Belated College Hoops Thursday: Your Commentary

December 23rd, 2010
There are some good matchups on the schedule for today, from Washington State and Baylor playing in the Diamond Head Classic to Oakland's Keith Benson taking on Ohio State sensation Jared Sullinger. But the best meeting may be that between Georgetown (10-1) and Memphis (9-1) at the FedEx Forum in front of what will be a raucous crowd. The Hoyas have already picked up one win in a hostile environment (despite it being a "neutral" court), beating Missouri in Kansas City in late November. Josh Pastner's young Tigers, whose only loss came to Kansas in the Jimmy V Classic, has struggled with teams you'd expect them to handle with ease but the bottom line is that they've found a way to win those games and will have to do the same tonight.

Both teams average just over eighty points per game but they do it in different ways, and the "styles make fights" idea will be something to watch for tonight. Georgetown runs one of the nation's most efficient offenses thanks in large part to the three-headed backcourt attack that consists of Jason Clark, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. The Hoyas have an offensive efficiency of 117.4 and an effective field goal percentage of 60.3%, as they do a good job of spreading teams out in the half court to open up lanes for cutting and perimeter shooting opportunities. Georgetown shoots 42.5% from beyond the arc, getting 32.5% of their points per game in that area. Freeman (48.2%) and Clark (45.6%) are the two dead-eye shooters from deep while Wright (free throw rate of 44.3) is their best player in regards to pressuring defenses off of the dribble.

Memphis doesn't shoot nearly as well from the field (44.6% FG and 34.1% 3PT) but Coach Pastner's got a number of players who can break you down off the dribble. The Tigers have a free throw rate of 47.1 and get a shade less that 25% of their points from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Joe Jackson is their leading scorer with Wesley Witherspoon (13.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg) out after having his knee scoped, as his average of 11.5 ppg makes him one of seven Tigers averaging at least six points per game. His matchup with Wright will be crucial, and if he can make sound decisions without losing the explosive ability to make things happen offensively Memphis has a good shot of defending their home floor. Also keep an eye on wing Will Barton, who entered school with a great deal of hype but has struggled to remain under control when on the floor. He's averaging 11.4 points per game but on a field goal percentage of just 39.4% and he's about breaking even in regards to assists to turnovers. A more efficient Barton is a more efficient Memphis, although that can be said for any of the players in their rotation.

Interior play will also be something to keep an eye on as both have their fair share of questions to be answered as the season wears on. Both do a good job of attacking the offensive boards but Georgetown has been much better in regards to defensive rebounding. Junior Henry Sims has played better than expected coming into the season, giving Georgetown a good reserve when Julian Vaughn needs a breather or encounters foul trouble. Nate Lubick and Jerelle Benimon are also a part of that rotation, but the question for the Hoyas will be how they deal with the physicality of a Will Coleman or a Tarik Black. Memphis does their rebounding as a team as no player averages more than five rebounds per game, and they'll need to do more of the same tonight. Rebounding and possessions (Memphis averages seven more possessions per game) will be crucial factors in this contest, one that the Tigers can definitely use to further bolster their resume (it wouldn't hurt Georgetown either).

Top 25
8:00 PM Oakland at (2) Ohio State (BTN)
8:00 PM (9) Georgetown at (17) Memphis (ESPN2)
8:00 PM UMKC at (11) Kansas State (ESPN3)
6:30 PM Washington State vs. (15) Baylor* (ESPNU)
8:00 PM South Dakota State at (16) Minnesota (ESPN3)
7:30 PM Belmont at (18) Tennessee (ESPN3)
9:00 PM UTEP at (23) Brigham Young (The Mtn.)

NCAA Division I Games
12:00 PM Northeastern vs. East Tennessee State*
2:00 PM North Carolina A&T at Arizona State
2:30 PM South Carolina State vs. Longwood*
2:30 PM Saint Louis vs. Southern Miss* (ESPNU)
3:00 PM Mount St. Mary's at Northwestern
3:00 PM Akron vs. Miami (FL)*
3:00 PM Tulane at Southern University
3:05 PM Chicago State at Drake
4:30 PM Mississippi State vs. San Diego* (ESPNU)
5:00 PM Citadel vs. SIU-Edwardsville*
5:15 PM Oral Roberts vs. Rice*
6:00 PM Bryant University at Michigan
7:00 PM Virginia Tech vs. St. Bonaventure*
7:00 PM Presbyterian at Old Dominion
7:00 PM Texas State vs. Appalachian State*
7:00 PM St. Francis (PA) at Cincinnati (ESPN3)
7:00 PM Georgia at Mercer (ESPN3)
7:30 PM Colorado vs. Indiana* (CBSC)
7:30 PM St. Peter's at Rutgers
7:30 PM Arkansas-Little Rock vs. Stetson*
7:30 PM Western Michigan vs. Idaho State*
8:00 PM Texas-San Antonio at Tulsa
8:00 PM Coppin State at Wisconsin
8:05 PM Norfolk State at Evansville
8:30 PM Lehigh at USC
9:00 PM Saint Mary's at New Mexico State
9:30 PM Mississippi vs. Colorado State* (ESPNU)
10:00 PM Butler vs. Florida State* (ESPN2)
10:00 PM New Mexico vs. Northern Iowa* (CBSC)
10:00 PM IUPUI vs. San Francisco*
10:05 PM Troy at Utah State
10:05 PM Utah Valley at Portland State
10:30 PM UC Irvine at UCLA