Pregame Shootaround 2.21.13: Slow night, but big chance for Cal, Cincy
Game of the Night: Cal at No. 23 Oregon (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
The Ducks will once again be without Dominic Artis tonight, which puts Cal into a wonderful position -- the Bears, who have won five of their last six games to put themselves firmly into the bubble conversation, can grab their second marquee road win in the span of two weeks if they can beat the Dukes. To be perfectly fair, Johnathan Loyd has been playing some good basketball of late in Artis’ stead, but he’s not the same kind of talent. Oregon currently leads Arizona in the Pac-12 standings by a game in the loss column.
The Other Game of the Night: BYU at St. Mary’s (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Neither BYU not St. Mary’s looks like they are for the NCAA tournament without locking down the automatic bid from the WCC, but that doesn’t mean that these two teams are boring to watch. The Cougars are one of the fastest paced teams in the country, and St. Mary’s is one of the top ten most efficient teams in the country. Matthew Dellavedova is as good as any point guard that you’ll find nationally, while Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies are as good as any 1-2 punch as you’ll find. Expect a lot of scoring.
Mid-Major Matchup of the Night: South Alabama at Middle Tennessee State (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
Middle Tennessee State may be the best mid-major team in the country, one of the few teams outside the major conferences with a chance (albeit it slim) to receive an at-large bid. South Alabama has already gone through a coaching change this season, but they are currently sitting in second place in the Sun Belt. MTSU will win clinch the Sun Belt outright tonight with a win.
Five Things to Watch For
1) Erick Green may be stuck playing for one of the bottom-feeders in the ACC, but he’s a first-team all-american talent. He’ll be hosting Duke with the Hokies tonight. (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
2) UConn may not be eligible for the NCAA tournament, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a quality road win in the making. Cincinnati needs one of those. Should be interesting to see two teams that rely almost entirely on their talented back court. (7:00 p.m. ESPN)
3) Drexel and Delaware are two of the more disappointing teams in the CAA, but they are also two of the most talented teams. (7:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network)
4) La Salle looks like they are in position to be the fourth team from the Atlantic 10 to get a bid to the NCAA tournament, but they still have some work left to do. Winning at Temple in a Big 5 showdown would be a good way to start. (7:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
5) Colorado and Illinois host Utah and Penn State, respectively. Neither can afford a loss.
- No. 6 Duke at Virginia Tech (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- Cal at No. 23 Oregon (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Other Notable Games
- Drexel at Delaware (7:00 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network)
- Cincinnati at UConn (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
- La Salle at Temple (7:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)
- South Alabama at Middle Tennessee State (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
- Penn State at Illinois (8:15 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
- Utah at Colorado (10:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network)
- BYU at St. Mary’s (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.