College Hoops Thursday: Your Commentary

    
December 31st, 2009

The final day of the decade also offers conference openers in both the Big Ten and Pac-10 with the best matchup being Ohio State visiting Madison to take on Wisconsin. Bo Ryan's club has been dominant during his tenure at the school in Big Ten home games, boasting a record of 61-5 in those games. Trevon Hughes is arguably playing the best basketball of any point guard in the conference and with the Buckeyes still without Evan Turner points could be even tougher to come by.

But if there's any team that's equipped to leave the Kohn Center with a win it would be Thad Matta's squad; there are a number of solid offensive weapons on that roster. David Lighty and Jon Diebler are two players who will need (and have the ability) to step up against one of the nation's better defenses. Tempo will likely determine the outcome; the faster the game the better off the Buckeyes will be. To say the least neither team will be allowed to test the waters of Big Ten play; they're into the "pool" from the start. 

As for some other solid games on the schedule, Tennessee and Memphis renew their rivalry at the FedEx Forum in a mid-afternoon special that promises to be entertaining. Josh Pastner's squad is the more tested of the two when it comes to their early season slates but that may not matter against Bruce Pearl's deep roster. The key for Tennessee: Tyler Smith being hot from the start. If he's on his game early the Volunteers become a very difficult team to beat. The schedule offers up some good matchups, essentially a guarantee that this decade of college basketball will go out with a bang. 

TV GAMES

Noon ESPN2 Michigan at Indiana
2p ESPN2 Ohio State at Wisconsin
4p ESPN2 Tennessee at Memphis
4:30p FSN Arizona St at UCLA
6p ESPN2 Pennsylvania at Duke
7p ESPNU Richmond at Wake Forest
7p FSN-Regional Arizona at USC
8p ESPN2 St. John's at Georgetown
10p ESPN2 Oklahoma vs. Gonzaga 

OTHER GAMES

4p Arkansas St at Denver
6:30p Oregon at Washington St
7p Green Bay at Butler
7p Mississippi St at San Diego

ONE PREDICTION

Wisconsin over Ohio State: Hughes will be the difference-maker for the Badgers in the conference opener, making the key plays down the stretch in what should be a close victory. If Dallas Lauderdale and company can dominate the glass inside then Ohio State will have a better chance at picking up the road win but Coach Ryan's swing offense is a very tough system to guard. Badgers by six.