College Hoops Thursday: Your Commentary
Thursday is a light evening in regards to the schedule with just two ranked teams playing. #2 Texas played a USC team that was gutted by scandal and the departure of Tim Floyd; Kevin O'Neill is now the man running the show at the Galen Center. North Carolina transfer Alex Stepheson and returning starter Dwight Lewis will likely have to play the games of their lives offensively for the Trojans to have any chance at the upset in Austin. A trickier matchup awaits #10 Washington in Lubbock, where Pat Knight's Red Raiders are 7-0 but in need of a headline victory.
The three-headed monster of Isaiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Abdul Gaddy will push the tempo via full-court man to man and forward Quincy Pondexter is among the nation's best. Mike Singletary (13.6 ppg) leads six Red Raiders averaging at least eight points per game; there isn't one dominant scorer on a team that relies on its balance and movement to win games. Baylor's visit to Tempe sets up to be the best of the three Big 12/Pac 10 matchups on Thursday, with the Bears looking to exploit their size advantage while the Sun Devils may have better decision makers on the perimeter.
Baylor's guards can definitely play but their shot selection at times makes you wonder, not to mention the defense (or lack thereof) that the Bears are prone to play. If Derek Glasser and freshman Trent Lockett can control the tempo it's going to be tough for the Bears to beat a team that's far more efficient on both ends of the floor. On a day that lacks in quantity it should be interesting to see if the quality of the shcedule makes up for that.
7p ESPN2 Washington at Texas Tech
7p ESPNU Eastern Kentucky at Murray State
7p MSG Mount St. Mary's at Robert Morris
9p ESPN2 USC at Texas
9p ESPNU Cleveland State at Wright State
10:30p FSN Baylor at Arizona St
7p Furman at Appalachian State
7p Davidson at The Citadel
7:30p Princeton at Rutgers
7:30p Lipscomb at Mercer
8p Loyola (IL) at UW-Green Bay
9p Coastal Carolina at VMI
10:05p Idaho at Cal State Northridge
Arizona State over Baylor: The Bears will have the size edge inside with the likes of Epke Udoh, Josh Lomers and Quincy Acy but I worry about the level of defense that they tend to play as a team. They nearly fell to Iona in the Old Spice Classic as a result of their defensive issues, and Arizona State's matchup zone isn't the kind of defense that you can just run up and down the floor against. LaceDarius Dunn and Tweety Carter will have to be judicious with their shot selection but at the end of the night look for the underrated Derek Glasser to lead the Sun Devils to the win.