Set Your DVR: Weekend EditionPosted by bmulvihill on February 15th, 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.
While there may not be as many marquee match-ups this weekend, the games in the Big East, MW, and Big Ten are extremely important to their conference races. It’s nail biting time for college hoops fans across the country as teams play for their tourney positioning. Should be a good weekend of hoops, so let’s get to the breakdowns!
#16 Georgetown at Cincinnati – 9:00 PM EST, Friday on ESPN (****)
- Georgetown is in a three-way tie at the top of the Big East with Syracuse and Marquette after the Orange lost at UConn on Wednesday. At this point though, half the conference still has a chance to catch them. Despite their inconsistency, Cincinnati is still one of those teams. The Bearcats have been living and dying by the three-point shot. In their last three games, they were 3-13 against Providence, 4-25 against Pitt, and 12-25 against Villanova. It’s fairly easy to tell which games they won and which they lost (losses to Providence and Pitt with a win against Villanova, in case it wasn’t clear). In Big East play, Cincinnati shoots 43% of its field goal attempts from beyond the arc, while only making 30.5% of them. If you recall, Michigan looked like this in the past and had a tough time being consistent, as well. Georgetown will allow teams to get off three-point shots, but teams are only making 28.8% of those shots in the Big East. If you follow Ken Pomeroy, he will tell you the former is more important, so watch closely to see if the Bearcats can take advantage by actually knocking down the deep ball. The Hoyas length may be tough to shoot over, however. Speaking of length, 6’8″ Georgetown forward Otto Porter is on fire recently. Porter is averaging 18.5 points in his last nine games. Not coincidentally the Hoyas are 8-1 in that stretch. The Cincinnati defense is struggling to stop teams from scoring in the paint, so look for Porter to have another big game. If the Bearcats can’t stop Porter and they can’t make threes, they are going to have a tough time winning.
#12 Pittsburgh at #18 Marquette – 1:00 PM EST, Saturday on CBS (****)
- Marquette gets back home after a tough road loss to Georgetown. The Golden Eagles played their sloppiest game of the season, turning the ball over on almost 30% of their possessions. In their last game against the Panthers, they were able to pull out a win in OT at Pittsburgh with strong free throw shooting. The Golden Eagles were 23-30 while Pitt was only 13-26. The Panthers decided they would test Marquette’s poor perimeter defense by taking 20 three-point shots. It wasn’t a bad strategy as they made 8 of them, but they completely failed inside the arc and at the free throw line. Talib Zanna went 1-9 from two in that game and has shot poorly ever since. He did bounce back with a 4-6 night against Cincinnati last time out and will be a huge factor in this contest. If Pitt is going to win on the road, they need to make their twos and their free throws. Marquette needs to limit the turnovers. If point guard Junior Cadougan can protect the ball, the Golden Eagles will remain at the top of the conference.
Baylor at #14 Kansas State – 7:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPNU (***)
- Kansas State got beat up by Kansas earlier in the week but is still tied for first place in the Big 12. Baylor on the other hand looks to be headed to the NIT unless they can pick up some wins in the Big 12. They play Kansas State twice and Kansas once, so they have an opportunity. The Baylor offense versus the Kansas State defense will probably look pretty ugly. The real action will come when the Wildcats are offense and Baylor is on defense. Baylor’s Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson are two excellent shot blockers. Look to see if Kansas State stays on the outside in the early going where they can do a lot of damage. However, Baylor also does great work preventing teams from taking three-point shots and when they do get the ball off, only 22.3% of the shots are going down in Big 12 play. The Wildcats must find a way to get production on the inside despite the risk of getting their shots blocked. On the other side, Baylor’s defense must create the spark for their offense. Pierre Jackson needs to get out in transition to make scoring easier for the Bears.
#21 San Diego State at UNLV – 9:00 PM EST, Saturday on NBC Sports (****)
- UNLV looked like it was about to fade to black before it pulled off a huge win at home against New Mexico to keep their hopes alive. While it was not a pretty victory, it was a big win nonetheless. The Rebels have to have confidence coming off their win and knowing they were able to be San Diego State on the road the last time these two teams met. With the game being played at Thomas & Mack this time around, Rebels fans will be excited. UNLV was able to beat the Aztecs earlier this season with very good three-point defense, strong defensive rebounding, and excellent inside shooting. This time around, UNLV forward Mike Moser is going to be less of a factor, if his playing trend continues. The Aztecs must get inside the paint and challenge a thin Vegas frontline. If San Diego State doesn’t drive the lane and take advantage, UNLV could be in for another big home win that will put them right back in the thick of the MW race.
#11 Ohio State at #19 Wisconsin – 1:00 PM EST, Sunday on CBS (****)
- Ohio State’s recent back-to-back losses should not be too concerning to coach Thad Matta considering one was in OT at Michigan and the other was against Indiana. However, the Buckeyes certainly want to get back to winning and a road win at Wisconsin would mean a lot in the Big Ten race. Ohio State was able to beat Wisconsin earlier this season by getting easy two-point buckets. The Buckeyes once again must find a way to get up and down the court. If they are able to hit 50% or more of their two-point shots like they did in the last game against the Badgers, Matta will be a happy coach. However, if you see Ohio State in halfcourt sets settling for contested jumpers late in the shot clock, things will be very tough for Buckeye Nation. Wisconsin needs to find a way to slow down DeShaun Thomas. Thomas torched them for 25 last time out. There isn’t anyone on the Badger team that can match his athleticism so they are going to have to do it as a team. Look for the Badgers to double team him and force someone else to beat them. On offense, look for Wisconsin to hammer the ball down low more than they did last time out. In the first game, they shot 28 attempts from beyond the arc. Missed threes result in long rebounds which allows the Buckeyes to run. If that happens again, it’s curtains for the Badgers.
***** – 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