Set Your DVR: Week of 12.18.12Posted by bmulvihill on December 18th, 2012
We are in the midst of the calm before the conference season storm. Students are finishing up finals and preparing to head home for the holidays. We have a few interesting match-ups to keep an eye on this week, so make sure to put them on as you finish up your holiday wrapping. Let’s get to the breakdowns.
Stanford at North Carolina State – 9:00 PM EST, Tuesday on ESPN2 (***)
- Last season, Stanford was outshot by NC State but ended up winning the game at the free throw line. It’s not reasonable to think they can pull the upset this year on the road given the offensive struggles the Cardinal is having. Since Johnny Dawkins took over the Stanford program in 2009, the Cardinal have never experienced a two-point field goal percentage over 50%. This year is no different, as the team is currently at 46% from two (26% from three). I don’t know the road record of teams shooting under 50% from inside the arc, but I have to imagine it’s not good. With losses to the three best teams they have faced thus far — Belmont, Missouri, and Minnesota — the Cardinal are in desperate need of a signature win prior to the Pac-12 conference season. The shooting and talent gap with NC State may be too difficult for them to overcome, especially in Raleigh. NC State is shooting the ball extremely well and is led by talented offensive threats like C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown. You will still want to keep an eye on the free throw situation, though. In both of their losses this season, the Wolfpack put their opponents on the line much more than they were able to get there. If Chasson Randle is pushing the action and driving to the hoop, Stanford can stay in this game. If the Wolfpack can play solid defense without fouling him, it should be curtains for the Cardinal.
Xavier at #11 Cincinnati – 7:00 PM EST, Wednesday on ESPN2 (****)
- Last season, this game resulted in one of the ugliest brawls in recent college basketball history. Both teams were affected in a major way. Xavier suspended several players including Dez Wells and Mark Lyons, both of whom play on different teams this year, and ended up losing five of their next six games. On the flip side, Cincinnati seemed to come together as a team afterward and rattled off wins in 10 of their next 11 games. We are all hopeful for a clean match-up this season. Guard play and offensive rebounding will be the key factors in this contest. Xavier’s guard tandem of Semaj Christon and Dee Davis face one of the nation’s premier backcourts in Cincinnati’s Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright. Kilpatrick and Wright can absolutely shoot the lights out from three-point land, so pay close attention to Xavier’s perimeter defense — the Musketeers must limit Cincinnati’s three-point attempts. Additionally, keep a close eye on the offensive boards. Cincinnati is one of the top teams in the country on the offensive glass while Xavier is in the bottom third. Shooting and offensive rebounding put the Bearcats in a good position in this crosstown “classic” rivalry game.
North Carolina at Texas – 9:00 PM EST, Wednesday on ESPN2 (***)
- Based on Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, the best team Texas has beaten this season is UT – Arlington. The best team North Carolina has beaten is East Carolina. At least one of these teams will get a better name in their win column after Wednesday night. Still, neither team can be too happy about how things have gone this season. UNC has shown flashes of what they can become, but consistency is their main concern right now. The Longhorns are in a much different situation as their offense is completely out of sorts without Myck Kabongo. It’s unclear when that situation will be relieved, so things are not going to get better for Rick Barnes any time soon. Look for the Tar Heels to play through their most consistent offensive threat, James Michael McAdoo, throughout. If Texas is going to pull the upset, they are going to have to do it with their admittedly good defense. You can pretty much always count on the Longhorns for that.
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