Set Your Tivo: 02.13.10Posted by THager on February 13th, 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
Maryland @ # 7 Duke – 1 pm on CBS (*****)
The Terrapins have had extra time to prepare for what should be one of the best games of the year. With the postponement of their game against Virginia due to snow, Maryland has not played in six days, which probably gave UM some much needed rest in the thick of conference play. With a win in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Maryland will finally receive some respect. Georgia Tech, who has more losses on the year and is eighth in the conference standings, is ranked #20, but the Terps (16-6 and second in the ACC) don’t even rank in the top 30 in the ESPN/ USA today poll. This game will feature two of the most well-rounded teams in America, as both teams score over 80 points per game but neither gives up more than 65 points per contest on defense. With top 25 rankings in both offensive and defensive efficiency, these squads both rank in Ken Pomeroy’s top 10. No opponent has scored more than 75 points or shot over 40 % from the field in Maryland’s last seven games, while Duke has not given up 70 points on the other side since their loss to Georgetown two weeks ago. Duke has struggled to put points on the board in their last two games, but when a team plays defense like they did against UNC (holding the Heels to 5-19 from beyond the arc) they are going to win most games. Maryland has not beaten Duke since 2007, and if they plan on having success at Cameron Indoor Stadium, they are going to have to guard the perimeter well enough to force Miles Plumlee and Brian Zoubek to beat them. More often than not, Duke is going to have at least two of their three star players (Singler, Scheyer & Smith) shoot well, but if Maryland limits the offensive onslaught to just one player, they at least have a chance.
Rhode Island @ #21 Temple – 4 pm on Atlantic 10 Network (****)
Rhode Island could use a big win to solidify their tournament status, and Temple would also benefit largely from this game after showing some vulnerability in their last four games. These teams are ranked among the top 25 in the RPI, but Temple ranks 43d in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings and Rhode Island is 68th. Both teams are extremely unbalanced, as Temple has a suspect offense and Rhode Island has one of the worst defenses among tournament contenders (125th in defensive efficiency.) It is doubtful that all six “good” teams from the Atlantic 10 will get in, and Temple (fourth in the conference) and Rhode Island (fifth) do not want to lose any standing with the selection committee if they lose this one. In their last meeting, URI came back from eight points in the latter part of the second half to force overtime. Despite 23 points from Delroy James, Rhode Island shot below 37 % for the game and lost. Now in Philadelphia, the Rams will have to contain Lavoy Allen, who averages a double-double and was 8-12 in the last matchup.
Xavier @ Florida – 6 pm on ESPN (****)
Xavier is the co-leader of the Atlantic 10 right now, but can ill afford a second consecutive loss to another bubble team. With a loss to South Carolina, Florida is also coming off of a loss. Among most basketball experts, Xavier is the better team, but they will have to play this one in Gainesville, where they are just 3-5 on the road the year. Florida has not had a quality win since their win over Michigan State back in November, mostly due to poor defense against teams like Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky. Xavier’s Jordan Crawford is averaging 24 points per contest in his last three games, and if the Gators want to have a chance, they are going to need to keep him to less than 15 points. When Florida played A10 opponent Richmond at home in December, they only scored 21 points in the second half and shot 38 % from the field. With four players who average in double figures, Florida should be able to top their 53-point effort against the Spiders. The offensive woes have not been limited to their out-of-conference schedule, as they have not scored more than 71 points in any of their last four games, a stretch in which they are only 2-2. Although Xavier is on the road, they are the better team and should be able to walk away with a win.
#12 Tennessee @ #2 Kentucky – 9 pm on ESPN (****)
A few weeks ago when people were down on Tennessee for a pair of losses and down on Kentucky for a bad road loss to South Carolina, both teams responded. Kentucky has won their last four games, and Tennessee has won three consecutive games against Florida, LSU and South Carolina. However, after a 19-point loss to Vanderbilt (their second loss to the ‘Dores this season), people are raising questions about Tennessee’s legitimacy. They have played well on defense in each of their last nine wins, giving up less than 71 points in each of those games. However, they gave up an average of 80.6 points in each loss, and could likely give up another 80 points against the Wildcats. Kentucky averages 81.6 points per game, and has four players averaging at least 10 points per game. John Wall, who is second in the nation in assists per game, is a great complement to DeMarcus Cousins, who shoots 55 % from the field and averages over 10 rebounds per game. Thanks in large part to Cousins, UK also ranks among the nation’s best in blocks and rebounds per game. Kentucky will play at Rupp Arena, where they are 16-0 on the year, while UT is 1-2 in their last three road games. One of Tennessee’s main problems is lack of a go-to guy, as UT’s leading scorer Scottie Hopson only averages 13.1 points per game. With the crowd behind them, look for Kentucky to continue their home winning streak in front of the ESPN Gameday crew.