Ten Questions to Consider: Mid-December Blues

Posted by Matt Eisenberg on December 16th, 2017

With temperatures dropping across the country, nothing beats staying in and watching college basketball all weekend long. Here are 10 things to watch this weekend.

Butler (USA Today Images)

  1. Which Paul Jorgensen shows up for Butler? In Butler’s two losses this season, Paul Jorgensen scored a total of two points on 1-of-9 shooting. In Butler’s eight wins, Jorgensen scored 10 or more points seven times. If Butler expects to beat Purdue at the Crossroads Classic today, they will need Jorgensen to contribute offensively.
  2. Will Wichita State grab another win against a Big 12 opponent? Wichita State has already gone on the road and beaten Baylor and Oklahoma State in “Big 12 action”; this weekend the Shockers will get Oklahoma at home. Wichita State will be up against the nation’s leading scorer, Trae Young, who has scored 28 or more points in each of his last six games.
  3. Is Georgetown ANY good? Jokes about Georgetown’s dead-last non-conference schedule have been flying around all season long. Saturday’s game against Syracuse is the first Georgetown opponent to have a KenPom rating in the top 200 and only the second in the top 300. Good luck, Hoyas.
  4. Does Arizona sleepwalk through another road game? Arizona avoided a slip-up against UNLV before getting impressive wins against Texas A&M and Alabama. The Wildcats travel to Albuquerque this weekend to face New Mexico, a team that comes into this game 3-7 and having shown very little promise on the year. With the recent return of Rawle Alkins, Arizona needs to show an ability to put this type of team away early.
  5. Will there be a rust factor in the Davidson/Virginia game? Both Davidson and Virginia last played 11 days ago. In a game that should feature a low-possession total and few turnovers, being “off” shooting the ball could be big trouble. Davidson has averaged 35 three-point attempts per game on the season, the second-highest total in college basketball, while the last two Virginia opponents have shot 40.8 percent from distance on 49 attempts.
  6. Can BYU stop its skid against Utah? After winning seven straight against Utah, BYU has fallen short to their in-state rivals in each of its last three matchups. The Cougars’ duo of Elijah Bryant and Yoeli Childs each average 16.2 points per game, but it is the recent scoring burst of TJ Haws (8-of-15 3FG over the last two games) who could be the difference makers.
  7. Will UCLA recover from last weekend’s blown lead against Michigan? Twenty turnovers against Michigan were too much for UCLA to survive last weekend’s trip to Ann Arbor. UCLA faces a Cincinnati squad that is looking to avenge its 2017 NCAA Tournament loss, but a home loss on Saturday will create real pressure heading into a match-up against Kentucky next weekend.
  8. Will Tennessee be able to protect the defensive glass against North Carolina? While both North Carolina and Tennessee currently rank within the top 30 nationally in offensive rebounding rate, the teams are on opposite ends of the rankings when it comes to opponents’ offensive rebounding rate. North Carolina is among the top 10 nationally in limiting opponents’ offensive rebounding rate while Tennessee ranks among the bottom 100.
  9. Is Arizona State going to be undefeated heading into their December 30 matchup with Arizona? After beating Kansas last weekend, Arizona State now sits at 9-0. The Sun Devils host Vanderbilt Sunday and Arizona State will almost certainly be undefeated heading to Tucson if they beat the Commodores this weekend. After combining for 51 points against Kansas, look for Tra Holder and Shannon Evans to continue their hot start against a Vanderbilt team that has lost five of its last six games.
  10. Youth vs. Experience: Which shines through in Middle Tennessee vs. Auburn? Middle Tennessee is led by four senior starters including Giddy Potts. Auburn has four double-figure scorers, including a pair of sophomores in Mustapha Heron and Jared Harper. Middle Tennessee is coming off of back-to-back wins over SEC teams. Auburn likes to play at a much faster pace than Middle Tennessee, but will the Tigers be able to control the pace against a more experienced team?
Matthew Eisenberg (143 Posts)

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