Today's Specials: Pitt and Georgetown need a Big East win
As the nation turns its attention toward college basketball, things will begin to heat up on the hardwood.
|Talib Zanna could struggle inside against Georgetown, but the Panthers would drop to 0-3 with a loss. (US Presswire)|
Nothing but college basketball from here on out! Monday’s national championship game ended the college football season, meaning the focus can now turn from the gridiron to the hardwood. Tuesday has some interesting games to kick things off, including a Big East battle between a couple of teams in need of a win. Also, are any upsets on the horizon?
Note: All times are Eastern, and the rankings are according to the AP Poll.
Best game: Pittsburgh Panthers at No. 19 Georgetown Hoyas (9 p.m., ESPNU). Two teams looking for a first Big East win of the season. Pittsburgh has struggled after starting 12-1, dropping a home game to Cincinnati and losing at Rutgers. Meanwhile, Georgetown couldn’t pull out a close win at Marquette over the weekend. The key in this one will be Pittsburgh’s ability to knock down the 3-point shot. It’s difficult to get the ball near the rim against Georgetown, and the Panthers have been inconsistent from the perimeter this season.
Second-best game: Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 10 Missouri Tigers (7 p.m., ESPN). This game looked much better after the first month of the season. Since then, Alabama has lost five of its last seven, including home games to Mercer and Tulane. On the other side, Missouri has made a couple statements that it might be the team in the SEC. Can Alabama give the Tigers a run on the road? Offensively, Trevor Lacey and Co. have to knock down shots. On the other side, they need to keep Missouri’s bigs off the offensive glass.
Another one to watch: Clemson Tigers at No. 1 Duke Blue Devils (7 p.m., ESPNU). Duke has simply had Clemson’s number throughout the history of the series. The Blue Devils have won 14 straight home games against the Tigers and 26 of the last 28 overall. As No. 1, Duke is 11-0 against Clemson under Mike Krzyzewski. This all adds up to a very tough assignment for Clemson, despite the Tigers showing some fight in their home loss to Florida State over the weekend. The Tigers will have to seriously slow down the tempo, get Duke’s bigs in foul trouble and then hope Duke is cold from 3.
Guaranteed win: Creighton Bluejays is off to a 3-0 start in Missouri Valley play, including wins over contenders Illinois State and Indiana State. The showdown with Wichita State doesn’t happen for a few weeks, but the Bluejays should get there unscathed. On Tuesday, they get a visit from Drake Bulldogs (8:05 p.m., ESPN3), which is 0-3 in league play -- and one of those losses came at home to Missouri State. For those who didn’t know, Missouri State didn’t win a Division I nonconference game.
Potential upset: We’ve seen what happens when No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes has to play a halfcourt game for long stretches: the Buckeyes struggle to get open shots and rely too heavily on Deshaun Thomas . Tuesday’s trip to Purdue Boilermakers (9 p.m., ESPN) will be a test to see if Ohio State has figured things out. Given the way the Boilermakers like to slow it down and muddy things up, it will be tough for the Buckeyes to come out with a win.
Three things to keep an eye on:
- Nine of Connecticut Huskies ’s 13 games have been decided by single digits, including all three of the Huskies’ losses. They host DePaul Blue Demons (7 p.m., ESPN3).
- Baylor Bears has been inconsistent throughout the season, but it still has tons of talent. Can it finish second in the Big 12? The Bears' first league road game takes place at Texas Tech Red Raiders (7 p.m., ESPN2).
- Lehigh Mountain Hawks will be without C.J. McCollum for the foreseeable future, unfortunately, and the Mountain Hawks take the floor sans McCollum against Muhlenberg (7 p.m.).
For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our College Basketball Newsletter. You can follow Jeff Borzello on Twitter here: @jeffborzello.
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