– Posted by Zurg –
With no Big East games on the docket until Friday night, what can you watch until then to get your college basketball fix?
In just six weeks, you are going to have your NCAA Tournament bracket to fill out, so we’ll point you in the right direction on how to spend your time well tonight and tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 5th:
Oklahoma at West Virginia, 7pm ESPNU/WatchESPN:
Oklahoma (AP: 21, BPI: 27, KenPom: 35) is coming off a loss to Iowa State on the road following four straight Big 12 wins. Joe Lunardi had them as a 4-seed last week – and Daniel Evans at Rush the Court has them as a 5-seed this week.
Oklahoma has the 12th rated offense and the 114th rated defense in the country, while West Virginia (AP: NR, BPI: 52, KenPom: 63) is rated 24th and 154th, respectively. In conference play, however, West Virginia’s defense has played worse, ranking 2nd worst overall and having the worst defensive effective Field Goal Percentage, 2P%, and 3P%.
KenPom.com has West Virginia as a slight favorite at home tonight, but I expect Oklahoma to win the game and bounce back.
Oklahoma 84, West Virginia 78.
San Diego State at Boise State, 9:15pm CBS Sports Network:
San Diego State (AP: 5, BPI: 21, KenPom: 19) travels to Taco Bell Arena to take on Boise State (AP: NR, BPI: 51, KenPom: 62).
San Diego State has won 18 in a row since losing to Arizona on November 14 – and is 19-1 overall on the season. San Diego State wins games with its defense, ranked 6th in the NCAA. Its 101st rated offense, however, has been simply serviceable.
San Diego State’s offensive effective Field Goal Percentage ranks 316th nationally – and its 2P% is an even lower 326th. The deciding factor in this game will be if Boise State can feed off the home crowd and use the Mountain West Conference’s second best offense to take down its top defense. I expect the nation’s fifth best team to win tough road games.
San Diego State 66, Boise State 64.
Thursday, February 6th:
Connecticut at Cincinnati, 7pm ESPN:
Shabazz Napier and Connecticut (AP: 22, BPI: 29, KenPom: 30) travel to Fifth Third Arena in Ohio to take on Sean Kilpatrick and Cincinnati (AP: 7, BPI: 22, KenPom: 21).
Cincinnati, like San Diego State, is a team built on defense and grinding out games. Connecticut is a little more balanced, and the Huskies have been trying to get something going in the AAC, winning 5 of 6 and 6 of 7 overall.
Connecticut has the best-rated offense in the AAC, while Cincinnati has its best-rated defense. On the other end of the floor, UConn’s defense ranks fifth in conference, and Cincinnati’s offense also ranks fifth. So what matchup needs to be exploited?
Cincinnati does not shoot the ball well, with an effective Field Goal Percentage ranking 238th in the country, while Connecticut’s defense has the 13th best effective Field Goal Percentage nationally.
Cincinnati is playing at home, and its defense will certainly keep it in the game – but I think UConn has the power to score when it needs to. I would not be surprised if UConn pulls off the upset on the road.
Connecticut 65, Cincinnati 60.
Oregon at Arizona, 9pm ESPN:
Arizona (AP: 2, BPI: 1, KenPom: 1) is coming off its first loss of the season at California last Saturday – and now has a home game against struggling Oregon (AP: NR, BPI: 25, KenPom: 39) to set the ship back on course. Oregon beat USC at home on Saturday, but the Ducks have lost 6 of 8 games.
Oregon keeps itself in games on the offensive side of the ball with the 18th ranked offense in college basketball. Arizona, though, has the best-rated defense in the country, as well as the 35th rated offense to combat Oregon’s 103rd rated defense.
Coming off a loss and behind its home crowd, Arizona should handle Oregon – but it is interesting to note, Arizona’s offense has been only the 6th best in Pac-12 play. Now without Brandon Ashley (averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds), the Wildcats will need to fine-tune their issues on offense. I suggest watching Arizona tomorrow night to see how Coach Sean Miller’s team responds to the loss of Brandon Ashley.
Arizona 77, Oregon 65.
Let us know what you think in the comments or on twitter (@BEandBeyond)!
Big East Basketball returns Friday night with Villanova-Seton Hall and Creighton-DePaul. Buzz and Zurg will have their picks posted soon, so stay tuned.