Set Your Tivo: 12.02.10Posted by Brian Otskey on December 2nd, 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 2013
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game
Brian Otskey is an RTC contributor.
All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.
Arizona State @ #7 Baylor – 7 pm on ESPN2 (**)
Since his return from suspension, LaceDarius Dunn has played like the player Baylor needs him to be if they’re going to contend for a Big 12 title. Dunn has hit 10-19 (53%) three’s and is shooting 58% from the floor while averaging 22 PPG. The Bears haven’t been tested yet but the matchups strongly favor them against Arizona State. ASU averages just 64 PPG and 34 RPG while Baylor, led by Dunn and one of the nation’s best frontcourts, has averaged 77/43 a game. Against a Baylor front line that features three important contributors at 6’10, expect Arizona State to play their usual slow and methodical offense trying to create open mid-range shots. The Sun Devils do not shoot it well at all from three (29%) but they have 6’4 Trent Lockett (19/7/3) to exploit Baylor from inside the arc. Lockett is shooting 65.5% from the floor in five games, an astounding figure for someone of his size and position. Scott Drew figures to use a lot of zone defense which will keep his big men near the basket and out of foul trouble so Arizona State has to be on from the outside to have a chance. Rihards Kuksiks, a 40% career three-point shooter entering this year, is in a slump at 30% so far this year. He has, however, drilled five of his last ten from deep so Herb Sendek hopes that will continue against Baylor’s zone. It has to or else ASU will get run out of the building. With the versatile Quincy Acy and big man Perry Jones grabbing 19 combined boards a game for Baylor, Arizona State is going to need a heck of an effort in order to win the rebounding battle. One glimmer of hope for the Sun Devils is that Baylor averages 19 turnovers a game, one of the worst teams in D1 at protecting the ball. Baylor clearly has more talent but turnovers and hot shooting can keep Arizona State in the game. While that might happen early, talent will take over and Baylor should win this game by a nice margin.
UCLA @ #4 Kansas – 9 pm on ESPN2 (***)
The Bruins lost two games in New York and they won’t get a respite tonight against a Kansas team many folks are talking about as a Final Four contender. UCLA’s defense had a difficult time against two up-tempo teams in the Big Apple, giving up 171 points in the NIT Season Tip-Off games. UCLA had given up only 163 points in their three games prior to Villanova and VCU, even holding two opponents under 30% shooting. Meanwhile, the 6-0 Jayhawks keep rolling along, even without Josh Selby. Kansas was challenged by Arizona in Las Vegas on Saturday but they responded late and pulled away for an eight point win. A very balanced scoring effort (six guys in double figures) was led by Marcus and Markieff Morris as the twins combined for 31/12. It’s really hard to see UCLA having a chance to win in Lawrence but stranger things have happened. The Bruins will need to do a lot of what Arizona did against Kansas in order to have a chance. The Wildcats took a lot of threes and made ten, something that will be very difficult for the Bruins to do. UCLA shoots only 34% from the arc as a team so they’re going to need someone to step up and hit well above his average. One guy who might be able to is Malcolm Lee. Back from an injury, Lee hit five of seven treys against VCU and will look to continue that against a Jayhawk defense that ranks #1 in defending the three. Lazeric Jones and Tyler Honeycutt simply have to take care of the ball as well. The two average almost eight turnovers a game combined, a frightening prospect against a team like Kansas that’s so good in transition. Arizona had 19 turnovers resulting in a 12-point edge for Kansas in points off turnovers. If UCLA can’t take care of the ball, this game will get ugly quick. The Jayhawks are incredibly deep as Bill Self used nine quality players to wear down the Wildcats. UCLA is a very thin team and will have an incredibly tough time keeping pace with the fresh KU players. The Bruins need Reeves Nelson to continue his good play and hope that Tyshawn Taylor (7 APG) and his teammates have an off night. Even that may not be enough against the loaded Jayhawks.
One more game from the Big 12/Pac 10 Hardwood Series:
#10 Missouri @ Oregon – 11 pm on FSN (**)
The Tigers should have no trouble against the dreadful Ducks but you never know how a team will react coming off such a hard fought, intense game like the one Missouri had with Georgetown on Tuesday night. Oregon is coming off a blowout loss to #1 Duke in Portland last Saturday.