The Daily 1-3-1 (February 13th)
1 Thought from the Games Last Night
Tyler Ennis is cold-blooded.
The Panthers had their opportunity to finally get a quality win, up 2 with under five seconds remaining – then Tyler Ennis happened. In case you missed it:
Ennis has been the most clutch freshman, and perhaps the most clutch player, in all of college basketball this year. He’s made all the big free throws, all the big plays, and all the big shots. Jim Boeheim has one of the greatest luxuries a basketball coach can have – a point guard who thrives with the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.
3 Games to Watch Tonight
i. Minnesota @ (21) Wisconsin, ESPN – 9 PM
The Golden Gophers aren’t necessarily “on the bubble” at this point, but a loss in this game, especially if it isn’t close, will put Richard Pitino’s squad squarely on the bubble. I still think that the Gophers will get in the tournament if they finish 8-10 in the insanely deep Big Ten, but they should try to get to 9-9 if they don’t want to be sweating out Selection Sunday. Wisconsin needs to stop the home-court bleeding if they want to stay in the upper echelon of the Big 10. Opposing teams used to have nightmares about playing at the Kohl Center, but the Badgers are 1-3 in their last four home games.
ii. Arkansas @ Missouri, ESPN2 – 7 PM
Mike Anderson’s squad is still holding on to a small glimmer of hope that they may be dancing in March, but they’ll have to finish 5-2 or better to get to 20 wins and have a realistic shot for an at-large bid out of the SEC. Missouri is currently (barely) on the right side of the bubble, but a home loss to a fellow bubble team in conference would change that in a hurry. Both these teams are so hot-and-cold that any result is possible in this game.
iii. Colorado @ UCLA, ESPN2 – 9 PM
It looks like the Buffs are finally starting to learn how to win without their star Spencer Dinwiddie, who tore is ACL almost a month ago. After initially struggling to find an identity sans their leading scorer and assist man, Colorado has reeled off three straight wins, albeit all at home. Tonight’s game at Pauley Pavilion against a very solid UCLA squad will be a whole ‘nother ball of wax, and a good gauge for the committee to see how the new-identity Buffs handle quality competition on the road.
1 Bold Prediction for Tonight’s Slate
I will only be able to survive watching the Colorado/UCLA game until the first TV timeout because of Bill Walton’s announcing.
I’m usually rather lenient when it comes to judging the quality of a sportscaster – so it says a lot that it takes almost all my willpower not to immediately change the channel when Bill Walton is announcing a game. I can’t listen to him talk for more than 10 seconds without thinking about how much of a pretentious prig he is every time he opens his mouth.