Big East/SEC Challenge Face-Off: Thursday Night GamesPosted by Brian Joyce on December 1st, 2011
To preview the match-ups in the Big East/SEC Challenge, the RTC Big East & SEC Microsites are facing off in conversational analysis. Brian Joyce and Michael Lemaire take on Ole Miss vs. DePaul and Alabama vs. Georgetown.
Mississippi at DePaul – 9:00 p.m. (ET) ESPNU
Mike: At first glance, this looks like one of the least compelling match-ups. A tale of two teams we still really don’t know much about, DePaul doesn’t play defense (#190 in adjusted defense), but their only blemish is a one-point loss to 6-1 Minnesota. Mississippi is #29 in adjusted defense, but they haven’t played a difficult schedule and their loss was a 30-point bludgeoning at the hands of Marquette. The Blue Demons have two talented sophomores in Brandon Young (12.6 PPG, 3.7 APG) and Cleveland Melvin (14.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG), but their bench is very young. All things equal I would be inclined to pick Mississippi, but they are coming off a tiring 64-61 overtime win against Miami and they are due for a letdown. Prediction: DePaul 70 — Mississippi 68
Brian: I agree that this doesn’t appear to be especially compelling, but this game could get interesting. The difference in the Minnesota-DePaul game was the 23 offensive rebounds by the Golden Gophers. That and Trevor Mbakwe’s 16 points and 12 rebounds. In short, the Blue Demons struggled on the interior, and that is exactly where Ole Miss will attack. 6’7” forward Murphy Holloway (10.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG) and 6’9” forward Terrance Henry (12.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG) will be tough for Depaul to stop on the low block. I think this game will be a close one, but the Rebels have too much inside for Depaul to handle. Prediction: Mississippi 64 – DePaul 60
Georgetown and Alabama should be one of the more interesting games of the entire Big East/SEC challenge.
Georgetown at #11 Alabama — 9:30 p.m. (ET) ESPN2
Brian: This should be one of the better games in the challenge, and definitely the most underrated game. Alabama features one of the best defenses in the country (#7 in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom.com) against a Hoyas team that has been solid offensively (#23 in adjusted offense). Georgetown averages 1.2 points per possession and a 56.7% eFG, but the Tide hold opponents to .82 points per possession and a defensive eFG% of 35.7%. This will be a real clash of styles. The Hoyas are an extremely young team, and I am not sure they can handle the defensive intensity that the Tide will bring. It should be an exciting game, and one I’m definitely looking forward to watching. Prediction: Alabama 67 — Georgetown 62
Mike: Both of these teams are underrated. Neither team has any marquee players (apologies to JaMychal Green), but both are athletic and great defensively. After playing third and fourth fiddle last season, Jason Clark (17.0 PPG, 41% 3FG) and Hollis Thompson (14.7 PPG, 54.5% 3FG) have emerged as a potent one-two punch offensively and center Henry Sims (13.5 PPG, 4 APG, 1.5 BPG) is a solid two-way performer and as good a passing big man as former Hoya Greg Monroe. I like freshman Otto Porter a lot but I just don’t think Georgetown’s frontcourt can keep up with Alabama’s Green and Tony Mitchell. The frontcourt Anthony Grant has put together is really talented. Prediction: Alabama 65 — Georgetown 61