Set Your DVR: Weekend EditionPosted by bmulvihill on December 14th, 2012
It’s been a slow week in college basketball with students hitting the books and getting through finals week. However, things pick up quite a bit this weekend with some great non-conference action led by a marquee match-up in the desert. Let’s get to the breakdowns.
Game of the Weekend
#5 Florida at #9 Arizona – 10:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN (*****)
- Florida won the match-up last season with Arizona in a tough overtime battle. The Gators’ Patric Young dominated the game with a career-high 25 points and 10 rebounds on 12-of-15 shooting. Coach Billy Donovan was disappointed the Gator guards did not get Young the ball more often. It will be interesting to see how Arizona responds this season to defending Young. The addition of 7’0″ freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski to the Wildcats line-up should make a significant difference for coach Sean Miller. His size will at least create problems at the basket for the 6’10″ Young. Keep a close eye on Florida’s ability to create turnovers as well. It helped them win last season in Gainesville and will be a big factor again. Finally, three-point shooting will play a key role in the outcome of the game. Approximately 40% of Florida’s field goal attempts are from downtown and U of A gives up more treys than two-thirds of the teams in college hoops. You will want to keep an eye on Gator forward Erik Murphy from beyond the arc. He presents a tough match-up with his 6’10″ frame and his ability to stroke the three. If Murphy is hitting from downtown, the Wildcats are in deep trouble.
- Arizona and Florida are both in the top 10 in offensive rebounding percentage. We mentioned Tarczewski’s defense before, but his biggest contribution to this game may be on the offensive boards. He needs to clean up the glass on missed shots to give Arizona as many looks as possible. Miller’s squad got excellent production last year from it’s backcourt against the Gators and need the same from guards Nick Johnson and Mark Lyons this season. Lyon’s needs to be careful of turnovers as he has a sub-one assist-to-turnover ratio. If he isn’t protecting the ball, Arizona will have trouble again this year.
- Arizona’s size will allow them to compete all game long with a very talented and good shooting Florida squad. Their ability to go big at guard with Kevin Parrom could be the difference in the game. While the jury is still out on the Wildcats, a home game against Florida will be a great barometer for what we can expect in the future. The team that wins the offensive rebounding battle will take this one.
More Great Hoops
#6 Louisville at Memphis – 2:30 PM EST, Saturday on Fox College Sports (****)
- Louisville won this match-up last season in a close eight-point ballgame. This season however they are without star center Gorgui Dieng due to his wrist injury. Dieng went for 14/14 last year and always makes a major impact on defense. Without Dieng manning the middle, Louisville actually lacks size. Duke took advantage of this size deficiency and was able to beat the Cardinals a few weeks ago as a result. Look for Memphis to try to do the same thing at home this Saturday. Memphis is tall on the inside and a good offensive rebounding team. They are not as good at getting to the free throw line, however, which is also how the Blue Devils beat the Cardinals. Memphis ranks #307 nationally in free throw rate. Guard play from the Tigers will be a key factor in this contest. They need to get to the line and not turn the ball over. In their blowout win against an Ohio team known for turning teams over, the Tigers only committed miscues on over 16% of their possessions. A lot has to go right for the Tigers to pull an upset here, but with Dieng out, this is their best opportunity.
Kansas State vs. #15 Gonzaga – 9:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN2 (****)
- Gonzaga is in the midst of a brutal non-conference stretch with games against Illinois, Kansas State, Baylor, and Oklahoma State — they dropped the first game of the bunch at home to Illinois. Illini guard Brandon Paul torched the Zags for 35 points in a surprising upset at the Kennel. If Kansas State expects to win this game, they too will need big games from guards like Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez. The K-State offense has been terrible so far this season with the exception of offensive rebounding. They are going to need an offensive spark from somewhere. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Gonzaga brings a ton of size into this game which should neutralize KSU on the boards. It will be interesting to see how Gonzaga guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, Jr. bounce back from poor performances against a tough Wildcat defense. Don’t bet on the Zags dropping two in a row in the state of Washington but the battle on the boards should be fun to watch.
Five Other Games to Watch
Butler vs. #2 Indiana – 2:00 PM EST, Saturday on CBS (***)
- My writing colleague at RTC, Joe Dzuback, believes with all his heart this is a four-star game. In fact he said, “Anything less than four stars from RTC’s Set Your DVR and Brendon Mulvihill should have his head examined.” Well, I guess I need to book an appointment with the neurologist because I don’t think this game will be all that interesting to watch. Does it sound good in theory? Sure. But it won’t be close. Butler does not have the defense to stop Indiana’s incredible offense. They just don’t have the athletes to do so. This isn’t Butler from two or three season ago. This is a rebuilding Butler. Sure they beat UNC. Indiana pummeled UNC like a narc at a biker rally (that’s Dennis Miller’s, not mine). Definitely tune in, but I don’t expect it to be close.
Alabama vs. Virginia Commonwealth – 4:00 PM EST, Saturday on CBS College Sports (***)
- If you’re into slow, defensive battles, this is your game. While that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, it should be a good match-up. This game boils down to turnovers. Both teams need to force turnovers, otherwise they lose. If Alabama guard Trevor Releford can handle the VCU press, Alabama will stop their two game losing streak.
Belmont vs. #8 Kansas – 7:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPNU (**)
- It’s time to start focusing on the Jayhawks, as they are looking very strong. Their complete dismantling of Colorado was impressive. Keep an eye on freshman Ben McLemore in this one. He’s coming off a 24-point game against the Buffaloes. He was 6-of-16 shooting so watch to see if he can improve on that. Belmont comes in with great guard play but they will not have an answer for Jayhawk center Jeff Withey.
West Virginia vs. #3 Michigan – 8:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN (**)
- Michigan head coach John Beilein faces his old team in Madison Square Garden. The Wolverines are playing their third game at MSG this season. U of M is rolling on all cylinders at this point and is off to its best start since 1992. Their offensive balance is very difficult to defend. We may have said WVU had a chance in this game after playing well against Virginia Tech, but they went ahead and were beaten by Duquesne on Tuesday. Michigan has too many weapons to be stopped by the Mountaineers here.
#17 Creighton at California – 10:00 PM EST, Saturday on Pac-12 Network (***)
- This should be a very interesting game to watch as one of the nation’s best backcourt tandems, Cal’s Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs, take on one of the nation’s best frontcourt players, Creighton’s Doug McDermott. The Bears are coming off a pounding from Wisconsin and a home loss to UNLV. They get their second tough home game in a row but at least they are at home. Keep an eye on the stars in this game: McDermott and the Creighton interior will probably be the difference.
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