Friday, December 19, 2008

B101's 12 Games To Watch This Weekend

Here's our take on the 12 biggest games of the weekend:

Connecticut at Gonzaga (at Seattle)
There are a bunch of must-watch games this weekend, but this potential Final Four preview is at the top of the list. Getting Stanley Robinson back comes at a perfect time for UConn, as he will likely have to guard Austin Daye and, occasionally, Josh Heytvelt. Expect a lot of points in this one - and a narrow win by the Huskies.

Xavier at Duke (at East Rutherford, NJ)
With all of the players they lost and all of the injuries they have had to fight through, you have to give the Musketeers all kinds of credit for how they've started this season. Asking them to win at a neutral site against Duke, though, is a little much.

Michigan State at Texas (at Houston)
The Spartans' so-so start has taken a little luster off of this one, but it's still a big OOC match-up for both teams. A.J. Abrams is playing like every bit of a first-team All-American right now; he's averaging over 28 points per game over his last four.

Syracuse at Memphis
The Orange play their first game without slap-happy Eric Devendorf, who begins his minimum six-game suspension. His absence might be the difference Saturday in a match-up of two very evenly-matched teams.

Davidson at Purdue (at Indianapolis)
The Currys, err, Wildcats already have two decent OOC wins on their resume, but now they get a shot at an even bigger accomplishment - a neutral court win against a ranked team. Davidson hasn't beaten a ranked opponent in the regular season in almost 25 years.

Pittsburgh at Florida State
The Seminoles have been winning ugly lately, and now they play the team that invented the term "winning ugly." FSU does have the height inside to neutralize Pitt for a little while, but they aren't as deep or talented as the Panthers are overall - and that'll show in the final score.

BYU at Arizona State
A lot of undefeated teams might lose this weekend, but none might be more likely to than BYU. The Cougars haven't beaten anyone of note yet, and they don't appear to have anyone to match up with James Harden.

Louisville at Minnesota (at Phoenix, AZ)
The Golden Gophers have probably played the softest schedule and have the worst resume of all of the remaining unbeatens. They can change that in a big way with a neutral court win over the Cardinals.

VCU at Oklahoma
Blake Griffin gets all the pub (and deservingly so) but the Sooners aren't just a one-man show; five players scored in double-figures in the team's win Saturday against Utah. VCU's Eric Maynor (who's sixth in the country in scoring) will have to go off again for the Rams to have a chance in this one.

Clemson at Miami (FL)
The unbeaten Tigers open up their ACC season with a tough assignment - a road game against a pretty good Miami team. Clemson hasn't lost a game before Dec. 22 in the last three years; that streak might very well end Sunday night.

Arizona at UNLV
Jordan Hill has been on fire of late for the underrated Wildcats, who opened a lot of eyes by beating Gonzaga last weekend. They have a great chance to pick up another quality win here against a UNLV team that has already lost twice at home this season.

Illinois-Chicago at Illinois State
The best mid-major match-up of the weekend features the unbeaten Redbirds and the upset-minded Flames. Illinois-Chicago already has two impressive road wins (at Vandy and at Georgia Tech), and if Illinois State can't stop explosive Josh Mayo, UIC very well could make it three.

Also receiving votes: LSU at Texas A&M, Temple at Kansas, Nevada at California, Miami (OH) at West Virginia, St. Mary's at Southern Illinois

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