Pregame Shootaround: 1.28.13: Can Louisville avoid a fourth straight loss?
Game of the Day: Pittsburgh at No. 12 Louisville (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Louisville is looking to snap a three-game losing skid that has dropped them from No. 1 in the country to behind St. John’s in the Big East standings. That’s quite a tumble for the Cardinals to make, and turning it around isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world, either. For starters, Louisville will be playing without two members of their rotation on Monday night as Wayne Blackshear is dealing with a shoulder injury and Kevin Ware has been suspended indefinitely.
But there’s more to it than that. Pittsburgh is actually one of the more underrated teams in the country. They’re sitting at 17-4 on the season and No. 7 in the current Kenpom rankings. They have a big front line that pounds the offensive glass and a pair of quality point guards that can control tempo and that don’t turn the ball over. Keeping Louisville from scoring points in transition is the best way to beat this team, especially with their most dynamic scorer (Russ Smith) being muzzled by Rick Pitino.
Who’s Getting Upset?: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Jackson State (8:30 p.m. ET)
Jackson State has a kid on their team named Dundrecous Nelson. Nelson, who was forced out of Ole Miss for some issues with marijuana, was a double-digit scorer as a sophomore in the SEC. He’s averaging nearly 16 points for JSU, and he’s not even the team’s leading scorer. UAPB is currently a half-game off the pace set by Southern in the SWAC, while Jackson State needed to sweep Mississippi Valley State and Grambling last week to avoid the cellar.
Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Delaware at Drexel (7:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Net)
These were supposed to be the two best teams in the CAA this season, but after Northeastern knocked off George Mason on Sunday evening, they are both sitting tied for second place in the league a full three games behind the Huskies. Drexel has won three straight games since Damion Lee returned from injury, but the Blue Hens have as much talent on their roster as anyone in the country.
Five Things to Watch For
1) On Saturday, a bat spent the entire afternoon attacking No. 25 Marquette and Providence players. The Golden Eagles host South Florida tonight. Will he make another appearance?
2) No. 2 Kansas will make their first trip up to Morgantown to play a Big 12 game in the Big Monday nightcap. the intrigue in this one is almost nonexistent, as Bob Huggins’ club has not done much in the way of impress this year.
3) There is a terrific back court matchup in that game on NBCSports Network tonight. Drexel’s Damion Lee and Frantz Massenat taking on Devon Saddler and Jarvis Threatt.
4) SWACtion on ESPNU: Alabama State takes on Texas Southern.
5) Someone needs to get Rick Pitino to take the shackles off Russ Smith. He only got nine shots after coming off the bench in the loss at Georgetown. #shootmore
The Top 25
- Pitt at No. 12 Louisville (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- No. 2 Kansas at West Virginia (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- South Florida at No. 25 Marquette (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.