Brian Otskey is the Big East correspondent for RTC and a regular contributor. You can find him @botskey on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
There are plenty of games to watch over the next few days but these five from the Big East, Big 12 and Big Ten are the best of the bunch:
#9 Georgetown @ West Virginia – 12:00 PM EST Saturday on ESPN FullCourt/ESPN3.com (***)
- Now 13-1 with one of the better resumes in the nation, Georgetown seems to be a legitimate Big East title contender despite some question marks on its roster. The Hoyas have scored two big road wins already, at Alabama and Louisville, and this would be another one in the always tough WVU Coliseum. Jason Clark scored 26 points in the Hoyas’ 17-point comeback against Marquette on Wednesday night and the senior guard will look to lead his team on the road yet again. Georgetown will have to win this game with inside play and defense. The Hoyas shoot a high percentage inside the arc and they’ll be going up against a WVU defense that’s ranked #87 in the same area of the floor. With Clark, Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims able to score inside, Georgetown has a clear edge in that department.
- Truck Bryant had 29 points in Wednesday’s win at Rutgers to move WVU to 2-1 in Big East play. Along with his freshmen guard teammates, Bryant will have to keep the basketball away from a Georgetown defense that ranks #15 in efficiency. The Mountaineers won’t get many easy looks so they can’t be turning the ball over against the Hoyas. WVU averages 15 turnovers per game. The Mountaineers do make 53.2% of their field goals inside the arc but they’ll be challenged by the stout Georgetown defense. Kevin Jones and Deniz Kilicli have to be major factors in the paint but Jones also has to be able to stretch his game to mid-range and beyond in order to open up some looks inside. In addition, West Virginia has to do a terrific job on the offensive boards. It’s not likely that the Mountaineers will be draining a high percentage of their deep shots so they must rebound aggressively and get second chance buckets.
- West Virginia has won the last four games between these teams and both shot lights out earlier this week against Rutgers (WVU) and Marquette (GT). The Hoyas, despite going only 13-23 from the charity stripe on Wednesday, have a big edge at the foul line should this game come down to the wire, which it very well could. Georgetown is the better team but West Virginia can win with better defense and Bryant staying hot. We’d be surprised if this game isn’t close.
#6 Missouri @ #21 Kansas State – 1:30 PM EST Saturday on ESPN FullCourt/ESPN3.com (****)
- Missouri’s first big test has arrived. The Tigers have been phenomenal so far this season but they will face a stiff challenge in Manhattan from an angry Kansas State team coming off a blowout loss to Kansas. Mizzou was 1-7 on the road last season in Big 12 play and that has to be in the back of the players’ minds as they head into this contest. Frank Haith’s four guard lineup is ranked second in offensive efficiency and shot 59.3% from the floor in an evisceration of Oklahoma earlier this week. Missouri is top 10 in three-point, two-point and free throw percentage on the strength of Kim English’s resurgence, Marcus Denmon, Michael Dixon and company. This is arguably the best back court in college basketball but it needs to have poise playing on the road in front of what will be a raucous crowd at the Octagon of Doom. Read the rest of this entry »