Saturday, January 31, 2009

Florida-Tennessee Prediction: Volunteers Try To Rebound on ESPN Gameday

Florida Gators at Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 9PM
TV: ESPN

ESPN Gameday comes to Knoxville for an SEC East showdown between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers. The Gators will be going for their sixth conference win and hopefully a top 25 ranking. Tennessee has struggled this season playing an incredibly difficult schedule of eight teams in the RPI top 50.

Records:

Florida 18-3, 5-1, 2-2 (away), RPI 26
Tennessee 12-7, 3-2, 6-4 (home), RPI 28


Keys to the Game:

1. Tennessee On Ball Defense Has to Do Better

The Volunteers have not played great defense this season allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Florida is tearing up the net shooting 50 percent from the field and 37 percent on three pointers. In UT's best win of the year over Marquette they held the Eagles to just 37 percent from the floor.

2. Florida Turnovers

The Gators are normally very careful with the ball giving it up just 13 times per game, but in their only SEC loss to South Carolina, Florida turned the ball over 18 times. Past Bruce Pearl Tennessee teams have been very good at creating turnovers, but his years teams is struggling a little in that regard. The Vols need to channel some past magic.

Stats To Watch:

Florida FG Percentage
Florida Turnovers

Prediction


Tennessee is the favorite in this game. The Volunteer crowd will be hyped up for ESPN Gameday and because the hated Florida Gators are in town. Still, I think the Vols are short on gas after playing so many tough games as of late. I think Florida comes on in the second half to win.

Florida wins by 1-7 points

SI.com

Other SEC Games This Weekend:

Miss State over Ole Miss
The Rebels are coming off a big win against Kentucky, but Miss State is quietly 4-1 in the SEC. Ole Miss has to go on the road for this one where they are just 1-4 on the season.

Auburn over Vanderbilt
Vandy has been one of the most disappointing teams thus far in the SEC. The Commodores have just 1 win away from Memorial Gym this season.

LSU over Arkansas
The Tigers are getting it done in the SEC under new coach Trent Johnson. LSU’s only home loss of the year is against top 25 Xavier.

Alabama over Georgia
The game of interim coaches in the SEC! Alabama has more talent than Georgia and is playing at home. Take the Tide.

Season: 9-9 SU through 1/30


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Kentucky-South Carolina Prediction

South Carolina Gamecocks at Kentucky Wildcats
Saturday 3PM
TV: Raycom


The red hot South Carolina Gamecocks travel to Lexington to face Kentucky who is coming off their first SEC loss of the season at Ole Miss on Tuesday. Kentucky has dominated this series winning 8 of the last 10 and 33 of the last 39.

Records:


South Carolina 15-4, 4-2, 2-3 (away)
Kentucky 16-5, 5-1, 10-2 (away)

Keys to the Game:

1. Defending Jodie Meeks

Meeks is scoring a league best 26 points per game and already h
as the single game scoring record in Kentucky history this season with 54 against Tennessee. In Tuesday's loss to Ole Miss, Meeks shot just 4-15 from the field and 3-10 from the three point line as he was constantly harassed by Rebel defenders. South Carolina has to be aware of Meeks at all times, but it will be difficult having two shorter guards in the backcourt that Meeks can shoot over.

2. Kentucky Taking Care of the Ball

The Wildcats turns the ball over 18 times per game offensively which ranks near the bottom of the SEC. South Carolina has been incredible at creating turnovers forcing opponents into nearly 20 per game. But Kentucky has gotten better in SEC play with just 13.5 tpg. Will that trend continue?

3. South Carolina's Backcout Duo

The Gamecocks are led by their backcourt of Devan Downey and Zam Frederick. The two are South Carolina's leading scorers averaging 20 and 16 points per game respectively. These two have to have great games for Darin Horn's club to pull off the road upset.

Stats to Watch:

Jodie Meeks shooting percentage
Combined Points for Downey and Frederick
Other four UK Starters points

Prediction:

Kentucky was due for a bad game after running off five straight in the SEC to start the conference season. Unless Meeks has another poor shooting night, I see the Wildcats winning this one comfortably.

Kentucky wins by 7-12 points

Other SEC Games This Weekend:

Miss State over Ole Miss
The Rebels are coming off a big win against Kentucky, but Miss State is quietly 4-1 in the SEC. Ole Miss has to go on the road for this one where they are just 1-4 on the season.

Auburn over Vanderbilt
Vandy has been one of the most disappointing teams thus far in the SEC. The Commodores have just 1 win away from Memorial Gym this season.

LSU over Arkansas
The Tigers are getting it done in the SEC under new coach Trent Johnson. LSU’s only home loss of the year is against top 25 Xavier.

Alabama over Georgia
The game of interim coaches in the SEC! Alabama has more talent than Georgia and is playing at home. Take the Tide.

Season: 9-9 SU through 1/30


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North Carolina-NC State Prediction

North Carolina Tar Heels at North Carolina State Wolfpack
Saturday 3PM
TV: ABC

UNC travels down the road to rival NC State today looking to stake their claim at the top of the polls after Duke's loss on Wednesday. The Heels survived a tough road test on Wednesday holding off FSU on the road. NC State beat Miami in a thrilling OT home win after two straight ACC losses.

Records:


North Carolina 18-2, 4-2, 4-1 (away)
NC State 11-7, 2-4, 10-2 (home)


Keys to the Game:

1. When Hansbrough Gets The Ball...Don't Foul!

The Tar Heels go as Hansbrough goes. Teams have been able to slow the senior this year somewhat by putting their tallest defenders on him. NC State's tallest guys are Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley, but they stand just an inch taller than Hansbrough at 6'9". One must for State is not to foul Hansbrough because he ranks number one in the ACC for FT made and FT attempted averaging eight points per game from the line.

2. Tempo

NC State likes to slow the game down and play half court offense. North Carolina can't run fast enough for Roy Williams. The Heels are averaging 92 points per game to the Wolfpack's 71. If this game gets into the 80s then I favor North Carolina. If it is in the 60s I favor NC State.

3. Offensive Glass

UNC averages 15 rebounds per game on the offensive side of the ball and its not because they shoot poorly because they are hitting 49 percent from the field this season. McCauley, Costner, and Co. have to keep guys like Hansbrough and Deon Thompson off the boards. NC State already has enough to overcome with talent and depth against UNC. They cannot afford to give UNC more than 10 second chances offensively.

Stats to Watch:

Tyler Hansbrough FT attempts
North Carolina Offensive Rebounds
NC State Turnovers

Prediction:

North Carolina has won 9 of the last 10 in the series and has dominated since the 1980s. It would have to be a calamity of errors from UNC and excellent shooting from State for the Wolfpack to pull of this upset.

North Carolina wins by 12-18 points

Other ACC Games This Weekend:

Boston College over Virginia Tech
Tough game to figure out here. BC has been on a mini hot streak as of late while Virginia Tech is coming off a home loss to Clemson. The Hokies have been great against the top teams and average against the middle teams under Greenberg. I’ll take BC at home.

Miami over Maryland
A game pitting two teams that are suffering through losing streaks as of late in Miami and Maryland. The pressure is starting to mount against Gary Williams in College Park. I’ll take Miami in a close road win.

Duke over Virginia
The Blue Devils cannot be happy about losing their first game as number 1 on Wednesday. I don’t think UVA has a chance.


Season: 9-9 SU through 1/30

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Wake Forest-Georgia Tech Prediction

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Saturday 12PM
TV: Raycom

Wake Forest, fresh off their win over number one Duke, travels to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets who are looking for their first ACC win of the season. The teams have split their last five meetings with GT going 4-1 at home.

Wake Forest 17-1, 4-1, 5-0 (away)
Georgia Tech 9-10, 0-6, 7-5 (home)

Keys to the Game:

1. Turnovers

Georgia Tech is averaging a shade under 20 turnovers per game in ACC play. Wake is not extremely careful with the ball either coughing it up 15 times a contest. The Jackets have to have under 15 turnovers to have a shot in this game and they have to do that in ACC play.

2. Bench Production

Both teams rely heavily on their starters, especially Georgia Tech. Paul Hewitt's five starters all average in double figures, but the subs behind those players are merely minutes eaters on the offensive end of the floor. Wake's top three reserves average just 13 points per game as the Deacons depend on Jeff Teague who delivers 21 ppg. Any additional bench production will be a huge boost to that team.

3. Come Out Swinging

In Wake's only loss this season, Virginia Tech jumped on Dino Gaudio's club early getting out to a 10 point lead at halftime. The Yellow Jackets have to get hot early especially from outside to have a chance to pull off the upset.

Prediction

Nothing so far this season has shown me that Georgia Tech can pull off this kind of upset. Wake Forest has been to number one and lost to an underdog in the next game already this season. Now they have beaten a number one of their own. I think they learned from that VT game and will not let it happen again.

Wake Forest wins by 10-16 points

Other ACC Games This Weekend:

Boston College over Virginia Tech
Tough game to figure out here. BC has been on a mini hot streak as of late while Virginia Tech is coming off a home loss to Clemson. The Hokies have been great against the top teams and average against the middle teams this season. I’ll take BC at home.

Miami over Maryland
A game pitting two teams that are suffering through losing streaks as of late in Miami and Maryland. The pressure is starting to mount against Gary Williams in College Park. I’ll take Miami in a close road win.

Duke over Virginia
The Blue Devils cannot be happy about losing their first game as number 1 on Wednesday. I don’t think UVA has a chance.


Season: 9-9 SU through 1/30

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Duke Wake Forest Prediction

Duke Blue Devils at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wednesday 7PM
TV: ESPN

The new #1 Duke Blue Devils travel to Winston Salem to take on last week's number one Wake Forest in an ACC showdown. The Demon Deacons have had a week to let their loss to Virginia Tech digest. Duke will be trying to reverse a recent trend in Winston Salem where they have lost four of the last five.

Reasons why Duke will win:

1. They play the best defense in the ACC
Duke is allowing just 36 percent shooting from ACC opponents in five games and just 25 percent from behind the arc. Both are tops in league play.

2. +5 Turnover Margin Per Game
Duke turns it over just 12 times per game good for 2nd in the league while forcing 17.

3. Free Throws Made
Duke has made more than double the amount of free throws of their opponents in ACC action - 79 vs 38. This equates to about seven points more per game.

Reasons why Wake Forest will win:

1. Efficient Offense
The Deacons rank #1 in ACC play in field goal percentage. They average over 1 point per possession.

2. Best Player in the ACC
With all apologies to Tyler Hansbrough, Jeff Teague is the best player in the ACC thus far. Teague can beat anyone from Duke's defense off the dribble which could be big in a late game situation.

3. Playing at home
I already referenced Wake's home record against Duke in the last 5 (4-1).

Prediction

The Blue Devils demolition of Maryland last Saturday was very impressive. While Wake has had a full week to prepare, I think Duke's defense will be the difference.

Duke wins by 1-7 points

Other ACC Games This Week:

North Carolina over Florida State
Heels depth is too much for the Seminoles on the road.

Virginia Tech over Clemson
Hokies return home heroes after last two wins and hold off Clemson rally late.

Season: 9-7 SU through 1/25


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LSU vs Tennessee Prediction:Tigers, Vols Highlight SEC Action

LSU Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers
Wednesday 8PM
TV: Raycom

Why is this game intriguing?

LSU and Tennessee both figure to be potential NCAA Tournament teams comes March. Both teams are near the top of the SEC with 3-1 conference records.

Tennessee's record indicates they are struggling at just 12-6, but they have played the 3rd toughest schedule in the nation thus far. LSU is an impressive 15-4, but with a schedule that ranks near the bottom of the SEC.

Why LSU will win?

1. The Tigers play very good defense allowing under 40 percent shooting from their opponents.
2. LSU turns the ball over under 13 times per game which is the second fewest in SEC games.
3. LSU averages eight more rebounds per game than their opponents in SEC contests thus far.

Why Tennessee will win?

1. LSU is 0-4 vs the RPI Top 50. Tennessee ranks #21 in the RPI.
2. The Vols have played the third toughest schedule in the nation with four losses by 10 points or less.
3. Tennessee ranks in the top 20 nationally in offensive rebounds and total rebounds per game.

What is the Key to the Game?

Tennessee's defense. The Vols defense has not played great this year allowing 43 percent from the field and 35 percent from the three point line. The Vols will be able to score points against LSU, but can they stop them in crunch time?

Prediction

Almost all of the stats point to LSU, but you have to take into account their much weaker schedule. When the Tigers faced their toughest opponent of the season last Sunday they lost by 10 at home. I think Tennessee takes this one, but closer than expected.

Tennessee wins by 2-8 points

Other SEC Games This Week:
South Carolina over Vanderbilt
Gamecocks are playing very well and are at home while Vandy is struggling

Florida over Georgia
"Just like football" chant will likely be heard and the score at halftime may be similar

Alabama over Arkansas
Bama's firing of Gottfried may actually rally the team and Arkansas is snake bit in the SEC

Auburn over Texas Pan American
Where is Texas Pan American?

Season: 9-7 SU through 1/25

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Monday, January 26, 2009

SEC Basketball Rankings January 26

Click Here for the most recent rankings

Another week of basketball begins in the SEC and we have our first coach resignation (or firing) of the season in Alabama's Mark Gottfried. The former Crimson Tide coach and player had been under fire all season including a most recent episode with star Ronald Steele leaving the team. Other than that we had South Carolina's last second win over Florida and Kentucky staying undefeated in conference play last week.

Most Impressive Team Last Week
Kentucky

Least Impressive Team Last Week
Arkansas

Coach on the Hot Seat
Dennis Felton, Georgia

NCAA Tournament Teams - 4
Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, LSU

1. Kentucky
Undefeated and really untested in SEC play so far

2. Florida
Gators bounce back nicely by blowing out Vandy in Nashville

3. LSU
Tigers go 1-1 on the week and suffer their first home loss to ranked Xavier

4. Tennessee
The Vols look to be struggling but you have to remember the schedule they have played

5. Miss State
Bulldogs are quietly 4-1 in SEC play

6. South Carolina
Gamecocks follow up big win over Florida with a win over Ole Miss

7. Auburn

8. Alabama

9. Ole Miss

10. Vanderbilt

11. Arkansas
How in the world do you beat Oklahoma and Texas and then can't win a conference game, including a blow out at home to Auburn?

12. Vacated

13. Georgia
What are the odds on Dennis Felton returning to Athens next year? Bulldogs are so bad they don't even deserve a #12 ranking just like their in state rival Georgia Tech.

Top 10 for SEC-ACC combined:
1. Duke
2. Wake Forest
3. North Carolina
4. Kentucky
5. Florida
6. Virginia Tech
7. Clemson
8. LSU
9. Miami
10. Florida State


Season: 9-7 SU through 1/25


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ACC Basketball Rankings January 26

Click Here for the most recent rankings

Another exciting week of ACC basketball action is complete. We saw undefeated and #1 Wake Forest lose at home to Virginia Tech, a dominating performance by Duke over Maryland, and Clemson is still winless in Chapel Hill, 0-54.

Most Impressive Team This Week: Virginia Tech
Least Impressive Team This Week: Georgia Tech
Coach on the Hot Seat: Paul Hewitt, Georgia Tech (won’t get fired because of the recruiting class for next year)
NCAA Tournament Teams: 7 -Duke, Wake, UNC, VT, Clemson, Miami, FSU

1. Duke
Some are saying this may be one of Duke’s best teams ever. I am not buying it but I do think this is one of the best coaching jobs Coach K has done.

2. Wake Forest
Ya know, Virginia Tech didn’t look too bad against Miami either. Regroup for Duke.

3. North Carolina
I think the Heels are nearly 100 percent back on track setting up for a three way showdown in the ACC.

4. Virginia Tech
Seth Greenberg how do you do it? Greenberg gets more out of his players than anyone in the ACC.

5. Clemson
Went against the big boys and lost, but has handled everyone else nicely.

6. Miami

7. Florida State

8. Boston College

9. NC State

10. Maryland

How Maryland has fallen. I remember when Maryland-Duke were barn burners. The Terps were throwing water on a grease fire at Duke Saturday.

11. Virginia

12. Vacated

13. Georgia Tech
0-16 is not out of the realm of possibilities considering the Jackets have played some of the lesser ACC opponents already and still don’t have a conference win. The play of Georgia Tech is so bad right now, I couldn’t even put them at #12.

Top 10 for ACC & SEC
1. Duke
2. Wake Forest
3. North Carolina
4. Kentucky
5. Florida
6. Virginia Tech
7. Clemson
8. LSU
9. Miami
10. Florida State


Season: 9-7 SU through 1/25

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Favorite Links of the Week

As always these links appear on the right hand side of the site.




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Clemson vs Georgia Tech Prediction: Tech Tries For First ACC Win

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Clemson Tigers
Sunday 7PM
TV: Fox Sports Net

The Clemson Tigers host Georgia Tech on Sunday night in a game featuring programs headed in the opposite direction. Although Clemson has lost their last two games it has been to Wake Forest and North Carolina and the Tigers are ranked in the top 20. Meanwhile, Paul Hewitt's Georgia Tech team has yet to win an ACC game, losing three in OT, and is just 9-9 on the season.

Clemson Players To Watch:
G KC Rivers, F Trevor Booker, G Terrance Ogelsby

Georgia Tech Players To Watch:
F Gani Lawal, F Zach Peacock, G Lewis Clinch


Keys to the Game:

1. Turnovers

This stat does not favor Georgia Tech. The Jackets are averaging 20 turnovers per game in ACC play and Clemson leads the ACC in forced turnovers at 18 a contest. Georgia Tech has to keep this stat under 15 to have a shot in this one.

2. Inside Matchup - Gani Lawal vs Trevor Booker

Two of the better forwards in the league outside of Durham and Chapel Hill will be squaring off in Tech's Lawal and Clemson's Booker. Clemson has the added advantage of having outside threats like Ogelsby and Rivers on double teams, though Clinch has been coming on strong for the Jackets. Also, Clemson is one of the poorer defensive rebounding teams in the ACC. GT has to hit the glass hard and get second chance points. Tech has to keep the Tigers off the offensive glass where they are 27th nationally.

3. Free Throws

Neither team is great at this, but Georgia Tech is especially bad ranking 337th nationally at 59.7 percent. The Jackets have to make their free throws to pull of the upset.

Prediction

Georgia Tech has had four tough ACC losses thus far, but they have faced four bottom half teams in those losses. I look for Clemson to bounce back strong in this one and force at least 20 turnovers en route to the win.

Clemson Wins by 10-20 points

Season: 7-6 SU (through Sat 1/24)

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Virginia Tech vs Miami Prediction

Virginia Tech Hokies at Miami Hurricanes
Sunday 5PM
TV: Fox Sports Net

The Virginia Tech Hokies travel to Miami to face the Hurricanes fresh off their road win over #1 Wake Forest this past week. Miami defeated FSU earlier in the week at home to move to 3-2 in the ACC and 14-4 overall.

Virginia Tech Players To Watch:
F A.D. Vassallo, G Macolm Delaney, F Jeff Allen

Miami Players To Watch:
G Jack McClinton, F Dwayne Collins, G James Dews



Keys to the Game:

1. 3 Point Defense

Miami is the one of the best in the ACC shooting threes at 37 percent on the season. McClinton is shooting near 50 percent from three point land and leads the Canes with 18 ppg. Miami is pretty good on the perimeter defense as well giving up just 31 percent. The Hokies also only give up 31 percent from outside the arc, but will have to do an exceptional job to keep McClinton and Co. under wraps.

2. Free Throws

The Hokies made 22 free throws to Wake Forest's 10 in the upset this week. Virginia Tech needs to attack the basket and draw fouls where they hit 71 percent from the charity stripe.

3. Rebounding

Miami is tops in the ACC with 47 rebounds per game and is especially good on the offensive glass ranking fifth nationally with 16 per game. Virginia Tech has to keep the Canes off the glass if they want another road upset.

Prediction

All of Miami's losses have come against solid teams. Virginia Tech has been very up and down this season running the spectrum of beating Wake Forest to losing to Georgia. I'll take Miami at home with with their edge behind the three point line.

Miami wins by 5-12 points

Season: 6-5 SU

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Florida vs Vanderbilt Prediction

Florida Gators at Vanderbilt Commodores
Sunday 1PM
TV: CBS

The Florida Gators travel to play the Vanderbilt Commodores in an important SEC East matchup at Memorial Gym Sunday. The Gators will be looking to erase the memory from their last second loss to South Carolina earlier this week, while Vandy is hoping to break a two game losing streak.

Florida Players to Watch:
G Nick Calathes, F Alex Tyus, F Dan Werner
google.com

Vanderbilt Players to Watch:

C AJ Ogilvy, G-F Jeffrey Taylor, G Jermaine Beal

Keys to the Game:
1. Turnovers

In the Gators aforementioned loss to South Carolina, they turned the ball over 17 times, four more than their season average per game. Otherwise, they out shot, out rebounded, out defended the Gamecocks. The Commodores force the second fewest turnovers in the SEC.

2. Strong Guard Play

Memorial Gym's odd configuration leaves the coaches on the opposite ends of the floor.
Players cannot hear coaches instructions from the end of the court sometimes creating confusion with young guards in crunch time. Florida's Calathes will have to continue his solid play late in this game for the Gators to get the road win.

3. Tempo

Florida wants to play this game in the 70s and 80s while Vanderbilt wants to play it in the 50 and 60s. The team that can impose their style has a huge advantage.


Prediction


It took multiple missed free throws and a perfect outlet pass with seconds remaining to beat Florida this week. I think the Gators rebound on the road and beat the struggling Vanderbilt Commodores.


Florida wins by 3-9 points


Other SEC Games This Weekend...

Arkansas over Auburn
Kentucky over Alabama
South Carolina over Ole Miss
Xavier over LSU

Season: 6-5 SU

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Georgia vs Mississippi State Prediction

Mississippi State Bulldogs at Georgia Bulldogs
Saturday 6PM
TV: ESPN2

Mississippi State travels to Athens for a crucial conference game on Saturday. Why is it crucial for Miss State? Because if they lose this one then they have a dreaded loss vs a RPI 150+ team which the NCAA Tournament Committee does not look favorably upon.

Keys to the Game:

1. Offensive Rebounds

Georgia has not won an SEC game and only beaten one BCS team. That team (Virginia Tech) just upset the #1 team in the nation this week (Wake Forest), but lets not get carried away too soon. In that win, UGA had 16 offensive rebounds against Virginia Tech and attempted 10 more shots than the Hokies. Miss State does give up nearly 16 offensive rebounds per game which ranks near the bottom of Division I-A.

2. Turnovers

Also in the VT win, Georgia turned the ball over just 12 times which is five times less then their season average of 17. The Bulldogs of Miss State force just under 14 turnovers a game while turning it over 15 times themselves.

3. Fast Start

In Georgia's last three losses, all really bad losses, they have scored 32, 19, 18 and points in the first half. UGA needs to get off to a fast start to build some confidence.

Prediction

If Georgia can get off to a fast start and win the battle of the boards, they have a great shot in this one. Somehow, some way Georgia pulls off this upset behind the home crowd.

Georgia wins by 1-5 points

Other SEC Games This Weekend...
Arkansas over Auburn
Kentucky over Alabama
South Carolina over Ole Miss
Xavier over LSU

Florida vs Vanderbilt Preview a little later

Season: 6-5 SU

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Tennessee vs Memphis Prediction: Battle for the Volunteer State

Memphis Tigers at Tennessee Volunteers
Saturday 3PM

TV: CBS

The Memphis Tigers travel to Knoxville Saturday to face in state rival Tennessee in a rematch of a hotly contested game last season. Although neither team is as strong as they were last year, both teams are once again in the running for the NCAA Tournament.

Reasons why I think Memphis wins:

1. Memphis plays good defense. The Tigers are holding opponents to just 37 percent shooting from the field. And that is against the #18th ranked scheduled.

2. They force turnovers. John Calipari's club forces 17.7 turnovers per game.

3. Tennessee does not play good defense. The Vols are allowing 43.8 percent shooting from the field which is better than what Memphis' shoots.

Reasons why I think Tennessee wins:

1. The Vols are battle tested. Tennessee has played one of the toughest schedules in the country thus far and will not be fazed by Memphis' talent.

2. Memphis has failed against stiff competition this year. The Tigers are just 1-3 vs the RPI 1-50 and 0-2 vs the top 25.

3. Better defense as of late. Tennessee has struggled on defense this season, but has played better as of late allowing Vanderbilt to shoot just 34 percent in their last game.

Prediction


With each of the Tennessee reasons, I felt like I am stretching to find something positive for the Vols. In Memphis' three losses they have shot the ball very poorly, but UT's stats don't lend it self to their recent defensive performance holding up. I like Memphis and their improved free throw shooting to clinch this one at the end.

Memphis wins by 1-7 points


Other SEC Games This Weekend...
Arkansas over Auburn
Kentucky over Alabama
South Carolina over Ole Miss
Xavier over LSU

Florida vs Vanderbilt Preview a little later

Season: 6-5 SU


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

North Carolina vs Clemson Prediction

Clemson at North Carolina
Wednesday 9PM TV: ESPN

Clemson travels to Chapel Hill to face the rejuvenated Tar Heels in a match up of top 10 teams. The Tigers have never won in Chapel Hill and have only beaten UNC nine times out of the last 62 tries.

Why I think Clemson will win:

1. Lets face it. Their due to win in Chapel Hill. All streaks come to an end.

2. Clemson forces over 18 turnovers per game from their defense even forcing 19 from Wake on Saturday.

3. More Defense. The Tigers rank in the top 10 nationally in steals and blocks per game.

Why I think North Carolina will win:

1. North Carolina has the speed and passing to break Clemson's press with Ty Lawson and Bobby Frasor.

2. The Tar Heels are an offensive juggernaut ranking first in field goals made, three pointers made and free throws made in the ACC.

3. Free Throws. North Carolina ranks #4 nationally in FT made and 18th in FT percentage. Clemson is 222nd in FT percentage and 183rd in FT made. UNC gets 6 more points per game than Clemson from free throws.

Prediction

After a brief blip on the radar early in the ACC season, UNC looks like they are getting back to their winning ways. The Tar Heels are much better offensively than Clemson and when they strap down and play defense they can be one of the best their too. I think the Tigers will have to wait another year for a win in Chapel Hill.

North Carolina wins by 5-12 points

Other ACC Games this week:
Wake over Virginia Tech
Miami over Florida State

Season: 5-4 SU


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Florida vs South Carolina Prediction

Florida at South Carolina
Wednesday 7PM TV: Raycom

The Florida Gators travel to Columbia, SC for an SEC East road test against the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina has lost just one home game this season to rival Clemson, while Florida will be playing just their third road game of the season. Florida is 3-0 in SEC play and South Carolina sits at 1-2.

Why I think Florida will win:

1. Florida is second best in turnovers in the SEC and #1 in assist to turnover ratio.

2. The Gators are #1 in the SEC in 3 pointers made and #1 in field goals made.

3. Billy Donovan's club is #1 in the SEC and 10th nationally in points per possession.

Why I think South Carolina will win:

1. South Carolina's defense forces 20 turnovers per game and only turns it over 14 times.

2. The Gamecocks rank #1 in the SEC in 3 point percentage

3. South Carolina is second in the SEC in defensive points per game at just 67.6.

Prediction

This is probably Florida's toughest road game since FSU, which they lost to. If the Gators can take care of the ball I think they win this important road game.

Florida wins by 1-7 points

Rest of the SEC in week games:
Kentucky over Auburn
Alabama over Ole Miss
LSU over Miss State

Season: 5-4 SU


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Georgia Tech vs Boston College Prediction: The ACC Cellar Awaits

Boston College at Georgia Tech
Tuesday 7PM TV: Raycom

The two bottom feeders of the ACC meet in Atlanta on Tuesday for a game with potential NIT positioning on the line! Ok, sarcasm turned off.

Keys to the Game:

1. Turnovers

Boston College is one of the ACC’s best at taking care of the ball ranking second in conference play with 12.5 turnovers per game. Georgia Tech is last in the ACC with 80 turnovers in their four conference games which is 20 more than the next team, Miami. For Georgia Tech to get the win, they have to take better care of the ball especially in late game situations.

2. Interior Defense

The Yellow Jackets like to pound the ball inside to their talented frontcourt trio led by sophomore Gani Lawal. BC’s defense ranks last in the ACC in FG% at 45.3% which tells me opponents are getting the ball to the rim and converting easy opportunities. For BC to pull of the road upset, they have to collapse down on the inside and force Tech to shoot from the outside.

3. Free Throws

I expect this to be a close game and many times in those cases it comes down to FT shooting. BC is the ACC’s best at nearly 78% from the line while Georgia Tech ranks near the bottom of Division I at 54%.

Prediction

Boston College loves to shoot the three led by G Tyrese Rice. If they Eagles are on shooting then it could be an 0-5 start for Paul Hewitt’s Jackets. However, I think GT has learned from their errors in their close ACC losses and pulls out a tight one at home led by their big guys down low.

Georgia Tech wins by 1-8 points

Season: 5-3 SU

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Favorite Links of the Week

My favorite links of this week. These links will always appear on the right hand side of the page.




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ACC Basketball Rankings January 19

Click Here for the most recent rankings

Contrary to the SEC's pitiful state, ACC basketball is as good as it has been in about 10 years. After getting the snide from the NCAA Tournament the past few season (and letting more Big 10 teams in than ACC despite the results of the Big10/ACC "Challenge"), the ACC is poised to have two #1 seeds and another very highly seeded team.

1. Wake Forest
I doubted the Deacons last week, but no more after their two impressive wins

2. Duke
Could Duke beat Wake right now? I don't know and Coach K wants to know why?

Source: Raleigh News Observer

3. North Carolina
Pretty good when the team some thought would go undefeated is #3 in your conference

4. Clemson
Frustration was apparent in the Tigers first loss of the season

5. Florida State
Big dropoff from #3 to #4, but FSU is set up to break their NCAA drought this year

6. Miami
The Hurricanes played the Tar Heels tough on the road and Jack McClinton may be the best guard in the conference

7. Virginia Tech
Seth Greenberg keeps it going despite a young team

8. Boston College
The glitz of the UNC win is starting to fade with the Eagles recent performances

9. Maryland

10. NC State

11. Virginia

12. Georgia Tech
At least you have next year's recruiting class to look forward to. Sorry you still have the same coach though

Most Impressive Team: Wake Forest
Least Impressive Team: Virginia
Coach on the Hot Seat: Dave Leito, Virginia
NCAA Tournament Teams: Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, FSU, Miami

Season: 5-3 SU


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SEC Basketball Rankings January 19

Click Here for the most recent rankings

About that time of year. Time to start ranking the teams each week. Basketball is a very fluid ranking with teams winning and losing to teams all over the rankings. Right now, I think the SEC would get just 4 teams into the NCAA Tournament. The state of the conference is basketball right now may be at an all time low. But here it is...

1. Florida

Only because I could not rank Tim Tebow #1


2. Kentucky
Is the early season bad loss followed up by impressive conference wins a Billy Gillespie trait?


3. Tennessee
Good offense, but bad defense is surprising for a Bruce Pearl club


4. Arkansas
Non conference is great, conference games not so great

5. LSU

Looked good in 32 point demolishing of Ole Miss


6. Miss State

Off to a fast start in the SEC at 3-0, but non conference schedule hurts them


7. Ole Miss


8. South Carolina

9. Vanderbilt


10. Auburn


11. Alabama

At least theres spring football around the corner


12. Georgia
Is it time for Dennis Felton to go?
AJC's Mark Bradley asks this question

Most Impressive Team This Week: Kentucky

Least Impressive Team This Week: Georgia

Coach on the Hot Seat: Dennis Felton, Georgia

NCAA Tournament Teams: Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas


Season: 5-3 SU


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wake Forest vs Clemson Prediction

Click Here for Preview of the March 8 Wake Forest-Clemson game

Wake Forest at Clemson

Saturday 3PM
TV: ABC

The last time these two met with national implications on the line, Tim Duncan was playing center for the Demon Deacons and Rick Barnes was coaching the Tigers. Wake is ranked #2 in the polls with Clemson coming in at #10, but their RPI ratings suggest otherwise (Clemson 4, Wake 14). Both teams put their undefeated records on the line in Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday.


Wake Forest is shooting exceptionally well from the floor so far this season averaging 51 percent, but Clemson is not far behind at 49 percent. Both teams are following that up with great defense holding opponents to under 40 percent shooting. Clemson holds a decided advantage in turnovers forcing 4.5 more game than they are giving up. Wake has had trouble with turnovers of their own at 16 per game, but their defense does force 18 each contest. The downfall of Clemson in past years has been FT shooting where the Tigers have improved a little this year to 67 percent.


Each team has good inside/outside combos. Wake is led by G Jeff Teague (21 ppg) and F James Johnson in the post while Clemson trots out guards KC Rivers and Terrance Ogelsby to compliment F Trevor Booker in the paint.

Prediction

This one could be one of the early season classics. Wake stats look better, but they have also played an easier schedule (#125 rank). When in doubt in the ACC, go with the home team who in this case has had a whole week to prepare.

Clemson wins by 1-10 points

Season: 3-2 SU


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