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January 28, 2008
Prospectus Preview
Monday's Games to Watch

by Caleb Peiffer


Matchup: Louisville (15-5, 5-2 Big East) at Connecticut (14-5, 4-3), 7:00 p.m. EST
Rankings: Louisville, #18 in Pomeroy Ratings (4th of 16 in Big East); Connecticut, #28 (6th)
Pomeroy Prediction: Connecticut, 71-69 in 71 Possessions
Upset Possibility: 43%
Prospectus: The Huskies look to win their third straight game against a team in the Pomeroy top 20 after previously beating Marquette and Indiana. They face a stiff challenge in the Cardinals, who stand alone in second place in the Big East, and who have been one of the unluckiest teams in D-I this year, at 1.4 wins below expectation. Louisville boasts a top-10 defense after adjustment, while the Huskies have a top-20 offense keyed by their superior ability to get to the free-throw line. Connecticut's leading scorer Jerome Dyson and fellow-guard Doug Wiggins, who were suspended by coach Jim Calhoun for the big win over Indiana after violating team rules, will continue to sit.

Matchup: Morgan St. (10-8, 5-1 Mid Eastern) at Hampton (11-6, 6-0), 8:00
Rankings: Morgan St., #159 in Pomeroy Ratings (1st of 12 in MEAC); Hampton, #170 (2nd)
Pomeroy Prediction: Hampton, 63-60 in 68 Possessions
Upset Possibility: 22%
Prospectus: The two best teams in this one-bid conference hook up in a matchup sure to be crucial to the eventual outcome of the MEAC title. Todd Bozeman will send his Morgan St. Bears up against a stiff Pirates resistance--Hampton is 20th in the nation in raw defensive efficiency. The Bears are led by the brilliantly-named junior forward Boubacar Coly, who ranks in the top-100 nationally in both defensive rebounding and block percentage. Morgan St. is best in D-I at limiting opponents' three-point attempts, but Hampton gets very little of its offense from deep.

Matchup: Oklahoma St. (10-9, 1-4 Big 12) at Oklahoma (14-5, 2-2), 9:00
Rankings: Oklahoma St., #68 in Pomeroy Ratings (10th of 12 in Big 12); Oklahoma, #27 (5th)
Pomeroy Prediction: Oklahoma, 73-63 in 68 Possessions
Upset Possibility: 16%
Prospectus: The first basketball edition this year of the rivalry known simply as Bedlam. The Sooners don't do anything exceptionally well, but are solid across the board on both offense and defense, while the Cowboys' strength is generating turnovers (9th best turnover percentage). Oklahoma St. is a better team than it appears to be--the team is at -1.5 wins in terms of luck, and has lost two straight to Texas and Texas A&M by a combined five points--but this challenge in Norman will likely prove too much to handle.

Matchup: St. Mary's (17-2, 4-0 West Coast) at San Diego (10-11, 3-1), 10:00
Rankings: St. Mary's, #32 in Pomeroy Ratings (2nd of 8 in WCC); San Diego, #155 (3rd)
Pomeroy Prediction: St. Mary's, 69-60 in 69 Possessions
Upset Possibility: 15%
Prospectus: The Gaels travel to take on the team that's nipping at the heels of both St. Mary's and Gonzaga in the WCC. Aussie point guard Patrick Mills has gotten the attention for the Gaels, but his backcourt partner, senior Todd Golden, provides a more interesting statistical profile--a guard who boasts the 2nd-best offensive rating in D-I, but who uses the fewest possessions and takes the fewest shots by far of all the players in the St. Mary's regular rotation. In the frontcourt, 6'11" Gaels center Omar Samhan should have his way down low against the Toreros, as San Diego has no one taller than 6'7" amongst those that play significant minutes.

Caleb Peiffer is a contributor to Basketball Prospectus. He can be reached here.

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<< Previous Article
Class of the A-10 (01/27)
Next Article >>
Ken's Mailbag (01/28)

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