Set Your Tivo: 02.17.11Posted by Brian Otskey on February 17th, 2011
***** – 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 couple of bubble teams take to the road tonight, looking for a quality win to enhance their resume. All rankings from RTC and all times Eastern.
Richmond @ #23 Temple – 7 pm on CBS College Sports (***)
Both teams are 9-2 in the A-10, one game behind Xavier. Richmond is balanced on the bubble, however, and desperately needs a big win to push them over the top.
Of their nine conference wins, a grand total of zero have been against quality teams. Out of conference, the Spiders boast a neutral court win over Purdue and a home win against VCU as their biggest victories. With a few puzzling losses mixed in, Richmond needs to play well down the stretch. The Spiders have the look of a tournament team but they need to prove it to others and a win tonight would be a good start. In this game, rebounding and shot making will be the blueprint for Richmond to pick up a road win. They shoot the ball very well, #10 in eFG% and #7 in three point percentage (41%), but they have trouble on the glass. By contrast, Temple is allows opponents to grab only 27.5% of their misses (#14) and will look to limit Richmond to one shot each time down the floor. Richmond’s big men like to hang out on the perimeter and their rebounding suffers as a result. However, Temple’s best rebounder, Lavoy Allen, sat out the last game against Dayton with a sprained ankle. That was five days ago, but his status remains uncertain. We’ll go on the assumption that he plays but Richmond will receive a big break if he doesn’t. We mentioned Richmond shoots it well from deep, and that’s because of guys like Justin Harper. The 6’10 forward averages 18 PPG on 57% FG and an incredible 49.6% from three for a man of his size. Dan Geriot, another 6’10 player, can also make some triples and has averaged 15.6 PPG over his last seven games. Temple’s defense is allowing 35.6% shooting from three in A-10 play and that’s where Richmond has to take advantage if they are to win tonight. Temple is strong inside, #16 in two-point defense, so it doesn’t appear the Spiders will enjoy as many chances to score in the paint. Given the expected rebounding disparity, Richmond simply must make their threes. Temple will look inside offensively with dribble penetration from Ramone Moore (48 points in his last two outings) and Scootie Randall’s skill at the forward position. Moore gets to the line very well when driving and makes 80.6% of his free throws. Randall has been on a tear of late, averaging 18/6 over the past seven games.
This should be an entertaining game featuring two teams with different philosophies. Chris Mooney prefers the deliberate Princeton style offense while Fran Dunphy likes his players to score in the paint and be physical on both ends. Temple already defeated a team with a similar style to Richmond and they were no slouch (Georgetown). The Owls are at home and will be favored. If Allen plays, it’ll be difficult for Richmond to hold their own on the boards. The Spiders need a great shooting night to pull this one off on the road.
Washington State @ #14 Arizona – 8:30 pm on FSN (***)
Two star players go head to head in this one as Klay Thompson and Washington State visit Derrick Williams and Arizona. Washington State, sitting on the bubble, faces a crucial road trip starting tonight. The Cougars play at Arizona, Arizona State and Washington between now and February 27, a stretch that could make or break their NCAA Tournament hopes. At 7-6 in Pac 10 play, we figure Wazzu has to get to 11 wins to make a strong case. That means winning four of their final five and that makes tonight’s game huge. The Wildcats defeated the Cougars in Pullman last month and have won six in a row and nine of ten. At 21-4 (10-2), Arizona has taken control of the Pac-10 with four of their final six games coming at home. To stop their streak of a win followed by a loss started back on January 20, Washington State will have to contain Williams, the frontrunner for Pac-10 POY. The Wildcats are #7 in eFG%, largely due to the ridiculous numbers put up by the sophomore forward out of La Miranda, California. Williams shoots 63.7% from the floor overall, including 69.4% from deep. Third in individual free throw rate, Williams gets to the line a little over nine times per game, making him even more lethal to opposing defenses. Thompson has struggled of late, scoring only 11.5 PPG on shooting 16-45 (35.6%) over his last four games. In fact, he’s scored less than 15 points only four times this year but all have come in the past month, including a nine-point (4-16 FG) performance in the first game with Arizona.
The way to beat Arizona is to score inside and turn them over. The Wildcats are #202 in two point defense and average 14 turnovers per game. To win this game, Washington has to push the pace and get out in transition by turning Arizona over. Playing their zone may not be something Ken Bone wants to do in this game because Williams and Arizona can beat them from the perimeter, and it will lead to more offensive rebounds for the Wildcats (and less transition buckets). Both teams shoot about 20 threes per game, but the Cougars should look more inside where they’re ranked #19 in two-point percentage. As we said, Arizona is vulnerable on the interior. Considering their weak offensive rebounding percentage (#309) and Arizona’s strong three point defense (#2 nationally, 27.5% against), Washington State has to work inside to get easier looks. It sounds simple but they’re just going to have to make shots in order to win on the road as they probably won’t be able to get many second chance opportunities. DeAngelo Casto is a solid post player for Wazzu while Brock Motum, a 6’10 Aussie, had a career-high 19 points in their last game against California. Arizona’s defense held the Cougars to 20% shooting from deep in the first meeting and out-rebounded them. However, Washington State shot 60% inside the arc and made it a game, though poor free throw shooting sealed their fate. They’re going to have to do that again and hope some shots drop from the outside. Arizona is an outstanding team shooting from range, ranked eighth in three-point percentage. Kyle Fogg has seen his minutes increase in recent games and went 6-9 from deep en route to 26 points in his last game at Arizona State. When someone is complementing Williams, Arizona is awfully hard to beat. Playing at home, the Wildcats should win this one. A strong performance from Thompson and a presence inside will be able to keep Wazzu in this game, though, should they get that kind of effort.