Set Your Tivo: 02.10.10Posted by THager on February 10th, 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
Connecticut @ #3 Syracuse — 7 pm on ESPN (***)
Most fans in basketball circles have the Huskies out of the tournament right now, but UConn has plenty of chances to make up for their recent three-game losing streak. In addition to tonight’s game against Syracuse, they have upcoming games against powerhouses Villanova and West Virginia, as well as three other bubble teams (and Rutgers). If the Huskies can win five or six of those games, they can play themselves back into the tournament. Their first task may be the toughest of all the remaining games. Syracuse is currently a #1 seed, and they have won ten consecutive games. The Orangemen rank in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency, while UConn ranks 76th in offensive efficiency. Led by Wesley Johnson, SU ranks first in the country in field goal percentage, second in assists per game, and average 82 points per game. Johnson played through a leg injury against Cincinnati, but only scored five points and was ineffective. With Johnson at less than 100 %, Andy Rautins stepped up and scored 20 points to lift Syracuse to the win. Unless Syracuse wants another 6OT game like they had the last time they played Connecticut, they will need major contributions from both their second and third options, meaning Rautins and forward Kris Joseph.
#7 Duke @ North Carolina — 9 pm on ESPN (****)
These teams could be winless on the year and this would still be a great game. This version means much more to UNC than it does to Duke. Coach K has lost six of the last seven matchups against Roy Williams, but UNC could use a win to get them back in the discussion of those “last four teams in.” They are 2-7 in their last nine games, but a win over Duke would help their poor record against the RPI top 50. Both squads average over 80 points per game, but UNC’s statistics may be deceiving. While the Blue Devils are the top team in offensive efficiency, the Tar Heels rank outside the top 60 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. North Carolina gives up nearly 74 points per game, a number that will likely jump when the Blue Devils come to Chapel Hill. One of the most surprising statistics about UNC is their home record, as they have four losses at the Dean Dome. In their last six losses, the Tar Heels have not scored more than 75 points in any of those games, and will need to find a way to break down a Duke team that allows only 63 points per game. Duke, a team usually known for their three point shooting, has shot below 40 % from beyond the arc this year, but if Kyle Singler can get a hot hand like he had against Georgia Tech, Duke will send UNC to another loss.
#19 New Mexico @ #25 UNLV — 11 pm on CBS College Sports (*****)
It is a shame more people won’t be able to see this game between two of the best mid-majors this season. The Mountain West Conference now has three teams in the top 25 after UNLV beat BYU by 14 points. Perhaps more than any team in the country, the Rebels had the most impressive win over the weekend when they never allowed BYU to take a lead, much less keep the game close. New Mexico also enjoyed a recent win over BYU in a game that was close throughout. Both of these teams are enjoying win streaks; UNLV has won five games in a row, while UNM has not lost since a January 9 meeting with UNLV. In that game, the Lobos shot just 22% from three point range and ended a 19-game win streak at the Pitt. With all three MWC powerhouses sitting at 7-2, this game has huge conference standing implications. Tre’Von Willis outshined Jimmer Fredette in the UNLV vs BYU game with 33 points, and if he scores over 25, it will be hard for UNLV to lose. Although the Rebels have more of a go to player in Willis, he has only one other teammate averaging in double figures, while the Lobos have four players averaging over 10 points per game. Fortunately for the Rebels, even if they lose this game, they still get to host the conference tournament.