Set Your DVR: Week of 01.21.13Posted by bmulvihill on January 21st, 2013
Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @TheMulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
We just had one of the most memorable weekends in recent memory in college hoops. Every game seems to be up for grabs and it’s making for an exciting season. This week should be no different as each conference has its share of important match-ups. Let’s get to the breakdowns!
Cincinnati at #3 Syracuse – 3:30 PM PM EST, Monday on ESPN (***)
- Cincinnati barely snapped a three-game home losing streak on Saturday with an overtime win against Marquette. The Bearcats were without star guard Cashmere Wright as he continues to heal up from a knee injury. Wright is day-to-day so we don’t know quite yet if he will be available against Syracuse, though. If he is unable to play, his three-point shooting will be missed greatly against the Orange’s match-up zone defense. Although, even if he plays, the size of the Orange backcourt will surely create issues for the 6’0″ guard. In its huge win at Louisville over the weekend, Syracuse proved its size and length on defense makes Jim Boeheim’s team a clear title contender. Both of these teams excel on the offensive glass, so keep a close eye on which team is getting more second-chance opportunities and making the most of them — this could be another place where the Syracuse size makes a difference. More than likely this game will be won on the defensive end. However, if the Bearcats don’t find a better shooting stroke quickly, this game will not be close regardless of their defensive effort. They shot 41.4% eFG against Marquette, so a shooting number like that won’t cut it against Syracuse.
#12 Michigan State at Wisconsin – 7:00 PM PM EST, Tuesday on ESPN (****)
- It felt like Iowa was due for a big win at home and it happened to come against Wisconsin on Saturday. After the Badgers’ huge win against Indiana last week, the weekend loss to Iowa brought the team back to reality, but they don’t get much rest with the Spartans coming to town. In order for the Badgers to beat the Spartans, they must play their typically great defense. Bo Ryan‘s squad is 1-4 against teams that shoot over 50% eFG against them so it’s clear that they do not have the offense to go back and forth with teams. Luckily, the Spartans are not a great shooting team with nine games under 50% eFG themselves on the season. This should make for a very close defensive-oriented contest in Madison. Keep an eye on free throws, as they will be a major factor in determining the outcome. Wisconsin must play good defense without fouling; if they are sending Michigan State to the line early in each half, they could very easily drop two games in a row. Look for Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix to be all over Wisconsin forward Jared Berggren, forcing someone else on the Badgers to beat them. This should be another slugfest in the Big Ten.
#4 Kansas at #16 Kansas State – 8:00 PM PM EST, Tuesday on Big 12 Network (****)
- Kansas has been winning a lot of close games recently. While they still remain the team to beat in the Big 12, Kansas State has quietly put together an eight-game winning streak and might prove to be the toughest test of the year for the Jayhawks. Kansas State has improved its shooting significantly in conference play with a 40.5% three-point percentage and a 50.7% two-point percentage. Combining those numbers with their stellar offensive rebounding, they become a much more difficult team to beat. Kansas is winning games per usual with its own outstanding defense. Jeff Withey and the big guards are locking down on defense in the final stretches of games, despite some ongoing struggles scoring the ball. Kansas guard Elijah Johnson is turning the ball over at a rate of 26%, which is putting a lot of pressure on his defense to get those key stops. Keep an eye on Kansas State’s Rodney McGruder. If the Wildcats are to win this game at home, he must have a big game and the Wildcats need to grab most of their misses.
#2 Duke at Miami – 7:00 PM PM EST, Wednesday on ESPN (****)
- This is a huge game for the Miami Hurricanes to establish itself as a contender in the ACC. The Hurricanes are winning with its strong defense, as only four teams have shot over 50% eFG against them. Keep a close eye on the match-up between Miami’s Kenny Kadji and Duke’s Mason Plumlee. Kadji must keep Plumlee off the boards on both ends if the Hurricanes are to win this game. Also watch Plumlee’s offensive rebounding numbers. If he’s regularly getting second-chance points for the Blue Devils, Miami will be in trouble. Also, observe Duke’s shooters on the perimeter, because Miami allows teams to get off a lot of threes. With Seth Curry bombing away on the outside, that could prove to be the downfall for the Hurricanes.
Colorado State at #19 New Mexico – 8:00 PM PM EST, Wednesday on CBS Sports (****)
- The Mountain West Conference looks like it’s going to be wild all season long. However, a win on Wednesday would give New Mexico a two-game lead in the conference race. Like most of the MW, these teams do not shoot the ball well, although Colorado State is the most efficient offense in the conference. New Mexico brings some size into this game in the form of 7’0″ center Alex Kirk to handle Ram powerhouse Colton Iverson, but Iverson was only 1-of-8 against UNLV and its tough frontcourt. Colorado State will need a much better performance from Iverson in order to win this game. It won’t be easy against the Lobos’ great defense and size. Also, keep a close eye on this game’s rebounding numbers. Colorado State is an extremely strong rebounding team, so the Lobos must continue to own the glass if they want to win in the Pit.
#24 UCLA at #8 Arizona – 9:00 PM PM EST, Thursday on ESPN2 (****)
- Oregon has established itself as the early front-runner in the Pac-12 with wins against both UCLA and Arizona and no return games. Neither UCLA nor Arizona can therefore afford to lose this game, so it should be very competitive throughout. While UCLA has the offensive firepower to hang with Arizona’s balanced attack, they are not shooting the ball very well this season. The Bruins have been particularly bad from two-point range, shooting only 47.1% there. They need much better shot selection if they are going to win on the road in Tucson. Keep an eye on the match-up between UCLA’s Larry Drew II and Arizona’s Mark Lyons. Lyons sets the table for Arizona; if he is allowed to drive and dish, it will create a lot of problems for the Bruins’ swiss cheese defense. Drew’s defensive performance will be a major factor in UCLA’s success.
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