Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday's Pregame Beat: Our first normal Big Monday of the season

7:00 pm: No. 14 Notre Dame @ No. 2 Pitt: How many times have we said it here -- Notre Dame is a different team when they have to play on the road than when they are playing at home. They are 0-3 in true road games -- losing to Syracuse, Marquette, and St. John's by an average of 14 ppg, and also lost by 14 to Kentucky in Louisville. Pitt, on the other hand, is as good as anyone in the country defending their home court.

The Panthers have also been much improved at defending in general the past four games. They've climbed from 50th to 27th in the Kenpom defensive efficiency rankings over that time frame, and when combined with their incredibly efficient offense -- they are first in the nation, largely a result of their work on the offensive glass -- Pitt looks like a true national title threat.

If Notre Dame is going to win this game, they have to clear the defensive glass. The Irish aren't all that big, but they are the sixth best team in the country when it comes to limiting offensive rebounds. Pitt's big men are too big and too good at finishing around the rim to allow them two and three shots on a possession. But the Irish are also going to need quality performances out of Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis, both of whom have struggled on the road.

9:00 pm: Baylor @ Kansas State: Kansas State is a mess right now. They are 1-4 in Big XII play, Frank Martin is playing walk-ons, and every game it seems like we find out another player has been suspended. Baylor, on the other hand, has nary a win worthy of a mention this season. Neither have looked like NCAA Tournament teams this year while both are loaded with size and athleticism. It is still way to early to call anything a must-win game, especially when you play in the Big XII conference, but this is about as close as it gets for both teams.

CAA: There is some good stuff in the CAA tonight. Hofstra (7-1) takes on James Madison (5-3) at 7:00 pm as the Pride look to keep pace with VCU (7-1), who plays Towson (0-8) at 7:00 pm as well. Old Dominion (5-3) is looking to rebound from their loss to VCU against UNC-Wilmington (4-4). Perhaps the best game of the night, however, features George Mason (6-2) taking on the surprising Delaware Blue Hens (5-3).

Other Notable Games:

  • 7:00 pm: Morehead State @ Ball State
  • 7:00 pm: Texas Southern @ Mississippi Valley State

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