College Hoops Sunday: Your Commentary

November 29th, 2009

Sunday signals the end of the Thanksgiving tournament schedule with title games in both Orlando and Anaheim. West Virginia, who welcomed back Devin Ebanks in their win over Texas A&M, will take on a Portland team that's looked every bit the challenger to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference in wins over UCLA and Minnesota. But they're going to have their hands full with the Mountaineers, who are more versatile offensively than either of the two teams the Pilots have beaten in Anaheim. 

At the Old Spice Classic it will be Marquette taking on Florida State. The Seminoles came in on a low note, having lost to Florida in a game that wasn't particularly close, but they've found a way to beat both Iona and Alabama to move into the final. The Golden Eagles have a number of interchangeable pieces and that versatility served them well in beating #15 Michigan on Friday. FSU will look to pound the ball inside to their bigs, especially Solomon Alabi and Chris Singleton, while the Golden Eagles like to get things done on the perimeter via drives or long-distance shots. 

In non-title games keep an eye on Butler taking on Clemson in the fifth-place game in Anaheim. The Bulldogs will look to keep things in the half court while the order of the day will be "controlled chaos" for the Tigers. Butler will need forward Matt Howard to stay out of foul trouble and the same goes for Clemson's Trevor Booker. It's the kind of game that both are likely to run into come March, with their ability to navigate a game featuring a shapr contrast in styles determining the outcome. 


10a ESPNU Creighton vs. Iona (Old Spice Classic)
Noon ESPNU Baylor vs. Xavier (Old Spice Classic)
2:30p ESPNU Long Beach St. vs. UCLA (76 Classic)
4p CBS-C Texas at Rice
5p ESPNU Texas A&M vs. #16 Minnesota (76 Classic)
5p ESPN2 #15 Michigan vs. Alabama (Old Spice Classic)
6:45 FSN Nevada at North Carolina
7:30p ESPN2 Marquette vs. Florida St. (Old Spice Classic)
7:30p ESPNU #10 Butler vs. #19 Clemson (76 Classic)
10p ESPN2 #8 West Virginia vs. Portland (76 Classic) 


2p New Orleans @ North Carolina St.
2p Niagara @ Akron
4p Texas A&M-CC @ Ole Miss
4:30p FSN Nebraska @ USC
5p Princeton @ #23 California
9p Montana @ #14 Washington  


Marquette over Florida State: As I said on Friday I believe that the Golden Eagles are underrated. If the Seminoles can get their frontcourt in gear this becomes a tough game for the smaller Marquette front line. But their perimeter play, with the versatile Lazar Hayward leading the way, will ultimately be too much for Leonard Hamilton's team. Lazar has plenty of experience guarding bigger players since he's essentially an undersized four in the Big East; Buzz Williams' squad wins by five.