Wednesday, January 15 Preview
Let’s take a look at what I deem 3 of the more interesting games on the slate for tonight. It’s not a great night of hoops, so if you want to pay attention to your wife or significant other at least once this week, maybe pick tonight. Or don’t, basketball is probably still better anyways. (All statistics in preview via Kenpom.com)
- Georgetown at Xavier (7:00 PM EST):
- This is an interesting one in the Big East, as both teams sit at 3-1 in conference right now and have 4 losses overall each. You would assume both teams would be in the tournament if it started today, but a win here would be nice for both. Semaj Christon has been ridiculous of late for Xavier, recording over 20 points in three straight games. He’s shooting 47% from the field and 48% from 3, and he gets to the line at an impressive rate, drawing 6.5 fouls per 40 minutes and a free throw rate of 62%, which both of which rank in the Top 6 among all Big East players.
- Georgetown’s defense is playing very well right now, ranking 34th nationally allowing 95.3 points per 100 possessions. Their eFG% defense and 3-Pointer % defense are both in the top 15 nationally. Essentially, it’s pretty damn tough to make shots against the Hoyas right now. That’s why Christon will be key. Can he get to the line and can he convert when he gets in the lane?
- Notre Dame at Maryland (7:00 PM EST):
- Both of these teams could use a win, huh? Notre Dame has lost two straight games, to NC State (at home) and Georgia Tech, neither of which are daunting opponents. Maryland has lost two straight, both on the road to Pittsburgh and Florida State, which is nothing to criticize. Losing both by over 20 points, though, is. Seth Allen has been spotty at best since he returned to the Maryland lineup December 29 against Tulsa. In 5 games, he has recorded 15, 6, 10, 18, and 1 point(s) in each of the 5 games. He’ll need to put forth a good effort tonight.
- In their last two games, Notre Dame has been largely ineffective on offense without Jerian Grant, recording 1.03 PPP against NC State and 0.99 PPP against Georgia Tech. This is a team that has averaged 1.11 PPP for the entire season. I wonder if they’re coming back down to Earth without Grant, after the valiant and impressive effort against Duke without him. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues, or if they can turn it around against Maryland’s so-so defense (allowing 98.7 points per 100 possessions on the season).
- Washington at California (11:00 PM EST):
- Is Washington hitting their stride? After a disappointing non-conference slate, Washington is now 3-1 in the Pac-12 with wins over Arizona State, Utah, and Colorado. Their one loss is a close defeat at Arizona. The key in their 4 conference games has been defense. The Huskies are 2nd in Pac-12 only play in both defensive efficiency and defensive eFG% behind top-ranked Arizona. On offense, C.J. Wilcox has been on fire for Washington. He’s 17-34 from 3 in Pac-12 play, including a fiery 7-12 performance against Colorado in their last game out. That’s over four 3s/game in Pac-12 play. For the entire season, he’s shooting 89% on FTs, 50% on 2s, and 43% on 3s. Let’s just say, he can shoot the rock, and I enjoy watching him put it up. We’ll see if he can stay hot tonight.
- California is 3-0 in conference and 12-4 overall, and the major reason behind that is Justin Cobbs. The senior PG has recorded over 18 points in four straight games for the Golden Bears while averaging over 7 APG in those games. He’s top 20 in the nation in Assist Rate, at 36.9%. Per Kenpom player comparisons, Pomeroy’s system likens him to Matthew Dellavedova of St. Mary’s (now currently playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers) from 2013 and Chaz Williams of UMass. So it’s fair to say he’s underrated nationally, and he’s a big reason why Cal will make the NCAA Tournament for the 3rd straight season.
My Picks for Tonight:
Give me Xavier over Georgetown.
- Maryland in a squeaker over Notre Dame.
- And as much I like Cal, it feels like Washington is starting to do Washington things again under Lorenzo Romar. I’ll take the Huskies in an upset on the road.