Set Your Tivo: 02.24.10Posted by THager on February 24th, 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
Dayton @ #18 Temple – 6:30 pm on A-10 (****)
All the Dayton fans who thought that the Flyers had locked up a bid when they beat Charlotte by 28 turned out to be sadly mistaken. After losses to Saint Louis and Duquesne, the Flyers are again on the bubble and probably would be on the outside looking in if they lose tonight at Temple. Dayton has been an enigma this year having beaten solid teams like Xavier and Charlotte while having some horrendous losses in conference play. They only have two players scoring in double figures, and they also only have two players averaging more than 1.9 assists per game. Their offense is also ranked just 105th in efficiency, yet they have shot well over 40 % in each of their last seven games, a stretch in which they went just 4-3. For the Owls, their main problem is their inconsistency as they are one of the most erratic three-point shooting teams in the country. Against Richmond, they were just 1/10 followed by a 6/6 performance against Rhode Island then a 2/15 effort against Saint Joe’s. One of the biggest things the Owls have going for them is that they are playing at home, where they have beaten Villanova, Xavier, and Rhode Island this year. However, if Dayton shoots close to 50 %, and Temple struggle from the 3, the Flyers might be able to save their at-large status for at least one more game.
#16 Pittsburgh @ Notre Dame – 7:00 pm on ESPN 2 (***)
Pitt may not have the longest winning streak in the country right now, but nobody has been more impressive than the Panthers over the past three weeks. They have won five straight games, with victories against West Virginia, Marquette, and Villanova in their last three contests. The Panthers are now just two games out of first place in the Big East, and could be a # 3 seed in the tournament by the time selection Sunday rolls around. The Irish, on the other hand, are looking at another NIT bid after blowing a golden chance to reach 20 wins before their last stretch of the season against several tough teams. After losing three close games to mediocre teams in Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Louisville, they are now 10th in the conference. Going back to their loss at Rutgers in January, Notre Dame’s last four losses have been by a combined seven points. Luke Harangody, who may be one of the more under-appreciated players in the country due to his team’s record, will be out for the game and may not come back the rest of the season. Unless he returns up soon, the Irish have no shot at the tournament. With Ashton Gibbs playing so well for Pitt (he has scored at least 20 points in three of the last four games) the Panthers look to be unstoppable right now, and should send Notre Dame to a fourth straight loss.
Baylor @ #23 Texas A&M – 9:00 on ESPN 2 (***)
For just the sixth time this season, the Bears are entering a game after a defeat. The previous five times they were able to avoid a losing streak. If they want to get back on the winning side tonight, they are going to have to beat an Aggies team that ranks 13th in the RPI. The Aggies won the last match-up at College Station, in a game Baylor led for the majority of the game. In fact, Texas A&M took their first lead with just 3:02 remaining, and were fortunate to escape with a win. Baylor, who is a taller team, allowed the Aggies to beat them at their own game, as Texas A&M had more rebounds and a higher shooting percentage from inside the arc. The Bears are going to have to utilize their strengths (8th in the country in rebounds per game and 4th in blocks per game) if they want to keep the game close, and will also have to improve on a defense that ranks just 51st in efficiency. Texas A&M’s Bryan Davis and Donald Sloan combined for 42 points in that game, but both have struggled recently. Davis is just 3/15 in his last two games from the field, and Sloan has not shot 40 % in a game since their last match-up with Baylor. With Baylor’s ability to bounce back from losses and the Aggies’ go-to-guys struggling, look for the Bears to make a move back into the top 25.