Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Lay-up Lines

Four great games on tonight, starting with Clemson (17-2, 3-2) heading to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech (14-5, 4-1), who just so happen to be in second place in the ACC. Everyone knows about UNC, Duke, and Wake Forest this year - they are the last three teams to be ranked #1, and clearly the class of the ACC. But after that, there are five teams (Florida State, BC, and Miami, to go along with these two) that the book is still out on. What makes this game all the more important is that a win for Tech puts them in a first place tie with Duke. A loss puts both teams in third with UNC. I think Clemson has more to prove in this one. They coasted through a fairly easy schedule early on, going undefeated before losing back-to-back games to Wake Forest (at home) and UNC (where they were smacked on the road). The Tigers have a gaudy ranking right now, but they need to start backing it up with wins.

This is a tough one to call. I think Clemson is the better team, but when Tech's big three get it going, they are tough to beat. I'm going to say Clemson wins, simply because I don't know if Tech has the guards to handle the Tiger's press.

  • 9:00 PM: Illinois (17-3, 5-2) @ Minnesota (17-3, 5-3): A key Big Ten showdown as two of the better defensive teams in the league square off. Illinois is playing some of their best basketball of the season. They've won three of their last four games, beating Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin (with the only loss coming in a close game at Michigan State). Minnesota, on the other hand, is coming in struggling. They've lost two of their last three (including dropping one to Northwestern), barely holding on the beat Indiana. This is a key game for the Gophers. After the Illini, they have to go to Ohio State and Michigan State. If they lose all three and fall to 5-6 in the league, that may be a hole they can't dig themselves out of. I think Illinois wins this one. They have a really good, really experienced back court that is not going to be thrown off by Minnesota changing defenses.
  • 10:30 PM: Cal (16-4, 5-2) @ UCLA (15-4, 5-2): Good match-up of intriguing styles between two of the three teams tied for second in the Pac-10. Cal is a little more uptempo and loves to shoot the three, relying on guys like Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher, and Theo Robertson to keep them in games. UCLA is a team that hangs their hat on the defensive side of the ball, and has no problem winning games in the 60's. I know that UCLA's ranking is inflated right now (really? 16th? Their best win is Miami OH), but they tend to struggle against teams with a big front line and a workhorse down low. Jamal Boykin is averaging double digits, but he isn't exactly Jon Brockman. I think the Bruins defensive pressure will force Cal into a poor shooting night, and I see Randle struggling against Darren Collison.
  • 11:00 PM: St. Mary's (18-1, 5-0) @ Gonzaga (14-4, 5-0): The two best teams in the WCC face off for first place in the league. Both teams are immensely talented. They both have excellent size and good guard play, but this one is going to come down to the point guards. Patty Mills and Jeremy Pargo are two of the best in the country, but they do it in very different ways. Mills is a speed demon that puts up points in a hurry, while Pargo is a much stronger, more athletic player that has turned himself into a run-the-team point guard. Whoever gets the best of this match-up should win.
The rest of the night's action:
  • 7:00 PM: Canisius (7-13, 2-8) @ Siena (16-5, 10-0)
  • 7:05 PM: Michigan State (16-3, 6-1) @ Iowa (12-8, 2-5)
  • 8:00 PM: St. Louis (11-8, 2-3) @ Dayton (18-2, 4-1)
  • 8:00 PM: Oakland (13-9, 6-3) @ North Dakota (14-5, 8-1)
  • 8:30 PM: Washington (15-4, 6-1) @ Arizona (12-8, 2-5)
  • 9:00 PM: Washington State (11-8, 3-4) @ Arizone State (16-3, 5-2)
  • 9:00 PM: Rutgers (9-11, 0-7) @ Seton Hall (10-9, 1-6)
  • 9:05 PM: Alabama (12-7, 2-3) @ Arkansas (12-5, 0-4)
  • 9:05 PM: Nevada (12-7, 5-1) @ Utah State (19-1, 7-0)
  • 10:00 PM: San Diego (12-8, 4-1) @ Portland (13-7, 4-1)
  • 10:30 PM: Stanford (13-4, 3-4) @ USC (13-6, 4-3)

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I feel like recently clemson starts hot and just falls off during conference play...wouldn't be surprised to see the same this year