Pac-12 SYT: 11.17.11

Posted by Connor Pelton on November 17th, 2011

See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.

There have been a handful of interesting games so far this week, but today begins a stellar weekend (yes, as Buffalo Wild Wings says, “weekends start on Thursdays”) of Pac-12 action. Today we get the two appetizers, which include St. John’s-Arizona and USCSan Diego State.

St. John’s vs #16 Arizona – 6:30 PM PST on ESPN2 (****)

Freshman guard/forward Maurice Harkless leads the Johnnies into Madison Square Garden tonight.

  • I find it hard to believe that the Wildcats are ranked 16th after they have struggled against teams like Seattle Pacific, Humboldt State, and Duquesne. But they are, and that means the Red Storm and the pro-St. John’s crowd at Madison Square Garden will make it even tougher on the young and restless Wildcats. For Arizona to advance to the championship of the 2K Sports Classic Friday night, step one will be defending the SJU big men. God’s Gift Achiuwa and Maurice Harkless have been unstoppable so far this season, averaging 17.7 and 16.7 PPG, respectively. Guarding the pair will be Jesse Perry and Solomon Hill, both of whom have had solid campaigns in their own right this season. The key to an Arizona victory will be on the shoulders of those two, both on the defensive side of the ball but also on the glass.
  • It’s tough to see this game going one way or the other. Both teams have been so inconsistent, looking great one minute but terrible the next. While this game will definitely come down to the play inside, a tight matchup like this one is usually decided on a late three-pointer or some clutch free throw shooting. And while (once again) both teams have been inconsistent with their shooting, the Cats have the edge in this category.

USC @ San Diego State – 7:00 PM PST on The Mtn. (***)

  • On paper, this matchup doesn’t look all that great. They are both young teams with little talent, one a top 60 team and the other in the 70-80 range. But both clubs have shown early on that they will be better than originally thought, as evidenced by USC’s three-point loss to Nebraska and SDSU’s ten point loss at #12 Baylor. Add in the southern California regional rivalry factor and this should be a great one. The matchup to watch will be the Aztec’s Chase Tapley against USC’s Maurice Jones. Both are do-everything guards for their respective teams and the undisputed leaders. Whoever gets the best of each other in the match-up should lead their team to a win.
  • Even though the Aztecs lost four key starters from last year’s team, they still have more talent than the Trojans at every position. And even though they did lose at Baylor on Tuesday, playing with the Bears surely instilled some confidence in this young team. If this one was being played at the Galen Center I might take the Trojans, but SDSU is basically unstoppable at Viejas Arena.

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

Connor Pelton (300 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.

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