Last night, we saw Syracuse and Michigan go down to the wire with the Wolverines pulling out the three point win. Syracuse had plenty of chances, but turnovers consistently hurt them. The Canes beat up on the Illini by nine with Rayvonte Rice putting up a cool 22 points and 12 rebounds. And finally, Louisville beat a pesky Ohio State team by nine, as well.
Here are three match-ups to watch tonight!
(7) Virginia Cavaliers (7-0) vs (21) Maryland Terrapins (7-0)
Virginia, like many other teams, comes into this game with a perfect 7-0 record. In their last game, the Cavaliers were able to defeat La Salle by a score of 64-56. It is important to note that those 56 points were the most that Virginia has given up this year, and it explains why they rank 1st in the nation in points allowed and 2nd in opponents field goal percentage, however, it should also be noted that Virginia has had a fairly easy schedule, thus far. Justin Anderson is the man to watch for the Cavaliers in this game. He leads Virginia on the offensive side of the ball with 15 points a game and he is shooting a stellar 59% from behind the arc and 54% overall. Virginia ranks 23rdin the nation when it comes to blocks per game, so it is safe to say that Maryland probably will not have too much going on in the interior. Malcolm Brogdon, is one of the focal points on this Virginia offense, but his three point shooting has dipped a significant amount since last season; however, Brogdon is still very capable of having a big game. Similar to Virginia, Maryland comes into this game with an identical 7-0 record, but Maryland has defeated the likes of Arizona State and Iowa State already. Melo Trimble, the sensational freshman guard, leads Maryland on offense with 16 points a game to go along with three rebounds and close to 30 minutes a game. Add Dez Wells and Jake Layman to the mix, and Virginia will really have to get after it on the defensive end, as all three of these players are capable of hitting jump shots. Maryland can put up points, which explains why their field goal percentage is in the top 35 in the nation. Inside, Virginia should be aware of DamonteDodd and Michal Cekovsky. Both of these players have the ability to alter and block shots. At the end of the day, this will be a very close game, but I will give the edge to Virginia because of their stellar defending.
Marial Shayok, Freshman, Guard, Ottawa ON-14.7 MPG, 4.1/PPG, 2.0 RPG
Prediction: Maryland Terrapins +4.5
Game details: Tipoff on Wednesday, December 3rd at 9:15 PM EST from Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts
(4) Duke Blue Devils (7-0) vs (2) Wisconsin Badgers (7-0)
Being the 4thranked scoring offense in the country, you can count on Duke to put up points with the best of them. Freshman sensation, Jahlil Okafor is living up to the hype by showing that he is the real deal early on. To be fair, Okafor has solid back-up from the likes of: Quinn Cook, Justise Winslow and Amile Jefferson, just to name a few. Duke does a good job of limiting their opponents in points; however, they do let opponents shot 40% from the field, which is a fairly high number. The Blue Devils will need to limit Kaminsky in terms of touches and make others try to beat them. Wisconsin is one of the better defensive minded teams in the country, allowing only 50 points per game and letting opponents shot only 37% from the field. Frank Kaminsky is the leader of this Badgers team and Naismith Trophy candidate (awarded to the Player of the Year). Duke Dukan has been a surprise in the early going, averaging six more points than last year, and you bet that Wisconsin will need him to show up tonight, if they have any chance at beating a very good Duke side. Nigel Hayes and Sam Dekkerhave also done a nice job, chipping in and helping Kaminsky with the work load on both sides of the court. I am curious to see how Okafor will handle this very tough defense tonight because it will be his toughest task so far. You can expect Kaminsky to guard Okafor at times, but I think the Badgers will throw a few different faces at Jahlil. If this is a high scoring game, I do not see a way Wisconsin can keep up, even with three or four guys who can put up points. On the other hand, if it is a defensive match-up, the edge goes to Wisconsin, especially with so many inexperienced players on this Duke team.
Prediction: Duke Blue Devils +4
Game details: Tipoff on Wednesday, December 3rd at 9:30 PM EST from Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin
(8) Wichita State Shockers (4-0) vs (25) Utah Utes (5-1)
We saw what the Shockers can do last year and frankly, they are back at it this year. Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet make this team run and they have not really suffered since the departure of Cleanthony Early (NBA). Wichita State can score, they love sharing the ball and they can get out and defend, which is a receipt for success. Utah comes into this game with their only blemish being a four point loss to a very good defensively minded San Diego State. Utah comes in averaging 82.5 points per game, which is good for 20th in the country, and it is a fairly balanced attack with four players averaging 10 or more points a game. The Utes are 7th in three point shooting, which means that the Shockers better be ready to defend, especially the likes of Kenneth Ogbe and Jordan Loveridge who can really get it going. Unlike the Shockers, the Utes have an inside presence in Jakob Poeltl, who is blocking three shots a game, which ranks him in the top 20. Wichita State has a good blend of both young and veteran players, to lead this team forward. It is crucial for them to not give up easy shots and to guard the three point line, where Utah can be fatal from. On the other hand, Utah must control Baker, VanVleet and Carter on the offensive side of the ball. I give the upper hand to Utah in this one.
Prediction: Utah Utes -3.5
Dallin Bachynski, Senior, Centre, Calgary, AB-10.8 MPG, 3.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG
Game details: Tipoff on Wednesday, December 3rd at 11:00 PM EST from Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Season record: 3-5
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.