Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday's Pregame Beat: Wisconsin and Minnesota kick off Big Ten play

Once again, afternoon hoops has thrown a wrench into the Pregame Beatage. If you missed it, Purdue went into Ann Arbor and lit up Michigan 80-57. But just because the Boilermakers played this afternoon doesn't mean we can't discuss a solid slate of hoops tonight.

7:00 pm: No. 13 Minnesota @ No. 24 Wisconsin: With all due respect to Purdue and Michigan, as well as Indiana and Penn State, tonight is the real kick off of the Big Ten season as the Gophers and the Badgers provide us with our first marquee matchup. Minnesota has been a bit up and down this season. They came basically out of no where to storm through the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament and into everyone's top 25 before struggling through the rest of the non-conference portion of their schedule as Al Nolen battled an injury. Well, Nolen is now back in the lineup, providing Tubby Smith's club with their best perimeter defender and playmaker.

That playmaking ability will be key tonight as Wisconsin one of the most efficient and effective half court teams in the country. They Badgers have yet to really hit their stride this season, but if you now anything about college basketball, you know that Wisconsin never has any preseason hype and is always in the thick of the Big Ten race.

The key in this one is going to be the front courts. Minnesota is big. Trevor Mbakwe, Ralph Sampson, and Colton Iverson can matchup inch for inch and pound for pound with just about any front line in the country, but none of those three bigs are a good matchup defensively with the versatile Jon Leuer. Big Ten basketball isn't always pretty, but this one should be a dandy nonetheless.

9:00 pm: Providence @ No. 5 Syracuse: This is an interesting matchup. Providence wasn't expected to do much in the Big East this season, but here they are at 11-2 heading into conference play. Syracuse is as good as anyone in the league defensively, but offensively they are not quite as dangerous as they were last year. If Providence can rebound the ball on the defensive end and push the ball, getting shots before the Orange zone can get set, they have a chance. As an added bonus, if you haven't had a chance to see Marshon Brooks play (which most of the country hasn't), I'd recommend tuning into ESPNU. He's averaging 23.1 ppg and 8.9 rpg.

Other Notable Games:

  • 7:00 pm: Coppin State @ No. 12 Kentucky
  • 4:00 pm: Alabama A&M @ NC State
  • 7:00 pm: CSU @ Georgia
  • 7:00 pm: DePaul @ Cincinnati
  • 7:00 pm: Kent State @ Morehead State
  • 7:00 pm: Albany @ Xavier
  • 7:00 pm: South Florida @ Seton Hall
  • 9:00 pm: UNC vs. Rutgers in MSG
  • 10:30 pm: Hartford @ Cal

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