Set Your Tivo: 02.27.10Posted by THager on February 27th, 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
#2 Kentucky @ #17 Tennessee -12:00 pm on CBS (****)
With a win today, the Wildcats will win the SEC regular season title (John Calipari apparently doesn’t care), and it will also keep them in contention for the overall #1 seed in the tournament. It will be anything but an easy victory as the Volunteers gave the Wildcats a scare when they meet a few weeks ago in Lexington. The Volunteers were leading midway through the second half, but scored just 10 points in the final 10 minutes, four of which came in garbage time. This time, the game will be in Knoxville, where Tennessee is 13-1 on the year including a victory over #1 Kansas (their only loss to date). UT’s drought against Kentucky should have come as no surprise, considering the Vols have the 88th best offense according to Ken Pomeroy. However, they will need to improve upon their last performance (they shot below 40 % against Florida on Tuesday) if they want have any chance in this game. Statistically Kentucky is not as imposing as people may think, as the Wildcats don’t rank in the top 10 in either offensive or defensive efficiency, but they manage to get it done in the win column–the most important statistic. Given Wayne Chism’s recent struggles and their ugly loss against the Gators, look for Kentucky to push their winning streak to nine games.
#12 New Mexico @ #11 BYU – 4:00 on Versus (*****)
Versus will finally be making their debut on RTC’s Set Your Tivo feature, and they picked a great game to do so. Brigham Young has won four straight games, and New Mexico hasn’t lost since January 9th. New Mexico has been under-appreciated this year, as they rank lower than BYU despite more wins in the conference, a victory in a head-to-head match-up, and a higher SOS. The RPI, which ranks UNM at #11, also has their stock dropping despite 12 straight wins. If they are going to prove they belong in the top 10, they are going to have to beat a BYU team that is nearly impossible to beat in Provo. They have won 21 straight games at the Marriot Center, which holds over 22,000 seats. In the last matchup in Albuquerque, the Lobos led virtually the entire game, but were never able to push the lead to double digits. The Cougars scored eight points in the final two minutes to push the game to the brink, but thanks to an equally raucous crowd at The Pit, New Mexico survived. BYU’s Jimmer Fredette scored 27 points in that contest, and since that loss, he has been on a tear. With the exception of a 43-point win against Air Force, he has scored at least 20 points in every game, and has two different games in which he scored 36 points. New Mexico, which ranks just 78th in defensive efficiency, will have their hands full against a BYU team that ranks third in the nation in three-point field goal percentage. Given Brigham Young’s home record and their #5 Pomeroy ranking, I think BYU will wrapping up the MWC title today with a win.
Missouri @ #6 Kansas State – 8:00 pm on ESPNU (***)
If there was any doubt that Missouri was an NCAA Tournament team, their critics were quickly silenced as the Tigers have won three straight games to take sole possession of third place in a stacked Big 12. Kansas State has also put together a great winning streak to take second place in the Big 12, and could potentially take a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. When first looking at Missouri, most fans would assume their defense has been the key to their season, as the Tigers rank 10th in defensive efficiency this year. However, UM’s defense may actually be a little overrated, as they have allowed their opponents to shoot at least 40 % from the field in their last four games. With four scorers averaging in double figures, Kansas State and their 12th ranked offense may be too much to handle. The game will be in Manhattan, and the Tigers are just 3-5 on the road this year. The last time these two teams met, Missouri was able to win despite a 10 minute stretch without a bucket, mostly because of 10 missed free throws and 20 turnovers by KSU. Given Frank Martin’s intense coaching style, I don’t expect the Wildcats to be that sloppy again, especially at home.
#8 Villanova @ #4 Syracuse – 9:00 pm on ESPN (*****)
The buildup for this game has been going on for weeks. Everybody knows that Syracuse has sold more tickets for this game (34,616) than any on-campus regular season game in college basketball history. The Big East title is also on the line as are #1 and #2 seeds for the NCAA tournament. This match-up seems to favor the Orange, as they are taller than the Wildcats, and they will be playing to Villanova’s weakness. Despite a high overall ranking, Villanova’s defense ranks just 50th according to Pomeroy, which does not bode well for VU considering Syracuse has the highest field goal percentage in the country. The Orange have five players who average at least 10 points per game, and Andy Rautins has emerged as the leader for this team after Wesley Johnson’s injury limited his effectiveness. Villanova has just three wins in their last six games, and rank 43rd in field goal percentage. They will need to get more production from Corey Fisher, who is coming off of a seven point performance in which he went 3-11 from the field against South Florida. Syracuse has won 13 of their last 14 games, and with the help of the home crowd, they should be cement their spot atop of the Big East.