Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Preview

After an exciting week that featured plenty of top-notch battles between top-25 teams, another jam-packed weekend of quality contests is upon us. With final exams starting up at universities around the nation, there is a huge lull in interesting games next week – you can already tell by the relative lack of teams in action this weekend. However, there is still plenty of hoops to keep an eye on this weekend.

Top Games

No. 20 UNLV at No. 24 Louisville (Saturday, 12:00 PM, ESPNU): Going into the season, I pegged Louisville as an NIT team. However, the Cardinals are using a balanced offense and an aggressive defense to get victories. UNLV has the makings of an Elite Eight team. Prediction: UNLV 74, Louisville 70

Wisconsin at Marquette (Saturday, 2:30 PM, ESPN2): An intrastate battle between two versatile teams who can hurt opponents in a variety of ways. Look for the match-up between Jon Leuer and Jimmy Butler to be highly entertaining. Prediction: Marquette 66, Wisconsin 61

No. 11 Tennessee at No. 3 Pittsburgh (Saturday, 3:15 PM, ESPN): Arguably the best game of the weekend, Pittsburgh is looking like a Final Four-caliber group. Tennessee might be playing the best of any team in the SEC currently. Prediction: Pittsburgh 73, Tennessee 67

No. 21 Washington at Texas A&M (Saturday, 4:30 PM, ESPN2): I’m in love with this Washington team; the Huskies can score in plenty of ways and they push the rock. A&M will try to slow them down and beat them in a half-court contest. Prediction: Washington 79, Texas A&M 71

Arizona at No. 18 BYU (Saturday, 6:00 PM, BYU Television): Last year, Jimmer Fredette set a record by scoring 49 points at Arizona. There won’t be a repeat this season, as Arizona is a far better team than last year. Derrick Williams has to dominate for ‘Zona. Prediction: BYU 84, Arizona 76

VCU at Richmond (Saturday, 7:00 PM): Another intrastate battle by two teams looking to control the city of Richmond. VCU can pressure the ball and force turnovers, but Richmond counters with one of the nation’s best point guards in Kevin Anderson. Prediction: Richmond 72, VCU 66

Gonzaga at No. 23 Notre Dame (Saturday, 8:30 PM, ESPN2): Gonzaga has been a supreme disappointment this season, while Notre Dame has been a pleasant surprise. Gonzaga hasn’t been able to stop anyone this season, so Ben Hansbrough and Tim Abromaitis could be in for big days. Prediction: Notre Dame 82, Gonzaga 74

Conference Clashes

Boston College at Maryland (Sunday, 4:00 PM, FSN): Both of these teams are playing as well as any ACC team outside of Duke. Boston College has turned its season around after a rough start, while Maryland has three tough single-digit losses on its docket to Pittsburgh, Illinois and Temple. Prediction: Maryland 75, Boston College 64

Clemson at Florida State (Sunday, 6:15 PM, FSN): Don’t expect a ton of offensive output in this one. Clemson is still getting used to its personnel and system, while Florida State has only been able to score the ball against mediocre teams. Can the Seminoles figure it out? Prediction: Florida State 61, Clemson 52

Other Games to Watch

Oakland at No. 7 Michigan State (Saturday, 12:30 PM, Regional TV): If Oakland was using a women’s ball against the Spartans, the Golden Grizzlies might have a chance. Prediction: Michigan State 85, Oakland 65

Dayton at Old Dominion (Saturday, 4:00 PM, Regional TV): Two of the best non-BCS teams going into the season, Dayton has been disappointing while ODU has a loss to Delaware. Prediction: Old Dominion 64, Dayton 59

Indiana at No. 17 Kentucky (Saturday, 5:15 PM, ESPN): Two of the best programs in college basketball history go at it. Indiana only has one loss on the season, but Kentucky is far too talented for them. Prediction: Kentucky 82, Indiana 67

Colorado State at No. 4 Kansas (Saturday, 6:30 PM, ESPN2): Don’t sleep on Colorado State this year; the Rams have some pieces. Kansas, however, is playing as well as anyone in the country. Prediction: Kansas 94, Colorado State 74

Missouri State at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 8:00 PM, Regional TV): Missouri State will be a contender in the Missouri Valley, while Oklahoma State has only a loss to Virginia Tech marring its resume. Prediction: Oklahoma State 70, Missouri State 63

East Tennessee State at Mississippi State (Saturday, 8:00 PM): East Tennessee State has an impressive win over Dayton, while Mississippi State is desperately waiting for Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney. Prediction: Mississippi State 77, East Tennessee State 67

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