Set Your Tivo: 02.17.10Posted by THager on February 17th, 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
#4 Purdue @ #12 Ohio State – 6:30 pm on BTN (*****)
Ohio State made the biggest statement of any team last weekend with the clinic they put on the Illini in a 19-point road win. Now Purdue has the opportunity to make a statement of their own. These two teams have combined for 13 consecutive wins, and they have been using some of the best defense in the country to make their respective climbs atop the Big Ten standings. In five of Purdue’s seven games, they held opponents under 70 points, and the Buckeyes have not allowed any team to score over 63 points during their six-game winning streak. The score in their last matchup was 70-66 in a road win for OSU, but the offenses played surprisingly well, with Ohio State shooting over 50% from the game (including 46% from beyond the arc). Evan Turner, who has been the catalyst for Ohio State’s late-season run, scored 32 points in that game and will have to play well again for the Buckeyes to come out with a win. The Buckeyes rank third nationally in two-point field goal percentage, and are eighth in offensive efficiency. Purdue has a bigger lineup, but the Boilermakers took almost half their shots from the three-point line in the last game, so look for them to get the ball more often to big man JaJuan Johnson, who only had four points last time around. OSU is undefeated at home this year, but hasn’t played many tough teams besides Wisconsin at home, so this game should come down to the wire.
Notre Dame @ Louisville – 7 pm on ESPN 2 (***)
The Cardinals saved their season with a huge road upset over Syracuse last weekend, and are ranked as a #11 seed according to Joe Lunardi. The Irish do not have any games left against Syracuse, Villanova, or West Virginia the rest of the regular season, so they need a strong push in order to make the Tournament this year, and a good way to start would be a road win over Louisville. Some people said that the Irish needed to win out before they lost to St. John’s at home, but now that UL is coming off a victory over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, it would look more impressive for Mike Brey’s team to walk away from Freedom Hall with a win. Everybody knows what they are going to get from forwards Luke Harangody and Tim Abromaitis, but when it comes down to it, Louisville may be the tougher team down in the paint. The Cards rank in the top 20 in both rebounds and two-point field goal percentage, and Notre Dame doesn’t even rank among the top 50 teams. That really doesn’t help Notre Dame’s cause when they have one of the underwhelming defenses in the country (#247 according to Pomeroy). Notre Dame’s offense ranks in the top five in offensive efficiency, but they have not proven they can stop anyone when it counts, and I don’t see them beating a confident Louisville team on the road.
#17 Texas @ Missouri – 9 pm on ESPN2 (***)
Although it is may be somewhat deserving, many people have given up on the Longhorns in the national championship discussion. However, they should be favored in their next six games, and could actually move back into a #2 or #3 seed if they can also make a solid run in the Big 12 Tournament. Their first game in their final stretch may be the most difficult, as Missouri has won 33 of their last 34 home games, and the Longhorns have dropped three of their last four on the road. This game will be a defensive battle, as Texas and Missouri rank sixth and seventh in defensive efficiency. However, during their recent struggles, UT has suffered immensely on the defensive side of the ball, and if Missouri sophomore Kim English can exploit their defensive miscues, the Tigers have an excellent chance to win this game. In his last two games, English has only made six of his last 17 shots, and he will need to shoot at least 40% for Missouri to win. Given UT’s recent struggles, it would appear Missouri will likely move into a tie for third place in the Big 12, while Texas would move down to sixth with another loss.