Set Your TiVo: 11.16.11Posted by bmulvihill on November 16th, 2011
Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
After a twenty-four hour marathon of hoops yesterday, we settle things down a bit and get into the groove of regular season college basketball. Let’s check out a few games for you to watch tonight.
Indiana @ Evansville – 8 PM EST on ESPN3 (***)
- Picking up right where it left off last year, Evansville continues to win games at the free throw line. Junior guard Colt Ryan scored 14 of his game high 23 points from the line in the Purple Aces’ overtime win against Butler last Saturday. Ryan was not the only scorer for Marty Simmons’ team, as four other players scored in double figures. With 40% of the team’s points coming from the line, Evansville relies on free throws to fuel their offense like few other teams. Since Evansville does not look like it will be a one-man show, Indiana will have to be cognizant of fouls across the board so as to not find itself in the double bonus early in each half.
- At 6’11”, Indiana freshman Cody Zeller gives the Hoosiers an athletic big man to go along with guards Vardell Jones, III, and Victor Oladipo. IU has a significant advantage down low since no Evansville player is taller than 6’8”. Indiana’s two-point shooting has been on target for the first two games, hitting 64.3% of its shots from inside the arc. Look for Zeller and the Hoosier guards to score from the paint regularly against a soft Evansville interior defense.
- This game, like most Evanville games, hinges on the Purple Aces’ ability to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. If they are not getting to the line they will assuredly lose. They do not have the size to guard Zeller or create second-chance points for themselves on missed shots. Simmons’ team faced similar circumstances against Butler, though, but pulled off the win thanks to a hefty 32 points from the line. If Indiana can continue to defend the two well without fouling, they should have no problem leaving Evansville’s new building with a 3-0 record.
Long Beach State @ #9 Pittsburgh – 9PM EST on ESPNU (**) (RTC Live)
- Pitt’s backcourt of Tray Woodall and Ashton Gibbs is off to a stellar start. Each player is averaging over 20 PPG through the first two games of the season. Woodall is taking over the starting point guard spot from Brad Wanamaker and looks totally capable of leading the Panthers on another run to the top of the Big East standings. Keep an eye on their match-up with Long Beach State senior guards Casper Ware and Larry Anderson. Ware was the Big West Defensive Player of the Year in 2010-11, so his on-ball defense at the top of the key is rock solid. Woodall, who has 20 assists to only six turnovers so far this season, is certainly going to put those skills to the test. The match-up between Ware and Woodall could be one of the best we see all season at the point guard position.
- LBSU brings back four seniors that make up the heart of this team – Ware, Anderson, T.J. Robinson, and Eugene Phelps. They are an experienced group that should not be intimidated playing in front of a hostile crowd in Pittsburgh. As a whole, though, they are going to need to improve on their 49.8% eFG from last year to not only beat Pitt but to make it back to the NCAA Tournament in their last year together. Jamie Dixon’s teams consistently hold teams below 50% eFG and this spells disaster for the 49ers.
- This game is all about guard play. Woodall and Gibbs look unstoppable for Pittsburgh. If Ware and Anderson can lock up the Panther guards, LBSU will have a shot at pulling off the big upset on the road. Robinson and Phelps will definitely have to pick up the scoring. However, asking a sometimes-underachieving, mid-major team to fly across the country to play a top ten team on its home floor is probably too much. Pitt will need to make some major mistakes for Dan Monson’s team to pull off the upset.
The Official RTC Star System
***** – 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 2014
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game