Saturday, January 5, 2008

What to Watch

Lets me give you a little background. My brother went to Syracuse. He called the Basketball and Football games for the famous college radio station in the country. During his time at the Cuse, he was helping tutor one John Wallace. J Dubs as he was known then, was a dominant force on the college level. He was given the #44, the highest honor for an athlete at the Cuse. J Dubs led the Cuse to an improbable run to the title game in 96, my Sophomore year at Kansas. They actually knocked off my Jayhawks in the West Regional finals. We couldn't hit the broad side of the barn in that game and couldn't stop Wallace. The thing about that game I will never forget was Billy Thomas, my boy, had a wide open lay up to tie the game with less than five minutes leftand dropped the ball right out of bounds. It was the game-changing play. In the meantime, J Dubs went on to an All-American career at Syracuse but was a bust in the NBA. He is still one of my all time favorite college players.

#3 Kansas (13-0) at Boston College (10-2) – Noon EST– A potential toe-stubber for the Jayhawks? Not likely. There is too much talent in Bill Self’s stable and not enough at BC. The Hawks are getting closer and closer to full strength. Sherron Collins is so due for a breakout game. Could it happen today? BC PG Tyrese Rice may have something to say about that. Kansas 88 Boston College 75

Louisville (9-4) at Kentucky (6-6) – 4 PM –
A watershed game for both schools. Louisville cannot afford to lose this one. Kentucky can since their season is already looking like its over. You don't lose at home to San Diego and Gardner-Webb and still make the tournament. The Cardinals are coming off the stunning home loss to Cincinnati, but have both David Padgett and Juan Palacios back. Louisville 65 Kentucky 63

UMass (11-2) at #15 Vanderbilt (14-0) – 4 PM –
Hey look! Vanderbilt is actually playing a team worth talking about! Travis Ford’s Minutemen can play. G Gary Forbes is averaging 20.8 per game. Ricky Harris is his partner in crime at over 18 a game. They have already won at Syracuse and at BC. I smell the upset. UMass 85 Vanderbilt 80

#5 UCLA (13-1) at Cal (10-2) – 6 PM –
The Bruins already won the Stanford portion of the NoCal swing, can they pull this one out against the red hot Bears? We think so. The Bruins are still missing key reserve Michael Roll and have had to take the redshirt off of F James Keefe. Cal in the meantime has a stud in Ryan Anderson who can score on anyone. Watch for Devon Hardin to lock down Kevin Love. UCLA 65 Cal 61

#24 St. Mary’s (12-1) at #14 Texas (12-2) – 6 PM – Could the Longhorns lose three of four? It’s possible. They have looked tired in losing two of their last three. AJ Abrams is a game time decision, but the Horns are thrilled to have Freshman PF Gary Johnson in the mix after being cleared from his heart condition. The Gaels are a legitimate tournament team. Watch out for St. Mary’s Patrick Mills. Texas 90 St. Mary's 87

Oregon (9-4) at #21 Arizona (10-3) - 2 PM - This game is huge for an struggling Oregon team who have lost three of four to Oakland, Oregon State, and Nebraska. They are falling off the NCAA tournament map fast. The ball hogging ways of PG Tajuan Porter are not playing well in Eugene. Arizona will probably be without stud PG Jerryd Bayless again and will look for another big game out of Nic Wise. MTAC loves Jordan Hill more and more each time we watch him. Arizona 81 Oregon 79

Valparaiso (11-3) at #17 Butler (12-1) - 2 PM - This will be the toughest challenge for Butler in the Horizon League. Yes, Valpo was beat down last week by UNC, but that's nothing to be ashamed of. They can play. Butler lives and dies by the three and they won't die here. Butler 55 Valpo 48

USC (9-4) at #20 Stanford (11-2) - 8 PM - This is a game both teams will need for a resume builder. USC desperately needs a statement road win against a ranked opponent. Stanford needs a quality win period and doesn't want to lost to both LA schools at home in the span of three days. Stanford dominated the post in this one with the Lopez Twins and Lawrence Hill. Stanford 75 USC 72

Minnesota (10-2) at #6 Michigan State (12-1) - 8 PM - Give Tubby Smith the nod. He landed on his feet at Minnesota, feels no pressure, and is happier than he has ever been. His Gophs are 10-2, but their signature victory is over a bad Iowa State team. The Spartans are rolling right now. Michigan State 80 Minnesota 61

#4 Washington State (12-0) at Washington (9-4) - 10 PM - Game one of the Cougars three game gauntlet on the road at their rival, then at the two LA schools. We say theu lose at least one of these games, just not this one. After losing four of five, U-Dub has rebounded, winning five in a row. But Wazzu is a much better caliber of competition that Idaho State, Portland State, and Cal-State Northridge. Washington State 67 Washington 62

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