Set Your DVR: Week of 02.25.13Posted by bmulvihill on February 25th, 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.
There are four games left in the regular season for most teams and the conference battles are still going strong. The last week and a half of the season should be exciting for everyone. Let’s not waste any time and get to the breakdowns.
#11 Syracuse at #19 Marquette – 7:00 PM EST, Monday on ESPN (****)
- Both of these teams are coming off losses that have dropped them one game behind Georgetown for the Big East lead. The final four games of the season are certainly no cakewalk for Syracuse as they have to play at Marquette, home against Louisville and DePaul, and then at Georgetown to close out the regular season. Marquette has it slightly easier as the will play at home against Syracuse and Notre Dame and then on the road against Rutgers and St. John’s. The Orange are 4-4 in their last eight games and have struggled offensively. They shot below 40% eFG in all four of the losses. Their three-point shooting has been particularly bad as they have gone 5-of-14, 3-of-14, 4-of-23, and 4-of-20 in those games. A road game at Marquette will not be easy since the Golden Eagles are 9-0 at home this year. Turnovers have been the problem for Marquette but mostly away from the Bradley Center — if Marquette can protect the basketball and the perimeter, they can win this game. Syracuse simply needs to knock down its open shots. If they are going to break out of their three-point shooting slump, Marquette is the team to do it against because Buzz Williams’ perimeter defense is suspect at best. Watch out for James Sutherland, as he has been hot and cold from deep since returning to the Orange lineup. If they can get a solid performance from him, SU will be in good shape. Also, keep an eye on the match-up between Michael Carter-Williams and Junior Cadougan. Cadougan is prone to turning the ball over, so if Carter-Williams can use his long arms to poke a few balls away and get the Orange out on the break, his team has a definite shot at a big road win against Marquette.
#7 Kansas at Iowa State – 9:00 PM EST, Monday on ESPN (****)
- Iowa State took Kansas to the brink in their first contest in early January, only to cave in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse. With four games to play in the Big 12 season the Jayhawks are currently tied with Kansas State for the lead, which puts the Cyclones squarely in the spoiler role. In the first game, Iowa State shot the ball an absurd 38 times from three. Expect more of the same in this contest as Kansas possesses a significant size advantage down low. Given that advantage, look for them to pound the ball inside to Jeff Withey early and often. Iowa State has no answer for Withey inside. If he is able to establish himself in the paint, it opens the floor for Ben McLemore to take over. If Kansas can defend the three and utilize its advantage in the paint, they should have no problem knocking off the Cyclones. However, if you see that three-pointers are raining down from Fred Hoiberg’s squad early, it’s going to be another nailbiter.
#5 Florida at Tennessee – 9:00 PM EST, Tuesday on ESPN (***)
- Florida has the SEC all but wrapped up. However, with two recent road losses combined with a five-game winning streak by Tennessee, this game becomes interesting with the Gators headed to Knoxville. On paper, the Volunteers don’t have the defensive chops to stop Florida. They don’t have the offense either, for that matter. But did Arkansas or Missouri? If the Vols want to win this game, they have to absolutely own the boards. Keep an eye on Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes. If Stokes is cleaning up the glass, Tennessee has a solid chance to get the home win Tuesday night. If you see the Vols turning the ball over too much and fouling, which they are prone to doing, they will get blown out of the building.
#8 Georgetown at Connecticut – 7:00 PM EST, Wednesday on ESPN2 (***)
- With a one-game lead in the Big East, Georgetown cannot afford to get sloppy on the road. Now winners of nine in a row, the Hoyas are hitting their stride on offense after a number of early season struggles. They currently lead the Big East in effective field goal percentage, so if UConn is going to win this game, they need Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright to hit their three-point shots. Watch to see if the Hoyas’ extreme length bothers the Husky guards on the perimeter. On defense, someone from UConn needs to step up and try to stop Otto Porter. The operative word is “try” because no one has been able to do it during this current winning streak — Porter dropped 33 on Syracuse on Saturday and has been rapidly moving up the NPOY rankings. He has put the Hoyas on his back in the second half of the season and made them into a very dangerous contender.
#24 San Diego State at #17 New Mexico – 10:00 PM EST, Wednesday on CBS Sports Network (****)
- San Diego State hammered New Mexico 55-34 a few weeks ago in an embarrassing performance from the Lobos’ offense — New Mexico went 8-of-29 from two in their worst shooting performance of the year. However, the Lobos recovered from that debacle to go 6-1 since and now hold a two-game lead in the Mountain West. On the other hand, San Diego State has lost its last three road games and New Mexico has only lost once at home this season, so it won’t be quite as easy for the Aztecs this time around. New Mexico needs to hit the boards much harder in this game and find more production out of Alex Kirk and Tony Snell. This one should be a tough defensive battle but don’t expect the same degree of offensive futility from the Lobos.
#3 Duke at Virginia – 9:00 PM EST, Thursday on ESPN (***)
- Virginia gave Miami all it could handle last week on the road. So with Duke traveling to Charlottesville later this week, we have to give the Cavaliers a second look at a possible upset. We should see quite the battle on the perimeter as both teams shoot and defend the ball very well from downtown. Without Mike Tobey in the line-up for Virginia, Duke’s Mason Plumlee will probably be the difference in this one. The question will be who will step up from the Cavaliers to try to stop Plumlee on the inside. Akil Mitchell is the most likely option, but they will also need him on the offensive end as well. While the Cavs have been close in their last two contests against the ACC elite, it hasn’t been enough. It won’t get any easier for them against the Blue Devils.
***** – 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