Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday's Pregame Beat: Georgetown-Notre Dame highlight the early games, while Wazzu/U-Dub visit UCLA/USC

7:00 pm: No. 9 Georgetown @ No. 15 Notre Dame: I said it in our Big East conference play primer -- I think that the Hoyas are the best team in the conference. They have a terrific back court, an underrated front court, and are as well-coached -- and as receptive to good coaching -- as any team in the country.

If Georgetown is the best team in the league, Notre Dame may as well be dubbed the Great Unknown. Of the Big East teams that actually have a chance at getting to the NCAA Tournament, the Irish are the team that I am having the most trouble pegging. I love their versatility offensively. They can play big with Tyrone Nash and Jack Cooley up front and Abromaitis at the two. Or they can use Scott Martin and Carleton Scott up front with Ben Hansbrough and Eric Atkins in the back court, allowing them to play more of a five out offense. They still play at more of a deliberate pace than we are used to seeing out of a Mike Brey team; call it the Luke Harangody hangover.

But what is this team's identity. Are they a defensive team? Are they a three point shooting team? Are they really as good as they looked in winning the Old Spice Classic, or is the second half against Kentucky (when they scored 18 points) more indicative of this team's potential. Hopefully, I'll be able to figure that out tonight.

9:00 pm: Marquette @ Vanderbilt: This is an interesting matchup between two teams in the middle of the pack of their respective conferences power structure. I don't generally like using the term scrappy to define a team, but its tough to find another adjective that correctly defines Marquette. (Feisty? Pesky?) They are exactly the same as every Marquette team the past five years. Versatile forwards, talented guards, play hard. Vanderbilt is flying a bit under the radar right now. They have size, they have shooting, and they have athleticism, but its never a good sign when your point guard is Brad Tinsley.

9:00 pm: No. 25 Illinois @ Iowa: The Illini kick off their Big Ten season with a trip to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. Illinois should handle this one easily, but they also should have beaten Illinois-Chicago easily.

10:30 pm: Washington @ USC: USC has been much improved over the past three weeks or so, especially now that they have Jio Fontan on the roster. We get a chance to see them play against Pac-10 favorite Washington tonight. We should get a feel for whether or not this team will actually make any noise in league play.

11:00 pm: Washington State @ UCLA: This is one of the most important games of the Pac-10 season. UCLA has the talent to compete for the league title, but if they are going to, winning home games against the other teams near the top of the league -- the Washington schools -- is vital. UCLA got a boost yesterday when it was announced that the Bruins would have Tyler Honeycutt in uniform.

7:00 pm: St. John's @ West Virginia: The Mountaineers looked awesome early in the season, but as Bobby Huggins tries to get this team to play the way he demands, WVU has slipped a bit. They aren't losing game, but they also are not playing as well as many expected. St. John's is a question mark heading into the Big East season. They lost to Fordham and St. Bonaventure, but they looked awesome in the second half against Northwestern, hitting 16-20 from the floor.

Other Notable Games:

  • 7:00 pm: UNC-Greensboro @ No. 1 Duke
  • 9:00 pm: Tx-Arlington @ No. 3 Kansas
  • 7:00 pm: Furman @ No. 21 UCF
  • 7:00 pm: Boston College @ URI
  • 7:00 pm: East Carolina @ Clemson
  • 7:00 pm: Wake Forest @ Richmond
  • 7:00 pm: George Mason @ Dayton
  • 7:00 pm: UT-Martin @ Tennessee
  • 7:30 pm: Wofford @ VCU
  • 8:00 pm: North Carolina A&M @ Arkansas
  • 8:00 pm: North Florida @ Maryland
  • 8:00 pm: MVSU @ Southern Miss
  • 8:00 pm: New Mexico @ Texas Tech
  • 8:05 pm: Missouri State @ Northern Iowa
  • 8:30 pm: Lafayette @ Gonzaga
  • 9:00 pm: Hawaii @ Utah State
  • 11:00 pm: Mississippi State @ St. Mary's

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