Set Your Tivo: 03.14.10Posted by THager on March 14th, 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
SEC Championship Game – #2 Kentucky vs. Mississippi St – 1:00 pm on ABC (****)
Although college basketball coverage has been rare on ABC this season, they will be broadcasting a fantastic game today. This will be a chance for Mississippi State to avenge their heartbreaking loss to Kentucky earlier in the season. In the only matchup between these teams, MSU had a 67-60 lead with under three minutes left before imploding. The Bulldogs failed to capitalize on Kentucky’s 4-24 shooting from beyond the arc and ended up losing 81-75 in overtime. Although Mississippi State is usually a solid team in the paint, they were outrebounded 49-29 in that game, and Jarvis Varnado will need to top the five rebounds he recorded if they are going to have a chance in this contest. The Bulldogs, who rank just #60 in offensive efficiency, will likely struggle against a solid Wildcat defense, but guard Dee Bost scored 22 points in the last game and he will provide a change of pace from MSU’s lineup that is stacked with big men. At the end of the day, Kentucky is still the better team, and will look to win their 26th SEC Tournament today.
ACC Championship Game – #4 Duke vs. Georgia Tech – 1:00 pm on ESPN (****)
The Yellow Jackets may have saved their season with this late run, but a win against Duke is the only way to ensure their name will be called on the selection show later today. In order to beat a Blue Devils team that has won 11 of their last 12 games, they are going to have to limit their mistakes. They average more turnovers than assists, and shoot only 65% from the free throw line. The key for Georgia Tech will be to establish a presence in the paint, as Duke’s best athletes play on the perimeter, while the Yellow Jackets have three solid forwards. Gani Lawal, Derrick Favors, and Zachary Peacock all average over 10 points per game and shoot over 50% from the floor, and if they can get production from all three forwards, they certainly have a chance to win this game. GT suffered a 19-point defeat to the Blue Devils in the first game, but in Atlanta earlier this season the Yellow Jackets converted 22 of 28 free throws in a 71-67 victory. Duke, who ranks among the top three teams in both offensive and defensive efficiency, should be able to contain a GT offense that ranks just #50 in Ken Pomeroy’s offense rankings.
Atlantic 10 Championship Game – #17 Temple vs. Richmond – 1:00 on CBS (****)
Temple has been the class of the A10 all season, but Richmond is making their case as the best team in the conference with their recent performances. They have won 12 of their last 13 games and were the last team to beat Temple. In that game, the Spiders held Ryan Brooks to 1-8 shooting, and the Owls shot 1-10 from the three-point line in a 71-54 loss. Temple is 9-0 since that game, and still boasts one of the best defenses in the country. They rank #5 in defensive efficiency, and despite their poor offensive efficiency ranking at #81, they have a 1.4:1 assist to turnover ratio. Richmond has an equally poor offense at #80, but don’t have the firepower of the Owls. If the Spiders are going to pull another upset, they will need a similar effort from Kevin Anderson, who was 11-17 with 29 points in the first matchup.
Big Ten Championship Game – #7 Ohio State vs. Minnesota – 3:30 pm on CBS (****)
The last game before the NCAA Tournament starts on Tuesday night will feature one team who is trying to become a #1 seed and another team who is fighting for its life. Minnesota was just 17-12 a couple of weeks ago, but thanks to some huge upsets over Michigan State and Purdue, they might take the last bubble spot from conference foe Illinois. The Buckeyes are also coming into the game with some momentum, as they have won 12 of their last 13 games on Evan Turner’s back. The Big Ten player of the year had a buzzer beater against Michigan and took over at the end of OSU’s victory over Illinois, and if he continues the hot hand into this game, it will be nearly impossible for the Gophers to win the title. In their most recent matchup, Ohio State won 85-63 in Columbus via 63% shooting from the field and 8-11 shooting from the free throw line. However, in the first game, OSU shot just 53% from the charity stripe and UM’s Blake Hoffarber made 7-9 three point attempts en route to a 73-62 victory. If the Gophers can make all of their open three point attempts, and OSU misses their free throws, Minnesota will have a great chance to finish a miraculous run through the Big Ten.