College Hoops Saturday: Your Commentary
Saturday will feature one of the game's biggest rivalries when Louisville visits Kentucky in Lexington. The two fan bases are at each other's throats for 365 days a year with the winners owning bragging rights for the following year. Expect Rick Pitino, who's been a polarizing figure in the state ever since he took the Louisville job following a tough time with the Celtics which was preceded by an outstanding run in Lexington, to get an earful at Rupp Arena. The court case against Karen Sypher will play a major role in that, but this will be about the players on the floor as opposed to the coaches.
John Calipari has arguably the best point guard in the nation in freshman John Wall, and if Louisville has any designs on winning the game they need to slow him down. The full-court pressure that's normally used to speed opponents up may have to switch to a defense that slows down Kentucky, taking away their ability to turn games into a track meet. Edgar Sosa, who knocked down the game-winning shot in last year's game, and Jerry Smith will need to use their experience to slow down the likes of Wall and Eric Bledsoe. And the inside play will be something to watch as well, with Samardo Samuels and Patrick Patterson facing off. Expect fireworks in Lexington.
As for the other games on the schedule, top-ranked Kansas has to be on full alert in Philadelphia, where they take on a Temple squad that's got the ability to take them out. Forward Lavoy Allen and guard Juan Fernandez are just two of the players capable of giving the Jayhawks fits, but Cole Aldrich may be the one player that the Owls lack a solid answer for. And many of the conferences will have their first full weekend of league play, with a number of teams looking to either get off to good starts or avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. Happy New Year.
Noon ESPNU Notre Dame at Connecticut
Noon BEN/CST/BSN Pittsburgh at Syracuse
1p CBS Gonzaga vs llinois
1p CBS Arizona at UCLA
2p ESPNU Oklahoma State vs. Rhode Island
3:30p ESPN2 Villanova at Marquette
3:30p CBS Louisville at Kentucky
4p BTN Minnesota at Iowa
5:30p ESPN2 Kansas at Temple
6:30p BTN Michigan St at Northwestern
7:30p ESPN2 Virginia Tech vs. Seton Hall
8p BEN/SNY/FSO Cincinnati at Rutgers
9p ESPNU Austin Peay at Morehead State
10:30p FSN-Regional Arizona St vs USC
11p ESPNU Utah State at New Mexico State
Noon UAB at Arkansas
Noon Baylor at South Carolina
2p Iona at Niagara
3p Southern Miss at Vanderbilt
3p Colorado at Tulsa
4p William & Mary at Hofstra
4p Georgia at Missouri
4p Detroit at Loyola (IL)
5p Army at Portland
7p Stanford at California
8p Cincinnati at Rutgers
8p Nevada at Louisiana Tech
10:30p Arizona St at USC
Kentucky over Louisville: The pick here is Kentucky due to their ability to go on runs at a moment's notice. They're young but you cannot ignore the amount of talent at Coach Calipari's fingertips, so look for John Wall and company to win by eight.