Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday's Pregame Beat: Rivalry Week commences in exciting fashion

9:00 pm: No. 20 Missouri @ No. 2 Kansas: Duke-UNC is the fiercest rivalry in all of college basketball, maybe all of sports, but the Border War is not all that far behind. As with any rivalry, when these two teams take the court, the records get thrown out the window.

That is good news for Missouri, as the Tigers have gone 0-4 on the road in the Big XII this season. The biggest criticism for the Tigers is that they get out to slow starts on the road. Their press is not quite as effective when they are going up against teams with similar or greater size and athleticism, which has made it difficult to come back from those early deficits.

Kansas, on the other hand, has seemingly refound their groove now that Thomas Robinson and rejoined the team. It would be inappropriate to say that the Jayhawks have put the tragic events of last month out of their mind, but it seems like the stretch run of the basketball season has been an adequate distraction and given them an outlet to focus their emotion. The Jayhawks look like they will once again be without Josh Selby, who is battling a stress reaction in his foot, but they will still have Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar, and Tyrel Reed (the latter two have been playing extremely well of late) to handle Missouri's press.

If Mizzou wants to have a chance tonight, it will be the Tiger's ability to handle the front line of the Jayhawks. Ricardo Ratliffe, Laurence Bowers, and Justin Safford are all solid players in the Big XII, but the Morrii and Thomas Robinson combine to form arguably the best front line in the country. Marcus Morris is the most efficient low post scorer in the country, and Markieff Morris and Robinson are big and aggressive live bodies inside.

7:00 pm: No. 4 Pitt @ West Virginia: Pitt will be without Ashton Gibbs, but seeing as I just spent 800 words talking about that impact, let's focus on the players that will be on the floor.

West Virginia is a bit of a strange team. They are terrific getting to the offensive glass but they are atrocious on the defensive glass. Pitt, on the other hand, is the best team in the country on the offensive glass, meaning that the Mountaineers are going to have to figure out how to box out tonight if they want to land the upset.

Other Notable Games:

  • 7:00 pm: Cleveland State @ Detroit
  • 8:00 pm: Murray State @ Eastern Illinois
  • 8:00 pm: Austin Peay @ Tennessee Tech


Anonymous said...

Syracuse-Georgetown is a much bigger rivalry in terms of national interest and importance then Kansas-Mizzou. Syracuse and Georgetown hating each other laid the foundation for arguably the best basketball conference ever.

Rob Dauster said...

I'm sure there are plenty of fans on the East Coast that agree and even more in the midwest that disagree.

Anonymous said...

Well it simply doesnt matter who agrees or disagrees. ESPN put the two biggest rivalries back to back on the same night because those 2 rivalries have the most national interest.That's called a marketing strategy. National interest= relevance and importance. It's just a fact that Syracuse vs Georgetown is more of a compelling matchup nationally.

Also Kansas vs Mizzou wasn't the foundation for any conference. The foundation for their conference is football. The Big East is a basketball conference , perhaps the best one ever, that was built upon Syracuse vs Georgetown. Not only is Cuse-Gtown more important in a capitalistic sense, but it's also more relevant historically despite how far back Kansas-Mizzou goes.