College Hoops Wednesday: Your Commentary

    
January 27th, 2010

An in-state rivalry will be one of the top matchups on Wednesday night with Vanderbilt heading east to take on Tennessee in Knoxville. Thanks to South Carolina knocking off Kentucky the Commodores lead the SEC East with a 4-0 league record but they could have some company after Wednesday night. Kevin Stallings' team has won nine straight but this will be their toughest challenge by far, especially considering their tendency to struggle away from Memorial Gym in big games. Jermaine Beal and Jeffrey Taylor lead the way for Vandy, who is the SEC's most efficient offense (according to statsheet.com) by a wide margin.

Tennessee, in regards to efficiency and points per possession, is the SEC's best defensive team thanks to their full-court pressure. But they struggled against a Georgia squad on Saturday that did a good job of finding open looks (and more importantly making them) in taking care of the Volunteers in Athens. Big man Wayne Chism hurt his knee (sprained knee, may play) early in Saturday's game and wasn't the same the rest of the way, scoring just six points while the Volunteers struggled from the field. He and Scotty Hopson are the two primary scoring options for Tennessee, who will have to knock down the good looks they get in order to beat Vanderbilt especially if Chism can't go. 

As for other games on the schedule, George Blaney will lead Connecticut into the Dunkin' Donuts Center to take on a Providence team that should be more than ready to go given their blowing a late lead to lose to USF in overtime. Can the Huskies avoid a letdown on the road? And Marshall has a chance to make a statement in regards to the progress of their program with Memphis visiting Huntington. The Tigers aren't as good as they've been in years past but given their history of success in Conference USA this is an enormous opportunity for Hassan Whiteside and company, who can also use a "name" win to bolster their resume. BYU visits a New Mexico squad hoping to remain a part of the Mountain West race and Duke hosts a Florida State team in need of another "resume-building" victory.  

TV GAMES

6:30p BTN Illinois at Penn St
7p ESPN Notre Dame at Villanova
7p ESPNU Vanderbilt at Tennessee
7:30p ESPN2 Texas A&M at Oklahoma State
8p CBS-College Memphis at Marshall
8p MTN TCU at Colorado St
8:30p BTN Ohio St at Iowa
9p ESPN Florida State at Duke
9p ESPNU Texas Tech at Texas
10p MTN BYU at New Mexico 

OTHER GAMES

7p Connecticut at Providence 
7p Temple at Charlotte
7p Drexel at Northeastern
7p Georgia at Florida
7p Campbell at East Tennessee St
7:05p Illinois St at Wichita St
7:30p Boston University at Maine

ONE PREDICTION

Vanderbilt over Tennessee: Despite their struggles in recent years away from Memorial Gym this could be the year in which Vandy gets the job done in a "big game" of that variety. With Chism likely playing at less than 100% look for A.J. Ogilvy to have a solid performance in leading the Commodores to the win in Knoxville.