College Hoops Saturday: Your Commentary

January 29th, 2011
While there are a number of good games on the schedule for Saturday the best matchup may not come until the evening deep in the heart of Texas. Rick Barnes' Longhorns (17-3, 5-0) have been outstanding for much of the season, having won 11 of their last 12 games with the defeat being by one point. But they'll encounter a stiff test in regards to both talent and style as a Missouri (17-3, 3-2) squad that needs a win to remain in the Big 12 title conversation visits the Erwin Events Center. Both squads are solid defensively but they do things in different ways. Missouri relies on their pressure defense to turn opponents over, averaging nearly 19 forced turnovers per game. Texas on the other hand doesn't force many turnovers (13 per game) but they buckle down in the half court, limiting the opposition to 36.8% shooting from the field.

In regards to who Texas will need to neutralize in order to win one can start with guard Marcus Denmon (17.3 ppg, 50.4% FG), Missouri's leading scorer and three-point shooter. But there isn't a guy on this team that has to have the ball in his hands every possession to make something happen. Mike Anderson's team does a very good job of sharing the basketball, averaging 19 assists per game on the season. Michael Dixon Jr. (10.9 ppg, 4.6 apg), Kim English (10.7 ppg) and Pressey brothers Matt and Phil all perform well in this regard, constantly attacking the opposition to find open areas on the offensive end. Texas has one of the best perimeter defenders in the nation in Dogus Balbay, who likely draws Denmon in this matchup. Freshman Cory Joseph is also a solid defender and reserves J'Covan Brown and Jai Lucas also stand to see time, but the Longhorns' edge comes in the frontcourt.

Jordan Hamilton (19.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg) is a wing but at 6'7" he's a tough matchup for just about any team in America. Kansas had no answers for him last weekend, and Missouri will need all players to step up when called on. Forwards Gary Johnson and Tristan Thompson are both double-digit scorers as well, and their post play will challenge Tigers such as Bowers, Ricardo Ratliffe and Justin Safford. Ratliffe would have to be considered the most imposing of the group from a physical standpoint, but if he gets into early foul trouble Missouri could be in trouble. Texas can also bring Matt Hill and Alexis Wangmene off the bench, a luxury that few teams in America have when it comes to post depth. That's where the disparity in rebounding margin could determine the outcome. Texas out-rebounds opponents by an average of seven boards per game while Missouri's average isn't even a plus-two.

In order to leave Austin with a win the Tigers have to turn Texas over; Missouri opponents have a turnover percentage of 25% on the season but the Longhorns' percentage is just 17.6%. Missouri could be a team that has more of an impact in March when they see some unfamiliar faces, but with Texas having so many answers along with the overall familiarity with the Tigers' preferred style of play it's going to be tough to leave the 40 Acres with a win. In other Big 12 games Kansas State visits Kansas, and given the week for the Jayhawks there will likely be more than just your standard rivalry game emotions. The Morris twins have the ability to dominate the flow of the game from the frontcourt, posing a significant challenge to the likes of Wally Judge, Curtis Kelly and Jamar Samuels. Jacob Pullen has to find a way to revert back to last season's form but that's been difficult due to the lack of a sidekick along the lines of Denis Clemente. And Colorado meets Baylor in a matchup of two teams in desperate need of a win to turn things around and get back into the NCAA Tournament discussion.

As for the national landscape, Georgetown visits Villanova at noon with the Hoyas lacking a marquee conference road win. That could come today, especially if the Wildcats play offense like they did in the 83-68 loss at Providence as opposed to their win at Syracuse last Saturday. Speaking of Syracuse, the Orange visit a Marquette squad that has a lot of close calls on its resume but no standout wins. But the Golden Eagles have the perimeter play needed to challenge Syracuse on both ends of the floor, and if Scoop Jardine doesn't snap out of his funk it could be four losses in a row for Jim Boeheim's team. Louisville visits Connecticut in a game that has importance in regards to one of those four double-byes in the Big East Tournament next month; the matchup of Preston Knowles and Kemba Walker should be fun to watch. Minnesota visits Purdue in an important Big Ten matchup while Ohio State heads west to play a desperate Northwestern bunch. Georgia takes on Kentucky in Lexington, the scene of the Travis Leslie flush on DeMarcus Cousins, Saint Mary's visits Portland looking to remain undefeated in WCC play and BYU looks to keep things rolling with a win at New Mexico.

Top 25
6:00 PM (1) Ohio State at Northwestern (ESPN2)
8:00 PM (2) Pittsburgh at Rutgers (ESPN2)
10:00 PM Wyoming at (4) San Diego State (The Mtn.)
12:00 PM (19) Louisville at (5) Connecticut (ESPN3)
7:00 PM Kansas State at (6) Kansas (ESPN)
12:00 PM (20) Georgetown at (7) Villanova (ESPN)
9:00 PM (13) Missouri at (8) Texas (ESPNU)
4:00 PM (9) Brigham Young at New Mexico (Versus)
3:00 PM (10) Syracuse at Marquette (ESPNU)
2:00 PM (11) Texas A&M at Nebraska
1:00 PM (18) Minnesota at (12) Purdue (CBS)
4:00 PM (15) Wisconsin at Penn State (BTN)
4:00 PM Georgia at (16) Kentucky (ESPN)
6:00 PM Arkansas at (22) Vanderbilt (ESPN3)
1:00 PM (23) Florida at Mississippi State (CBS)
7:00 PM (24) Saint Mary's at Portland (ESPNU)
12:00 AM (25) Utah State at Hawaii

NCAA Division I Games
11:00 AM Temple at Saint Joseph's (ESPNU)
12:00 PM Florida State at Clemson (ESPN3)
12:00 PM Xavier at Richmond (ESPN2)
12:00 PM Northern Illinois at Buffalo
12:00 PM George Mason at William & Mary
1:00 PM Georgia State at Northeastern
1:00 PM St. Bonaventure at Fordham
1:00 PM Holy Cross at Lehigh
1:00 PM Norfolk State at Morgan State (ESPNU)
1:00 PM UNC Asheville at VMI
1:30 PM Auburn at South Carolina (Full Court)
1:45 PM Colorado at Baylor (ESPN3)
2:00 PM Saint Louis at George Washington
2:00 PM North Carolina State at North Carolina (ESPN)
2:00 PM Ohio at Ball State
2:00 PM Navy at Colgate
2:00 PM Charleston at Davidson (ESPN3)
2:00 PM Savannah State at Longwood
2:00 PM Long Island at Monmouth (MSG)
2:00 PM Rider at Saint Peter's
2:00 PM Butler at Valparaiso (ESPN3)
2:00 PM Bradley at Wichita State (ESPN2)
2:00 PM Mercer at USC Upstate
2:30 PM Saint Francis (PA) at Quinnipiac
3:00 PM Boston University at New Hampshire
3:00 PM Eastern Michigan at Bowling Green
3:00 PM Southern Methodist at Rice
3:00 PM Texas A&M-CC at Stephen F. Austin (ESPN3)
3:00 PM Hartford at Stony Brook
3:05 PM Indiana State at Creighton (ESPN3)
3:30 PM UCLA at Arizona State (FSN)
3:30 PM Wagner at Central Connecticut State
3:30 PM Robert Morris at Sacred Heart
4:00 PM Lafayette at American (CBS College)
4:00 PM James Madison at Delaware
4:00 PM Youngstown State at Illinois-Chicago
4:00 PM Tennessee at Mississippi (ESPN3)
4:00 PM Virginia at Wake Forest (ESPN3)
4:00 PM Appalachian State at Furman
4:00 PM Bucknell at Army
4:00 PM Kennesaw State at East Tennessee State
4:00 PM Drexel at Hofstra
4:00 PM Cleveland State at Loyola (IL)
4:00 PM Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (ESPN3)
4:00 PM Mount St. Mary's at Bryant University
4:30 PM Maryland-Eastern Shore at Howard
4:30 PM Houston Baptist at North Dakota
4:30 PM Western Michigan at Miami (OH)
4:30 PM North Carolina A&T at Coppin State
4:30 PM Florida A&M at North Carolina Central
4:30 PM Lamar at Nicholls State
4:30 PM UNC Greensboro at Samford
4:30 PM Bethune-Cookman at South Carolina State
5:00 PM Towson at Old Dominion (ESPNU)
5:00 PM Southern University at Alcorn State
5:00 PM Tulane at Southern Miss
5:30 PM McNeese State at Central Arkansas
5:30 PM Alabama A&M at Texas Southern
6:00 PM Oregon at California
6:00 PM Cornell at Harvard
6:00 PM Houston at East Carolina
6:00 PM Yale at Princeton
6:00 PM Elon at Chattanooga
6:00 PM Colorado State at Utah (The Mtn.)
6:00 PM North Texas at Denver
6:00 PM Centenary at Oakland
6:00 PM Coastal Carolina at Radford
6:00 PM Air Force at TCU (CBS College)
6:30 PM Delaware State at Hampton
6:30 PM Mississippi Valley State at Jackson State
7:00 PM Columbia at Dartmouth
7:00 PM St. Francis (NY) at Fairleigh Dickinson
7:00 PM Brown at Pennsylvania
7:00 PM Memphis at Marshall
7:00 PM Vermont at Albany
7:00 PM UAB at UCF
7:00 PM Tennessee State at Eastern Kentucky
7:00 PM Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic
7:00 PM Middle Tennessee at Florida International
7:00 PM Charleston Southern at High Point
7:00 PM Gardner-Webb at Liberty (ESPN3)
7:00 PM La Salle at Charlotte
7:00 PM Campbell at North Florida
7:00 PM Western Carolina at Wofford
7:00 PM Oral Roberts at IPFW
7:30 PM USC at Arizona
7:30 PM Maine at Binghamton
7:30 PM Jacksonville State at Eastern Illinois
7:30 PM Troy at Louisiana-Monroe
7:30 PM Winthrop at Presbyterian
7:30 PM Tennessee Tech at Southeast Missouri State
7:30 PM North Carolina-Wilmington at Virginia Commonwealth
7:30 PM Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Grambling State
7:45 PM Austin Peay at Morehead State
8:00 PM UTEP at Tulsa (CBS College)
8:00 PM Texas State at Texas-Arlington
8:00 PM LSU at Alabama (ESPN3)
8:00 PM Arkansas State at Arkansas-Little Rock
8:00 PM West Virginia at Cincinnati (ESPN3)
8:00 PM San Diego at Gonzaga
8:00 PM Boise State at Louisiana Tech
8:00 PM Santa Clara at Loyola Marymount
8:00 PM Texas-San Antonio at Sam Houston State
8:00 PM Greenville at SIU-Edwardsville
8:00 PM IUPUI at Western Illinois
8:05 PM Southern Illinois at Evansville (ESPN3)
8:30 PM UMKC at North Dakota State
8:30 PM Northwestern State at Southeastern Louisiana
8:30 PM Southern Utah at South Dakota State
8:45 PM Tennessee-Martin at Murray State
9:00 PM Oklahoma at Iowa State (ESPN3)
9:00 PM Alabama State at Prairie View A&M
9:00 PM Northern Colorado at Weber State
9:00 PM NJIT at Utah Valley
9:05 PM Montana at Montana State
9:30 PM Idaho at New Mexico State (ESPN3)
9:30 PM Texas-Pan American at South Dakota
10:00 PM Fresno State at San Jose State (ESPN3)
10:00 PM Oregon State at Stanford
10:00 PM UC Riverside at Pacific
10:00 PM UC Irvine at UC Davis
10:00 PM San Francisco at Pepperdine
10:00 PM Cal Poly at Cal State Bakersfield
10:05 PM Idaho State at Eastern Washington
10:05 PM Sacramento State at Portland State
10:05 PM Cal State Northridge at UC Santa Barbara
10:30 PM Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State