Saturday’s (2/23) Games to Watch

First off, I want to apologize for the fact that we have not gotten a Banter up last week and probably won’t today. We’re working on getting the BoxScore Banter on a local Syracuse radio station from 10-12 Saturday mornings… we’ll keep you up to date on that. But today, JJ and myself had the opportunity to interview Notre Dame Guard Kyle McAlarney. He gave some great information on Notre Dame’s success, the longstanding win streak at the Joyce Center, and the Sunday matchup with Syracuse.

Saturday is Bracket Busters so there are plenty of great games to watch. Here are my Top Five:

5) UP AND COMING

creighton.gifCreighton @ oral-roberts.gif Oral Roberts

3pm ESPN2/ESPN 30

Creighton most likely isn’t getting into the tournament, but this team is going to be a dangerous team in the next couple years. This team has seven underclassmen and watch out for freshman P’Allen Stinnett as he leads the team in scoring. This game could very well be a defensive battle. Creighton forces 24 turnovers a game and Oral Roberts allows opponents to only shoot 40% from the field. Watch out for Oral Roberts’ Robert Jarvis. The Junior star leads the Golden Eagles with 16 points a game and shoots 42% from beyond the arc. Jarvis and Golden Eagles could make some noise come March.

My Winner – Oral Roberts

4) A MUST WIN

#13 connecticut_logo_2003.gif Connecticut @ villanova.gif Villanova

12pm ESPN/ESPN 360

This is one of the two games on the list that doesn’t involve mid-majors teams. Villanova needs this win badly if it wants to have any hope of getting back into the NCAA picture. At 6-7 with home games against UConn and Marquette in the next two before traveling to Louisville, the Wildcats must protect their home court. Ten wins is necessary for this team in order to leave a good impression on the committee before Selection Sunday. As for Connecticut, it needs this one to stay keep pace with the three other teams tied for first place.

My winner – Connecticut

3) POTENTIAL CINDERELLAS

kent-state.gif Kent State @ #20 saint-marys.gif Saint Mary’s

12 am ESPN2/ESPN 360

This game is technically Sunday because it starts at midnight. That’s why the am is in bold if you didn’t already notice. But this game is between two teams that I think could make a run to the sweet 16 in March. Saint Mary’s is almost a lock, but Kent State could really sure up an at-large bid with this huge road win. Watch out for Saint Mary’s freshman Patrick Mills. He’s another outstanding freshman in the country that can really play.

My Winner – Saint Mary’s

2) BEST BRACKET BUSTER

#18 drake.gif Drake @ #8 butler.gif Butler

5pm ESPN2/ESPN 360

This might be one of the best matchups between two mid-major teams that I can remember. I mean both these two teams are ranked in the top 25 and both teams should receive a seven seed or higher in the tournament. Drake is from the Missouri Valley Conference, a conference that has produced three sweet 16 teams in the past two years (Bradley in 2006 and Wichita State and Southen Illinois in 2007). Drake could certainly be the next. Butler went to the sweet 16 last season before falling to eventually champion Florida. With two senior leaders in the backcourt, Mike Green and A.J. Graves, this Butler team is very dangerous. Or will these bulldogs be outplayed by the other Bulldog guards, Josh Young and Leonard Houston. If you didn’t get it, both of these teams are the Bulldogs. Butler’s looks cool though, I don’t like how Drake’s humping the D.

My Winner – Drake

1) GAME OF THE REGULAR SEASON

#2 tennessee.gif Tennessee @ #1 memphis.gif Memphis

9pm ESPN/ESPN 360

I don’t really think you need a preview of this game. We’ve heard about this game all week. Will Bruce Pearl, the former mascot, wear his putrid Orange suit? Can Memphis stay undefeated? Would the Tigers be best off losing this game? Well, John Calipari might think so. He said that this is the first game his team is “allowed to lose.” Not only is this a game between the #1 and #2 teams in the country, but Memphis’ is putting the longest active home winning streak on the line. The Tigers have won 47 straight games in the FedEx Forum. I don’t think Memphis wants to lose.

My winner – Memphis

P.S. – Yesterday, Calipari came on Mike and the Mad Dog and he said that his team would probably still be undefeated in a major conference. WRONG! Memphis would not be undefeated in any major conference, but if it was in one, maybe people wouldn’t be questioning this team. Calipari started giving praise to certain Conference USA teams saying Houston and UAB are quality teams. Right.

Enjoy

Aneesh

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