Set Your DVR: Thanksgiving Weekend EditionPosted by bmulvihill on November 23rd, 2012
The Battle 4 Atlantis and the NIT Tip-Off continue over the weekend with some very interesting match-ups. So grab some Thanksgiving left overs and settle in for some good hoops.
#5 Michigan vs. Kansas State (PNIT Finals) – 4:30 PM EST, Friday on ESPN (****)
- Both Michigan and Kansas State. are coming off tough semifinal wins in the NIT Tip-Off. Michigan was able to pull out a victory with strong second-half defense in the 1-3-1 zone and great defensive rebounding. While the Wolverines are not going to win many games going 3-17 from three-point land, it is encouraging to see them win with their defense, particularly because Kansas State brings a strong defense into any game. The Wildcats are only allowing teams to shoot 27.4% from downtown and are creating turnovers on 28% of opponents possessions. K-State also had eight players go double-figure minutes against Delaware while the Wolverines only had six players go into double-figure minutes against Pitt. The Wolverines could get tired in the second half due to K-State’s physical play if they do not get more minutes from the bench. KSU is going to have to improve its shooting significantly if they want to walk away with a big win. They’ve shot 41.5% eFG against Delaware and 44.8% eFG through five games this season. The Wildcats need to shoot over 50% eFG to have a chance at winning this one.
#23 Cincinnati vs. Iowa State (LV Invitational) – 6:30 PM EST, Friday on CBS College Sports (***)
- While Cincinnati and Iowa State have two common opponents already, Campbell and North Carolina A&T, its tough to glean any significant information from the games because both were blowouts. The Bearcats come into the game with an adjusted defensive efficiency of 88.4, which is good for 11th in the nation. They are cleaning up on the defensive boards and shutting down two-point shooting. ISU is ranked 16th in the country in two-point shooting, hitting 56.9% of their shots inside the arc thus far. Keep a close eye on who wins the battle in the paint, as it should determine the winner of this one.
#9 Duke vs. Virginia Commonwealth (Battle 4 Atlantis Semis) – 7:00 PM EST, Friday on NBC Sports Network (****)
- After wins against Kentucky and now Minnesota, Duke is proving to be one of the best teams in the country. Offensively, Duke is playing extremely efficient basketball, averaging 1.14 points per possession. Prior to Duke, the best a team could muster against Minnesota was 0.82 points per possession. The Blue Devils torched the Golden Gophers for 1.23 points per possession, shot 8-10 from beyond the arc, and had five players go into double figures. They face another lock down defense in VCU on Friday night. The Rams beat Memphis last night by creating 22 turnovers on 74 Memphis possessions. The Blue Devils have shown they will turn the ball over, so keep a close eye on that stat throughout the game. If VCU wants to pull another upset, they are going to have to create chaos on defense. Also, the Rams need to find an answer for Mason Plumlee underneath. Shaka Smart essentially runs a four-guard offense with only forward Juvonte Reddic providing size. If Plumlee crushed Minnesota on the boards with 17, there’s no telling what he can do against a smaller VCU team.
#3 Louisville vs. #14 Missouri (Battle 4 Atlantis Semis) – 9:30 PM EST, Friday on NBC Sports Network (****)
- Last year Missouri shot 57% from two-point land. This year they are down to 42%. On Friday, they face what amounts to the best defense in the country on a per possession basis. If the Tigers want to win this game, they have to find better looks inside the arc. Louisville is making offense hard for all its opponents, as teams are turning the ball over on more than 30% of their possessions against the Cardinals. Look to see if Missouri guards Phil Pressey and Keion Bell can break the Louisville press and get the ball into the frontcourt to Alex Oriakhi and Laurence Bowers. If they can do that without turning the ball over and improve their shooting percentage, they will have a good shot at winning. Unfortunately, that’s a tall order against Rick Pitino’s swarming defense.
#17 Creighton vs. Wisconsin (LV Invitational) – 10:00 PM EST, Friday on ESPN (****)
- This will be Creighton’s toughest test of the season by far. The Bluejays are shooting an astounding 68% from inside the arc this season. While it’s been against teams like Longwood and Presbyterian, hitting more than two-thirds of shots during live game action is incredible. Wisconsin will need to find an answer for All-America forward Doug McDermott. Look for a possible match-up against Badger forward Jared Berggren. If these two go head-to-head, we are in for one of the more entertaining battles at the power forward position that we have seen all season. Like McDermott, Berggren is shooting over 60% from down low. However, you will want to watch the Wisconsin forward closely on the defensive end, as his block percentage is 11.6%, good for 36th in the nation. Also, play close attention to how many times Wisconsin is getting to the free throw line. They rank 348th nationally — almost dead last — in free throw rate. If they cannot find a way to get to the line more often, they are going to have a tough time not only against the Bluejays but against every team this 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