Pregame Shootaround 2.10.13: Deshaun Thomas-Victor Oladipo matchup is one to watch
Game of the Day: No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 10 Ohio State (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
Fresh off a disappointing loss to Illinois on a buzzer-beating layup, the road gets no easier for No. 1 Indiana. But that’s what makes the Big Ten the Big Ten, right? Sunday the Hoosiers meet an Ohio State team that gave No. 3 Michigan a fight in an overtime loss, though finally showing that it had the offensive capacity to have some complementary scorers around offensive centerpiece Deshaun Thomas.
Those other offensive weapons, including LaQuinton Ross, Lenzelle Smith, Jr., and Aaron Craft will have to produce, especially considering that Thomas will have to be dealing with elite defender Victor Oladipo. If Oladipo succeeds in shutting Thomas down or at least holding him at bay, it will be up to the others to carry the offensive load.
Who’s Getting Upset?: Maryland (-2) vs. Virginia (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
With third place in the ACC on the line for the Cavaliers, expect Virginia to come out ready to play Sunday. The biggest concern for Maryland will be turnovers, as the Terrapins average 15 per game. In a slower game against Virginia, they could struggle. In order to get the win, though, Virginia will have to control the backboards, where Maryland is the best in the country.
Mid-Major Matchup of the Day: Canisius vs. Niagara (2:00 p.m. ET)
MAAC leader Niagara will see its lead in the conference dwindle down to just one game if it can’t hold off coach Jim Baron and the Golden Griffins. Niagara is coming in having lost two straight games and could be short-handed again if leading scorer Antoine Mason’s ankle is not fully ready come tip-off.
If he is unable to go, it will be more crucial that sophomore Juan’ya Green get back into form, having shot just 1-of-16 from the floor in a loss to Rider.
Five Things to Watch For
1) With every other team in the Top 5 losing at least once (if not twice) so far this week, there’s a good chance No. 4 Duke can climb back into the No. 1 spot in the country with a win over Boston College. Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m. ET.
2) Another team that could be in the running for the No. 1 ranking is Arizona, who has already beaten Stanford and Washington State this week. The key against California will be containing and disrupting Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12’s leading scorer.
3) St. John’s been on a roll, winning six of its past seven games, but the Red Storm run into a tough Syracuse team at the Carrier Dome Sunday. The key will be stopping Syracuse’s dribble penetration, which could quickly break down the St. John’s matchup zone. Michael Carter-Williams needs to be a creator, which will spark production from the rest of the offense.
4) Illinois likely saved its season with a win over No. 1 Indiana in the final seconds, but will have to try to keep the momentum going against another ranked team, No. 18 Minnesota, Sunday.
5) After a rough start to the conference schedule, Virginia is starting to find its stride in the ACC. The Cavaliers go on the road Sunday against Maryland. A win gives them sole possession of third place in the conference.
The Top 25
No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 10 Ohio State (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
No. 4 Duke vs. Boston College (4:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
No. 7 Arizona vs. Cal (7:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)
No. 9 Syracuse vs. St. John’s (3:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
No. 18 Minnesota vs. Illinois (6:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
Other Notable Games
Connecticut vs. Seton Hall (12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Virginia vs. Maryland (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
NC State vs. Clemson (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Colorado vs. Oregon State (9:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Networks)
Washington vs. USC (10:00 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net National)