***** – 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.