Set Your Tivo: 12.16.10Posted by Brian Otskey on December 16th, 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.
A third upset in two nights occurred late last night in Las Vegas as UC Santa Barbara went to Sin City and shocked UNLV at home. What are the chances of another upset tonight? All rankings from RTC and all times eastern.
Oral Roberts @ #13 Missouri – 8 pm on FS Midwest, ESPN3.com and ESPN FullCourt (**)
With Michael Dixon suspended for a violation of team rules, Phil Pressey will take the point guard reigns for Mike Anderson, at least for one night. The highly-touted freshman hasn’t scored much but did dish out nine assists in Mizzou’s last game, a win over Presbyterian. Mizzou will be fine as long as Pressey understands his role as a distributor and not a scorer. Missouri will obviously look to push the pace and create turnovers against a guard-oriented Oral Roberts squad. The Golden Eagles are just 4-5 on the year but should be able to score against a Missouri defense that ranks in the 200’s against both the three and the two point shot. That’s good news for head coach Scott Sutton, son of legendary coaching figure Eddie Sutton. Oral Roberts shoots 40% from three, #29 in the nation, behind a duo of guards and a point-forward type player. Warren Niles and Hunter McClintock each shoot 40% from deep while 6’6 Dominique Morrison checks in at 36%. Morrison is listed as a forward but averages 17/5/3, the leading scorer and assist man on the team. He broke out against Western Illinois on December 2, scoring a career-high 35 points on 14-18 shooting. It is essential that Oral Roberts shoots the trey well or else they’ll get run out of the gym by the Tigers. On Missouri’s side, Marcus Denmon (51% from deep) can easily match Oral Roberts’ production from three but he’ll need help inside with Ricardo Ratliffe. Oral Roberts is a poor defensive team, putting opponents on the line often and failing to stop the three pointer. Playing at home, Denmon and Missouri should be able to weather whatever storm Oral Roberts brings from deep with shooting of their own and turnover margin. Additionally, Missouri will actually be the favorite on the boards, something Mizzou fans are not accustomed to seeing. The addition of Ratliffe really helps in this department and he’ll be on full display tonight. The Golden Eagles may hang tough early but Missouri’s talent and pressure defense will win out resulting in the Tigers pulling away towards victory.
Northern Arizona @ Arizona – 9:30 pm on FS Arizona and FCS Pacific (**)
Each team is coming off a tough loss but in a vastly different context. Northern Arizona competed hard at USC and fell by eight points while Arizona had their doors blown off by BYU in Salt Lake City, a game the Wildcats were expected to contend in and possibly pick up a key non-conference win away from Tucson. Northern Arizona is a guard heavy team that shoots the three extremely well. The Lumberjacks have two legitimate deep threats led by Gabe Rogers, shooting a ridiculous 52% from deep this season. Eric Platt is not far behind at 46% and leading scorer Cameron Jones can even step out and hit a three, knocking down seven of his 18 attempts. Northern Arizona is in the top ten in the country in three point percentage and they’ll have to use that weapon against Arizona. Of course they’ll be facing a Wildcat team with the ultimate weapon, 6’8 sophomore forward Derrick Williams (20/7, 65% FG, 71% 3pt FG). NAU doesn’t have anyone to effectively match up with Williams so he will again be the focal point of Sean Miller’s offense. Lamont “Momo” Jones has also come on of late for Arizona, scoring 20 points against BYU. Jones adds another dimension to Arizona’s balanced lineup when he’s on. Other than Williams, Arizona’s has six players averaging six to nine points a game while contributing elsewhere as well. Arizona is seventh in the country in two point percentage, #15 in free throw rate and an outstanding rebounding team. The ‘Cats are ranked in the top 25 in offensive rebounding percentage both for and against and should dominate the glass against a smaller Lumberjack team rated outside the top 200 in offensive rebounding. In order to have a chance, Northern Arizona has to shoot the ball extremely well and do a much better job rebounding than they have. Avoiding turnovers and extra possessions will be key so point guard Stallon Saldivar has to keep doing what he’s been doing (3:1 A/T ratio) and get the ball to their shooters. Still, it’s a stretch to expect NAU to compete in this game. The Wildcats have too much talent, are at home and have one of the best players in America on their side.