Set Your DVR: Weekend EditionPosted by bmulvihill on March 8th, 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.
With the first tickets to the Big Dance being given out this weekend and regular season titles still up for grabs in the Big East, Big Ten, ACC, and A-10, it should be one amazing weekend of college hoops. It’s the most amazing time of the year, so sit back and enjoy. Let’s get to the breakdowns!
#17 Syracuse at #6 Georgetown – 12:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN (****)
- Syracuse broke a three-game losing streak this week against DePaul while Georgetown lost for the first time in 11 games against Villanova. With the loss, the Hoyas dropped into a three-team tie for first place in the Big East with Marquette and Louisville. The Orange have struggled recently and had a tough time against the Hoyas defense two weeks ago at the Carrier Dome. Jim Boeheim’s team only went 4-20 from downtown and could not get anything going from their guards. The Hoyas struggled on offense as well but were able to rely on Otto Porter once again who put in 33 points. In order for Syracuse to snap out of this funk, they need to get more production from guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams. If both players can take better shots by driving the ball to the hoop, we will see a completely different Syracuse team. Georgetown put Villanova on the foul line 42 times earlier this week. Given the size of Triche and Carter-Williams, both players should be going straight to the basket in an attempt to draw fouls or get lay-ups. Keep a close on both players, as they are the keys to this game. If they are settling for jumpers, Syracuse is going to struggle again.
LaSalle at #15 Saint Louis – 1:30 PM EST, Saturday on NBC Sports (****)
- The Atlantic 10 regular season title is still up for grabs with Saint Louis and VCU currently tied. With LaSalle only one game back and VCU heading to Temple, there could be a three-way tie if things bounce the right way or they could be an outright winner. Expect this game to be a defensive battle as these teams rank one and two in defensive efficiency in-conference play. However, LaSalle has a glaring weakness in two-point field goal defense. They are allowing teams to shoot 51.6% from inside the arc. Look to see if Saint Louis’ Dwayne Evans and Jordan Jett can take advantage as both are shooting well over 50% from inside. If the Bilikens can create turnovers and get it in the lane for easy shots, they should win this game. If LaSalle can sure up their defense inside the arc and protect the ball, this one is going to come down to the end.
#11 Kansas State at #13 Oklahoma State – 1:30 PM EST, Saturday on Big 12 (****)
- Kansas State still has a shot at the outright regular season crown as they are tied atop the Big 12 with Kansas. Earlier this season the Wildcats beat Oklahoma State in Manhattan on the strength of its offensive rebounding. Over the course of the year, the Cowboys have improved their defensive rebounding, so keep an eye on the boards and second chance points as it will be a major factor in this contest. Also, keep an eye on Rodney McGruder for Kansas State. While it would appear that the Cowboys have the size and athleticism to neutralize his game, he dropped 28 on the Pokes last time out. Finally, watch Le’Bryan Nash. He only scored six points when these teams met previously. In order for the Cowboys to deny Kansas State State at least a share of the Big 12 title, Nash needs to contribute more on offense. It will be a close one in Stillwater.
#22 Notre Dame at #4 Louisville – 4:00 PM EST, Saturday on CBS (****)
- It only took five overtimes to decide this game last time. While neither team was particularly effective on offense, Notre Dame got double digits from six players and was able to pull out a marathon in South Bend. Notre Dame will need the same output and need to protect the ball the same way in this contest if they want to win on the road. With the Cardinals gunning for a Big East title and a possible number 1 seed in the Tournament, the crowd at YUM! will be ruckus. Louisville is going to need more from point guard Peyton Siva though. Siva only scored two points in the previous match-up and has been up and down all season long. Heading in the post-season, the Cardinals need to be able to rely their point guard in crunch time. Second chance points will be a key factor in this contest so watch the rebounding number closely. If Louisville can create more turnovers than they did last time out, they should be able to win at home.
#2 Duke at #23 North Carolina – 9:00 PM EST, Saturday on ESPN (****)
- With Miami losing three of their last four games, Duke still has a shot to sneak into a share of the ACC title. North Carolina has also put itself into a good position with six straight wins heading into postseason. With Ryan Kelly back, the Blue Devils are looking more like the team they were at the beginning of the year. He adds a size and scoring dimension that they were missing. The question will be whether or not UNC can handle this balanced Duke attach on offense. Kelly creates room for Mason Plumlee to go to work and UNC needs to find a way to stop both. The Tar Heels need to create turnovers and find a way to stop Plumlee and Kelly if they want to win. While their offense is looking much better than it did earlier this season, UNC will need to win this game with defense.
#1 Indiana at #7 Michigan – 4:00 PM EST, Sunday on CBS (****)
- Finally, the Big Ten conference title is still up for grabs, as Michigan hosts Indiana on Sunday. Last time out, Indiana’s offensive barrage in the first ten minutes of the game was too much for the Wolverines to overcome. While Trey Burke led Michigan with 25 in that contest and has been carrying the Wolverines recently, Michigan is going to need more production from Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III if they want to win this game. Both players have cooled off since early int he season, particularly Robinson. Michigan is so dangerous when everyone is contributing. Michigan also needs to match Indiana’s offense with better defense. Their defense has been struggling lately. Watch the match-up between Mitch McGary and Cody Zeller when McGary is in the game. These are two high-energy guys that can get up and down the court. McGary needs to lock up Zeller on defense if the Wolverines want a piece of the Big Ten title. The X-factor in this game will be Victor Olidipo. Michigan needs to know where he is at all times. If they don’t have him defended at all times, he will drop the Wolverines at home.
***** – 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