Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday Lay-up Lines

There are three pretty good games on tonight:

  • 7:00 PM: Butler (9-1) @ Xavier (9-1): Xavier was playing some of the best basketball in the country as they were 9-0 heading into their game with Duke over the weekend, but they got absolutely run off the floor against the Devils. The Musketeers struggled to get into their offensive against Duke's defensive pressure, resulting in a lot of turnovers and quick shots. Butler has been one of the surprises of the young season. After losing so much to graduation (pretty much everyone except Matt Howard), they looked to be headed for a down year. But the play of two freshman, Shelden Mack (13.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.7 apg) and Gordon Hayward (12.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg), have sent the Bulldogs right back to the top of the Horizon League. If you get ESPN U (I don't, curse you Comcast), be sure to check in on this one.
  • 7:30 PM: Missouri (9-1) vs. Illinois (10-1) in St. Louis: This is a game against two of the under-the-radar power conference teams. Missouri is a team full of athletes that is going to press you for 40 minutes. They are led by DeMarre Carroll, who is averaging 17.6 ppg and 7.3 rpg. Illinois already played Clemson this year (who runs a similar "40 minutes of hell" defense) and lost 76-74 at home. Clemson forced 17 turnovers with their press. Clemson is better than Mizzou offensively, especially in the back court, and another reason they were able to beat the Illini is that Clemson got 34 points out of KC Rivers and Demontez Stitt. I'm not sure if Mizzou's back court can match that output. Of note - Illinois center Mike Davis had 28 and 8 in that game, with the majority of those coming on dunks when Illinois broke the press. If he is on your fantasy team, he deserves a start tonight.
  • 9:30 PM: Texas (9-2) @ Wisconsin (9-2): The Badgers have struggled thus far this season. They lack offensive firepower. That will be a big problem against a tough Texas defense. That said, Wisconsin is so good at the Kohl Center. The biggest issue in this game is how will Wisconsin stop AJ Abrams. Michigan State held him to eight points by having Travis Walton chase him around screens all game. Trevon Hughes is an excellent defender, but he is also Wisconsin's best offensive option. Do you risk tiring him out chasing Abrams? I think Texas pulls this win out.
The rest of the night's action:
  • 2:00 PM: Idaho State (2-8) @ Arizona State (9-1)
  • 7:30 PM: Florida International (4-8) @ Georgetown (9-1)
  • 8:00 PM: Portland State (8-3) @ Gonzaga (8-2)
  • 9:00 PM: Southeastern Louisiana (6-4) @ Minnesota (10-0): Upset watch here. This is a let down game for the Gophers against a Lions team that took Arkansas to OT on the road and lost to Texas Tech by 11 on the road. Minnesota better not come out too cocky in this one.
  • 10:00 PM: Kansas (8-2) @ Arizona (7-3): Not that often that a game between these two teams comes with neither of them ranked. Both squads could really use this win. Arizona beat Gonzaga, but then got smacked on the road against UNLV. Kansas rebounded from an ugly loss to UMass by beating Temple. Best match-up of the day should be seeing Jordan Hill go against Cole Aldrich.
  • 10:30 PM: Wyoming (9-1) @ UCLA (8-2)
  • 11:00 PM: Stanford (7-0) @ Santa Clara (5-6)
There are not games being played on Wednesday or Thursday, and only one on Friday. UConn will host Fairfield at 7:00 PM.

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