Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Lay-up Lines: Big XII Showdown, but is Blake Griffin Playing?

Just two games of interest tonight. The first takes place in DC as Louisville (21-5, 12-2) takes on Georgetown (14-11, 5-9). This is a must win for the Hoyas. They have used up all of their margin for error, and essentially need to win out if they want to avoid an NIT trip. Louisville, on the other hand, is playing for seeding in both the Big East and the NCAA tournaments. The guy to watch in this game is Terrence Williams. I don't think anyone on Georgetown is a good match-up defensively for T-Will. Guys like Jason Clark and Jessie Sapp don't have the size or strength that Williams does, but I don't think Austin Freeman is quick enough to stay in front of him. Williams is the guy that Louisville runs their offense through, and I think that the Hoyas need to go zone tonight to slow him down.

I think the Hoyas match-up well with Louisville offensively, however. The Cardinals play a lot of zone, and Georgetown has a team that is built to beat a zone. Greg Monroe is a great passer and the Hoyas have a bunch of shooters around him.

The other game on tonight is in Norman as Oklahoma (25-2, 11-1) hosts Kansas (22-5, 11-1). The big question in this one is whether or not Blake Griffin will be suiting up. The big fella suffered a concussion on Saturday night against Texas, and while his MRI yesterday came back clean, it looks like it is going to be a game-time decision whether or not he will play (UPDATE: Blake Griffin is out for tonight). Oklahoma proved that they were still a good team without Griffin against Texas. Willie Warren had 27 points and carried the Sooners as they came back from 12 down early in the second half to take a five point lead. If AJ Abrams hadn't gone crazy down the stretch, OU would have won this thing.

Kansas is a much better team than they were getting credit for early in the season. Their 22-5 record and spot atop the Big XII standings prove that. They have a number of quality wins (Tennessee, Siena, Kansas State twice, Washington), but they are just now starting to reach their potential. You know about Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, but the biggest difference right now is the emergence of the Morris twins. Neither twin is an incredible scorer, but they are long and athletic, and when they are playing with energy can really make a difference defensively and on the glass.

Clearly, the biggest x-factor in this game will be whether or not Griffin plays, but if he doesn't, OU is going to need another big performance out of Willie Warren is they hope to hold on to first in the Big XII.

No comments: