College Hoops Saturday: Your Commentary

    
January 23rd, 2010

There are some big games on the schedule Saturday, with the biggest possibly being Ohio State visiting West Virginia in a non-conference game that could have major implications come March in regards to seeding. Outside of the Buckeyes' Dallas Lauderdale you won't see big men on the floor, with both teams possessing a number of versatile players in the 6-5 to 6-9 range. The two best players on the floor: Ohio State's Evan Turner and West Virginia's Da'Sean Butler, both of whom are looked to as catalysts of their team's offense. Turner also leads the Buckeyes in rebounds and assists per game, and while he's surrounded by talented teammates they struggle when he isn't showing off his "jack of all trades" skill set.

As for Butler he plays almost a point forward role for the Mountaineers, but in Devin Ebanks and Kevin Jones he's got a pair of teammates capable of creating themselves. This could be the difference, especially if WVU is able to get to the offensive boards. West Virginia ranks among the nation's best in both offensive rebounds per game and rebounding margin while the Buckeyes are more towards the middle of the pack. If the Buckeyes are to win they're going to need big games from William Buford and David Lighty and they'll have to rebound by committee. And if they can keep the Mountaineers on the perimeter and force them to hit outside shots they'll only enhance their chances at leaving with an important road victory.

Saturday could also be "moving day" in the ACC with many of the teams caught up in the logjam at or near the top of the conference playing each other. Duke visits a Clemson squad that plays much better in front of the home folks than they do on the road, a trait that was on display in their beating of the Blue Devils at Littlejohn last year. Duke's bigs will be tested by Trevor Booker, and Coach K's quartet should be ready to go after their subpar showing against Tracy Smith and Dennis Horner in the loss to NC State. Other games of note include Connecticut hosting Texas, Kansas visiting Iowa State and Rhode Island visiting Xavier.  

TV GAMES

Noon CBS Michigan St at Minnesota
Noon CBS Mississippi St at Alabama
Noon CBS-College Army at Navy
Noon ESPN Villanova at St. John's
Noon ESPNU Akron at Kent State
Noon BEN-HD/SNY/MASN/CST Rutgers at Georgetown
1p ESPN2 MTSU at Western Kentucky
1:30p Raycom Boston College at Virginia Tech
2p ESPN Kansas at Iowa State
2p ESPNU Marquette at Syracuse
2p CBS Ohio St at West Virginia
2p CBS Oregon St at California
3:30p The Mtn Colorado St at New Mexico
4p CBS Texas at UCONN
4p ESPN Michigan at Purdue
4p ESPNU Massachusetts at Baylor
4p FSN Washington St at UCLA
4p Raycom Virginia at Wake Forest
5p FSN-SEC Tennessee at Georgia
6p ESPN South Carolina at Florida
6p ESPN2 N.C. State at Maryland
6p ESPNU Dayton at St. Joseph's
6p The Mtn Air Force at Utah
8p ESPN2 Houston at Memphis
8p ESPNU South Florida at Providence
8p CBS-College UNLV at TCU
8p BTN Illinois at Northwestern
9p ESPN Duke at Clemson
10p ESPNU UC Davis at Pacific
10p The Mtn BYU at San Diego St 

OTHER GAMES

2p Richmond at George Washington
2p VCU at Northeastern
3:30p Western Carolina at Appalachian St
4p Oklahoma St at Kansas St
6p Rhode Island at Xavier
7p UAB at Marshall
7p Morehead St at Eastern Kentucky
7p Old Dominion at William & Mary
7:30p Coastal Carolina at Charleston Southern
8:30p Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Prairie View A&M
8:30p Oakland at South Dakota St
9:30p Arizona at Arizona St

ONE PREDICTION

West Virginia over Ohio State: Look for the Mountaineers' rebounding to be the difference in Morgantown. West Virginia won't settle for outside shots against Ohio State, whether they play man or zone, and there has to be concern in regards to what OSU's supporting cast can get done offensively to support Turner. WVU wins a close one.