame – 12 pm on ESPN 360 (***)
If somebody told you two weeks ago that USF was a tournament team, you would be shaking your head and laughing. Now, with four straight wins, including victories against Pitt and Georgetown in their last two games, the Bulls are looking to dance in March. Today’s game will be in South Bend, but considering South Florida held the Hoyas to 64 points in Washington, D.C., they may in fact be ready for this game. While USF continues to impress, the Fighting Irish are disappointing fans again with four losses in their last six games, including defeats to Cincinnati and Rutgers. Luke Harangody has held up his end of the bargain, with at least 37 minutes and 19 points in each of the last five games. What is killing ND is how one-sided they are. They rank fourth in Ken Pomeroy’s offensive efficiency rankings, but are an astounding 239th in defensive efficiency. Statistically, Notre Dame can still play smart basketball, as they are third in the nation in assists per game and are in the top team in assists/turnover ratio. However, given play of the most underrated player in the country in Dominique Jones (he has scored 20 + points in every game since December) I expect the Bulls to put another dagger in Notre Dame’s at-large chances.
North Carolina @ Maryland – 2 pm on FSN (***)
The debate is now over: UNC is out of the tournament as things stand now. For Maryland, however, questions arise if this team is a serious threat to do some damage in March. After having the four-game win streak ended by Clemson, they responded in a big way with a road win against Florida State. The Terrapins rank in the top ten in Ken Pomeroy’s standings, thanks to top ten rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency. North Carolina, with losses in six of the last eight games, is sniffing the bottom of the ACC with a 2-5 record. Neither their offense nor defense rank in the top 60 in Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings, so their chances in College Park do not look promising. Maryland’s has not lost all year at the Comcast Center, but the Terps have shot around 20 % from beyond the arc in their last two games, a trend they will not be able to keep up if UNC scores near their 80.4 season average. The difference between these two teams is that North Carolina is finding ways to lose and Maryland is finding ways to win, as shown by their late comeback against FSU. Look for North Carolina to fall even further with another L in ACC play.
#4 Syracuse @ Cincinnati – 2 pm on ESPN 360 (**)
Initially this game would seem to be a blowout. Syracuse appears to be the hottest team in the country right now, and Cincinnati is faltering in the Big East. The Orange average over 10 points more per game and give up fewer points per game. Syracuse ranks in the top 15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and the Bearcats rank 104th in offensive efficiency. What UC has going for them, however, is that they are fighting for their postseason lives, and Syracuse is not at full strength. Wes Johnson, Syracuse’s leading scorer, was inactive for a large majority of the second half against Providence, but will try to play against Cincinnati. The Bearcats also get to play at home, where they are 11-1 on the year. With all that said, Jim Boeheim’s team could not do anything to look more impressive than they do right now. They haven’t given up more than 71 points in any of the games during their nine-game win streak, and they are still averaging 82.5 points per game on offense. If Johnson is able to contribute or play without negatively impacting the team, looking for Syracuse to keep rolling.