THE 1-3-1 MIDWEEK REVIEW
1 Thought From the Games Earlier this Week
Colorado State is a tournament-caliber team. The Rams took care of business against New Mexico on Tuesday, paced by Pierce Hornung’s 13 point, 15 rebound double-double. Colorado State played a fairly tough non-conference schedule (@Stanford, Southern Miss, Colorado, @Northern Iowa, @Duke) and plays in a fairly tough Mountain West Conference. They’ve managed to achieve a 17-9 record thus far this season, and definitely have the opportunity to play their way onto (or off of) the tournament bubble. They close the season with games against San Diego State, UNLV, and Air Force. If they can win 2 of these, they’ll definitely be in the thick of the bubble conversation at 19-10.
3 Games to Watch this Weekend
i. Marquette @ West Virginia (Friday @ 9 pm EST, TV – ESPN)
Marquette has one of the best 1-2 punches in all of college basketball in the form of Jae Crowder and DJO. The two of them are fun to watch, and have led Marquette to a relatively quiet 23-5 record. On the other end of the floor, West Virginia has who I think is clearly the best player in the Big East Conference – Kevin Jones. He scores 20+ a game, while shooting over 50% from the field, and pulls down almost 12 boards a game. Plus, he’s fun to watch and really gets after it. West Virginia needs to avoid a late season collapse in order to make the tournament.
ii. Missouri @ Kansas (Saturday @ 4 pm EST, TV – CBS)
The first time these two teams played, Marcus Denmon played what I think was his best game of the season. However, he’s struggled at times with his shot selection this season, and if Missouri faces an early deficit playing in Lawrence, I fear he may start hoisting up unnecessary shots from deep. I’d also like to take this time to point out how egregiously underrated I believe Tyshawn Taylor is as a basketball player and a point guard; He’s DAMN good. Hopefully both teams come out to play, as the winner of this game is in the driver seat in the Big 12 title race.
iii. Wisconsin @ Ohio State (Sunday @ 1 pm EST, TV – CBS)
This game is not for the faint of heart. Then again, I think that could be said about any basketball game that Wisconsin is involved in. Michigan and Michigan State will be cheering for the Badgers to go in to Columbus and pull the upset, which would essentially make the Big Ten regular season title a 2-horse race between the in-state rivals. Ohio State can win their way back onto the 1-line with a strong finish to the season. By the same token, they could also end up a 3-seed if they stumble to the finish line.
1 Bold Prediction for the Weekend
The Bubble gets more crowded and more mediocre. This is a pretty generic prediction, but that doesn’t take away from the possibility of its veracity. A lot of bubble teams have important games this weekend. Most of these games are the type where a win just keeps a team alive and on the bubble, but does not bolster their tournament resume, and a lost critically damages their chances of making the tournament. I would also like to point out that the general mediocrity of teams on the bubble this season does nothing but further my belief that the tournament field should have stayed at 64. Sadly, that’s not for me to decide.