SYT Star System
***** - 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 tivo but make sure you watch it later
** - set your tivo but we’ll forgive you if it stays in the queue until 2012
* - don’t waste bandwidth (yours or the tivo’s) of any kind on this game
Georgia Tech @ Florida State – 12 pm on ESPN360 (****)
This contest between two 14-4 teams should be highly entertaining. FSU’s early season success is starting to look less impressive as their earlier opponents continue to struggle and the Seminoles drag their feet through ACC play. Nevertheless, the Seminoles have built a solid resume so far and a win over Georgia Tech would only further their tournament potential. At the beginning of conference play in Atlanta, Florida State handed the Yellow Jackets their only home loss of the season in overtime. Ryan Reid, a senior who hadn’t scored in double digits in his previous nine games, led the Seminoles with 17 in that game. Could he have the hot hand again on Sunday? A more likely scenario would be for the scoring to come from big men Solomon Alabi and Gani Lawal. Georgia Tech averages more points per game, but Ken Pomeroy ranks their offense 73rd in offensive efficiency, so look for Tech’s offense to slow down against a Seminoles squad that surrenders just 59.8 points per game. The Yellow Jackets have a respectable 4-2 road record, but given FSU’s performances at home this year, and that they won the first matchup in Atlanta, expect the Seminoles to remain a four-loss team.
Cincinnati @ Louisville – 12 pm on ESPN360 (***)
These are the games that the selection committee takes a look at when they decide who gets left out of the tournament. The 13-6 Bearcats and 12-7 Cardinals have some work to do to play themselves back in, and a win Sunday would be a good start. With wins over Notre Dame and South Florida in their last two games, UC already appears to be on their way to improving their stock. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have lost three games in a row, and a fourth consecutive loss will not help their chances. One of the worst qualities about UL is their inability to finish close games. Of their seven losses, five have been by single digits, including a heartbreaking collapse in the final minute against Pitt followed by a three point loss to Seton Hall. Louisville at least has the luxury of playing at home, and Cincinnati is just 1-4 on the road this year. UC’s Lance Stephenson and Samardo Samuels will be interesting to watch. Both players are extremely inconsistent, so if one has a hot hand on Sunday they will likely lead their team to victory.
Penn State @ Wisconsin – 2:30 pm on BTN (***)
Wisconsin has had a respectable 2-1 record since Jon Leuer’s injury, but they have gotten it done in extremely ugly ways. In their 54-48 win against Michigan last week, they did not take their first lead until there was just three minutes left in the game, largely due to a 6:05 scoreless streak to start the game. They shot just 34 percent from the field, including 16.7 percent from beyond the arc, which will not cut it every night. However, it may be enough to get by Penn State. The Nittany Lions are 0-6 in the Big Ten this year, and have lost to bad teams like Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan. Teams just don’t win in the Kohl Center, and Penn State is no exception. Besides junior guard Talor Battle, the Nittany Lions do not have a second option on offense. With Wisconsin only surrendering 56.2 points per game this year (due largely in part to their ability to run the clock down on every possession) look for even Battle to struggle in this game. Still, Penn State’s last three losses have come by a total of 10 points, so they may end up losing another close one in Madison.