Set Your Tivo 03.02.10

Posted by THager on March 2nd, 2010

***** – 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 @ Clemson – 8:00 pm on ESPN 360 (***)

These teams are heading in opposite directions heading into tonight’s matchup.  The Tigers have won four of their last five games, while Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt has come under some fire for his team’s performance in the ACC.  They have lost seven of their last eight road games, the only victory coming against North Carolina.  The Yellow Jackets will now have to face a Clemson team that has lost just two games at home this year, and has a home win over Maryland on their resume.  Both of these teams struggle on offense, with just two double digit scorers on each squad and assist/turnover ratios below 1:1.  Neither team ranks among the nation’s top 50 offenses, but their defenses are superb.  Georgia Tech’s defense is ranked 14th according to Ken Pomeroy, and the Tigers are sixth in the country in defensive efficiency.  The last time these teams met, the Yellow Jackets came away with a win despite 3-17 shooting from beyond the arc.  Zachery Peacock took advantage of foul trouble by Clemson and sank a pair of free throws with just 3.2 seconds left for the 66-64 victory.  Peacock has scored just 25 points in his last five games, and Georgia Tech could use a bigger contribution from him if they want to get an elusive road win.

Illinois @ #6 Ohio State – 9:00 pm on ESPN (****)

Is Illinois actually a bubble team?  They are not on the bubble as of now, as far as we’re concerned, but with two difficult games to end the regular season (they will finish against Wisconsin), if the Illini lose those matchups and get knocked out in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, they’ll be tap-dancing on thin ice.  The Buckeyes, who are guaranteed a spot in the tournament, will have a nine day break between this game and their next game during the Big Ten Tournament, and the last thing they want is to have a loss lingering in their heads for over a week.  The Illini have been streaky all season, and it appears they may be in the midst of another losing streak, with three losses in their last four games.  In the last matchup between these teams, Illinois never showed up and shot just below 17 % from the three-point line.  Ohio State shoots almost 50 % from the field, and their offense ranks among the nation’s top 10 in efficiency.  Demetri McCamey has been a vital part of the Illini this year, and as he goes, IU goes.  Unfortunately, he has hit a cold streak lately, and if he has another bad night from the field, Illinois fans may start worrying about their plans for March.

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ATB: Purdue Gets Painter’s Message

Posted by rtmsf on January 20th, 2010

Message Received, Loud and Clear#15 Purdue 84, Illinois 78.  Matt Painter threw everyone on his team other than E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel under the bus over the weekend in comments he made about the lack of hustle and energy from his players during the Boilermakers’ recent three-game losing streak.  It’s a tried-and-true coaching strategy, and it seemed to work tonight as his team used a strong second half run out of the game to take control of this game and make Painter look like a genius.  Examining the players that Painter referred to in his diatribe, he conspicuously omitted JaJuan Johnson from a preferred starting lineup (composed entirely of Moore and Hummel clones), and that slight resulted in a dominant 24/12/2 blks evening for the big man.  When JJJ plays up to his abilities on the offensive end, Purdue is nearly unbeatable, going 8-1 in the last two seasons when he breaks twenty points.  When he’s held under ten for the game, the Boilermaker record is 6-6 over the same period, including all three losses this season.  Additionally, usual starters Keaton Grant and Chris Kramer were relegated to bench duty tonight, but 7/9/3 assts between the two of them show that they were focused on defense and hustle stats.  Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was sophomore guard John Hart coming off the bench to contribute a career-high 14/2 in eighteen inspired minutes of action.  Believe it or not, tonight was Hart’s first minute of action in a Big 10 game — nice debut, young fella!  Illinois played well enough to win the game on the defensive end, but like so many other Illini games over the year, they simply couldn’t get enough production aside from Demetri McCamey (28/9) and Mike Davis (17/15).  Freshmen guard duo DJ Richardson (12/2) and Brandon Paul (5/3) shot 6-18 from the field, which was surprisingly their best combined output in three weeks, but Illini fans have to be wondering what happened to the pair that combined for 34 points in the big comeback at Clemson in early December.

Johnson Accepted Painter's Challenge Tonight (AP/Robin Scholz)

Watch Out, ACC. #18 Georgia Tech 66, #16 Clemson 64. The Ramblin’ Wreck moved to 3-2 in the ACC with its third win in eleven days over a ranked team (nevermind that pesky loss to UVa sandwiched in between).  And while the win is very nice and worth talking about on its own merits, what we really want to discuss is that the nation’s #2 incoming recruit, Derrick Favors, may have awakened from his season-long slumber to serve notice that the second half of the year may be a somewhat different story for his opponents.  His numbers weren’t Michael Beasley or Blake Griffin-esque (17/14/3 blks), but they do represent his best all-around performance of the season (career highs in pts and rebs), and had he made his FTs (1-5) he would have broken the 20-point barrier as well.  As Favors said after the game, he is ‘playing better,’ and if he is putting it all together just in time for the home stretch of the season, Georgia Tech suddenly becomes the most interesting team in the ACC.  Gani Lawal added 16/10 for Tech and Zachery Peacock (6/5) hit the game-winning FTs with 3.2 seconds remaining.

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