Set Your TiVo: Maui EditionPosted by bmulvihill on November 21st, 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.
ESPN kicks off Feast Week with a trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. The field is loaded and things get started today with several recent national championship teams. Let’s dig into the action.
Memphis vs. Michigan – 3:00 PM EST on ESPN2 HD (***) (simulcast on RTC Live)
- Memphis dominated an experienced Belmont team in their first and only game of the season thus far. The Tigers shot a blistering 64.7% eFG, and they will be facing a Wolverine team that is allowing over 50% shooting from inside the arc. Look for Josh Pastner’s team to take the ball to the hole frequently with sophomore guards Will Barton and Joe Jackson leading the way.
- While Michigan’s field goal defense is allowing teams to shoot over 50% from inside, they are forcing teams to turn the ball over on a superb 36.8% of their possessions (first in the nation). However, Memphis only turned the ball over nine times against a tough Belmont team that is known for creating turnovers. Like Memphis, the Wolverines have gotten off to a hot shooting start inside the arc (60.8%). Unfortunately nearly half of their shots are coming from three-point land and they are only hitting 28.9% of them. Wolverine guards Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Zack Novak, and Stu Douglas are going to have to hit some threes to prevent Memphis from just packing the lane on defense.
- This game hinges on Michigan’s ability to extend the defense and grab offensive rebounds. Memphis allowed Belmont to grab too many of its offensive rebounding opportunities. If the Wolverines can pull the Tiger defense out with a few made three-point shots and open up the lane, look for Michigan to cash in on the offensive glass. If John Beilein’s team continues to miss from outside, though, it will be difficult to pull the Memphis defense away from the lane, which will allow the more athletic Tigers to own the inside.
Tennessee vs. Duke – 5:30PM EST on ESPN2 HD (***)
- Tennessee’s new coach Cuonzo Martin has his team shooting an incredible amount of threes through two games this season. Currently, 46.1% of the Volunteers’ field goal attempts are coming from behind the arc, and they are hitting a gaudy 49.1% of those shots. Since UT’s competition thus far has not been tough, keep an eye on how this plays against Duke’s sticky perimeter defense. If the three-pointers are not dropping, it could be a long first day in Maui for Tennessee.
- The Blue Devils are proving to be a very difficult team to defend. Through four games, they still have five players averaging double figures. The numbers thus far suggest that teams are going to need to force turnovers in order to keep the game close against Duke. Unfortunately, the Volunteer defense is only turning its opponents over on 15.7% of their possessions. Watch the turnover number for Mike Krzyzewski’s team. If they turn the ball over more than 20% of their possessions, Tennessee has an outside shot to make this game interesting.
- The game hinges on Tennessee’s defense and their ability to make three-pointers. Ultimately, Duke may have too many scoring options both inside and outside, but if Tennessee can create enough turnovers to frustrate the Blue Devils and hit a few big threes down the stretch, they have an outside chance to win. It will require Martin’s team to jump in the passing lanes and create steals more often than they have been, though — a dangerous proposition given the talent of the Duke guards.
Georgetown vs. Kansas – 12:01AM EST on ESPN2 HD (***) (simulcast on RTC Live)
- Georgetown faces its toughest test of the season thus far. Games against Savannah State and UNC Greensboro do not tell us a whole lot about the Hoyas this season. Offensively, they have been solid in all phases of the game. Thus far, John Thompson, III’s team has been shooting at a 61.8% eFG clip. Keep an eye on their their three-point shooting in this game. Kentucky was able to hit 47% (7-15) of its threes against the Jayhawks.
- Kansas looks like they are still trying to find their way. Tyshawn Taylor and Thomas Robinson have stepped up to lead the Jayhawks thus far, but there needs to be additional help on the offensive end of the court. Luckily, the offense is not being sloppy. They are only turning the ball over on 13.3% of their possessions. This is a good sign for Bill Self’s squad against Georgetown, as the Hoyas are creating turnovers on 29.3% of opponents possessions (14th in the nation). If Kansas is able to continue to hang onto the ball, they will be in good shape against the Hoyas.
- The game hinges on the Jayhawks’ ability to find additional scoring outside of Taylor and Robinson. The Hoyas’ 6’10” center Henry Sims matches up well with Robinson and the Georgetown backcourt has been playing well thus far too. Keep an eye on who steps up for Bill Self’s team to take the load off those two players. If no one does, Kansas could find itself in trouble for the second game in a row.
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