College Hoops Thursday: Your Commentary

December 9th, 2010
Thursday's schedule is a light one in regards to the number of games, but there are games that folks should keep an eye on. At the top of that list is Georgetown (8-0) heading up to Philadelphia to take on Temple (5-2), with the Owls looking to exact some revenge for last year's close loss in the nation's capital. The Hoyas are coming off of a week that featured wins over Missouri and Utah State, and their offensive play has been a major reason why. The three-headed perimeter attack of Jason Clark, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright is averaging fifty points per game on the season, and any hope of beating Georgetown begins with slowing them down. Clark hasn't reached double figures in two of the Hoyas' last three games but he's been a factor in games against their best competition. The junior scored 26 points in the win over Missouri, knocking down three huge three pointers in the overtime session. If Georgetown is to be a true contender in the Big East this season it may be his play that gets them over the hump.

As for the Owls, Fran Dunphy's team can use a win like this one to make up for their 1-2 showing in Orlando at the Old Spice Classic. Temple is the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic 10 but given the struggles of some of the other teams in the league a win here would be a nice boost for the league's computer numbers. Juan Fernandez and Ramone Moore are the guys Coach Dunphy will rely on in the backcourt but whether or not Temple wins will likely hinge on the frontcourt of Lavoy Allen and Micheal Eric. Allen, the preseason Player of the Year in the A-10, is averaging 10.9 points and just fewer than nine rebounds per game on the season and has posted double-doubles in each of Temple's last two games. Consistency was an issue for Allen and the rest of the Temple frontcourt in Orlando with foul trouble being an issue across the board. Going against a frontcourt that is looking for consistency in its own right, Temple will need to hold the upper hand on the boards as well as in the points in the paint category.

While Temple has offensive weapons at their disposal it will be their defense that wins the game on Thursday night if they're to get the job done. Georgetown boasts an offensive efficiency of 115.7 to this point in the season, a field goal percentage of 51% and an effective field goal percentage of 59.5%. Those numbers are all a far cry above what Temple's produced this year, with an issue for the Owls being that so much of their offense is reliant upon the key scoring options making things happen for themselves. Temple assists on only half of their baskets on the year while Georgetown has an assist percentage of 62.2%, meaning that the Owls will also need to force the Hoyas to become 1-on-1 offensive players on the other end. Temple's been very sound defensively, but don't expect a scoring output similar to last year's 46-45 outcome.

The other key games include Butler visiting Xavier in a game both teams need if they're to have any chance of being an at-large selection in March although both may need major runs in league play given the lack of marquee victories. The return of Ronald Nored helped Butler in Saturday's loss to Duke but they're also going to need Shawn Vanzant to be an aggressive offensive player to go along with Shelvin Mack. And Nored will be tested defensively by Tu Holloway, one of the best scoring guards in the Atlantic 10. Expect Xavier to be motivated by last year's controversial finish at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Ohio State shouldn't fall to IUPUI at home they should expect a challenge from one of the favorites in the Summit League, with the tandem of Alex Young and LeRoy Nobles leading the way. And Florida will be looking to build on their win over American but Kent State provides a solid test. Forward Justin Greene could be a handful for Florida up front despite the number of bodies they have inside.

Top 25
7:00 PM IUPUI at (2) Ohio State (BTN)
9:00 PM (10) Georgetown at Temple (ESPN2)
7:00 PM Kent State at (24) Florida (ESPN2)

NCAA Division I Games
7:00 PM La Salle at Boston University
7:00 PM Army at New Hampshire
7:00 PM Maryland-Eastern Shore at Old Dominion
8:00 PM Gardner-Webb at Oklahoma (ESPN3)
8:00 PM Jarvis Christian at McNeese State
9:00 PM University of Great Falls at Montana
9:00 PM Butler at Xavier (ESPN)
10:00 PM Redlands at Pepperdine
10:05 PM George Fox University at Portland State