Set Your TiVo: 02.27.12Posted by Brian Otskey on February 27th, 2012
Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
The final week of the regular season is upon us. While there are no bubble teams in action tonight, we hope you enjoy the last Big Monday of the season.
#18 Notre Dame at #11 Georgetown – 7:00 PM EST on ESPN (****)
- Georgetown enters this game tied with South Florida for the final double bye in next week’s Big East Tournament. The Hoyas have the tiebreaker, but a loss tonight would drop them into fifth place and a single bye. John Thompson III’s team allowed Seton Hall to shoot 61% against its normally stellar defense last week but responded in a big way by limiting Villanova to 28% on Saturday. Against a Notre Dame team that likes to slow the pace and grind out possessions, Georgetown should actually feel comfortable. The Hoyas have a big rebounding edge in this game with Otto Porter and Henry Sims up front. Jack Cooleyis a warrior on the boards for Notre Dame but that’s all the Irish offer in that department. Neutralizing Cooley and limiting Notre Dame’s three point attack will be the two main keys for Georgetown in this game.
- The Fighting Irish shot an anemic 4-31 from three-point land in a loss to St. John’s this past Saturday. A repeat performance against one of the best three-point defenses in the country will send Notre Dame back to South Bend with its second consecutive loss. To avoid that, Notre Dame must move the ball well against a patient defense accustomed to playing at the slow pace the Irish prefer. Eric Atkins needs to play well at the point and Notre Dame’s late shot clock execution must be working well in order for this team to win on the road tonight. With Georgetown’s big rebounding edge and familiarity with low possession games, it’s going to be hard for Notre Dame to control the game and get into a comfort zone.
- This appears to be a bad matchup for the Irish but you never know exactly how things will play out. Both teams guard the three point line extremely well and that’s what the game may come down to. It’s unlikely that ND will shoot 4-31 from deep again but Georgetown’s rebounding edge may be the difference in the game. We have to favor the Hoyas at home.
#3 Kansas at Oklahoma State – 9:00 PM EST on ESPN (***)
- We have seen it time and time again in college basketball. After winning an emotionally charged game against a great team, a highly ranked team has a letdown on the road against a team it should beat. This is the fate Kansas must avoid tonight coming off its thrilling overtime win over Missouri just 48 hours ago. On paper the Jayhawks should have no problem with the Cowboys. Kansas has a Player of the Year candidate in Thomas Robinson roaming the paint along with Jeff Withey. Against an Oklahoma State team that ranks #330 in offensive rebounding and grabs only 33 RPG, the Kansas front court should dominate the glass, even in hostile Gallagher-Iba Arena. Kansas brings the best interior defense in the Big 12 to the table and has the potential to really shut down an Oklahoma State team with one perimeter shooter and a banged up front court.
- Oklahoma State really struggles to score. The Cowboys have an eFG% ranked #252 nationally and average just 67 PPG. Travis Ford’s team has scored 70 or more points only four times in 16 Big 12 games to date and could only muster 60 points in a home win against Texas A&M on Saturday. Going up against a Kansas team that averages 75 PPG will be a really tough challenge for this relatively young team. Le’Bryan Nash is the go-to guy for OSU, using 28.7% of their possessions, but he did not play in Saturday’s game due to a broken left hand. Ford said Nash wants to play in this game and his hand is not completely broken, but the decision will be made today. If Nash can’t go, Keiton Page becomes the key player for the Cowboys. He already may be because he represents the only legitimate outside shooting threat on this team against a Kansas defense that is allowing opponents to shoot 34.7% from the arc in conference play. Page has to make threes in order to open up the court for Markel Brown and others.
- For Oklahoma State to have a chance, it must put forth its best defensive effort of the season, something similar to Saturday’s effort against A&M. Saturday’s game was played with 56 possessions, by far Oklahoma State’s lowest total of the year. The Cowboys must do that again tonight. Even if Nash somehow plays, he won’t be 100%. Oklahoma State is going to struggle to score regardless and must try to keep this game at a slower pace and turn it into a meat grinder. The Cowboys will have a passionate home crowd on Senior Night but that likely isn’t going to be enough to stay in this one. Oklahoma State’s best hope is a Kansas letdown and a strong defensive performance, something they haven’t done much at all in Big 12 play outside of Saturday. Kansas has a huge edge across the board from talent to rebounding to defense. It’s hard to see the Jayhawks losing this game, even coming off the big win on Saturday.
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