In my last NCAA Basketball piece, I previewed three match-ups I thought would go down to the wire. I predicted that VCU would beat Villanova by five points-I was wrong. Villanova took it to VCU and ended up winning by 24 points. In the second game, I stated that Michigan would beat Oregon by four or less-Michigan won by seven, thanks to the big three. In the third and final game, I predicted that BYU would defeat a very good defensive team in San Diego State by 10-I was wrong, San Diego State won by five in double overtime.
Time to take a look at two games I feel will be great ones for tomorrow.
(7) Texas Longhorns vs (24) Connecticut Huskies
Texas comes into this game with a perfect 5-0 record. Texas has already beaten Iowa and California, by an average of 15 points, which shows how good of a team these Longhorns are. Texas ranks 2nd in the country only allowing their opponents to shot 30% from the field, while they, as a team shot around 50%. UCONN will have to focus on shutting down the likes of Isaiah Taylor, Jonathan Holmes and freshman sensation, Myles Turner, if they have any chance at pulling off this game. It should be noted that Texas ranks 6th in the country when it comes to rebounding, and 5thin steals, which has helped their defensive rank, which is 12th in the NCAA, only allowing 52 points a game. There are five players on this Texas team who can hit the three, so it is important that UCONN’s defense is on top of its game. It will be difficult for UCONN to get buckets in and around the basket, since Texas has three players who average over a block a game with Turner averaging 2.6. UCONN enters this game at 3-1 and they are coming off a 10 point loss to a solid West Virginia team. On offense, UCONN is led by senior guard, Ryan Boatright, who is averaging 20 points, six rebounds and four and a half assists, so it is safe to say that Boatright does a lot of damage for this Huskies teams. UCONN’s numbers are very poor on both the offense and defense end, respectively. The Huskies shoot 45% from the field, but they also allow their opponents to shoot 41%, which is fairly high. On offense, getting the ball to Boatright is a must and getting Daniel Hamiltonopen looks from three (he is shooting 56%) is also a good idea and a key if UCONN wants to win. A lot more has been expected from North Carolina State transfer, Rodney Purvis, but he has not got into the groove just yet. I expect this match to be very close. UCONN must defend the three, while Texas has to keep Boatright in check, if they want to pull this off. In the end, I feel that the Longhorns have more offensive weapons than the Huskies, so I give them the edge in this one.
Prediction: Texas Longhorns by five
(11) Kansas Jayhawks vs (20) Michigan State Spartans
Kansas enters this game with a 4-1 record, their only blemish being a 32 point loss to Kentucky. In their last game, Kansas defeated Tennessee by 15, which was a good win over a solid team. Kansas has to involve their star player, Perry Ellis early and often, as he leads the team with 15 points a game. Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr have to get it going for the Jayhawks. They have had rather slow starts to the season, and they will need to turn that around quickly, if Kansas wants to contend this year. It should be said that highly touted freshman, Kelly Oubre Jr is logging less than 10 minutes a night, head coach Bill Self insists that he is slowly easing Oubre into the NCAA. It will be interesting to see how many minutes he plays vs a good Michigan State side. Brannen Greene has to come off the bench with energy and he must hit some jump shots, Kansas cannot put all the pressure on Ellis to score. The only dark spot on Michigan State’s schedule has been a 10 point loss to one of the best teams in the country, Duke. The Spartans are led by senior guard, Travis Trice and junior guard, Denzel Valentine. As a team, Michigan State shoots 51.5% from the field, which means that Kansas has to get up on shooters and make sure that they have no open looks, or it could be a long night. Spartans are also 19th in the NCAA when it comes to three point shooting; more notably both Trice and Valentine both shoot 43% from beyond the arc. And finally, Michigan State shares the ball, as they rank 11th in the country with close to 19 assists a game. Containing Trice and Valentine will be #1 on Kansas’ agenda and with the way that those two have played; I will give them the upper hand vs a shaky Kansas defense. With no real shot blockers in the post, Ellis has to get the ball down there and work his magic. In conclusion, I think Michigan State’s experience will get them the win.
Prediction: Michigan State Spartans by seven
Last week’s record: 1-2
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.