Since the Inauguration is taking over Washington D.C., "Mr. basketball" Rob Dauster wont be able to give his full attention to the upcoming games, so I'm getting up off the bench and filling in for him in his absence. I would like to thank him for giving me an opportunity to command your attention during one of the most important weeks in the last 100 years of American history.
But I digress, there aren't too many big games today other than Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh, so I should be able to find my range early.
Pitt is coming off its first loss of the season to #20 Louisville on the road. The Panthers dominated early, but the Cardinals clicked in the second half, and with DaJuan Blair in foul trouble, the Cardinals were able to control the boards and come from behind to knock off the #1 team in the country.
Syracuse dismantled Notre Dame on Saturday after getting blown out by Georgetown earlier in the week. Although Harangody had a big game, six 'Cuse players scored in double digits.
Game To Watch Tonight:
- 7:00PM : #8 Syracuse (17-2, 5-1) @ #4 Pittsburgh (16-1, 4-1) ESPN - Can Pitt rebound from their first loss of the season? If Blair stays out of foul trouble, and if Pitt can work their offense against Syracuse's zone D, then they have a good chance of winning this one. Plus they are playing at The Peterson Event Center A.K.A The Zoo, which is a chaotic place to play if you are the road team. Syracuse was able to beat Notre Dame without containing Luke Harangody. Can the Orange do the same to Pitt? Arinze Onuwaku is going to have a tough task to control Blair, but if 'Cuse's zone D is affective, Blair could be held in check. Also, watch to see what impact Andy Rautins has. He injured his left knee against Georgetown, but played 23 minutes against Notre Dame. He gives the Orange good range from outside.
- 7:00PM: Belmont (10-6, 6-1) @ Eastern Tennessee State (12-5, 6-1) - Two of the best teams in the Atlantic Sun conference go toe-to-toe in a mid-major must-see.
- 7:00PM: South Carolina State (6-9, 1-2) @ Howard (2-14, 1-3) - I don't envy the bulldogs at all. They have to travel in and out of a packed Washington D.C. the night before the biggest day in the history of Washington D.C. I think its great that these two historically black colleges get to play in the nation's capital on M.L.K day, not to mention the day before the first African-American President of the United States is sworn in.
- 8:00PM: Cincinnati (12-6, 2-3) @ Providence (11-6, 3-2) - A match up between two teams that were darkhorses coming into the season. both these teams need to stockpile Big East wins in order to boost their standings come Big East tournament time. I like the match up between Deonta Vaughn from Cinncy and Weymi Efejuku for the Friars. Lets not forget about the great coaching matchup taking place. Both Cinncy's Mick Cronin and Providence's Keno Davis are fantastic coaches who are trying to rebuild their programs.
- 8:00PM: Louisiana- Layfayette (6-10, 3-3)@ UAB (10-7, 1-2)
- 9:00PM: Texas A&M (15-3, 1-2) @ Kansas (13-4, 2-0) A similar match up to the Cinncy vs. Providence game, as both of these teams are trying to boost their records in the topsy-turvy Big12. I give Kansas the edge, but A&M has already beaten a ranked Baylor team, who, I my opinion, is better than Kansas.
Hopefully I did well for my first go. Ill be back tomorrow for the Tuesday morning shootaround to recap tonight's action.