Set Your DVR: Week of 11.12.12Posted by bmulvihill on November 12th, 2012
The first full week of the college hoops season provides us several excellent non-conference match-ups between the true blue bloods of the sport, as well as a first glimpse at some of the mid-majors we may be hearing from in March. Let’s get to the breakdowns.
Game of the Week
#2 Kentucky vs. #9 Duke – 9:00 PM EST, 11/13/12 on ESPN HD (*****)
- Duke took care of business in last Friday’s opening game against Georgia State. Because of the the level of competition, the first game does not give us too much insight into the 2012-13 version of the Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski’s squad shot and rebounded well, but they were expected to against the Panthers. Mason Plumlee leads the way for Duke and his match-up against the Kentucky front line should be a key factor on Tuesday. The Wildcats can throw Kyle Wiltjer, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, and Nerlens Noel at the Duke big man. While Maryland forward Alex Len was able to have a big game against these four, look for Kentucky coach John Calipari to make major adjustments to stop Plumlee. Duke senior Ryan Kelly needs to step-up to help Plumlee, particularly on the offensive glass where Duke struggled a bit in their first game. Also, keep an eye on Duke’s turnover numbers. They turned the ball over on 22% of their possessions against Georgia State. Neither Seth Curry, Tyler Thornton, or Quinn Cook had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio in the first game. Continued turnovers will come back to bite the Blue Devils against better competition.
- Kentucky gets its second ACC team of the season, but now it’s the cream of the crop in the Blue Devils. UK’s freshmen performed reasonably well in their first game but need to put together a full 40 minutes of effective basketball. Maryland was down by double figures in the first half of their first game last week but was able to make the game very tight by the end. Freshman guard Archie Goodwin put together a solid game against the Terps with 16 points, but highly touted freshman center Noel looked lost on offense. Pay close attention to how the freshmen play in the second half in this one. Interestingly enough, Kentucky played very good team defense even with so many freshmen. Typically, defensive skills take longer to develop but the Wildcats held Maryland to a 35% eFG, including 3-19 from three-point land. Duke is a three-heavy team, so watch to see how the Blue Devils fare against a tough perimeter defense.
- Kentucky is going to need more of their freshmen to step up on offense, if they want to beat the Blue Devils. Wiltjer carried them in the first game and is as smooth as they come on the offensive end, but they need additional offensive support. Watch to see who among all the rookies is able to provide more offense. If Goodwin can continue to provide punch and they can get double figure points from one other freshman, Kentucky can win this game. Duke needs to limit turnovers and get scoring and rebounding from Ryan Kelly. He is very capable on the offensive end but needs to be more aggressive.
More Great Hoops
#8 Michigan St. vs. #4 Kansas - 7:00 PM EST, 11/13/12 on ESPN HD (*****)
- Michigan State faces another tough test to start the season when they head to Atlanta to meet the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday night. The Spartans played at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday and turn around and play the Jayhawks on Tuesday. Watch the fatigue factor from Tom Izzo’s squad as the game progresses to see if jet lag is an issue. Also, the battle down low between Kansas big man Jeff Withey and Spartan forwards Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne should be intriguing. With the exception of Nix’s 11 rebounds against UConn, neither MSU forward played a big part in their first loss. Withey can dominate a game at the defensive end, so it will be important for Nix and Payne to use their athletic ability to get around the KU center. Both teams shot a terrible 40% eFG in their opening contests. Kansas is going to need much more from senior guard Elijah Johnson. He fouled out of their first game in only 22 minutes of play. He needs to be on the court and hitting outside shots against a guard heavy Spartan team that is looking to run.
Wisconsin at #12 Florida - 7:00 PM EST, 11/14/12 on ESPN2 HD (****)
- Florida and Wisconsin are both coming off blowout wins on Sunday. Obviously, you will want to keep an eye on the pace of this game. Wisconsin needs to keep the number of possessions in the low 60s while Florida will look to push it up into the 70+ possession range. A slower-paced game will force Florida forwards Patric Young and Erik Murphy to play a lot of defense against a bevy of Wisconsin forwards. Keep an eye on how this affects their offensive game. Murphy is an interesting player to watch, since he is a 6’10” perimeter-oriented forward. If he is able to improve his work on the inside against the Wisconsin forwards, it will bode well for the Gators. Like Florida, Wisconsin uses a lot of players. Bench scoring should be a key factor in this game. The team that gets more from the bench in this contest will have a distinct advantage.
Three Other Games to Watch
West Virginia at #18 Gonzaga - 12:01 AM EST, 11/13/12 on ESPN HD (****)
- Gonzaga looks to have all the pieces it takes to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, especially with the addition of 7’1” freshman center Przemek Karnowski. This is a great chance to catch the Zags in non-conference play to get a sense of what they are capable of doing in March. With the loss of its two leading scorers from last season, West Virginia does not seem to have the firepower to match up on the road.
Davidson at New Mexico - 2:00 AM EST, 11/13/12 on ESPN HD (****)
- Davidson is one of the mid-majors that everyone expects to hear from in March. A match-up against a Steve Alford-coached defense in The Pit will give all of us a good sense of where the Wildcats are at early in the season.
Butler at Xavier - 4:00 PM EST, 11/13/12 on ESPN HD (****)
- An extremely early Atlantic 10 conference match-up between two mid-major schools that have transcended their size to achieve enormous success? Thank you scheduling gods. It’ll be great to get an early beat on the A-10 with this match-up. Watch to see if Butler senior Rotnei Clarke can continue his hot start to the season.
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 dvr but make sure you watch it later
** – set your dvr but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2015
* – don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the dvr’s) of any kind on this game