College Hoops Tuesday: Your Commentary

    
November 30th, 2010
While Tuesday marks the second day of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which the ACC leads 1-0 thanks to Virginia's win over Minnesota last night, the best game on the schedule may actually tip off in Kansas City. Two teams expected to contend for their respective league titles meet at the Spirit Center as Georgetown faces Missouri. The Hoyas are the more tested of the two teams to this point in the season, having won the Charleston Classic as well as beating Old Dominion on the road in their season opener. But they've yet to face a team who plays a style similar to that of Mike Anderson's Tigers, who look to kick up the tempo to levels that few teams can sustain without a plethora of turnovers.

What also sets apart Missouri from most teams is that they don't rely on just one or two players to do the majority of the scoring. Marcus Denmon leads the team in scoring with an average of 13.3 points per game, but five players averaged at least 9.6 points per game and ten are playing 10 minutes per game. Missouri also averages 17 assists per game, featuring the likes of Kim English, Laurence Bowers and Ricardo Ratliffe this is a group that has no problem sharing the basketball. Ratliffe, the junior college national player of the year last season, represents a significant test for a Georgetown frontline that has slowly stepped up its play of late. In all five games that he's played in senior Julian Vaughn has grabbed seven rebounds or more, but if he can continue to be a double-figure scorer (11+ points in three of the last four games) it will help head coach John Thompson III in the quest for making up some of the points lost with the departure of Greg Monroe. Henry Sims, Nate Lubick and Jerelle Benimon are also players to keep an eye on tonight; big men can become turnover machines against the Missouri defense if they're not prepared for the tempo shift.

Ultimately how well Georgetown plays will depend on their three-headed backcourt attack. Austin Freeman leads the team in scoring with an average of just over 20 points per game and has looked far more aggressive to start the season and Chris Wright is averaging seven assists per game. But the one who's made the biggest jump is junior Jason Clark, who is averaging 14.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. His three point percentage has increased each year and he's knocking down 45.5% of those shots in addition to 51.7% of his shots from the field overall. Not only will Clark be key tonight, but his play throughout the season will be something to keep tabs on as that could be what allows them to crack the projected top three in the Big East of Pittsburgh, Villanova and Syracuse. The Hoyas average 67.5 possessions per game while the Tigers are up at 75; is it easier to speed up (Georgetown) or slow down (Missouri)? The answer will determine the winner.

In other big contests Ohio State goes back to the Sunshine State, this time taking on a Florida State squad that could use a marquee victory after falling to Florida on Sunday night. Jared Sullinger is a handful on the block and the Buckeyes have shown themselves to be one of the more unselfish teams in the country to date. In order for the Seminoles to win they're going to need Chris Singleton at his best, and defensively they'll need to pressure Buckeye perimeter players in order to limit the number of easy entry passes to Sullinger. North Carolina, another young team with a number of questions that need answering especially at the point, hits the road to face a talented Illinois group that is expected to contend in the Big Ten. And Mississippi visits Miami (FL) in a game that both will likely look to in one way or another if they find their way into the at-large discussion come March.

Top 25
7:30 PM (2) Ohio State at Florida State (ESPN)
7:00 PM Cornell at (7) Syracuse (ESPN3)
9:00 PM (14) Georgetown at (8) Missouri (ESPNU)
7:30 PM New Hampshire at (9) Connecticut (ESPN3)
7:00 PM Boston University at (11) Kentucky (ESPN3)
7:30 PM Middle Tennessee at (17) Tennessee
9:30 PM North Carolina at (21) Illinois (ESPN)
11:00 PM Long Beach State at (22) Washington
9:05 PM Eastern Washington at (24) Gonzaga

NCAA Division I Games
7:00 PM Hartford at Yale
7:00 PM Savannah State at Stetson
7:00 PM Georgia Tech at Northwestern (ESPN2)
7:00 PM Iowa at Wake Forest (ESPNU)
7:00 PM UMBC at Pennsylvania
7:00 PM Princeton at Lafayette
7:00 PM Canisius at Binghamton
7:00 PM Georgia State at Hampton
7:00 PM Mississippi at Miami (FL)
7:00 PM Iona at Norfolk State
7:00 PM Bradley at Western Carolina
7:30 PM Indiana State at Notre Dame
7:30 PM Toccoa Falls at Charleston Southern
7:30 PM Lincoln PA at Coppin State
7:30 PM Allen at South Carolina State
8:00 PM GEO SOUTHWESTRN at Auburn
8:00 PM Houston at LSU
8:00 PM Texas-Arlington at North Texas
8:00 PM Florida Atlantic at Mississippi State
8:00 PM Nevada at South Dakota State
8:00 PM San Jose State at Texas-San Antonio
8:00 PM Oral Roberts at Texas Tech
8:00 PM Alabama State at Tulane
8:45 PM Centenary at Northwestern State
9:00 PM Texas-Pan American at Colorado
9:00 PM UTEP at New Mexico State (ESPN3)
9:00 PM Michigan at Clemson (ESPN2)
9:00 PM Fresno State at Utah
9:05 PM Cal State Fullerton at Montana
10:00 PM Sacramento State at Washington State
10:00 PM Saint Louis at Portland
10:00 PM Northern Arizona at Cal State Bakersfield