12/30 Tuesday afternoon thoughts

30 Dec

VA Tech @ West Virginia

Always tough to get a good read on the final nonconference games for teams, but I think WV should be fine here, assuming they can hit just a modicum of shots from outside against VA Tech’s packed in zone. WV has been far from a consistent shooting team, but I think they’ll find their stroke a bit today given the ample opportunities they’ll have. WV should also be able to dominate the glass and create even more possessions with their top rated defensive turnover rate. Should be noted that the fans in Morgantown haven’t forgotten about Buzz dancing either.

Illinois @ Michigan

The Illini obviously rely on a guard heavy attack, and when they aren’t hitting the 3 consistently, the offense becomes easy to slow down based on the reliance of ball screens/dribble penetration from Rice. They haven’t scored over 1ppp against any major conference team this year, but obviously Michigan has had their issues on both sides of the court. I’m more concerned with them offensively, as they have no interior presence, and they’re more reliant on the jump shot than Illinois. Both teams will be able to jack up 3s at will, so I suppose it’s just simply a matter of who hits more of them, as Illinois won’t exploit Michigan inside and vice versa.

Long Beach State @ Louisville

Still can’t trust Louisville shooting the ball consistently vs a zone, and Monson certainly isn’t afraid to go zone, plus this game is wedged in between Kentucky and the start of ACC play for the Cardinals. If the Beach aren’t too worn out from this insane road trip and can handle the high pressure zone (iffy at best), they could stick around, but it’s never usually fun to face Pitino after a loss, and he’s switching up the lineup a bit, so I don’t think anyone is looking past this one on the Cardinals’ sideline.

Cincinnati @ NC State

You can’t glean too much from last year’s matchup, as both offenses were so reliant on players who no longer play for these programs. Can you trust NC State vs tough, ball pressure man to man defenses? Barber and Lacey aren’t necessarily turnover prone (except against WV, yikes), but against those type of defenses I mention, the offense as a whole has ground to a halt. So the question becomes whether or not the incredibly inefficient Cincy offense can score enough to win.

Prediction: Cincinnati +4.5

Maryland @ Michigan State

Michigan State gets Dawson back, and will get to face Maryland’s guard extended zone that allows a lot of three point attempts, but often highly contested. Interested to see Maryland vs a team that get behind the zone and beat them with height. Michigan State isn’t really that team at all, but they should see more than enough looks from outside to win this one at home.

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