Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Lay-up Lines

Sorry for the late post, got caught up at work today.

Anyway, the big game of the night features Marquette (17-2, 6-0), who is sitting pretty in first place in the Big East, heading to the Joyce Center to take on struggling Notre Dame (12-6, 3-4). The Irish have been played very poorly of late, as they now have lost three in a row against Louisville, Syracuse, and UConn (it doesn't get easier after Marquette either as the Irish get Pitt). I think the Irish pull this one out. No one on Marquette is going to be able to handle Harangody on the interior. I know what you are thinking: "He averages 24 and 13, and put up huge numbers against UConn, Syracuse, and Louisville in ND losses". The issue isn't how many points he is scoring, it is how efficiently he is scoring those points. In those three games, he shot a combined 40% from the field and only went to the line 10 times, which should tell you that he was relying on being a jump shooter. In the ND wins over Texas and Georgetown, he shot 55% from the field and went to the line 19 times.

I watched all of those games, and can tell you with complete confidence that Notre Dame is a much better team when Harangody isn't settling for long fade away jumpers. Marquette is very small inside, and 'Gody should be able to get the ball to the rim at will. If he does, not only will he become a more efficient scorer, he will draw double teams and open looks for guys like Luke Zeller, K-Mac, and Ryan Ayers.

The other notable game on this Big Monday is Oklahoma heading to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Series. I like OK State this year. They have a lot of shooters and get out and run the floor. The issue is that the don't have much on the interior now that Ibrahima Thomas has transferred to Cincinnati. Blake Griffin did roll his ankle against Baylor in the second half, which could slow him down a bit. But OK State is basically a poor man's Baylor, and Oklahoma absolutely dismantled the Bears. Expect more of the same tonight.

One last intriguing game tonight: 10:00 PM: Cal-St. Bakersfield (5-14) @ Oregon State (8-10): It's interesting to note that Craig Robinson, the Oregon State coach, has gone on record as saying he scheduled this game to try and give his team some confidence going into their game against rival Oregon. I guess he didn't expect that his Beaver team would be sitting at 3-5 in the Pac-10 and coming off of a sweep of the Bay Area schools on the road.

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