College Basketball: Weekend Viewers Guide
The big focus this weekend is on college football for many sports fans, with conference and national title implications hinging on a number of rivalry games.
But don't forget about hoops either. Here are a few games to keep an eye on while you're digging through those leftovers.
7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Washington State HDNET
The championship of the Legends Classic figures to be a defensive masterpiece, with two rugged teams going head to head. Pitt is led by forwards Sam Young and DeJuan Blair, and guard Levance Fields, and they've lived up the the hype so far, combining for 49 points per game. The Cougars have leaned on freshman forward Klay Thompson and veterans Aron Baynes and Taylor Rochestie, and their calling card continuers to be defense, holding teams to 29.7% shooting thus far. However, Pitt figures to have too many weapons and too much experience, and should come out on top.
8:00 p.m. Dayton vs. #15 Marquette
Marquette may get their first test of the young season, and the first of Buzz Williams' career. Dayton has ridden high-flying forward Chris Wright and Marcus Johnson to a 5-0 start, including an overtime win over Auburn. The Eagles are still led by one of the finest guard trios in the game with Dominic James, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews, who are averaging 49 points and 13 assist between them. Look for the Eagles to fly away with the win.
5:30 p.m. #16 Georgetown vs. Maryland ESPN2
The consolation game of the Old Spice Classic pits two teams still searching for an identity. Maryland pulled a big upset in knocking off Michigan State, but then looked completely outclassed by Gonzaga in the semis. Outside of PG Greivis Vasquez, the Terps are wildly unpredictable at this point. The Hoyas have some good pieces in Dajuan Summer, Austin Freeman and talented frosh Greg Monroe, but they've lacked an offensive identity so far. However, look for Georgetown to use their talent to overwhelm the unproven Terps, and come away with the victory.
7:30 p.m. #12 Tennessee vs. #10 Gonzaga ESPN2
Could be one of the best early-season matchups in recent memory. Tennesee is long, athletic and deep, with an endless supply of wings who can attack the basket and shoot. If PG Bobby Maze plays under control, they'll be tough to beat. The Zags are also blessed with incredible depth, and are led by veterans Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye. This one figures to be up-and-down the floor with plenty of highlights. Look for the Zags, with more experience, to pull out the victory and win the Old Spice Classic.
8:00 p.m. UTEP vs. #14 Arizona State ESPNU
The Sun Devils were shocked by Baylor's hot-shooting from distance, but they should have no trouble rebounding against Stefon Jackson, Randy Culpepper and the Miners. ASU guard James Harden has been spectacular, and the Devils will be poised to redeem themselves after the surprising loss to the Bears.
10:30 p.m. #24 Wake Forest vs. Baylor ESPN2
The championship of the 76 Classic should be a fun one. Wake is loaded with young talent, like sophomores James Johnson and Jeff Teague, as well as freshman stud Al-Farouq Aminu. The Bears are loaded with veteran talent, including Curtis Jerrels, Henry Dugat and Kevin Rogers, plus sharp-shooting sophomore Lacedarius Dunn. Look for Baylor to impose their will in this game, and negate Wake's size with their outside shooting and quickness. Scott Drew continues his amazing success with a victory in the 76 Classic.