Set Your Tivo: 02.15.10Posted by THager on February 15th, 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 @ #5 Villanova – 7:00 pm on ESPN (***)
As shown by Louisville’s road upset of Syracuse, anything is still possible in the Big East. A UConn win over Villanova would be equally improbable, but the Huskies still have the talent to at least make this game competitive. Just five days ago, they had a chance to beat Syracuse in the last minute, and had a 19-point lead earlier in the year at Georgetown before surrendering 47 points in the second half. The Huskies have had a problem closing out games, and they are 0-5 in games decided by five points or less. Before U of L’s upset on Sunday, the Cardinals were just 1-6 on the road, but the Huskies have yet to win a single game away from the XL Center. Connecticut’s main problem on the road has been there offense, as they have failed to score 70 points in any of their six road games. Their home offense has not been much better, as they are coming off an 18-52 shooting performance against Cincinnati in which two of their starters went scoreless for the entire game. Villanova, on the other hand, is the nation’s second best team in points per game and ranks third in offensive efficiency. Their defense, however, ranks just 49th in defensive efficiency, and they gave up 103 points to Georgetown on February 6. We speculated that Syracuse had a potential trap game with Louisville, and Villanova could be in the same situation here, since they have a schizophrenic Pitt team waiting next. Still, given the fact that Connecticut is just three games over .500 and 12th in the Big East, Villanova’s chances look pretty good.
#1 Kansas @ Texas A&M — 9:00 pm on ESPN (****)
Don’t look now, but the Aggies are slowly creeping up the Big 12 standings. With four straight wins, they are now tied with Kansas State for second place in the conference at 7-3. One of the main reasons for their success is a defense that has only given up 70 PPG over their winning streak. They are also consistent, as only two teams have scored more than 76 points on them the entire season. As well as the Aggies have played on the defensive side, the Jayhawks are even better, with a defense that gives up only 62.8 PPG and ranks third in defensive efficiency. In just about every category on offense or defense, Kansas ranks better than the Aggies, but Texas A&M certainly has a chance to pull the upset with the home crowd behind them. Although their 13-0 record at Reed Arena may be inflated due to a weak out-of-conference schedule, it will certainly be an intense environment for the Jayhawks. One thing that separates Kansas above most other teams in the country is their balance; their four double digit scorers consist of two guards, a forward, and a center. To get a feel for how versatile these guys are, consider this: they are the only team in the country that ranks in the top five in both rebounds and assists per game. Kansas has had very close games on the road recently, with two of their last three contests going into overtime (they won both games). Against Colorado and Kansas State, Xavier Henry was held to a combined nine points, so if the Aggies can limit his productivity, they have a shot to beat the #1 team in the country.